The 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC), meeting in Karlsruhe, Germany, once again expresses the grave concern of the international ecumenical fellowship regarding the situation in Tanah Papua – the Papuan provinces of Indonesia. 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.
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 – including gold, copper, nickel, uranium, gas, oil and coal, as well as forest, marine and cultural resources – without any adequate economic redress to the Papuan people.
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. The systemic marginalization of and discrimination against the Papuan people in their own land is accelerating and intensifying. Moreover, the increasing deforestation of the rainforests of Papua is contributing to the destruction of the ‘lungs of the planet’, and 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.
Commends the initiatives and actions taken by the WCC to respond to this situation since the Busan Assembly, including especially the international ecumenical delegation visit to West Papua in February 2019.
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).
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.