ILWP Press Release: EU visit of Indonesian President Joko Widodo is a farce: Indonesia is misleading the EU and its Member States

April 19, 2016


P R E S S   R E L E A S E 

April 18th 2016,                                                                                               

International Lawyers for West Papua

EU visit of Indonesian President Joko Widodo is a farce:

Indonesia is misleading the EU and its Member States


From April 18th  up until the 22nd  2016, the Indonesian President Joko Widodo will pay a visit to the EU and the Member States among others, The Netherlands, The United Kingdom and Germany. While working on an improved image in order to attract foreign investors, Indonesia utterly fails to comply with EU human rights standards as included in various agreements between the EU Member States and Indonesia. In particular, in the easternmost province of West Papua, Indonesian authorities are involved in large scale human rights abuses.


Legal Research by ILWP

Widodo comes with a mission: more international trade to Indonesia, while human rights violations are continuously being disregarded. International Lawyers for West Papua (ILWP) [1] is currently finalizing its legal research project regarding  international (trade) treaties Indonesia has signed but implementation of which fails to comply with the rights enshrined, for example in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. There is compelling evidence to demonstrate that the situation in West Papua is unsustainable. In fact, it has reached the point where a moral appeal to Dutch investors demanding good governance according to international standards does not suffice. ILWP observes that the overwhelming presence of legal facts can no longer be ignored by the EU Member States, the Netherlands included.


The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA or Agreement)

Intended to achieve extensive economic co-operation, the EU and Indonesia signed the Framework Agreement on the CEPA in 2009. ILWP[1] observes that said agreement is flawed as Indonesia has continuously been violating its provisions.

Article 1 of the CEPA lists the general principles applicable to all parties of the Agreement – Indonesia and the EU Member States, including the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Germany. Consequently, the Agreement requires all parties to respect democratic principles and fundamental human rights as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments. It also requires Parties to confirm their shared values as expressed in the Charter of the United Nations.

However, Indonesia has persistently violated Article 1 of the CEPA. Namely in the Indonesian provinces of Papua Barat and Papua – the western part of the island New Guinea, also known as West Papua – there is compelling evidence of pervasive violence and ongoing gross human rights abuses. In all the interviews Widodo has given in preparation of this visit, not a single word is said about the situation in West Papua.


Violation of CEPA

Recently, two reports have been published:  the ‘Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Indonesia’ of the US Department of State, as well as the ‘Human Rights in West Papua 2015’-report of the International Coalition for Papua (ICP) covering the period of 2013-2015. Both reports demonstrate evidence of systematic violation of, among others, fundamental values such as freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and religion and prohibition of torture.[2]

In the period of 2013-2015, more than 140 political arrests were recorded in West Papua. Further, excessive use of police brutality, illegal arrests, disappearances, torture and ill-treatment of prisoners remains the standard police response to coordinated peaceful demonstrations. Most recently, on April 14th 2016, a total of forty-four people were arrested during demonstrations in West Papua.[3]

Moreover, Indonesia’s excessive transmigration policy has far-reaching consequences.  Poor Indonesians from other parts of the archipelago are often subsidized to move to West Papua. The consequences for Papuans are dramatic: in 1952, the non-indigenous population within West Papua amounted to only 2%, in the year 2000 that number reached 35% and in 2015 it even rose to 48%. Following this pattern, in 2020 only 30% (!) of the West Papua population  would consist of indigenous people, which would make them a minority in their own country.

International Lawyers for West Papua calls on the EU – in particular the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Germany – to reaffirm the CEPA and urge for a UN resolution in order to end the ongoing gross human rights abuses in West Papua.


The Netherlands: for more information please contact Ms. Albitha Wambrouw, contact person press and communication, 00 31 (0)6 22 66 25 44,


UK: Contact info ILWP – UK
+44 (0) 1865 403 202

[2] For the CEPA and above mentioned reports please visit:

[3] Radio New Zealand,