• Indigenous peoples in Indonesia

    Indigenous peoples in Indonesia

    Indonesia is home to an estimated number of 50-70 million indigenous peoples. Indonesia has adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Still, the government does not fully accept the concept of indigenous peoples.
    Indigenous peoples in Indonesia are increasingly experiencing criminalisation and violence, often related to investments in indigenous territories.
  • Peoples

    Indonesia is home to an estimated number of 50-70 million indigenous peoples.
  • Rights

    Indonesia has adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but the government does not fully accept the concept of indigenous peoples
  • Challenges

    Indigenous peoples in Indonesia are increasingly experiencing criminalisation and violence, often related to investments in indigenous territories.

Indigenous World 2020: Indonesia

Indonesia has a population of approximately 250 million. The government recognises 1,128 ethnic groups. The Ministry of Social Affairs identifies some Indigenous communities as: komunitas adat terpencil (geographically-isolated Indigenous communities). However, many more peoples self-identify or are considered by others as Indigenous. Recent government acts and decrees use the term: masyarakat adat, to refer to Indigenous Peoples.

The national Indigenous Peoples’ organisation, Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara (AMAN), estimates that the number of Indigenous Peoples in Indonesia is between 50 and 70 million. The third amendment to the Indonesian Constitution recognises Indigenous Peoples’ rights in Article 18b-2. In more recent legislation, there is implicit recognition of some rights of peoples referred to as: masyarakat adat or masyarakat hukum adat, including Act No. 5/1960 on Basic Agrarian Regulation, Act No. 39/1999 on Human Rights, and MPR Decree No. X/2001 on Agrarian Reform. Act No. 27/2007 on Management of Coastal and Small Islands and Act No. 32/2010 on Environment clearly use the term: masyarakat adat and use the working definition of AMAN. The Constitutional Court affirmed the Constitutional Rights of Indigenous Peoples to their land and territories in May 2013, including their collective rights to customary forests. While Indonesia is a signatory to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), government officials argue that the concept of Indigenous Peoples is not applicable as almost all Indonesians (with the exception of the ethnic Chinese) are Indigenous and thus entitled to the same rights. Consequently, the government has rejected calls for specific needs from groups identifying themselves as Indigenous.

West Papua covers the western part of the island of New Guinea and comprises the two Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua (Papua Barat). It has a population of 4.378 million people split into two provinces, with 3.5 million in the Papua province and 878,000 in the West Papua province. More than 50% of the population in both provinces are trans-migrants who

General Elections

2019 was a political year with simultaneous general elections. Joko Widodo won his second term as president of Indonesia, yet Indigenous Peoples under the leadership of the Aliansi Masyarakat

Adat Nusantara (or the Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago [AMAN]) did not officially support his candidacy this time due to their disappointment in the lack of delivering results as promised during the previous election campaign. AMAN supported 164 Indigenous community cadres to run in the 2019 legislative elections.

Thirty-four Indigenous candidates were elected comprising one candidate for the House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Republik Indonesia/DPR RI), three candidates for the Regional Representatives Council (Dewan Perwakilan Daerah/DPD), nine candidates for the Provincial House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Daerah/ DPRD) and 21 candidates for the District/City House of Representatives.

Indigenous Peoples faced a multitude of challenges in the 2019 general elections such as conflicts related to tenure and the design of the 2019 election registration.1 Tenure conflicts that are still ongoing in Indigenous territories are a barrier for Indigenous Peoples obtaining their basic services, for example with electronic identity cards (KTP elektronik). Indigenous Peoples without identity cards are not recorded in the population and civil registration, and as a result, during elections, they are not able to participate. In this context, one million Indigenous Peoples in forest areas were unable to vote because they do not have electronic identity cards. This situation shows that conflict in customary lands is linked to loss of Indigenous Peoples’ constitutional rights in the 2019 general elections.

