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Let in UN human rights mission to West Papua - stop Indonesian impunity, says PANG

Asia Pacific Report - April 6, 2024

The Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG) has declared its solidarity with civil society groups and student protesters demonstrating against the torture of a Papuan man, Defianus Kogoya, by Indonesian troops in West Papua last February.

The torture was revealed in a video that went viral across the world last month.

PANG said in a statement that peaceful demonstrations came after the video was circulated showing Defianus Kogoya bound in a water-filled barrel, being beaten and cut with knives by Indonesian soldiers.

Indonesian authorities have since admitted and apologised for the torture, and announced the arrest of 13 soldiers.

In the same video incident, two other Papuan men, Warinus Murib and Alianus Murib, were also arrested and allegedly tortured. Warinus Murib died of his injuries.

Reports state that 62 protesting students have been arrested and interrogated before they were released, while two people were seriously injured by Indonesian security forces.

In an earlier protest, 15 people were arrested for giving out pamphlets. Protesters demand all military operations must cease in West Papua.

"We condemn the excessive military presence in West Papua and the associated human rights violation against Papuans," said the PANG statement.

"We also condemn the use of heavy-handed tactics by the Indonesian police to violently assault and detain students who should have the right and freedom to express their views.

"This demonstrates yet again the ongoing oppression by Indonesian authorities in West Papua despite decades of official denial and media censorship."

United Nations experts have expressed serious concerns about the deteriorating human rights situation in the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua, citing shocking abuses against indigenous Papuans, including child killings, disappearances, torture and mass displacement of people.

Media censorship

In its concluding observations of Indonesia's second periodic report under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted on 26 March 2024, the Human Rights Committee expressed deep concern over:

  • patterns of extrajudicial killings,
  • enforced disappearances, torture, and
  • other forms of cruel and degrading treatment, particularly of or against indigenous Papuans and the failure to hold perpetrators accountable for their actions.

The committee also highlighted continuing reports of media censorship and suppression of the freedom of expression.

"We call on the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) and the people and the governments of all Pacific Island countries to demand that Indonesia allow for the implementation of the decision of the PIF Leaders in August 2019 for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to conduct a mission to West Papua," the PANG statement said.

"We call on the special envoys of the PIF on West Papua to expedite their mandate to facilitate dialogue with Indonesia, and particularly to pave the way for an urgent UN visit.

"We echo the calls made from the 62 students that were arrested for the Indonesian government to cease all military operations in West Papua and allow the United Nations to do its job.

"Our Pacific governments should expect nothing less from Indonesia, particularly given its privileged position as an associate member of the MSG and as a PIF Dialogue Partner," PANG said.

[Republished from the PNG Post-Courier with permission.]

Source: https://asiapacificreport.nz/2024/04/06/let-in-un-human-rights-mission-to-west-papua-stop-indonesian-impunity-says-pang