Tag Archives: West Papua

Indonesia: Stop reprisals against woman human rights defender – UN expert


Veronica Koman

Indonesia must immediately stop threats, intimidation and reprisals against human rights defender Veronica Koman and her family, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mary Lawlor, said today.

Koman, a human and minority rights lawyer, is in self-imposed exile in Australia. However, she still faces several charges in Indonesia for alleged incitement, spreading fake news, displaying race-based hatred and disseminating information aimed at inflicting ethnic hatred. The charges were believed to have been brought against her in retaliation to her work advocating for human rights in West Papua.

Koman was among five other human rights defenders mentioned in the UN Secretary-General’s 2021 annual report on cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights. She has faced threats, harassment and intimidation for her reporting on West Papua and Papua provinces, for providing reports to UN human rights mechanisms, and for attending UN meetings, for which she was questioned by security forces. 

“This case highlights how human rights defenders are often targeted for their cooperation with the United Nations, which is fundamental to their peaceful and legitimate work in the protection and promotion of human rights,” Lawlor said.

Acts of intimidation and threats against Koman’s family have also been reported this year, most recently on 7 November, when unidentified individuals threw two small explosive boxes inside the garage of her parents’ home in West Jakarta.

The boxes reportedly contained threatening messages, including one stating “we will scorch the earth of wherever you hide and of your protectors.” Another box addressed to Koman, delivered to the home of a family member, contained a dead chicken and a message saying that anyone hiding her “will end up like this.”







https://megapolitan.kompas.com/read/2021/12/13/14440981/amnesty-sebut-pembela-ham-dalam-bahaya-ledakan-di-rumah-orangtua-veronica (INDONESIAN)



Indonesia/West Papua/Australia: Indonesian activists condemn threats against rights lawyer’s family


Indonesian Cops Investigate Explosion Outside Papuan Activist’s Family Home

Activists in Indonesia on Monday condemned a series of threats against the family of a prominent human rights lawyer and urged a thorough police investigation after an explosive package was sent to her parents’ home.

Veronica Koman has been living in exile in Australia since 2019. In Indonesia she faces charges of incitement and spreading disinformation related to protests in the West Papua region in 2019 that sparked some calls for independence.

Police were called after a package that contained a threatening note exploded outside the West Jakarta home of her parents on Sunday. There were no injuries.

Local police chief Ady Wibowo told Reuters an investigation was underway and he suspected the package contained a firework. He said two suspects were seen riding on a motorcycle.

Human Rights Watch said the incident was a serious escalation in the threats and intimidation the Koman family had suffered for years.

“Indonesian human rights defenders should be able to express themselves even on sensitive subjects without having a target painted on their backs,” it said in a statement.

Koman declined to comment on Monday when contacted by Reuters.

The incident came two weeks after a flaming package was left on the fence of her parents’ home.









https://www.liputan6.com/news/read/4705417/bunyi-ledakan-dari-kediaman-orangtua-veronika-koman-diduga-dari-petasan (INDONESIAN)


Indonesia/West Papua/Australia: Democratic struggle won’t end with ITE law revision, says Koman


Veronica Koman

It was September 2019, and exiled Indonesian human rights lawyer Veronica Koman was enjoying her final days in Australia. Her studies at the Australian National University in Canberra were almost over and all that was left was to wait for graduation day.

One afternoon, Koman’s mobile phone rang. There was an SMS message from a friend in Indonesia.

Her colleague informed her that the police had declared Koman a suspect.

Since August 17, 2019, the Papua issue had been heating up. Racist actions by rogue security personnel against Papuan students in the East Java provincial capital of Surabaya had triggered a wave of public anger.

Protest actions were held in several parts of the country, including in Papua. The government even cut internet access in Papua after several of the demonstrations ended in chaos.

In the mist of this critical situation, Koman was actively posting on Twitter, sharing information about the mass movement in Papua.

On September 4, Koman was officially declared a suspect. Police charged her under multiple articles, including the Information and Electronic Transaction (ITE) Law.

ITE law ‘is so rubbery’
Aside from the ITE Law, Koman was also indicted under Law Number 1/1946 on Criminal Regulations, Article 160 of the Criminal Code (KUHP) and Law Number 40/2008 on the Elimination of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination.

“I had thought about what articles would perhaps be used to criminalise me. I strongly suspected it would be the ITE. It turned out to be true, because the ITE is so rubbery,” explained Koman when contacted by CNN Indonesia.

Koman said that it was easy to use the ITE Law to criminalise people. Aside from the “rubber” (catchall) articles, the law does not require much evidence. A screen capture from the internet is enough, and the case can go ahead.

