Escalation of violence in Papua

The indigenous population is repeatedly exposed to racism and discrimination. Photo Mission 21

Mission 21 is concerned about the situation of the civilian population in Papua. "More than 30,000 people are fleeing in the region because of the violent conflicts. We are very concerned about the supply situation for the people," says Mathias Waldmeyer, who is responsible for programs and projects in Asia at Mission 21. He refers to reports from the organization International Coalition for Papua (ICP).

Open letter of the church council

Mission 21 maintains a long-standing partnership with the Evangelical Reformed Church GKI-TP, which has about one million members. The GKI-TP is part of the West Papua Council of Churches, WPCC, which has recently been open letter addressed to the Indonesian government. The WPCC criticizes the"colonial gaze" with which Papua is often viewed by Indonesian officials and points to the systematic destruction of Papuan identity and gross human rights violations that have been and are being committed against indigenous Papuans. 

Escape and arrests

The background to the letter is the violence against Papua's indigenous population, which has reached a new peak in recent weeks and months. After the assassination of the local intelligence chief in April, the Indonesian government had ordered the national police and military to tighten their presence in Papua. Internet connections stopped working for several weeks. Nevertheless, reports of massive operations by the security forces leaked out. The independence-seeking OPM (Organization for a Free Papua) has been reclassified as a terrorist organization..

Security forces used force, and numerous people were forced to flee. Reports of numerous human rights violations reached the ICP as part of the security operation, including killings, arrests of civilians and torture. In addition, houses-including churches-were destroyed.

New bill passed

Violence has escalated again after a committee of the Indonesian parliament passed a new bill on Papua's autonomous status in mid-July. The WPCC Council of Churches called the law racist and warned that it would wipe out Papua's indigenous population (Reporting with quotes in English here). Human rights activists call for humanitarian aid for the displaced people, the WPCC also points out the importance of the lack of dialogue between the Indonesian government and Papua's population.

Help for disadvantaged people in Papua

Mission 21 enables young people in Papua to receive training as part of the project "Vocational training for disadvantaged children and young people"., among others, in cooperation with the CCI-TP. Through its appearance, its social programs and its commitment to justice and against violence, the church gives people support, hope and protection. Mission 21 supports the educational work of the GKI in Papua.

Text: Miriam Glass, Mission 21

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