Indonesia must protect rights of Veronica Koman and others reporting on Papua and West Papua protests - UN experts

General Press Releases Monday September 16, 2019 16:08
Bangkok--16 Sep--OHCHR-Bangkok

Indonesia must protect the rights of all people to peaceful protest, ensure access to the internet and protect the rights of human rights defender Veronica Koman and all others reporting on protests in Papua and West Papua, say UN human rights experts*.

"We call for immediate measures to ensure the protection of freedom of expression and address acts of harassment, intimidation, interference, undue restriction and threats against those reporting on the protests," the experts said.

Veronica Koman, a lawyer who has been subjected to harassment and abuse online for her continuing work on alleged human rights violations in Papua, was named as a "suspect" by authorities who accused her of spreading of false information and provoking unrest after she published reports on the protests and on a racist attack against Papuan students in East Java that had triggered the demonstrations.

"We welcome actions taken by the Government against the racist incident, but we urge it to take immediate steps to protect Veronica Koman from any forms of retaliation and intimidation and drop all charges against her so that she can continue to report independently on the human rights situation in the country," they said.

The experts also expressed serious concerns over reports indicating that the authorities are considering revoking her passport, blocking her bank accounts and requesting Interpol to issue a Red Notice to locate her, as she is said to be out of the country.

The experts stressed that restrictions on freedom of expression not only undermined discussion of Government policies, but also jeopardised the safety of human rights defenders reporting on alleged violations.
Protests have been increasingly taking place in Papua and West Papua since mid-August over alleged racism and discrimination and amid calls for independence.
"These protests will not be stopped by an excessive use of force or by cracking down on freedom of expression and access to information," the UN experts said.

"We urge the Government of Indonesia to recognise the rights of all protesters and to ensure continuation of the internet service. We welcome the restoration on 4 September of the internet in almost all of Papua and West Papua provinces."

The internet had been disconnected completely on 21 August in various parts of both provinces on the grounds of restoring security and order, with the aim of preventing the spread of "rumours" or "hoaxes" during protests.

"Restrictions of the internet and on access to information in general have a detrimental impact on the ability of individuals to express themselves, and to share and receive information. On the other hand, access to the internet contributes to preventing disinformation and ensuring transparency and accountability," the experts said.

The UN experts have previously expressed their concerns to the Government of Indonesia and are continuing to urge it to engage in genuine dialogue with the protesters. The experts welcomed the engagement of the authorities on these matters and looked forward to continued dialogue.


Latest Press Release

CPF launches COVID-19 relief projects worldwide

Charoen Pokphand Foods PCL (CPF), Thailand’s leading agro-industrial conglomerate and its operations worldwide have jointly launched a series of relieves to alleviate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic by supporting healthy meals and medical supplies...

To help families during the pandemic, Regent's is offering a special discount to all who enroll before 30 June 2020.

Regent's International School Bangkok is now accepting students aged 2-18 for Term 1 in August 2020. To help families during the pandemic, Regent's is offering a special discount to all who enrol before 30 June 2020. Prospective parents can request a...

Thailand’s First NVIDIA DGX A100 Powers Chulalongkorn University Towards Thailand 4.0 Innovations

NVIDIA today announced Thailand’s first implementation of the new NVIDIA DGX A100(TM) system at Chulalongkorn University. The system will help Chulalongkorn University Technology Center (UTC) to research and develop innovations as part of the...

Spring Picnic

The “Spring Picnic” Exhibition is a Korean “Sumuk”, or ink painting exhibition, the classical genre of fine art in East Asia. Korean Sumuk exhibition that uses traditional Korean materials and techniques, such as Hanji (Korean...

Chengdu is Becoming the Engine Driving Development in China

On April 28, the official website of Sichuan Provincial Government released the Reply and Approval from Sichuan Provincial People's Government for the Founding of the Eastern Chengdu New Area. According to the document, the Chengdu Eastern New Area will...

Related Topics