A series of diptychs about the recurring discrimination and violence towards indigenous Papuan in Indonesia

In early December 2018, the Indonesian mainstream media reported that 31 construction workers of Trans-Papua were killed by an armed group named Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM) in Nduga Regency. Over the next four days, the media revised the number of the victims to 19.

Mainstream media reported the armed violence when the victims were non-Papuan, but when the victims were Papuan there were no media reports. The government reacted to the incident by enforcing military operations, which resulted in four civil Papuan deaths and around 2,000 people fleeing their villages in fear. Still, the media was silent.

Geographical distance and plain ignorance regarding Papua context makes Indonesia’s capital city’s mainstream media inclined to rely on security apparatus as the source of information. The high cost of coverage in Papua becomes the reason not to access Papua issues. …

©Albertus Vembrianto — Martinus (10), one of Nduga’s refugee children.

“I am very hungry”, Martinus (11) whispered me when he finished school hours. Last time he ate was last night. He drank water to cheat his stomach.

Martinus is one of around 600 children who fled from Nduga regency, Papua, after the shooting incident of Trans Papua workers, early December 2018.

Around two thousands more Nduga residents from sixteen districts evacuated out of their villages. There are thirty two districts in Nduga regency. They were afraid because of the presence of security forces who were combing the villages. A number of residents also died of illness and lack of food. Until the last month 136 people died.

Nduga refugees are still surviving in the houses of relatives around Jayawijaya and Lanny Jaya regency. They are traumatized by the presence of security forces and food shortages.

See more in:


Peu, kampung asal dari Araonop, kampung di kawasan pegunungan tengah Papua. Kini Peu bersekolah dan tinggal di asrama di Timika, Papua.

Ia bernama peu. Di tahun ajaran lalu ia kelas 4. Minggu lalu saya tanya, ia sekarang di kelas 5 apa, A atau B? Ia jawab kelas 4, sama seperti tahun kemarin. Ternyata ia tinggal kelas. Konon karena ia lambat mengikuti pelajaran. Agak sangsi saya dengan kebenaran informasi itu.

Pernah suatu saat, ada seorang anak bermain egrang yang dibuat dari bekas wadah cat dengan tali sebagai kendali. Saya tanya, siapa pembikin mainan itu. Anak itu bilang, Peu yang bikin. Egrang bekas wadah cat itu, sempat menjadi mainan yang marak dimainkan anak-anak yang bersekolah dan tinggal satu asrama dengan Peu.

Lebih jauh ke belakang, beberapa anak bermain panahan dengan reranting yang dikreasi mirip panah sunggguhan. Ada anak yang bilang, Peu yang pertama bikin mainan panah itu. Sejumlah mainan lain, Peu yang pertama bikin, sebelum ramai dimainkan anak-anak lain. Peu bak pengrajin mainan dari barang-barang yang tidak terpakai. …

Posted: Wed, September 13, 2017 | 11:52 am

Brother Jan Sjerp OFM: One of the three remaining Dutch catholic priests who now lives in Sentani, Papua. (Albertus Vembrianto)

Three Dutch Catholic priests arrived in Papua more than 50 years ago following the transfer of authority of western Papua from the Netherlands to the Indonesian government.

It was a dark time for Papuans as they experienced human rights abuses and many tragedies.

The bitter memories of these abuses and tragedies are stamped on generations of Papuans.

Father Frans Lieshout arrived in Papua two weeks after the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) turned over authority of the region to Indonesia in 1963.

Brother Jan Sjerp followed in 1969, at a time when the implementation of the “Act of Free Choice” was criticized due to the involvement of the Indonesian military. …


Albertus Vembrianto

Photographer, Visual storyteller, based around Papua, Indonesia. World Press Photo 6x6 Global Talent. Contact: vembriwaluyas@gmail.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store