Indonesia: bomb attack perpetrated outside the home of journalist and human rights defender Victor Mambor (joint communication)

The following is based on a communication written by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and another UN expert to the Government of Indonesia on 10 March 2023. The communication remained confidential for 60 days before being made public, giving the Government time to reply. The Government replied on 8 May 2023.

This is a shorter version of the original communication.

Read the full communication Read the Government's response

BACKGROUND

Topic: a bomb attack perpetrated outside the home of journalist and human rights defender Victor Mambor.

Mr. Victor Mambor is an award-winning journalist and indigenous Papuan human rights defender. He is the founder of independent news website Jubi and has extensively reported on the human rights situation in Papua and West Papua provinces, in particular the rights of indigenous Papuans.

ALLEGATIONS

On 23 January 2023, at around 4 a.m., an explosive device detonated outside of Mr. Victor Mambor’s house in Jayapura, Papua province. The human rights defender was in his home when he heard the sound of a motorcycle stopping, followed by an explosion that made the walls of his house shake. No one was injured and his home did not sustain any damage, but the blast left some marks on the asphalt road. A CCTV camera recording confirmed that a motorcycle passed by Mr. Mambor’s house right before the explosion.

On 24 January 2023, Mr. Victor Mambor reported the incident to the police in Jayapura, who subsequently opened an investigation, examined the crime scene and questioned witnesses. However, it did not lead to the identification of any perpetrator or any arrest for the committed offense. Mr. Mambor believes this incident to be the latest act of intimidation against his commitment to report on human rights issues in the Papua and West Papua provinces.

On 21 May 2021, Mr. Victor Mambor’s car was smashed and spray-painted by unknown assailants while the vehicle was parked outside his house. The police investigation into the incident did not lead to any arrest or prosecution.

In 2022, Mr. Mambor’s Twitter account was hacked and deleted, allegedly after he shared a video depicting violent acts by the Indonesian security forces.

The Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua remain inaccessible to foreign journalists and independent monitors. Between 2019 and 2021, several UN Special Procedures’ mandate holders sent communications raising concerns regarding the alleged targeting of human rights defenders in Papua and West Papua provinces, including alleged violations of freedom of opinion and expression, and freedom of assembly and association.

In March 2022, several UN Special Procedures expressed serious concerns about the deteriorating human rights situation in both provinces, citing shocking abuses against indigenous Papuans, including child killings, disappearances, torture and mass displacement of people.

CONCERNS

In the communication, we express our concern for the safety of human rights defender Mr. Victor Mambor after what appears to be a new act of intimidation in retaliation of his human rights work. We are concerned that Mr. Mambor’s prominent and public work covering the human rights situation in Papua and West Papua may put him at an elevated risk of attack from entities opposed to his peaceful activities.

We are particularly concerned that this is the second such incident in recent years. We are further concerned that the police investigation into the vandalising of his car in 2021 failed to identify any perpetrator and did not proceed to any arrest for the committed offense.

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