Free Victor Yeimo!
Updated: May 28, 2021
Free Victor Yeimo! Free all Papuan political prisoners!
May 18, 2021
The undersigned organizations call for the immediate and unconditional release of Victor Yeimo and all West Papuan political prisoners.
Victor Yeimo is currently the International Spokesperson of two local mass movements: Komite Nasional Papua Barat (KNPB) — one of the largest grassroots movement in West Papua that advocates for an independence referendum, and Petisi Rakyat Papua — a people’s movement formed in 2020 to reject the deceptive Special Autonomy Law.
Victor was arrested without warrant and interrogated by the Regional Police in Papua on the evening of May 9 in Jayapura.
The Indonesian Government’s crackdown against West Papuan activists has intensified since the massive protests in 2019 which was sparked by an incident during Indonesia’s Independence Day wherein Papuan students were harassed and called “monkeys” and other racist slurs by state forces. Victor Yeimo, along with his organization KNPB, were in the frontlines of the mass actions condemning racism, which linked the campaigns of discrimination with the call for a peaceful independence referendum.
Since then, many activists, including Victor, were forced into hiding as police and military conducted sweep operations to hunt down so-called “separatists” and “provocateurs”. Many activists were arrested and unjustly convicted with treason wherein prison sentences ranged from a year to almost two decades. Tensions have not died down as protests continued the following year in response to the passage of the neoliberal Omnibus Law and the impending extension of the Special Autonomy Law.
Victor has been arrested twice on similar events - in 2009 and then in 2013 - serving two to three years in prison for the latter case. This year’s arrest comes at a time where internet shutdown recurs in the region while military operations intensify both in the highlands and urban areas.
We are calling to friends, comrades, human rights advocates, and supporters of the West Papuan struggle to support the campaign for the release of KNPB activists and of all West Papuans put behind bars by the fascist Indonesian government. We reiterate our stance that activism is not terrorism. The West Papuan people’s resistance to occupation is a just and historical duty which deserves our firmest support and solidarity, just as we stand with the oppressed peoples of Palestine, Burma, Uyghur, and other nations engaged in the struggle for national liberation and just peace.
Raise your voice!
We are inviting you to send in a short video message saying “Free Victor Yeimo! Free all Papuan political prisoners!”. You may add in your statements calling to uphold human rights in West Papua, including the people’s right to self-determination.
Learn more about West Papua in this webinar series: bit.ly/westpapua-series