West Papua: Targeted Killing of Indigenous Papuan Youth Needs To Stop

With the endorsement of 14 local, national, and international NGOs, Franciscans International submitted an urgent appeal to the UN regarding the arbitrary killing of an 18 year-old student and the critical injuring of a 17 year old student, allegedly committed by members of the Indonesian Police Force.

On September 28th 2015, members of the Indonesian Police Force allegedly targeted and shot two young Papuan high school students at the Gorong-Gorong traditional Market, in Timika District, Papua Province of Indonesia. One school boy, Mr. Kaleb Bogau (18 years old) was killed and the other, Mr. Efrando Sobarek (17 years old) was shot in the leg and chest and is presently in critical condition at the Regional General Hospital of Mimika.

Mr Kaleb Bogau’s family is considering this case as a political assassination: Kaleb Bogau’s father is Pastor Daniel Bogau, a minister at the local Papuan Evangelical Kingme Church, and a member of Komite National Papua Barat (KNPB) in Timika. The KNPB is a West Papua movement which is pushing for a referendum on Papua’s political status, and is seen as primarily non-violent, comprising mostly youth and students. In the last four years , more than 40 KNPB members have been assassinated.

Between 2006 and September 2015, allegedly nine students have been killed by Police and Indonesian military in Timika District. The rate of extrajudicial executions in Papua and West Papua has not fallen for several years despite repeated promises of change in the approach by authorities.

In all cases of extra-judicial executions in Papua and West Papua over the last two years, the victims have only been indigenous Papuans. Indigenous Papuans make up less than 45% of the population and overt racism is part of the daily practice of security forces in West Papua. The fear is that authorities may cover up this case as is commonly practiced in the criminal justice process, and the perpetrators may never be held to account.

The perpetrators should be made accountable before the appropriate legal system.

See FI’s joint appeal submitted to the UN here.