UN Human Rights Committee concerned over Indonesia human rights violations against Papua people News
Government of Papua, Indonesia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
UN Human Rights Committee concerned over Indonesia human rights violations against Papua people

The UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) expressed profound concern regarding the systematic occurrence of gross human rights violations against the Papuan people, involving security forces and law enforcement officers in Indonesia. The statement came at the conclusion of its 140th session on Thursday, following the review of reports from Indonesia, Chile, Guyana, Namibia, Serbia, Somalia, and the UK.

One of the main topics of the concluding observations was impunity and accountability for past human rights violations stemming from the decades-long conflict between separatists and Indonesian troops. The UNCHR highlighted that, despite Indonesia’s commitment to investigating numerous reports of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances of indigenous peoples in Papua, there has been a failure to investigate these violations. This, in turn, has prevented the distribution of reparations for the victims.

The UNHRC also emphasized there remains insufficient information regarding various cases of human rights violations, including one occurring between 1965 and 1966. The locations of mass graves containing an estimated 500,000 victims of the “anti-Communist” massacres during this period are still unknown.

However, it is not only the lack of information but also a lack of publicity regarding Indonesia. The UNHRC noted that the report presented in December 2022 on the twelve cases brought before the Non-Judicial Resolution Team for Serious Human Rights Violations is not publicly available. Similarly, the UNCHR has raised concerns about the lack of judicial action in the investigated cases, as out of 16 cases of human rights violations investigated by the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), only 4 have been prosecuted in court.

The report also provided recommendations to Indonesia’s government, urging it to intensify its efforts to eradicate impunity and guarantee accountability for past human rights violations. Given the UNHRC’s concern regarding the failure to investigate human rights abuses, the committee also advised Indonesia to ensure that Komnas HAM receives adequate financial and technical support, as well as sufficient human resources, to enable effective and independent actions in defense of human rights.

Likewise, the UNHRC recommended Indonesia prioritize the prompt investigation of all human rights violations, encompassing arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, torture, ill-treatment and extrajudicial killings—including those cases reported to Komnas HAM. Furthermore, Indonesia should ensure that families and victims receive updates and information about the investigations, as well as full reparations proportionate to the gravity of the damage.