Unconfirmed reports are circulating that three foreigners have been arrested by Indonesian police in the west coast town of Fak-fak, West Papua, for taking photographs at a demonstration on MArch 19.
The rallies, which were held across West Papua and Indonesia, were calling on United Nations Secretary general Ban ki-Moon to advocate for West Papua and pressure Indonesia to end human rights abuses in West Papua. The UNSG was visiting Jakarta to speak at a Defence Policy expo and hold bilateral meetings with General Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the President of Indonesia.
The three men, identified as two British and one Canadian citizens, were taken by police to be interrogated after they were observed by intelligence officers taking photographs at the rally on Monday.
According to local sources, local police have claimed that the arrested men did not have a permit to enter West Papua, are “part of a foreign interference”.
Foreigners must apply for a Surat Jalan (travel permit) to visit West Papua, and must report to a local police station or military post either daily or weekly. Foreign journalists and human rights observers are banned by Jakarta from entering the Indonesian colony. Due to this restriction, any non-Indonesian foreigner with a camera is subjected to surveillance.
Local police in Fak-Fak have not been available for comment.
When foreign journalists are banned from an Occupied Land, who better to tell the story than the people who live it. Your donations support and help deliver training for a free and independent media in Papua, safe from harm from those who want to prevent the story getting out. We are entirely non-profit and rely on your support to continue our work. Please donate generously.
Papuans Behind Bars is a new project to document the cases of West Papuan Political prisoners. That site has profiles of current and former political prisoners and releases monthly news updates on arrests, trials, etc. West Papua Media is proud to be working with Papuan Behind Bars
Background information on West Papua and its history for journalists and bloggers