13 Nov 2013

NGOs describe tight muzzling of expression in West Papua

8:12 am on 13 November 2013

The Papuan Coalition of Civil Society Upholding Law and Human Rights has accused Indonesian authorities of stifling freedom of expression in West Papua.

The Jakarta Post reports that a coalition member, Ferry Marisan, says that events in recent months show that in West Papua the demonstration as an expression of opinion has been strictly muzzled.

This follows the arrests last week of dozens of students demonstrating against a draft law on special autonomy at the Papuan People Assembly as well as the campus of Cenderawasih University in Jayapura.

Five students remain in custody.

Papua Police say one of them is allegedly involved in a criminal case and the other four are charged with causing inconvenience

Mr Marisan says repression by authorities of freedom of expression is a continuation of the old policy in Indonesia under the former dictator, President Suharto.

Meanwhile, Papua Kontras, an NGO concerned mainly on the disappearance of activists, says police have become more repressive instead of persuasive and are too quick to arrest people.