Secondly, in terms of the design of the election registration, three of the five election ballots were not provided photographs, but instead only the DPR and DPRD candidates’ names were listed. This hinders illiterate Indigenous Peoples to practice their right to vote. In addition, Election Law No. 7 of 2017 does not stipulate assistants to accompany illiterate voters. For example, 1,400 Dayak Meratus community members in South Kalimantan lost their voting rights due to their limited literacy.2

Moreover, Indigenous Peoples also faced non-structural challenges in the 2019 elections. AMAN’s electoral evaluation carried out in eight provinces – South Sulawesi, Banten, North Sumatra, Riau, West Kalimantan, Maluku, North Maluku and East Nusa Tenggara – found external pressure from corporate organisations, government and local elites attempting to obstruct Indigenous Peoples’ political participation in the 2019 elections.3

On the other hand, AMAN was trusted to become a partner of the Elections Supervisory Agency (Badan Pengawas Pemilu/Bawaslu) for the simultaneous elections as one of the election oversight organisations.

Follow up on the Constitutional Court Decision to return Indigenous customary forest land

2019 was a disappointing year in terms of the government’s lack of commitment in following up with Constitutional Court Decision No. 35/2012.4 The government’s follow-up to the decision has been to pass inadequate regulations created for sectoral and partial interests only.

The customary forest regulation faces a similar fate. Only around 32,000 hectares of customary forests have been handed back to Indigenous Peoples after nearly seven years since Constitutional Court Decision No. 35/2012. This is an underachievement, especially compared to the public commitment and campaign at the time.

On the ground, Indigenous Peoples are often seduced into accepting social forestry schemes instead of fighting for the customary forest regulation as established in Court Decision No. 35/2012.

For Indigenous Peoples, social forestry is useless for recognising their constitutional rights. Social forestry is outside of the Constitutional Court Decision’s implementation framework. Social forestry is a 35year state license where customary forest includes the restoration of Indigenous Peoples’ rights to their customary land. AMAN has refused social forestry schemes in customary lands since 2013 through the Rongkong Declaration.5

Conflict and criminalisation

Rampant criminalisation is increasingly targeting farmers. During President Joko Widodo’s second term (2019), the number of criminalisation cases has increased along with the government’s investment-first agenda.6

Acts of violence and criminalisation against Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous human rights defenders continued to occur. In 2019, more than 15 cases of customary land grabbing, arrests, violence and evictions took place targeting Indigenous Peoples’ communities. For instance, with the criminalisation of traditional farmers in Central Kalimantan and West Kalimantan.

Two traditional farmers, Gusti Maulidin and Sarwani, who practice the cut and burn system when opening fields7 were both were charged with burning land and forests to grow rice on an area less than one hectare. They were charged with multiple articles: first, with Article 108 of the 2009 Law Concerning Protection and Management of the Environment;8 second, with Article 78 of the 2013 Law on The Prevention and Eradication of Forest Destruction;9 third, Article 187 Part 1 of the Indonsian Penal Code;10 and fourth, Article 188 of the Criminal Law (KUHPidana).11

The criminalisation of traditional farmers is massive in Kalimantan, some of whom went through the legal process and up to trial;12 while others finished at the police investigation level.

The criminalisation of Indigenous Peoples who practice their Indigenous knowledge is clearly a violation of the law, specifically Law No. 32 of the 2009 Law Concerning Protection and Management of the Environment.13 In the act there is indeed a prohibition on burning, but the same law exempts Indigenous Peoples who carry out limited land burning activities based on Indigenous knowledge that has been carried out for generations.

The Indigenous Peoples Bill and Land Bill

Throughout 2019, as it has been for many years, AMAN has been struggling to pass the Indigenous Peoples Bill into national law. House of Representatives members who were committed from the start have again included the Indigenous Peoples Bill in the National Legislative Program.

Meanwhile, at the local level in the same year, 30 local regulations on Indigenous Peoples have been passed throughout Indonesia. Other local regulations were passed as a result of stronger community organisations, especially at local chapters.14

While the Indigenous Peoples Bill has yet to be passed into law, the Land Bill was drafted in 2019. A hidden agenda to steal customary lands lies within this bill.15 The bill contains several critical issues for Indigenous Peoples. It does not recognise the rights of Indigenous Peoples and their rights to their customary lands. The bill attempts to remove Indigenous Peoples’ rights to land by stipulating that customary land must be registered within two years after the Land Bill is passed into law. Customary lands must be registered as well as physically occupied. This stipulation is clearly a threat since Indigenous communities do not physically occupy their entire customary lands. Large portions of customary lands are left untouched to be conserved under customary law. Other areas may be allocated for other uses or for future rotating farmland.

