Pixabay

INDONESIA: Authorities must investigate frightening attack on human rights defender’s parents

Responding to an intimidating attack in which threatening packages were hurled at the house of the parents of human rights lawyer Veronica Koman in Jakarta, Amnesty International Indonesia Executive Director Usman Hamid said:

“This is an unconscionable attack that has frightened and traumatized two older people. The authorities must immediately carry out a thorough, transparent, impartial and independent investigation of the incident and ensure the safety of Veronica Koman’s parents.”

“This is not the first time that Veronica’s parents have been targeted. On 24 October, two unidentified men dropped off a package in front of their house, which burst into flames not long after. Veronica’s peaceful activism is part of her right to freedom of expression that should be protected by authorities, and not be subject to violence, threats or any other abuse or retaliation.”

“The Indonesia government has the ultimate responsibility to protect human rights defenders like Veronica, particularly to prevent further escalation of attacks, and effectively address human rights abuses committed against them and related to their work and to ensure that they can carry out their work in a safe and enabling environment.”

Background

On the morning of 7 November, two unidentified men on a motorcycle threw three packages into the garage of the house of Veronica Koman’s parents in Jakarta.

At least two of the packages exploded, scattering bits of paper and red paint in the garage. The other package contained a typed message threatening to attack Veronica and her supporters.

Around the same time, another package was left at the house of one of Veronica’s relatives. The package contained a chicken carcass and a message threatening that anyone who hides Veronica will meet the same fate as the chicken.

The threats come only weeks after two unidentified men on a motorcycle hung a package on the fence of Veronica’s parents’ house The package then burst into flames. There were no injuries reported in either incident.

Veronica, who lives in Australia, has been active in advocating for Papuan human rights issues since 2015. In 2019, UN human rights experts issued a statement calling on the Indonesian government to protect the rights of Veronica and other activists after she was subjected to online harassment and abuse following her reporting on alleged human rights violations in Papua province.