top of page
  • Writer's pictureMerdeka Secretariat

URGENT APPEAL: Calling for Solidarity on Nduga, West Papua

Dear Comrades,

We urgently appeal for your support in pressing Indonesia President, Indonesia Military Commander, and Indonesia Police Chief to open humanitarian access in Nduga, West Papua. A widespread military operation has been ongoing since December 2018 following the shooting of at least 16 construction workers in Yigi District, Nduga. After West Papua Liberation Army (TPN-OPM) claimed responsibility over the shooting, the Indonesian Government launched intensified military operations in the region.

Villagers reported that the military attack which started on 3 December caused fear and trauma. The attack supposedly targeted TPN OPM yet some sources reported attacks on civilians’ homes leading to the casualties. On 14 December, the joint security forces launched another attack between the villages of Iniknggal and Nitkuri, in the Yigi District. However, the number of causalities remain unconfirmed since the security forces restrict access to journalists and human rights defenders. It is uncertain how many indigenous civilians have been injured or killed in the areas during the attacks.

Obviously, the military operations has resulted in large number of displaced villagers. The refugees originate from twelve districts in the Nduga Regency namely the districts Mbulmu Yalma, Dal, Yigi, Nirkuri, Yal, Mugi, Mam, Mbuwa, Inikgal, Mapenduma, Kegayem, and Meborok. Reliable sources stated that more than 400 people, and still counting, have been dislocated. Fear of attack and military repressive acts forced people to flee into forests and neighboring districts and regencies.

Many frightened Indigenous Papuans fled into jungles and now experience food shortage under extremely cold weather. While inside the forests, they live in groups in improvised huts. At night, the men walk far distances to collect taro and sweet potatoes for their food. The longer they stay inside the jungles, the worse their situation gets. A pregnant woman named Selfina Lokbere (32 years) and her new born baby died as Selfina gave birth in the forest. Three other children named Ubugina Unue (2 years), Bugun Unue (1 year), and Raina Kogoya (5 year) died due to malnutrition and hypothermia. Mama Arem (55 year) made it to Wamena from Mapenduma district. Yet the tiredness of walking the far distance made her too weak to survive. She took her last breath in Wamena on 20 January. These are some identified casualties, but more displaced villagers, including children, are still struggling for their life.

Now, hundreds of refugees stay in temporary shelter in the districts Nigiagin, Wutpaga, Kwiyawagi and regencies Wamena, Mimika, Asmat and Lanny Jaya. Lacking of food supplies, some diseases are found dominantly found among adults and children. Children, infants and toddlers suffered from respiratory infectious diseases such as flu and cough as well as diarrhea, intestinal worms, and wounds. Some pregnant women also found among the refugees, At least ten women living in temporary shelters await birth and are in urgent need of medical assistance.

The space and access we need to deliver humanitarian assistance is being choked off, threatening the lives of hundreds of vulnerable children and families. To transport humanitarian assistance from Wamena to the other shelters in various districts are costly. Since the conflict, it reached IDR 14.000.000 or approximately USD 1.000 in total, double up the regular price. The increase of transport fees makes it difficult to deliver aid and supplies--including food, water, medical items, and fuel--to individuals and families caught up in the temporary shelters. These supplies are essential to staving off disease and starvation. Without them, hundreds of innocent victims, and among them are many children, will die.

Therefore, we demand:

  1. An immediate end to military operations in Nduga;

  2. Open access to Nduga for journalists and human rights defenders;

  3. The Government to stop the blockade on communications, food, and other aid needed by the displaced and traumatized residents; and

  4. The TNI (Indonesia National Military) and the Indonesian Government to allow independent probers to conduct an impartial and truthful inquiry on the TNI’s alleged use of banned chemical weapons and other human rights violations committed against civilians

We appeal for your support and solidarity. The following are some of the ways by which you can help us in this campaign:

  1. Issue strong statements to push Indonesian Government and Military to lift the blockade and allow humanitarian access to Nduga. Please send your letter to the provided addresses in Annex I (below).

  2. For individuals and organizations outside Indonesia, please write letters of concern to your embassies in Indonesia.

  3. Support online campaign for circulation to the public and media circles and posting in websites and social media platforms.

  4. Contribute to our fundraising to help the distribution of humanitarian assistance in Nduga. Please send your donations to :

To the end, we believe that our stories of isolation and struggles have to be heard since our Humanity Matters.

Annex 1

- Kantor Staf President

Gedung Bina Graha. Jl. Veteran No.16. Jakarta Pusat, 10110

Phone : +62 21 2354 5001

Fax : +62 21 345 0009

- Tentara Nasional Indonesia (Indonesian National Armed Forces Headquarters)

Adress : Mabes TNI Cilangkap, Jakarta Timur

Phone : +62 21 84595576

Fax : +62 21 84591193

- Kepolisian Negara Republik Indonesia (Indonesian National Police)

Address : Jalan Trunojoyo No. 3 Jakarta Selatan DKI.

Phone : +62 21 7218141

Fax : +62 21 7218741


bottom of page