Victor Yeimo, a West Papua pro-independence political activist, has been imprisoned for several months after being arrested in Jayapura, the capital of Papua province, in early May. Yeimo is charged with treason for calling for a referendum on West Papuan independence during a 2019 protest against racial discrimination in Indonesia. The following statement was released on 16 August by the Papuan People’s Petition.
Today, the Papuan People’s Petition (Petisi Rakyat Papua), a tactical front of 111 organisations formed to reject Jakarta’s forced attempt to renew Special Autonomy, is organising peaceful demonstrations across West Papua. In doing so, the PRP affirms the West Papuan people’s ongoing rejection of institutional racism by the Indonesian government, demands the immediate and unconditional release of Victor Yeimo, a victim of state racism and the international spokesperson for the PRP, and renews the call for West Papuans to freely and fairly determine their own future.
The Papuan People’s Petition, representing 111 organisations supported by over 700,000 people who have signed the petition rejecting Special Autonomy*, and demand the Indonesian state to immediately release Victor Yeimo without any conditions.
“Victor Yeimo is not a perpetrator of violence or a criminal. He is the victim of widespread structural racism of the Indonesian colonial state who continues to persecute Indigenous Papuans”, said PRP national spokesperson Sam Awom.
“We call on our solidarity partner to join in calling for free Victor Yeimo”, said Zuzan Griopan from the PRP secretariat.
Sam Awom, PRP National Spokesperson, +62-822-1001-9415.
Zuzan Griopan, PRP Secretary, +62-812-4016-8586.
* The Papuan special autonomy law was passed in 2001 in response to the movement for West Papuan self-determination. It was supposed to give Papuans a greater say in their own government, but in practice has fallen short or been ignored. In July, the Indonesian parliament extended for another twenty years a revised version of the law. It has been met with protests from Papuan activists.