Human Rights Watch World Report 2010: Abusers Target Human Rights Messengers

World Report: Abusers Target Human Rights Messengers
Rights-Respecting Governments Should Speak Up to Protect Defenders
Human Rights Watch, January 20, 2010


(Washington, DC) - Governments responsible for serious human rights violations have over the past year intensified attacks against human rights defenders and organizations that document abuse, Human Rights Watch said today in issuing its World Report 2010 (

The 612-page report, the organization's 20th annual review of human rights practices around the globe, summarizes major human rights trends in more than 90 nations and territories worldwide, reflecting the extensive investigative work carried out in 2009 by Human Rights Watch staff. The volume's introductory essay by Executive Director Kenneth Roth argues that the ability of the human rights movement to exert pressure on behalf of victims has grown enormously in recent years, and that this development has spawned a reaction from abusive governments that grew particularly intense in 2009.


From the Country Chapter Indonesia (

Papua and West Papua

Indonesian authorities have responded to a longstanding, low-level armed separatist insurgency in the provinces of Papua and West Papua with a strong troop presence and often harsh and disproportionate responses to non-violent dissent or criticism. Human Rights Watch has long expressed concerns over anti-separatist sweeps by the police, which often result in individuals who peacefully express support for independence being arrested and detained on charges of treason or rebellion (makar).

The government continues to restrict access by foreign human rights monitors and journalists to Papua, exacerbating the existing climate of impunity and making investigations extremely difficult. Prior to being ordered to close its Jayapura office, the ICRC had been visiting detainees in Papua's Abepura prison, where prison guards continued to torture inmates, including political prisoners Buchtar Tabuni and Yusak Pakage.

In July a series of shootings at the Freeport goldmine in Timika left three people dead, including one Australian. Police, declaring that the Free Papua Movement (OPM) was involved in the attacks, arrested at least 20 Papuans in relation to the killings and declared seven as suspects. The OPM denied any involvement, and those targeted by the police insisted that they were neither affiliated with the OPM nor participants in the attacks. In November police released the final seven Papuans detained in connection with the incident.

In November a Manokwari district court convicted three men of makar (rebellion), for raising a pro-independence flag.