For that reason, AMAN has taken a stand that the bill must be rejected. The drafting of the bill lacked transparency and it was not discussed with the public, including AMAN. An open consultation was carried out, but again AMAN was not involved.

Investment Omnibus Law and the potential threat against the security of customary lands and Indigenous Peoples’ future16

The Investment Omnibus Law can lead to revoking or making amendments to a number of laws. At least 74 laws are planned to fall under the Investment Omnibus Law.17

As described above, cases of customary land grabbing, violence and criminalisation have taken place repeatedly in 2019 without the Omnibus Law, and investments are already uncontrollably pouring into customary lands. The government has revised regulations prohibiting open mining in protected forests to facilitate mining companies’ investments. The Indigenous Peoples’ movement must anticipate the development of the Omnibus Law. Experiences from the past 30 years have shown that investment and state authority implementation in allocating forest areas have been detrimental to the state itself, investments and environment, and has brought lasting suffering to Indigenous Peoples.

Rights violation over land and natural resources

Research by Human Rights Watch18 found that land and natural resources conflicts caused by oil palm plantation concessions contribute to increased poverty due to loss and conversion of Indigenous and local communities’ land into large-scale oil palm plantations. AMAN’s field observations also indicate other forms of degradation from oil palm plantations, such as decreasing Indigenous Peoples’ living space to ecological degradation, and loss of Indigenous Peoples’ cultural identity.

Thus, the idea for developing an Investment Omnibus Law must be accompanied by passing the Indigenous Peoples Law. Moreover, Indigenous Peoples’ organisations advocate that the Indigenous Peoples Law should be positioned or designed as an Omnibus Law. In such a position the Indigenous Peoples Law can invalidate a number of other laws that have contributed to the sluggishness of processes in recognising Indigenous Peoples and customary law.

Without these significant steps, assurance of Indigenous Peoples’ rights to their customary land will not be easily achieved. This will influence the unbreakable cycle of violations and violence.


The hopes that were raised with the enactment of the Law on Special Autonomy for West Papua and the adoption of the UNDRIP by Indonesia in 2017 have, however, thus far been frustrated. For almost two decades the status of this Special Autonomy has not answered the grievances and aspirations of the people of Papua. Armed conflict and violence still occur today.

The forests of West Papua cover 42 million hectares, or 24% of Indonesia’s forested area, and are home to 54% of Indonesia’s biodiversity. Together with Papua New Guinea, West Papua makes up the third largest tropical forest in the world after the Amazon and Congo Basin forests. The region is also rich in mineral resources and is home to the largest gold mine and the third largest copper mine in the world. However, the mines have caused more damage than benefit for the local Indigenous Peoples.

The Human Development Index in Indonesia placed both Papua and West Papua provinces as the lowest in 2018 – with Papua at 60.06 and West Papua at 63.74. The social parameters such as birth rates, illiteracy rates and HIV/AIDS sufferers greatly affect this index.

The armed conflict in Nduga

The armed conflict in Nduga regency and the wave of displacement of thousands of civilians who avoided the conflict took place throughout 2019. The conflict began with the killing of 16 PT Istaka Karya19 workers by an armed group led by Egianus Kogoya on 2 December 2018.

Indonesian security forces (TNI and Polri) carried out military operations in pursuit for Egianus Kogoya. The news of death, shootings and displacement has continued to flood various media throughout Papua. During 2019, tens of thousands of Nduga people had to flee their villages.20 About 200 people have reportedly died in refugee camps and thousands of children could not go to school.21

Indonesian security forces have been accused of using phosphorus bombs in military operations to pursue the perpetrators of the murder of workers of Istaka Karya Ltd. Although Indonesian security forces deny the allegations, an article in the Australian media22 provided images of the use of phosphorus that appeared on the bodies of the wounded victims.

This military operation in Nduga regency has been condemned  by the Papua provincial government. The Governor of Papua, Papuan Parliament and Papuan People’s Assembly have asked the Indonesian government to withdraw security forces in Nduga so that local residents can return safely to their villages and carry out their usual activities. Up until now, this request has not been responded to.

