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Rights group: 'video shows Indonesian military torturing Papuans' JAKARTA - Recent video footage from Indonesia's West Papua allegedly show the torture of indigenous Papuans by the Indonesian military, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) said on Monday.



According to the AHRC, the videos were recorded in the Tingginambut area of West Papua earlier this month, although the current whereabouts of the victims are unknown. The commission chose to remove some of the scenes that show the burning of one of the victims' genitals.

The AHRC said that both incidents in the videos involved members of the Indonesian military. In the first incident, uniformed members of the Indonesian army are seen ill-treating indigenous Papuans, and in the second, alleged members of the army can be seen interrogating a man as they put a foot on his neck, burn his genitals, and put a bag over his head.

"This is only one of numerous cases of torture by the military in Papua that has been reported to us," said Wong Kai Shing, Executive Director of the AHRC. "The Indonesian government must adopt a zero-tolerance policy concerning torture, as recommended by the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Dr. Manfred Nowak."

Despite ratifying the UN Convention Against Torture in 1998, the AHRC alleges that acts of torture continue to go unpunished in Indonesia. As a result, AHRC says torture is being encouraged as a mean of interrogation and intimidation by the police and the military.

The military enjoys special immunity, since its members cannot be held accountable in civilian courts. Military courts are known to give at best only lenient punishments for serious human rights violations and often do not punish those thought to be responsible.

The AHRC further alleges that the Indonesian military regularly runs so-called sweeping operations including the burning of village houses, killing of livestock, arrests and other forms of intimidation in areas where separatists are suspected of being located.

"The people who suffer most from anti-separatist sweeping operations by the military are innocent civilians," Wong Kai Shing said. "The Indonesian government has to ensure impartial investigations into the cruel acts of violence portrayed in this video. All perpetrators have to be brought to justice."



The government of Indonesia has deployed a significant military force in Papua, ostensibly to ensure security, but numerous serious human rights violations are being committed, according to AHRC.

 The repressive environment in West Papua makes human rights work very difficult for local activists. Foreign journalists and human rights organizations are not given visas to enter the region.

The recent killing of a journalist in Merauke, Papua and the indiscriminate shooting at a crowd by the police that resulted in several deaths in Wamena are examples of the serious violations taking place in Papua, AHRC said. Several activists remain imprisoned for having peacefully voiced their political views.

The AHRC insisted that it was imperative that the Indonesian government strongly condemn all acts of torture and ensure that those in the military that are responsible for the acts documented in the torture video are brought to justice for their crimes. Crimes by members of the military against civilians must be tried by civilian courts and the law must be reformed in order to ensure this, the commission stressed.


Related blog entries (category 'Human rights') Related blog entries (category 'Human rights'):
01 June 2010 · NGOs push for stronger child protection laws
24 April 2010 · HRW: 'Prosecute abusive soldiers in civilian courts'
16 January 2010 · Child labor in Cirebon tea processing plant
12 January 2010 · Nicolaas Jouwe: 'Papua is an integral part of Indonesia'
17 December 2009 · Papua separatist Kelly Kwalik killed by police
02 December 2009 · Over 400 illegal TKI sent home by Malaysia

Related blog entries (category 'Human rights') Tags: violence, torture, police, Papua


Posted in Human rights @ 20 October 2010 01:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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