She believes there has been a tendency to use the ITE Law to silence activists over the last few years and she gave several examples of cases in Papua.







https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/fr/profile/veronica-koman (FRANCAIS)

https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20200812084518-20-534733/veronica-koman-pembela-papua-yang-diminta-kembalikan-beasiwa (INDONESIAN)



Indonesia/Australia: Indonesian human rights lawyer Koman refuses to be cowed on Papua

October 22, 2019

Veronica Koman meets with Australian MPs about Papua

Veronica Koman, a human rights lawyer sought by Indonesian police over Twitter posts authorities blame for fanning unrest in the Papua region, has a tattoo on each wrist.

The first, inked when she was in her late teens and a fervent nationalist, reads simply “Indonesia” and, she says, meant that “Indonesia is running through my veins”.

The second, which she got a few years later after becoming “exposed to social justice”, has become a defiant riposte to the vitriol she has received for defending activists and advocating self-determination for Papua, Indonesia’s easternmost provinces.

The tattoo reads “DILLIGAF”, an abbreviation for a crude saying which roughly stands for “Do I look like I give a damn?”

“I’ve actually been experiencing this weird systematic attack, if you like, online since I think it was almost two years ago,” Koman said in an interview in Australia, where she is now living.

The threats can come in slickly produced video posted on YouTube or comments from anonymous social media accounts.

The abuse includes death threats, incitements to sexual assault and racist slurs, online material reviewed by Reuters showed. It also includes the publication of personal information about her and her family.








Indonesian human rights defender Veronica Koman receives Sir Ronald Wilson Human Rights Award


https://www.cnnindonesia.com/internasional/20191017072645-113-440201/veronica-koman-temui-parlemen-australia-bahas-persoalan-papua (INDONESIAN)

https://kastara.id/18/10/2019/soal-veronica-koman-dilema-australia-antara-kedaulatan-indonesia-dan-ham-papua/ (INDONESIAN)

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Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people on stage and text

(Veronica Koman Facebook, 23/10/19)

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(L’Observatoire des Avocats Facebook, 23/10/19)

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Indonesia/Australia: Papua unrest: Social media bots ‘skewing the narrative’

October 11, 2019

Illustration of a robot holding up several masks

Indonesia’s Papua province has become the focus of a well-funded social media campaign using bots to promote a pro-government agenda, the BBC has found.

A long-running Papuan separatist movement has flared in recent months, sparking fresh calls for self-rule.

But with access to the region heavily restricted, social media has become a key source for the foreign press.

One expert told the BBC the apparently co-ordinated campaigns were seeking to skew international views of Papua.

Targeted abuse from bots

The Twitter bot networks revealed by the BBC investigation have actively targeted Indonesia human rights lawyer Veronica Koman.

She told the BBC: “Rape and death threats are now part of my daily life.”

Now based in Australia, she has been a major source on social media of photos and footage of protests and unrest, sharing information passed to her by contacts in Papua.

Ms Koman now stands accused by the government of spreading “false news” and “provoking unrest” by publishing reports about the racist attacks on Papua students in Java.

She faces charges under the controversial Electronic Information and Transactions law (ITE) that makes it illegal to spread “fake news”. If found guilty she could be jailed for six years.

Press and rights groups say this law suppresses free speech and is open to misuse.





The West Papua Uprising: A Call to Stand Up and Fight!

Indonesia/UN/Australia: Indonesia Condemns Statement by UN Experts on Papua Unrest

September 20, 2019

Indonesia has condemned a press statement issued by five independent United Nations Human Rights Council special rapporteurs in which they expressed serious concern over recent development in Papua.

The five rapporteurs also urged the Indonesian government on Tuesday to drop all charges against human rights lawyer Veronika Koman, whom they said had been “subjected to harassment and abuse online for her work on alleged human rights violations in Papua.”

Police have declared Veronika a suspect, accusing her of spreading false information and provoking unrest in Papua and West Papua by publishing reports on the protests and attacks against Papuan students in East Java.

Sporadic unrest in broke out in several cities in Indonesia’s two easternmost provinces after racial animosity by hardline Muslims and members of the police and military against Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java, in August.

The government said false information and provocative content spread on social media, including by Veronika, had contributed to the unrest.





https://regional.kompas.com/read/2019/09/20/16510971/fakta-terkini-kasus-veronica-koman-resmi-masuk-dpo-hingga-polisi-minta (INDONESIAN)

https://surabaya.kompas.com/read/2019/09/20/12190111/polda-jatim-tetapkan-veronica-koman-sebagai-buronan?page=all (INDONESIAN)

Indonesia/Australia: Australia refuses to rule out handing over Sydney lawyer who advocates for West Papuans to Indonesia

September 17, 2019

West Papuan activist Victor Yeimo and Indonesian lawyer Veronica Koman

The Australian government has refused to rule out handing over a Sydney-based lawyer who advocates for West Papuans to Indonesian authorities.

