WCC Pilgrim team visits Java and West Papua, Indonesia

The fishermen at Lake Sentani in West Papua traditionally build their villages on piles and blessings on the water. An ecumenical delegation coordinated by the World Council of Churches (WCC) visited Indonesia on 15-22 February 2019, including the provinces of Papua and Papua Barat. Organized as part of the WCC’s ‘Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace’, the visit focused on issues concerning religious freedom and inter-religious harmony in Indonesia, and the human rights situation in Papua.


"The Indigenous Papuan people – the vast majority of whom are Christians – continue to suffer serious and systemic violations of their physical security and human rights, including arbitrary arrests, torture and extrajudicial killings as well as sexual and gender-based violence, while independent journalists, international humanitarian organizations and human rights monitors are allowed restricted or no access to the territory,” reads the minute. In addition, the consequences of deforestation and environmental degradation are threatening Papuan traditional livelihoods and culture.”

Meanwhile, both Indonesian and international corporate interests exploit the resources of the territory, notes the minute.

Recently, the violence and violation of rights has been compounded by new political arrangements in the territory which have been imposed on the people of Papua against their will,” reads the minute. The systemic marginalization of and discrimination against the Papuan people in their own land is accelerating and intensifying.”

The minute further notes that the increasing deforestation of the rainforests of Papua is accelerating the global trajectory towards climate catastrophe. Protection of the rainforest and of the marine ecosystems of Papua – with the vast biodiversity they host – is an urgent necessity,” reads the minute.

The text commends the initiatives and actions taken by the WCC to respond to this situation” since the WCC 10th Assembly in Busan, including especially the international ecumenical delegation visit to West Papua in February 2019,” and encourages continued and intensified engagement by the WCC (including advocacy in UN human rights forums, and consideration of the establishment of an ecumenical working group on West Papua).”

The minute concludes as the WCC urges all WCC member churches and partners to increase their awareness, accompaniment and support for the people and churches of Tanah Papua in the midst of this longstanding and worsening crisis.”

Minute on the situation in West Papua

Livestream of the WCC 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe, Germany

Photos of the WCC 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe, Germany

WCC 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe, Germany