'Papuan Lives Matter': New film about 2019 West Papuan protests

The Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy, a Jakarta-based human rights NGO, launched the documentary Papuan Lives Matter on November 15.

The 24-minute film was produced in cooperation with Nalar TV, and describes the background and aftermath of the Papua-wide protests against racial discrimination of indigenous Papuans. The demonstrations and the subsequent criminalisation campaign against protesters, human rights defenders and political activists must be regarded as one of the most significant events in Indonesia throughout 2019.

The documentary provides a deeper insight into the experiences of Assa Asso (also known as Stracky Yally), a Papuan filmmaker who was beaten and imprisoned for documenting the anti-racism and pro-independence protests of 2019.

Assa Asso’s story is just one out of many similar cases in which law enforcement agencies used vague legal provisions to silence government critics and restrict the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms on Papua-related issues in Indonesia. The restrictions are particularly enforced if promoted views are regarded as too critical and not in line with the government’s perspective and Indonesia’s state doctrine.

Papuan Lives Matter uses the anti-racism protests to illustrate how the democratic system of checks and balances in Indonesia is currently under threat.

The pattern of cases and verdicts concerning these protests, as well as various court rulings on vague legal provisions about treason by the Indonesian Constitutional Court, indicate that the judiciary no longer acts as an independent entity, but appears to protect the cause of the current Indonesian government as the executive branch.

The full documentary is available on YouTube.

[Abridged from humanrightspapua.org]