Indonesia: Advocates Seek Justice for Women in Papua Province
Friday, January 15, 2010 1:50 PM

15 January 2010


Advocates from the Papuan People’s Assembly recently brought attention to the lack of implementation of women’s rights measures in Papua, an Indonesian province on the western portion of the island of New Guinea. Many incidents have been reported recently in Papua regarding the forced eviction of women and their families from their homes as the land is cleared by military officers in preparation for mining activities. Women have also reported being sexually assaulted and raped by military personnel after refusing to move out of their homes. The Papuan People’s Assembly claims that the Indonesian national government has failed to provide trauma support and legal aid to these victims, and that little has been done to investigate reported cases or punish perpetrators.


Papua, which was incorporated into Indonesia in 1969, is the site of a long-standing tension between indigenous Papuans, settlers, and Indonesian security forces. As a result of this conflict, Papuan women face many dangers, including illegal detention, kidnapping, and displacement, which are not typically experienced by women in other Indonesian provinces. As one of Indonesia’s more remote provinces, women in Papua also have difficulty accessing education and development resources.


While the regional government and local NGOs are working to address these problems through a number of programs, including regular visitations and discussions with victims of violence and informal schools to provide women with a basic education and assistance in economic independence, advocates insist that the Indonesian national government, including the Women’s Empowerment Ministry, must also examine and address the unique challenges facing women in Papua, and provide justice to the victims of violence.


Compiled from: Osman, Nurfika, Jakarta Globe, “Women in Papua Continue to Suffer” (2 December 2009).