The Cycloop nature reserve

On 16 March 2019, flash floods hit  Sentani,  Jayapura regency, Papua. Several hundreds of people died and tens of thousands lost their homes.23 According to the data from the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency, rainfall during the flood measured 114 millilitres. The flood confirmed that the infrastructural development of the Jayapura regency area, which is located under the Cycloop nature reserve, has contributed to the destruction of the natural environment in the reserve. For the Indigenous Tabi community, the damage to the Cycloop nature reserve means damage to their ancestral land.24

The Cycloop was listed as a nature reserve by ministerial decrees in 1978 and 198725 and is around 31,000 hectares, of which more than 1,000 hectares (about 7%)26 was damaged in 2019.

The flash floods and damage to the Cycloop nature reserve brought new problems, mainly between the Indigenous Tabi community and Indigenous highlanders of Papua,27 who have lived in Jayapura regency since the 2000s. The highlanders have been accused of destroying parts of the Cycloop nature reserve. This accusation has impacted the socio-political dynamics of the community, as the highlanders are being accused of fraudulent political practices to control positions in the provincial government and the parliament.

For this reason, the Jayapura regency, Jayapura city, Mamberamo Raya regency and Keerom regency, collectively have called for a new autonomous region or a new province.28

Papua’s commitment for the world’s lungs

During 1-3 May 2019, Governor Lukas Enembe of Papua province attended the annual Governor’s Climate and Forest (GCF) Task Force conference in Caqueta, Colombia.29 In the conference, Governor Enembe mentioned that as home to tropical forests, Papua is ready to contribute in sustaining the world’s lungs.

“Papua is ready to protect 90% of its tropical forests. But we need help, because protecting the forest is not easy, because of the enormous challenges we face, such as massive logging and large-scale plantations in Papua,” said Governor Enembe.

According to Mr. Enembe, around 85% of the forests in Papua are still intact and around 90% of Indigenous Papuans live in or near the forest. “Therefore, we are committed to green growth that recognises the existence of Indigenous Peoples,” Governor Enembe said.

Governor Enembe proposed that Papua should host the next conference, which was approved by the GCF forum.

Racial discrimination and violence

The most important event in 2019 was the anti-racist demonstrations that took place throughout Papua and West Papua.30 The first demonstration happened on 19 August 2019, after which successive demonstrations were carried out in various cities across West Papua. The demonstrations are believed to have been ignited by racist comments made by security forces towards Papuan students in Surabaya. Security forces allegedly called the students “monkeys” and “dogs”.31 Thousands of people in West Papua have gone to the streets in main towns such as Fakfak, Sorong, Manokwari, Nabire, Jayapura, Merauke, Wamena, Deiyai and Timika, protesting against Indonesia’s government and the racism they encounter in Indonesian society.32

The demonstrations turned violent and government and private buildings were burned down. On 23 September, the student anti-racism peace rally turned bloody in Jayapura and Wamena.33 Four students and one TNI member died after a clash between students and police in Jayapura. In Wamena, dozens of civilians were burnt to death in their homes and dozens of Indigenous Papuans were shot by security forces when the anti-racism demonstrations turned violent.34

The Indonesian government responded by shutting down the internet access in both Papua and West Papua as it referred to the incidents as a hoax that should not spread.

Arrests of pro-independent activists

The arrests of Indigenous Papuans for peacefully expressing their aspirations for independence and self-determination happened in 2019. Mass arrests took place from the end of November through to early December. Around 112 people were arrested in Fakfak, Sorong, Manokwari, Jayapura and Sentani under treason charges.35 Police charged them for planning to raise the Morning Star flag on 1 December, which is banned by the Indonesian Government.

Prior arrests were made from the end of August to early September 2019, with six activists arrested for carrying out anti-racist demonstrations in front of the Indonesian Presidential palace.36 These six were later named as suspects in a treason case. In addition, seven Papuan youth leaders were arrested by the police in Jayapura for mobilising the masses during a peaceful demonstration against racism on 23 August.37

The  exodus of Papuan students from campuses in various cities Since September 2019, thousands of Papuan students have returned to Papua due to the lack of security38 after the anti-racist demonstrations in Papua. Papuan students who studied in several cities in Indonesia felt threatened and spied upon by Indonesian security forces.

