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Home » , , , » Military omnipresence brings gloom to Papua

Military omnipresence brings gloom to Papua

Written By Voice Of Baptist Papua on June 13, 2011 | 4:49 PM

The dominant security and military approaches to addressing problems in Papua have slowed development and have given way to human rights violations, a study reports.
A comprehensive study released last week by human rights group Imparsial concluded that the provinces of Papua and West Papua had seen very little improvement in terms of security after the region became integrated as a part of Indonesia under the Act of Free Choice (Pepera) in 1969.

“One important question remains over why the country’s political move toward a more democratic system has not correlated with security conditions in Papua,” Imparsial executive director Poengky Indarti said.
Special autonomy status was granted to the region in 2001, but has reportedly failed to change the overall militaristic approach in Papua, she said.

Imparsial program director Al-Araf cited many human rights violations allegedly committed by military personnel in Papua. “Most cases remain unresolved, while those brought to court only face lenient punishment, which is unfair,” he said.

Several videos circulating on the Internet show torture committed by soldiers against Papuans accused of being members of the secessionist Free Papua Movement (OPM).

One video shows soldiers poking victims’ genitals with a smoldering wooden pole.

Poengky said the method used by the Indonesian Military (TNI) to address separatism in Papua had instead brought a “non-conducive situation where local people and the military have become mutually suspicious.”

Poengky added that military personnel had targeted “not only armed separatists, but also innocent civilians without weapons.”

“The absence of justice has caused apathy among Papuans,” Al Araf added.

A 2010 National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM) report showed a 70 percent increase in the number of cases of violence in Papua, most of which were allegedly committed by security officers.

The commission has asked the TNI to cease military operations and attempts to add to the number of troops that could worsen the civilian trauma and exert further trauma.

Jakarta-based Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence head Haris Azhar suggested that the TNI shift their focus to guarding the border with Papua New Guinea.

“Separatism exists in Papua. I won’t object to any militaristic measures against that. However, our observations have shown that separatism in Papua has somehow been ‘abused’ for the sake of ‘financial reasons’. Military personnel have been ‘hired’ by certain mining and logging firms for their security services,” Haris told The Jakarta Post.

He said the government should have dealt with Papuan separatists in a manner similar to how it did with the Free Aceh Movement (GAM). A peace treaty between the government and GAM was signed in 2006 and the province has since become a peaceful region.

Indonesian Military spokesman Rear Adm. Iskandar Sitompul said the TNI no longer implemented “old paradigms” in Papua and West Papua. “NGOs can criticize, but please, use the latest data,” he told the Post.

Iskandar said all soldiers had been tried fairly in court. “We cannot intervene in military courts, as they are directly under Supreme Court supervision. If the courts are no longer trusted, what can I say?” he said.
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