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Australian group warns of new 'arrests, torture' in Papuan crackdown

Asia Pacific Report - March 25, 2024

An Australian solidarity group for West Papua today warned of a fresh "heavy handed" Indonesia crackdown on Papuan villagers with more "arrests and torture".

Joe Collins of the Australia West Papua Association (AWPA) gave the warning in the wake of the deployment of 30 elite rangers last week at the Ndeotadi 99 police post in Paniai district, Central Papua, following a deadly assault there by Papuan pro-independence resistance fighters.

Two Indonesian police officers were killed in the attack.

The AWPA warning also follows mounting outrage over a brutal video of an Indonesian Papuan man being tortured in a fuel drum that has gone viral.

Collins called on the federal government to "immediately condemn" the torture of West Papuans by the Australian-trained Indonesian security forces.

"If a security force sweep occurs in the region, we can expect the usual heavy-handed approach by the security forces," Collins said in a statement.

"It's not unusual for houses and food gardens to be destroyed during these operations, including the arrest and torture of Papuans.

"Local people usually flee their villages creating more IDP [internally displaced people]".

60,000 plus IDPs

Human rights reports indicate there are more than 60,000 IDP in West Papua.

"The recent brutal torture of an indigenous Papuan man shows what can happen to West Papuans who fall foul of the Indonesian security forces," Collins said.

"Anyone seeing this video which has gone viral must be shocked by the brutality of the military personal involved."

The video clip was shot on 3 February 2024 during a security force raid in Puncak regency.

"The Australian government should immediately condemn the torture of West Papuans by the Indonesian security forces [which] Australia trains and holds exercises with.

"Do we have to remind the government of Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights? It states:

"No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In particular, no one shall be subjected without his free consent to medical or scientific experimentation."

"As more Papuans become aware of the horrific video, they may respond by holding rallies and protests leading to more crackdowns on peaceful demonstrators," Collins said.

"Hopefully Jakarta will realise the video is being watched by civil society, the media and government officials around the world and will control its military in the territory."

Source: https://asiapacificreport.nz/2024/03/25/australian-group-warns-of-new-arrests-torture-in-papua-crackdown