A member of the Papua Students Association Education Division (IMASEPA), Weak Kosay, noted that some Papuan students in Bandung and surrounding areas had returned to Papua and claimed they could not stand the treatment from Indonesian security forces, especially after the incident in Surabaya.39

Governor Enembe noted that the increasing number of Papuan students returning begs for an immediate solution from the Papua provincial government.

The PIF Communique and West Papua case

At the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Leaders’ summit in Tuvalu, August 2019, the Vanuatu government successfully received a strong statement for West Papua on the PIF Communiqué. West Papua activists and lobbyists in the Pacific boosted their efforts to gain support from the Pacific nation to pass a PIF resolution urging the visit of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to West Papua to carry out an investigation on the alleged human rights violations.40

Vanuatu’s Special Envoy to West Papua, Lora Lini, stressed that Vanuatu had won the draft resolution during the PIF senior officials and ministries meeting in Fiji, weeks prior to the leaders’ summit. The meeting of PIF senior officials and ministries set the agenda for the PIF leaders in Tuvalu.

“We sincerely hope that the outcome of the communique of the PIF and the Prime Minister of Vanuatu will bring the resolution to the UN General Assembly,” Lini said.

Judicial review of the ‘act of free choice’

2019 marks the 50-year anniversary of the Act of Free Choice41 or the determination of people’s opinion (Pepera). The Presidium Papua Council (PDP) and the Papua Customary Council (DAP) have given power of attorney to 15 lawyers who are members of the Freedom of Justice and Justice Advocacy Coalition for the People of Papua, to submit a Judicial Review of Law No. 12 of 1969 concerning the establishment of the West Irian, an autonomous province to the Supreme Court of the Republic of Indonesia.42

“What we are concerned about is that there are phrases in this law that the ‘act of free choice’ were correctly implemented. But the reality is not like that. That’s why we did a trial at the Constitutional Court, “

Yan Warinussy, the head of the Coordinator of the coalition advocating freedom and justice for Papuan people, said.43

First International Conference on Papuan Students

The first Papua International Students Conference was held in Los Angeles on 20 December 2019. The conference was organised by the Forum of Papuan Youth and Scholars and the Papuan Student Association in the United States (IMAPA), and fully supported by the provincial government of Papua and West Papua. The conference was attended by around 200 Indonesian students who are studying in the United States, Indonesia, Philippines, the United Kingdom and Canada. The conference discussed the ideas and role of Papuan youth in education, health and economy under the Acceleration of Papua Development programme.

A joint outcome was declared as the Los Angeles Papua Golden Generation Declaration.44

Violence and armed conflict will continue

The Indonesian  Government’s  attitude  toward  Papua  has  never changed. Violence and armed conflict in Papua have continued to increase over the last five years. Thousands of Indigenous Papuans were arrested and hundreds were imprisoned, while dozens were killed due to different opinions and perspectives. On the other hand, dozens of Indonesian soldiers, security forces and police officers have also been killed over the last five years.

The increase of violence and conflict does not only confirm the differences between Papuan and Indonesian government perceptions about the history of West Papua’s integration with Indonesia, but has caused a detrimental loss for the people in Papua and Papua Barat provinces. As a result, both provinces have faced difficulties in terms of development, including education and health services, which affect Indigenous population. In general, the armed conflict and violence are highly influential for the level of trust of Indigenous Papuans towards the Indonesian government.

For that reason, the government of Indonesia needs to change its development approach in West Papua. Infrastructure development over the past five years has not answered any problems of Indigenous Papuans. Papuans demand historical correction upon the transfer of West Papua’s sovereignty from the Dutch to Indonesia, as well as remedy for human rights violations that have occurred since the annexation by Indonesian authorities.


