• Crisis Severity ?
    2.3
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    3.0
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    1.4
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    3.1
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    3.0
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 237,655,000 Total population [?]
  • 3,594,000 People affected [?]

Overview

08/03/2022

The Free Papua Movement has been leading an insurgency movement since the 1960s, which calls for the independence of Papua and West Papua provinces. The insurgency has long been an excuse for military involvement in Papua, with the Indonesian Government consistently accused of human rights violations and violent suppression of the movement. There have been reports of extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary detention, looting and burning of villages, and mistreatment of peaceful protesters. Indonesian security forces rarely face justice for abuses in Papua.?

In late April, the assassination of the head of the regional intelligence agency carried out by the West Papua National Liberation Army (WPNLA) led to the latest security operation, which included internet cutoffs, escalating clashes, and displacement. The Government has since designated the WPNLA as a ‘terrorist’ group.?

There was a violence increase in December 2018 after separatists killed 19 construction workers who were building the highly contentious Trans-Papua Highway in Nduga regency. Conflict also escalated in August 2019, when anti-racism protests and widespread violence erupted in the Papuan provinces following the detention and discriminatory treatment of 43 Papuan students on the island of Java. Indonesia implemented a heavy-handed response to the protests: 6,000 military personnel were deployed to the region, an internet slowdown was established, movement restrictions were put in place, and dozens of activists were detained. 42,000 indigenous Papuans were displaced by the conflict between December 2018–March 2020. The number of IDPs is usually difficult to verify; however, it is estimated to be up 60,000 to 100,000 people.  ?

INFORM measures Indonesia's risk of humanitarian crisis and disaster to be medium, at 4.8/10.?

Latest Developments

14/03/2022

From 60,000 up to 100,000 people have been displaced because of violence in West Papua between 2018 and 2021. IDPs' returns and access to basic services continues to be hampered by insecurity. Humanitarian access is also limited due to bureaucratic constraints. IDPs living in areas not easily accessible by humanitarians have critical food, health, and nutrition needs. ?

Humanitarian Access

07/12/2021

High constraints

Humanitarian access in West Papua is overall constrained and has deteriorated. The low-level conflict has been slowly worsening since 2018, and in the last six months, it has spread to Maybrat, Pegunungan Bintang, and Yahukimo regencies. The region has been contested between the Government and the separatist West Papua insurgency since the 1960s. The Government continues to apply a heavy militaristic approach in response to increased armed group attacks, which causes unnecessary displacement and prevents returns. Nearly all international aid agencies and independent foreign journalists do not have access to West Papua, and the UN’s requests for visits to monitor human rights have never been approved.

Clashes between government forces and the insurgency continue to cause displacement. Although local humanitarian response is present, direct NGO response can be constrained by the presence of security forces and may require the further negotiation of access to the displaced people in need. At the same time, according to local observers, the Local Social Affairs Department does not seem to provide sufficient humanitarian aid to those displaced by the clashes.

IDPs often hide in the forest, without access to services and humanitarian response, out of fear of security forces’ abuses, including arbitrary detention and torture.These access constraints and the lack of timely information make it hard to determine the clear scope and scale of the crisis, along with the needs of those affected – particularly after a court’s ruling on the lawfulness of internet shutdowns and subsequent restrictions on conflict-related journalism. 

Read more in the latest ACAPS Humanitarian Access Overview.

Key Priorities

08/03/2022

Intersectoral: IDPs are in need of protection, shelter, food, NFIs, and health assistance. Many IDPs are unable to access health services and education. ?

Information Gaps and Needs

08/03/2022

Limited humanitarian access, and the Indonesian government's tight restrictions on foreign NGOs, media agencies, and human rights organisations in the Papuan provinces have constrain access and information. ?