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11/04/2022 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – Yanuarius Theofilus Matopai, a recently appointed bishop in Indonesia’s easternmost Papua province, has announced his intentions to stand up for religious minorities suffering from human rights violations in the area.  

In an interview with Catholic media outlet UCA News on November 2, he stated, The church has a duty to fight for humanity, to fight for human dignity, the common good, the basic rights of the people. The church is called for that. The Church’s vocation cannot be compromised.” 

In Indonesia’s majority-Christian easternmost province of Papua, violent attacks have been prevalent since its annexation by Indonesia in the 1960s. Separatists have waged war against security forces, causing immense conflict and displacement of civilians. Tension has recently escalated as the government plans to divide the region further from two to six provinces, signaling a threat to independence for civilians.  

According to the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence, 58 incidents, largely shootings involving soldiers and civilians in Papua between 2017-2021, were recorded. 69 civilian deaths and 135 injuries were reported. 

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