Parents of Papuan rights defender Koman attacked in Jakarta

Human rights lawyer Veronica Koman
Human rights lawyer Veronica Koman ... an attack on her parents apparently because of her advocacy for West Papuan self-determination. Image: RNZ/ANU

RNZ Pacific

Advocacy groups in Indonesia have condemned an attack on the parents of human rights lawyer Veronica Yoman, who speaks out for West Papuan justice issues.

A number of packages were delivered to the couple’s house in Jakarta on Sunday morning.

According to Amnesty International Indonesia, two of the packages exploded, scattering bits of paper and red paint in the garage.

Another package contained a message threatening to attack Koman and her supporters.

Amnesty International Indonesia’s executive director Usman Hamid described it as “an unconscionable attack that has frightened and traumatised two older people”.

“The authorities must immediately carry out a thorough, transparent, impartial and independent investigation of the incident and ensure the safety of Veronica Koman’s parents,” he said.

Koman, who has became a prominent voice in advocating for Papuan human rights since 2015, has been based in Australia since 2019.

UN plea for protection
That year, UN human rights experts issued a statement calling on the Indonesian government to protect the rights of Koman and other activists after she was subjected to online harassment, threats and abuse following her reporting on alleged human rights violations in Papua province.

The latest incident comes only weeks after two unidentified men on a motorcycle left an explosive package on the fence of Koman’s parents’ house.

Andreas Harsono of Human Rights Watch said the incident marked “a serious escalation in the threats and intimidation that Koman and her family have faced for years due to her peaceful activism on Papua”.

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

As well as a police investigation, Harsono said Indonesia’s Witness and Victim Protection Agency should also assist Koman’s parents with protection and psychosocial support.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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