West Papua: MAPW calls for inquiry into Australia's military support for Indonesia

MEDIA RELEASE, 25 OCTOBER 2010: Following media reports alleging human rights abuses committed by the Indonesian Security Forces, MAPW urges the Australian Government to hold an inquiry into how our military support for the Indonesian security forces is being used by the Indonesian military.

New video footage appears to show the Indonesian security forces torturing Papuans in West Papua’s Puncak Jaya region.

The horrific footage shows two Papuan men subjected to very serious acts of torture while being interrogated by a number of men who appear to be members of the Indonesian security forces. The incident, recorded on a mobile phone by an unidentified individual, was circulated widely on You-Tube before being removed 'because of its shocking and disgusting content'. This incident is clearly a grave violation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment – ratified by Indonesia in 1985.

In September the Indonesian counter terrorism unit Detachment 88 was accused of the torture of activists in Maluku.

MAPW understands that there is a human rights component to our military aid and training for the Indonesian military, and a belief that the professionalism of the Australian military will influence the Indonesian military. However, these incidents seem to indicate that this policy is a failure. MAPW is also concerned about the psychological cost for our own troops of knowing that they are assisting in training Indonesian military who may commit such abuses.

In light of these reports MAPW urges the Government to raise these incidents of human rights abuses with the Indonesian Government and request them to conduct an immediate investigation.

We also urge the Government to cease any contact between the Australian Military and any units of the Indonesian military who are found to have been involved in human rights abuses.

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For comment and further information contact:
Dr Anne Noonan, coordinator of the NSW Branch of MAPW,
through Nancy Atkin, Executive Officer
03 9023 1958 or 0431 475 465
mapw@mapw.org.au