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Welcome to PAPUA MERDEKA, the monthly newsletter of the Free West Papua Campaign.


Torture video exposes vicious reality of Indonesian rule 

Warning: the footage is violent and deeply distressing to watch

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A shocking video of a group of Indonesian soldiers torturing a young West Papuan man emerged this week, providing a rare glimpse of the brutality of life under Indonesian occupation.

The video shows the victim, identified as Defianus Kogoya, with his hands tied, standing trembling in a barrel of bloody, freezing water, as Indonesian soldiers take turns punching, kicking, and slashing him. The soldiers can also be heard making racists comments, and to describing how easily the victim’s flesh peels away.

In a disturbing twist, Indonesia’s official response to the video revealed that another man, Warinus Kogoya, was tortured and murdered by the same battalion on the same day. 

Though Indonesia’s official account recorded that Warinus “fell and his head hit a stone” while in a police car en route to the station, his death highlights how difficult it is to confirm the truth of such incidents. West Papua is effectively a closed society: journalists, both domestic and international, are banned, along with international NGOs and human rights organisations. 

As ULMWP President Benny Wenda said; 


How many victims go unnoticed by the world? How many incidents are not captured on film?”


The soldiers filmed torturing Defianus Kogoya have been identified as members of the Yonif Raiders, a notorious and feared military unit who have been responsible for numerous atrocities in West Papua. Their crimes include the August 2022 murder and mutilation of four Papuan civilians, as well as the torture and murder of Bruno Kimko that same month.

Torture is one of the most common forms of repression Indonesia uses in West Papua. One researcher has described it as a 'mode of governance', a very public form of discipline aimed ultimately at repressing pro-independence sentiments. 

If you want to take action against Indonesia’s military occupation, please support the Free West Papua Campaign, and write to your local Parliamentarian to ask them to sign the Brussels Declaration calling for an urgent UN visit to West Papua.

'Trophy' photos: Further torture in Yahukimo

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Shortly before the Puncak incident, Indonesia tortured two teenagers in Yahukimo in February. After an alleged guerilla fighter was killed during a gunfight, Indonesian troops tortured, arrested, and took humiliating ‘trophy’ photos with the two fifteen year old Papuans.

Such ‘trophy’ photos are sadly a common feature of Indonesian military rule. Pictures taken of the corpses of civilian farmer Wendiman Wonda, freedom fighter Yustinus Murib, and two tortured teenagers in Puncak Jaya (L-R below) are famous examples of the cruel practice.

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International progress

A meeting in the Dutch Parliament increased the heat on Indonesia to allow a UN visit to West Papua. Indonesia has refused the UN access to West Papua for over six years, despite initially promising a visit in 2018, and over 100 countries demanding that they urgently facilitate an investigation into the human rights situation there.
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An excerpt from President Wenda’s speech at the meeting:


 “Indonesia has clearly blocked international observation of their occupation for years now. They are using delaying tactics and making excuses while ramping up their genocidal rule. We are asking countries like the Netherlands to recognise this and halt their trade and diplomatic dealings with Indonesia until they facilitate a UN visit. Every day the UN is not allowed into West Papua, more of my people will be tortured, arrested and murdered, just like in Yahukimo.”


We say it every time, but we really are up against it financially. Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous country, and the major player in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. So we need your help – and whether you give £1 or £100, your contributions make a difference. If you wish to donate, you can do so here.