Indonesia’s crackdown on activists in Moluccas, Papua draws fire

Recently, pressure has grown on Indonesia’s government over its crackdown on activists throughout the country. This week, Human Rights Watch called on authorities to release activists from the Moluccan independence movement who were arrested just before a planned protest ahead of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s arrival.

An image from HRW's June report, Prosecuting Political Aspiration

HRW reports that between 7 and 15 activists were arrested as they planned a balloon launch to protest Indonesian rule on the Islands ahead of the president’s August 3 arrival.

“The police reportedly confiscated as evidence 133 posters that read “Free Alifuru and Papua Political Prisoners,” two copies of the June 2010 Human Rights Watch report “Prosecuting Political Aspiration,” 17 separatist Southern Moluccas Republic (Republik Maluku Selatan or RMS) flags, and one 12-pound gas cylinder to be used to fill the balloons. Yudhoyono was in Ambon to open the “Sail Banda” event, organized by the Tourism Ministry and the Moluccas Islands government to promote tourism in the Banda Sea.”

More details from HRW are here.

Meanwhile, new video evidence on the killing of Papuan activist Yawan Wayeni has renewed calls for a peaceful solution in eastern Indonesia.

The footage, apparently taken by a mobile phone, shows Yawan Wayeni lying in a forest, clearly wounded, gasping for breath. He clenches his fist and when he appears to say “Freedom” the soldiers call him stupid and they say Papuans are savages. His killing was originally reported in August 2009.

Listen to the full report on FSRN here.

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