Activists demand full probe into terror attack on Papuan legal aid office

The burnt out motorbike in front of Papua LBH office
The burnt out motorbike in front of Papua LBH office in Jayapura, Papua, on Monday. Image: LBH Papua

Asia Pacific Report newsdesk

Activists have condemned alleged terror and intimidation against Papuan human rights activists and called the police to thoroughly investigate an alleged arson attack at Papua Legal Aid Institute (LBH Papua) on Monday.

The Foundation of the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute (YLBHI) and Papua Humanitarian Coalition, condemned the alleged attack of burning a motorcycle in the garage of the LBH Papua office on Monday morning in Abepura district, Jayapura, Papua.

The Papua Humanitarian Coalition, which comprises a number of human rights organisations and activists, including Amnesty International Indonesia, Kontras and Public Virtue Research Institute, called on the police to thoroughly investigate the incidents and prevent similar attacks from recurring, reports The Jakarta Post.

“The Humanitarian Coalition for Papua is urging the Indonesian police to immediately and fully investigate the alleged attack on the LBH Papua office”, said the coalition in a statement.

The coalition is also urging the police to quickly arrest and bring the alleged perpetrators to court to be tried in a fair and open manner.

It is also asking the government to take firm measures to prevent similar attacks against human rights defenders, reports CNN Indonesia.

Early on Monday, a motorbike parked in the garage of the LBH Papua office in Jayapura was set ablaze. LBH Papua staff found a fuse smelling of kerosene and a plastic bottle containing left over petrol.

Not the first attack
The coalition said this was not the first incident of its kind to occur against human rights defenders, both in Papua and other parts of Indonesia.

Looking at the pattern of these incidents, it was reasonable to suspect that the attack was related to LBH Papua’s work handling cases of human rights violations and assisting victims of these violations, the statement said.

The victims include students, workers, traditional communities and activists.

In November 2021, the Jakarta home belonging to the parents of exiled human rights lawyer Veronica Koman, who has been actively speaking out about human rights violations in Papua, was attacked by two unidentified individuals who threw a packet containing explosive materials into their garage.

In September the same year, the LBH office in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta was attacked by a Molotov cocktail bomb.

“To this day, no one has been declared [a suspect] in these two cases”, said the coalition.

“Attacks against Papuan human rights defenders also represent an attack on democracy. So the government cannot be allowed to view this problem lightly, especially since the government has repeatedly pledged to immediately resolve the Papua problem, including the problem of human rights”, the coalition said.

Translated by James Balowski for Indoleft News. The original title of the article was Polisi Didesak Usut Kasus Dugaan Penyerangan Kantor LBH Papua.

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