SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: August 10, 2021

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Institution(s):Cenderawasih University

Region & Country:Southeastern Asia | Indonesia

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On August 10, 2021, police arrested 14 students protesting on the Cenderawasih University campus.

Students gathered on the campus in the morning to demand the release of Victor Yeimo, a political activist and member of the National Committee for West Papua (KNPB), a pro-independence group, who was arrested on charges of treason and incitement in May 2021. The students, like other activists who have demanded his release, expressed concern over his health and the conditions where he is being held.

According to reporting by the International Coalition for Papua, the students peacefully protested in front of the university’s auditorium. Police intervened to disperse the protest and arrested 14 students. The students were released later that afternoon.

Scholars at Risk is concerned by police arresting students in an apparent effort to restrict the nonviolent exercise of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly — conduct that is expressly protected by international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Indonesia is a party. State security forces have a responsibility to maintain order and safety; however, they also have a responsibility to refrain from restricting nonviolent, responsible expressive activity. Arrests intended to restrict nonviolent, on-campus student expression undermines academic freedom and democratic society generally.

*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED).