Home Special News Papuan Families Got Evicted in Land Disputes

Papuan Families Got Evicted in Land Disputes


Last Saturday, the Facebook page of the Free West Papua Campaign uploaded a video. The video, which has obtained 50,000 views, is titled “West Papuan People’s Home is Destroyed” mentioning the eviction of Papuans on the land of Papua. They also did not forget to embed the phrase “this is terrible human rights violation and cruel act of humanity towards the people of West Papua by the Indonesian government” at the end of the video caption. However, the court has decided on the land in disputes since 2016. The respondent was requested to look for another place to stay two years ago.

The Free West Papua Campaign cited that this eviction as oppression against the Melanesian race. But are their accusations accurate?



Chairman of the Timika City District Court, Relly Dominggus Behuku, said this execution was the fourth time after being delayed three times. Land clearing efforts have been carried out since 2016 but have met with resistance several times.

Behuku claimed to have given a warning (aanmaning) to the defendants of the execution. The court also had to call and reprimand them to immediately leave the land that had been through a civil court process and had permanent legal force. “But maybe they think the court is unlikely to carry out executions if they stay in that place. We have given [them] a long time, since last year until now. Is that not enough [time] to make preparations to move out of that location?” he said.

Although the execution defendants criticized the decision, the Chairman of the Timika City District Court Relly Dominggus Behuku ensured that his party indeed upheld humanitarian values. H. Muh. Dahlan Penggeng won the land dispute over 18 defendants based on the decision of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Indonesia Number 968K/PDT/2012 with a certificate of ownership Number 183/1989.

Land clearing efforts have been carried out since 2016 but continue to get resistance. “I think this is [already] very humane [because we have given] them a long time. It cannot be then that every time we come, and there is resistance, and it [the land clearing] get delayed again, this is a legal state,” Behuku said.

Indeed on Thursday, September 27, 2018, the Indonesian military and police were forced to evict at least five families out of 9,400 square meters land on Jalan Hasanuddin, Timika, West Papua. The five families were finally forced to set up emergency tents to shelter from heavy rain. The husband and wife, Ayub Wandikbo and Innah Gwijangge, occupied a tent while another tent was held together by the five Songganau family.

Because it has been two years, the court decided to follow up immediately. The court finally executed the land escorted by dozens of security forces joined from the TNI (Tentara Nasional Indonesia or Indonesia National Armed Force) and the Indonesian National Police. Protests and community resistance cannot be avoided. In the effort to clear the ground, there are at least six permanent and semi-permanent buildings that are dismantled using excavators. Security forces assisted residents in moving the contents of the house that are about to be destroyed.


Facts Behind This Land Disputes

Based on the information from the Timika District Court, it was clear that the removal and eviction on this land were not due to race problems; moreover, it is clear that the Chairperson of the Court itself is also a Papuan. The occurrence of land clearing is purely due to legal issues only. Calling this incident an expulsion of Papuans in the land of Papua is not true. Because legally, the area is the property of H. Muh. Dahlan Penggeng. Building a house on someone else’s land is a violation of the law.

Cases of land disputes like this are not the first, and may not be the last, to happen in Papua. This issue arises because not many Papuans, especially Papuans living in the mountains, understand the concept of ownership using a land certificate. For most of them, owning the land is as easy as occupying it.

Meanwhile, Papuans who live in urban and coastal areas better understand the function of certificates so that many of them already have licenses for their respective lands. Besides, the Government has distributed land certificates in Papua several times. However, because indeed every region in Papua has not been sufficiently connected, counseling on the importance of this certificate has been hindered.

It is ironic to see how separatist groups lead opinions as if Papuans were driven out of their land. This parody is usually done by separatist groups to seek public sympathy through lies.

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