Notes and references

  1. Law No. 41/1999 concerning Forestry which regulates zoning consisting of protected forest areas, production forests, conservation, The implication of this law is the determination of zoning which tends to be political. 70% of the area in Indonesia is forested and there are at least 25,863 villages within the forest area (the Ministry of Environment and Forestry/KLHK, 2017). By the population and registry office, people who live in forest areas are not given a residence identity, either a Family Card (KK) or an electronic ID Card (KTP elektronik), unless there is a permit to release the forest area from KLHK, or must first be moved to the village around forest areas that have legality of domicile. This condition resulted in the obstruction of the fulfillment of identity ownership such as electronic ID Card because they were reluctant to recognise the existence of Indigenous communities within the forest area. See also: Law No 26 of 2007 concerning Spatial Planning which regulates spatial planning and spatial planning based on the main function of the area consisting of protected areas and cultivation areas. This law then prohibits development activities in forest areas; Regulation of the Minister of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Planning / National Land Agency (Permen ATR/BPN) No. 11 of 2016 concerning Settlement of Land Cases. This Ministerial Regulation refers to Law No. 30 of 2011 concerning Government Administration and explains that in the case of administrative activities not carried out on land that is in conflict or dispute; and Presidential Regulation No. 88 of 2017 concerning Settlement of Land Tenure in Forest Areas. This regulation is related to the resolution of conflicts in forest areas, with resettlement as one of the settlement patterns.
  2. ”Masyarakat adat Dayak Meratus: Dilema hak suara para tuna aksara”. BBC 28 March 2019: https://www.bbc.com/indonesia/media-47731783; “Jutaan warga adat terancam gagal mencoblos, kisah Dayak Meratus hadapi pemilu tanpa mengenal aksara”. BBC 28 March 2019: https://www.bbc.com/ indonesia/indonesia-47703634). Read also: Barahamin, Andre “An Election Which (Still) Not For Indigenous Peoples”. Monday, April 22, 2019: https://rallu. xyz/2019/04/22/an-election-which-still-not-for-Indigenous-peoples/
  3. Akbar, Abdi and Yayan Hidayat, 2019, Evaluasi Penyelenggaraan Pemilu Serentak 2019, unpublished.
  4. On May 16, 2013, the Constitutional Court of Indonesia gave Indigenous Peoples the right to manage the forests in which they See https://www. forestpeoples.org/sites/default/files/news/2013/05/Constitutional_Court_ Ruling_Indonesia_16_May_2013_English.pdf
  5. Rongkong declaration is a strong statement from AMAN as result of AMAN’s national meeting in Rinding Allo community, Limbong district, Luwu Utara regent, South Sulawesi province, 22 September See http://pergerakan. org/deklarasi-rongkong/
  6. Listing those cases are from five different region in the country: Traditional farmers in Kalimantan, Sihaporas in Sumatra, Matteko in Sulawesi, Lambo dam in East Nusa Tenggara and Akejira in Maluku. Furthermore see: Catatan Akhir Tahun AMAN 2019 (https://www.aman.or.id/2020/01/mengarungi-badai- investasi-catatan-akhir-tahun-2019-aliansi-masyarakat-adat-nusantara- aman/)
  7. “Menyasar dan Memenjarakan Para Peladang”. MongaBay, 10 December 2019: https://www.mongabay.co.id/2019/12/10/menyasar-dan-memenjarakan-para- peladang/
  8. The Republic of Indonesia. Law No. 32, year 2009, Concerning protection and management of environment. Accessed 5 March 2020: http://greenaccess. osaka-u.ac.jp/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Law-No.32-of-2009-on-The- Management-and-Protection-of-the-Environment.pdf
  9. The Republic of Law No. 18 year 2013, The Prevention and Eradication of Forest Destruction. Accessed 5 March 2020: http://extwprlegs1.fao.org/docs/ pdf/ins137703.pdf
  10. The Republic of Indonesia Indonesian Penal Code. Accessed 5 March 2020: https://www.unodc.org/res/cld/document/idn/indonesian_penal_code_ html/I.1_Criminal_Code.pdf
