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Jakarta Post

One year on, Tapol reports 61 deaths, 1,013 arrests during Papuan antiracism rallies

  • Alya Nurbaiti

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, August 21, 2020   /   08:22 am
One year on, Tapol reports 61 deaths, 1,013 arrests during Papuan antiracism rallies Papuan activist Dano Tabuni gestures after the first hearing into the case against him for raising the Morning Star flag at the Central Jakarta District Court on Dec. 16, 2019. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

Tapol, a UK-based human rights NGO, has recently reported on the numbers of deaths, injuries and arrests that occurred during the antiracism protests in Papuan and West Papuan in August last year.

“Today marks the first anniversary of the West Papua Uprising that swept across 22 towns in West Papua, 17 cities in Indonesia and three cities overseas from August 19 to September 30, 2019,” the NGO said in a press release on its website Wednesday.

Tapol reported that at least 61 civilians had died during the protests, 35 of whom were indigenous Papuans. Among the Papuan deaths, 30 died from bullet wounds, while the other five deaths died from stab wounds.

The NGO also reported that at least 287 civilians were injured as a result of violence. Police also arrested as many as 1,013 people, including 133 political prisoners, 22 of whom were charged with treason and sentenced to between six months to 10 years’ imprisonment.

Read also: Papuan activists rejoice after completing prison sentences for treason

This includes seven people known as the Balikpapan Seven – Buchtar Tabuni, Ferry Kombo Irwanus Uropmabin, Hengki Hilapok, Agus Kossay, Stevanus Itlay and Alexander Gobai – who were sentenced to between 10 and 11 months’ imprisonment.

When asked whether they could confirm the data by The Jakarta Post on Wednesday, the National Police said they would seek further information on the matter. “Otherwise, I will state my reply in a press release later on,” National Police spokesperson Insp. Gen. Argo Yuwono said.

Coordinating Legal, Political and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD did not respond to the Post’s request for comment.

Furthermore, Tapol claimed a total of 22,800 civilians had been displaced during the protests, including 6,000 Papuan students in Java and other places who returned to their homeland. To date, at least 2,000 of these students have remained in Papua to study.