Responding to the killing of dozens of construction workers in an attack by a group of armed men in Nduga, Papua, Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director Usman Hamid said:
“We are deeply shocked by the killings in Nduga, and grieve with those who lost loved ones. Authorities must conduct a prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the attack and ensure that all those involved are brought to justice in fair trials, without recourse to the death penalty.
“It is vital that the government response to the killing does not lead to further human rights violations. Security forces have a track record of violent clampdowns and this abhorrent act should be no justification for going down that path. The unspeakable attacks must not be used as a pretext to roll back freedoms and crack down on human rights. Authorities must also ensure that security forces provide safety for all people, without discrimination, following the attack in Papua.”
Amnesty International acknowledges the complex environment in which law enforcement officials often find themselves in when carrying out their duty in Papua region. However, even in such situations, law enforcement officials must ensure full respect for international human rights law, including the protection of the rights to life, liberty and security of persons, and must uphold international standards on the use of force at all times.
Failure to respect human rights will contribute to an ever-escalating cycle of hostility and violence with an increasing risk of more lives being lost or in danger – including their own.
Amnesty International takes no position on the political status of any province of Indonesia, including calls for independence.
Speaking to media on 4 December 2018, police said that the 31 people who were killed were workers of state-owned construction company PT Istaka Karya who were currently building a bridge in Nduga. The police immediately claimed that local armed groups were behind the attacks and deployed personnel, backed by the military, to find those responsible.