  11. “Siaran Pers AMAN Kotawaringin Barat: Peladang Bukan Penjahat Lingkungan”. Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantar, 25 November 2019: https://www.aman. id/2019/11/siaran-pers-aman-kotawaringin-barat-peladang-bukan-penjahat- lingkungan/
  12. As for who went through the legal process until the trial are: Gusti Mauludin and Sarwani from Rungun Village, West Waringin City Regency; Central Kalimantan; Saprudin a member of Lebu Juking Pajang, Murung District, Murung Raya Regency; Central Kalimantan; Nadirin bin Abdul Rahman and Akhmad Taufiq bin Amin from Riam Panahan Village, Delang District, Lamandau District, Central Kalimantan Province; Layur bin Juri from Sei Tatas Village, RT 04, Pulau Petak District, Kapuas Regency; West Kalimantan; Reto, Petrus Sabut’s son and Hero, Reto’s son from Riam Panahan Village, Delang District, Lamandau Regency, Central Kalimantan Province; Antonius bin Darma (passed away) from Kamawen Village, Montallat District, North Barito Regency, Central
  13. Op Cit. (8)
  14. See Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara: aman.or.id
  15. Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara. Tolak Ruu Pertanahan:13 Bahaya Ruu Pertanahan Jika Accessed 4 March 2020: https://www.aman.or.id/ wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Press-Rilis_Tolak-RUU-Pertanahan.pdf; “Land bill at centre of unrest in Indonesia”. EcoBusiness , 4 November 2019: https:// www.eco-business.com/news/land-bill-at-centre-of-unrest-in-indonesia/
  16. The issue of Omnibus Law was raised right after President Joko Widodo and Vice President Ma’ruf Amin were appointed. “Reviving omnibus law: Legal option for better coherence”. The Jakarta Post, 27 November 2019: https://www. com/academia/2019/11/27/reviving-omnibus-law-legal-option- for-better-coherence.html
  17. The laws are grouped into six clusters: 15 laws on investment requirements; risk-based businesses comprising 9 laws on basic permits and 45 laws on the permit sector; 2 laws on authority and mandates; 20 laws on development and oversight; 26 laws on sanctions; and 8 laws on supporting ecosystem (facilitation and investment).
  18. Human Rights Watch do research to see the big problem facing especially by Indigenous women on their customary land as impact of oil palm plantation companies in two different study cases: PT Ledo Lestari in Bengkayang, West Kalimantan and PT Sari Aditya Loka in Jambi, Sumatra. More information on: https://www.hrw.org/report/2019/09/22/when-we-lost-forest-we-lost- everything/oil-palm-plantations-and-rights-violations
  19. “Berikut Nama 24 Pekerja Jalan Trans Papua yang Diduga Dibunuh”. Co, 4 December 2018: https://nasional.tempo.co/read/1152088/berikut-nama-24- pekerja-jalan-trans-papua-yang-diduga-dibunuh
  20. See ICP Human Rights Update West Papua report – April 2019: https://www.humanrightspapua.org/images/docs/Human%20Rights%20Update%20 West%20Papua%20April%202019.pdf
  21. “Korban meninggal akibat konflik di Nduga, Papua 182 orang: ‘Bencana besar tapi di Jakarta santai-santai saja’”. BBC, 14 August 2019: https://www.bbc.com/ indonesia/indonesia-49345664
  22. “Exclusive: Chemical weapons dropped on Papua”. TheSaturdayPaper, 22 December 2018: https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/2018/12/22/exclusive- chemical-weapons-dropped-papua/15453972007326
  23. “Banjir Sentani Tewaskan 89 Warga, 6.831 Orang Mengungsi”. CNN Indonesia, 19 March 2019: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/ nasional/20190319124830-20-378662/banjir-sentani-tewaskan-89-warga- 6831-orang-mengungsi
  24. See Extraction of Natural Resources and Community Livelihoods Systems Change Region of the Cycloop Nature Reserve in Jayapura Papua. Accessed 4 March 2020: https://pdfs.semanticscholar. org/4735/8df9b681afd1e3cb95c966eb433859cc01f9.pdf
  25. See the Agriculture Ministerial Decree Number: 56/Kpts/Um/1/1978, dated January 26, 1978, and the Forestry Ministerial Decree Number: 365/Kpts-II/1987, dated November 18, 1987
  26. “BBKSDA: 1.000 hektare cagar alam Siklop rusak”. TabloidJubi, 24 August 2018: https://www.jubi.co.id/bbksda-1000-hektare-cagar-alam-siklop-rusak/