Veronica Koman, an Indonesian human rights lawyer who currently lives in Australia, is being pursued by Indonesian police for disseminating evidence of police- and military-backed violence in West Papua.

Koman has been a credible source of eyewitness accounts, photos and footage of protests that have swept across West Papua and other Indonesian provinces in recent weeks.

Several people have reportedly died and dozens of others injured in violent clashes with Indonesian police, military and military-backed militia, which were sparked by the racist abuse of Papuan students in Java but have morphed into a demand for a referendum on West Papuan independence.

Koman faces charges under the country’s controversial electronic information and transactions law, and faces up to six years in jail if found guilty.

East Java police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera told the Guardian that if Koman did not report to Indonesian authorities by 18 September, a red notice would be issued through Interpol for her arrest. “After that we will work with the international police,” he said.







UN experts urge Indonesia to protect human rights defender Veronica Koman


https://www.cnnindonesia.com/internasional/20190917135734-134-431227/ahli-pbb-desak-ri-cabut-sangkaan-terhadap-veronica-koman (INDONESIAN)

Indonesia/Australia: Outcry as Indonesia seeks to arrest renowned West Papua rights lawyer

September 5, 2019

Veronica Koman faces charges after being accused of spreading ‘fake news’ and inciting unrest

Indonesian police have named human rights lawyer and well-known West Papua advocate Veronica Koman as a suspect in the spreading of “fake news”, accusing her of provoking widespread unrest in Indonesia’s easternmost provinces.

In a move slammed by Amnesty International Indonesia, the human rights lawyer faces charges under the country’s controversial electronic information and transactions law, and faces up to six years in jail if found guilty.

Police specifically mentioned Koman’s posts about an incident in Surabaya in mid-August where military and nationalist militia were captured on video calling Papuan students “monkeys” and “dogs”.

East Java police said the lawyer had provoked and inflamed anti-racist riots that have swept across West Papua in recent weeks, and accused of her spreading fake news and provocative material.

Indonesian police say they have also contacted Interpol to seek assistance in locating the Indonesian lawyer, who they believe is abroad.

Indonesia’s National Commission of Human Rights slammed the move, saying Koman had attempted only to provide “necessary information from a different point of view”.




Indonesian police target Veronica Koman for West Papua ‘incitement’

https://www.tribunnews.com/regional/2019/09/05/berita-terkini-papua-blokir-internet-dicabut-hingga-sosok-veronica-koman-yang-jadi-tersangka (INDONESIAN)

https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20190904161048-12-427500/safenet-polisi-tak-tepat-tetapkan-veronica-koman-tersangka (INDONESIAN)

https://news.solopos.com/read/20190905/496/1016638/amnesty-international-usut-pelaku-rasisme-bukan-twitter-veronica-koman (INDONESIAN)

https://www.suara.com/news/2019/09/05/073000/veronica-koman-jadi-tersangka-amnesty-international-minta-kasusnya-dicabut (INDONESIAN)

Indonesia/West Papua: ‘It opened my eyes’: the Indonesian woman fighting for West Papuan rights

April 29, 2019

Lawyer Veronica Koman has been called a traitor and faced death threats as part of her legal battle to hold Indonesia’s police to account

An Indonesian human rights lawyer is among those taking the Indonesian police to court on behalf of all West Papuans, in an unprecedented civil case over what she claims is the illegal takeover of an activist group’s headquarters.

Veronica Koman is part of a legal coalition bringing the civil suit which is the first of its kind, and although it focuses on one particular incident, is seen as a landmark case in the fight for West Papuan independence from Indonesia.

The case – she is pursing police for more than $100,000 in damages over their raid of an activist group’s headquarters on New Year’s Eve – has come at a personal cost.

Koman, who travels to West Papua to represent those charged with separatism-related crimes, told the Guardian her work has led to abuse and death threats.

At a December rally she and others were pelted with rocks by fellow Indonesians, and she became the specific target of anti-separatist protests, sending her into hiding. “It was pretty rough … people were screaming at me: ‘you traitor, you are funding this separatism’,” she said.

Koman said she used to be “very nationalistic” when she was working as a legal aid officer in Jakarta. But when she learned of the shooting deaths of four schoolchildren by Indonesian authorities in December 2014 she became involved in public demonstrations and met West Papuan independence activists.