Update on situation of IDPs from Nduga and Intan Jaya – Activists confirm further fatalities

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Human rights defenders have exposed updated information on the situation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the regencies Nduga and Intan Jaya. Humanitarian helpers working with IDPs from Intan Jaya confirmed the deaths of at least nine IDPs. The majority of fatalities were reported from the town of Nabire, where about 3,000 IDPs from Intan Jaya have sought temporary shelter. Children are particularly affected by the displacement situation. Many internally displaced children (IDCs) do not go to school since they fled their homes. In addition, they are highly vulnerable to health issues, which are a common problem among many IDPs due to malnutrition and bad hygienic conditions in refugee shelters.

Situation of IDPs from Intan Jaya

Human rights activists, solidarity movements and churches have launched initiatives to collect donations and humanitarian supplies for Intan Jaya IDPs in Nabire. According to the Papuan news outlet Suara Papua, at least eight IDPs from Ndugusiga Village in the Sugapa District of Intan Jaya Regency have died since being displaced, among them five minors. Their names are Paulina Lawiya, Julita Weya, Sabisa Weya, Monce Mirip (minor), Jariana Mirip (minor), Lea Mirip (minor), Alberto Weya (minor) and Jupinia Weya (minor). Local groups have not yet compiled data of other diseased IDPs from other districts.

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Solidarity group members in Nabire declared that the majority of IDCs in Nabire do not go to school since they left their villages. The majority of them are primary and junior high school students. They will not be able to complete their exams and pass on to higher education levels without certificates. The majority of them originate from the districts Sugapa, Hitadipa and Agisiga.

A one-year-old baby named Zakeus Selegani reportedly passed away on 10 March 2021, after his family had been displaced. According to local informants, the baby became sick as the family lived with other IDPs in a tent at the catholic Santo Paulus Congregation in Puyagiya Village, Sugapa District (see photo). Although the situation in their home village is not safe yet, the family decided to walk home, because the way to the clinic in Bilogai town was too far from the temporary shelter. The baby finally died shortly after in the village.

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Situation of IDPs from Nduga

Raga Kogeya, a human rights activist originating from the Nduga Regency, provided updated information on the situation of Nduga IDPs during a public panel discussion in Jayapura on 18 and 19 March 2021. According to Kogeya, all districts in Nduga have been abandoned and are controlled by military forces. The Government offices in Nduga are not functioning properly because many civil servants have left. A “normal” live is only taking place in Nduga’s largest town Kenyam. However, IDPs and local residents in Kenyam are closely monitored by security force members.

The majority of IDPs from Nduga have sought shelter in the cities Timika, Jayapura, Wamena, and Agats. Those IDPs who stayed in the Puncak Regency left to other regencies after members of the military reportedly killed four indigenous Papuans in late 2020.

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She expressed particular concerns over the situation of IDCs. Many children do not go to school. A temporary school in Wamena which was established for IDCs from Nduga is not operating anymore. The education department in Intan Jaya registered the displaced children, but has not taken any measures to ensure that the IDCs have access to education. Many IDCs remain excluded from education system in other regencies.

Raga Kogeya underlined the urgent need to set up a memorandum of understanding between the health departments in the regencies Jayawijaya and Nduga. The lack of cooperation between both health departments prevents Nduga IDPs in the Jayawijaya regency from accessing free health care services.

The panelists also talked about the intimidation which Raga Kogeaya and other activists experienced after compiling data and humanitarian aid to the IDPs. Human rights activists documented most victims during the first months of the conflict. After that security force activists faced more acts of intimidation by security force members and case documentation became more difficult. (*)

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