  27. “Imbas Penyalahgunaan Cagar Alam di Balik Banjir Bandang Sentani”. Co, 23 March 2019: https://www.tempo.co/abc/3881/imbas-penyalahgunaan- cagar-alam-di-balik-banjir-bandang-sentani
  28. “Pemekaran Provinsi Tabi untuk siapa?” . TabloidJubi, 2 December: https://jubi.co.id/pemekaran-provinsi-tabi-untuk-siapa/
  29. 2019 See 2019 GCF Task Force annual meeting summary: https://www.gcftf. org/post/2019-gcf-task-force-annual-meeting-summary
  30. “Jayapura rusuh, diwarnai aksi pembakaran dan penjarahan: ‘Ada yang mau mengacaukan Papua’ kata Wiranto”. BBC, 29 August 2019: https://www.bbc. com/indonesia/indonesia-49506881
  31. “Mahasiswa Papua di Surabaya Mengaku Diteriaki ‘Monyet’”. SuaraPapua, 17 August 2019: https://suarapapua.com/2019/08/17/mahasiswa-papua-di- surabaya-mengaku-diteriaki-monyet/
  32. IWGIA Indigenous Peoples protest in West Papua: https://www.iwgia.org/en/ indonesia/3444-Indigenous-peoples-protest-in-west-papua
  33. “Ini Penyebab Demo di Wamena Papua Ricuh”. Merdeka, 23 September 2019: https://www.merdeka.com/peristiwa/ini-penyebab-demo-di-wamena-papua-ricuh.html
  34. Mambor, Victor & Bachyul, Syofiardi “Wamena investigation: What the government is not telling us”. The Jakarta Post Special Report. Accessed 4 March 2020: https://www.thejakartapost.com/longform/2019/11/26/wamena- investigation-what-the-government-is-not-telling-us.html
  35. ”Hingga 1 Desember, 112 orang ditangkapi dalam satu minggu”. TabloidJubi, 6 December 2019: https://www.jubi.co.id/hingga-1-desember-112-orang- ditangkapi-dalam-satu-minggu/
  36. Ibid
  37. “Keluarga meminta tujuh tahanan politik dipulangkan ke Papua”. TabloidJubi, 11 November 2019: https://www.jubi.co.id/keluarga-meminta-tujuh-tahanan- politik-dipulangkan-ke-papua/
  38. ”Papua: ‘Kami pulang bukan untuk kembali’ dan pendidikan generasi muda Papua yang terancam”. BBC, 26 September 2019: https://www.bbc.com/ indonesia/indonesia-49821841
  39. ”Eksodus mahasiswa Papua: ‘Kosongkan Pulau Jawa’ tapi ‘pusing mau ditaruh di mana”. BBC, 11 September 2019: https://www.bbc.com/indonesia/ indonesia-49645219
  40. See PIF Communique 2019: https://www.forumsec.org/wp-content/ uploads/2019/08/50th-Pacific-Islands-Forum-Communique.pdf
  41. The New York Agreement signed in August 15, 1962, formed the basis for the implementation of the Act of Free Choice in 1969 . Although Article 22 of the New York Agreement mandated the implementation of the Act of Free Choice must use an international system (one person, one vote), the representative system was realised on the
  42. “Lawyers, local leaders file for judicial review of Papuan referendum”. The Jakarta Post, April 15 2019: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/04/15/ lawyers-local-leaders-file-for-judicial-review-of-papuan-referendum.html
  43. The submission of the Judicial Review for Law 12 of 1969 by the PDP and DAP was mandated at the Second Papuan People’s Congress in 2000. The mandate is for the DAP and PDP to straighten the history of Papua by doing more research.
  44. “Konferensi internasional Papua lahirkan empat poin deklarasi Los Angeles”. TabloidJubi, 23 December 2019: https://www.jubi.co.id/konferensi- internasional-papua-lahirkan-empat-poin-deklarasi-los-angeles/


Jakob Siringoringo is a Batak from Sumatra and Chairman of the Indigenous Youth Front of the Archipelago/BPAN.

Victor Mambor is a senior journalist from Papua and founder of the main online media, tabloidjubi.com. As a journalist his work covers more than 20 countries, mainly in the Pacific region. His articles on Papua can be found in the Jakarta Post, Benarnews.org, The Internationalist, The Guardian, Radio New Zealand, ABC and Al-Jazeera.


This article is part of the 34th edition of the The Indigenous World, a yearly overview produced by IWGIA that serves to document and report on the developments Indigenous Peoples have experienced.  Find The Indigenous World 2020 in full here



IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs - is a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending indigenous peoples’ rights. Read more.

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