Strengthening Indigenous Women’s Participation in Seeking Accountability in Land Conflicts in Papua, Indonesia
From 2013-2017, Asia Justice and Rights and the Papuan Women’s Working Group, a network of local organizations, conducted participatory action research involving 170 indigenous Papuan women to document the experiences of violence against indigenous women. One of the key findings was the lack of security related to tenure for natural resources and traditional lands, which impedes women’s empowerment and makes indigenous women vulnerable to continued violence and discrimination.
A critical issue raised by Papuan women was weakening land rights and shrinking access to natural resources. Of the women involved in the research, 50% had experienced loss to their land, gardens, or forest due to land use change and government policy, or as an impact of a violent conflict. Building on the research findings, this project will develop the capacity of indigenous Papuan women in understanding their status of rights over land and natural resources.
Post-conflict, Papua was granted special autonomy status in 2001, with provisions to ensure greater political and economic power to the indigenous Papuans. However, local people, especially women, have limited knowledge of mechanisms that were set up to include local voices in policymaking. This work carries the promise of systematically building capacity by developing a set of tools to assist Papuans, particularly women, to understand and assess the relevant challenges, develop appropriate strategies, and link to counterparts and institutions that can assist them. There is a clear need and demand for this work and a clear connection with national policy debates.