Konradus Epa, Jakarta – A sharp rise in rights violations targeting human rights defenders, journalists, indigenous people and students was recorded in 2021 with many of the perpetrators being police and soldiers, Amnesty International Indonesia says.
Some 297 cases, which included sexual abuse, beatings and killings, were recorded this year in a dramatic increase from 93 cases in 2020, the rights group said.
"At least 95 percent of cases targeted human rights defenders, journalists, indigenous people and students," Usman Hamid, executive director of Amnesty International Indonesia, said on the release of a year-end report, "The Dangerous Year for Human Rights Defenders," on Dec. 13 in Jakarta.
Amnesty said the violations included 15 extrajudicial killings in the restive Papua region committed by members of the security forces.
Elsewhere Amnesty recorded at least 51 women and children were also victims of violence allegedly committed by security officers, while up to 58 rights activists saw digital attacks, allegedly by government agencies on their social media accounts.
Another incident saw the relatives of Veronica Koman – a wanted activist supporting Papuan rights living in exile in Australia – targeted by unknown assailants who threw a small explosive device at their home in July.
In a harassment case, Bedjo Untung, chairman of the 1965 Murder Victims Research Foundation, a group seeking justice for victims of a communist purge, said he has been frequently followed by police since calls on the government to probe abuses during the purge increased earlier this year.
"We are always being monitored by police and the military. They always come to our houses," Untung told UCA News on Dec. 14.
Hamid of Amnesty said such acts will continue if the government and law enforcers don't commit to investigating and bringing perpetrators to court.