AWPA condemns the intimidation of the staff at KNPB office
AWPA condemns the intimidation of the staff of the KNPB Merauke office
The Australia West Papua Association in Sydney condemns the intimidation of the staff of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) Merauke’s office by the Indonesian security forces.
On Thursday evening 5 March, a box containing a suspected bomb was found in front of the KNPB secretariat office in Merauke. Passersby saw a cardboard box in front of the Secretariat's office and notified the staff inside who then reported it to the police.
A combined military and police team arrived to investigate. Although at this stage it is unclear if the bomb was real or simply an act of intimidation but the box contained a car battery, wires, pieces of pipe, bolts and nuts.
Then in an act of intimidation, the security forces entered the KNPB office removing flags, banners, and documents and also damaged equipment.
Joe Collins of AWPA said "it appears the security forces are continuing the same pattern as in 2014, the targeting of all aspects of society in West Papua including lawyers, human rights defenders, activists, clergy and journalists. On the 2 March the Army and the Police also closed down a one-day seminar being held by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua and arrested three of the organisers. This continued crackdown on civil society groups shows there is no improvement in West Papua under President Widodo. If Jokowi is serious about helping the West Papuan people he could start by releasing all political prisoners and review those articles that are used to charge West Papuans as so called separatists".
Article 6 of Indonesia’s Government Regulation No. 77/2007 prohibits the display of separatist logos or flags and Articles 106 and 110 of the Criminal Code prescribe heavy punishment for “rebellion”.