The Australia West Papua Association (AWPA) has written to Australian foreign minister Marise Payne, expressing concern about attacks targeting the family of Australian-based Indonesian human rights lawyer Veronica Koman.
Due to Koman’s role in defending West Papuan human rights activists and political prisoners, she has become a target of Indonesian authorities. At one stage, they threatened to ask Interpol to issue a red notice against her, simply for raising awareness about the ongoing human rights abuses in West Papua.
There have been ongoing threats and intimidation against Koman and her family in Indonesia. The threats escalated recently, with attacks on her parents’ home on October 24 and November 7.
Amnesty International reported that on November 7, “two unidentified men on a motorcycle threw three packages into the garage of the house of Veronica Koman’s parents in Jakarta”.
“At least two of the packages exploded, scattering bits of paper and red paint in the garage. The other package contained a typed message threatening to attack Veronica and her supporters.
“Around the same time, another package was left at the house of one of Veronica’s relatives. The package contained a chicken carcass and a message threatening that anyone who hides Veronica will meet the same fate as the chicken.”
There was an arson attack outside the house of Koman’s parents on October 24. Thankfully, no injuries were reported.
Amnesty International Indonesia's Executive Director Usman Hamid described the recent attack as "unconscionable” and traumatising to Koman’s elderly parents.
"The authorities must immediately carry out a thorough, transparent, impartial and independent investigation of the incident and ensure the safety of Veronica Koman's parents," said Hamid.
AWPA spokesperson Joe Collins called on Payne to request that the Indonesian government conduct an investigation into the attacks, and ensure that the police investigation is “impartial and subject to independent oversight”.