#KeepItOn in Papua and West Papua!

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The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology of the Republic of Indonesia on Wednesday (21/8) night send a shocking press release. “The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology of the Republic of Indonesia decided to temporarily block the Telecommunications Data services, starting Wednesday (21/8) until the atmosphere in the soil of Papua returned to being conducive and normal.”

Why Papua? What has Papua done wrong to Indonesia?

“We have been independent for 74 years, actions of intolerant, racist and discriminatory must not occur in the country of Pancasila that we uphold together,” the Governor of Papua wrote in a press release on Sunday (8/18). Papua Governor Lukas Enembe also expressed his protest and asked for fair treatment from Indonesia by not saying derogatory and inappropriate words to the people of Papua.

Is that why they are wrong?

Is it because Papuan in the Papua Province (Jayapura City, Mimika and Jayapura Regency) and West Papua Province (Manokwari Regency, Sorong City, Kaimana Regency, and Fakfak Regency which happened on Wednesday (21/8)) have taken to the streets and demanded the racist perpetrators in Surabaya Incident to be punished and to treat Papuan as equals?

If Papuan have done nothing wrong, why the internet is blocked in Papua and West Papua provinces today?

Press Release Number 155/HM/KOMINFO/08/2019
Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Information Press Release
Wednesday, August 21, 2019
Data Blocking in Papua and West Papua

To accelerate the process of restoring security and order in Papua and surrounding areas, after coordinating with law enforcement officials and related agencies, the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology of the Republic of Indonesia decided to temporarily block the Telecommunications Data services, starting Wednesday (21/8) until the atmosphere in the soil of Papua returned to being conducive and normal.

If Papuan have done nothing wrong, why Ministry of Communication and Information Technology–at the request of the Indonesia National Police–restricted information in Papua from Monday (8/19) at 13:00 to 20.30 East Indonesia Time and Tuesday (8/20) by throttling the internet bandwidth?

Blocking and restricting access to the internet in Papua and West Papua instead will make it harder for people living outside of the two provinces to verify facts and what has happened, to check on the safety of friends and relatives because people in Papua have no or limited access to send messages.

We need to collectively protest this decision to censor or shut down the internet (by data blocking and internet throttling) in Papua and West Papua, which was done under the pretext of suppressing the circulation of hoaxes.

The blocking and restricting access to information violate digital rights, especially citizens’ rights to access information which is protected by article 19 of the ICCPR. Freedom of opinion, including the freedom to declare demands related to self determination or the right to determine oneself, is part of human rights that are regulated in the opening of the 1945 Constitution, the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which are already ratified by Indonesia.

Your support is needed. Your voice is meaningful. Your action is important. Let’s call for Indonesian Government to #KeepItOn in Papua and West Papua.

Denpasar, August 21, 2019

Damar Juniarto
Executive Director of SAFEnet
Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network/SAFEnet