Activists demand AFP stop training killers

May 11, 2021
Outside the AFP headquarters. Photo: Make West Papua Safe Again/Facebook

West Papuan refugees and solidarity activists took action on May 1 outside the Australian Federal Police (AFP) headquarters in Naarm (Melbourne) to demand they stop training killers.

Indonesia declared Papuan independence organisation, OPM, “terrorists” on April 29 and dispatched more special forces personnel units — Special Detachment 88 (D88) — to West Papua.

Bambang Soesatyo, speaker of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) in the Indonesian national parliament, urged the government to deploy forces at full strength. He was quoted saying: “Destroy them first. We will discuss human rights matters later”.

Jasmine Pilbrow, spokesperson for Make West Papua Safe, condemned Australia’s continued training of Indonesian special forces and police. “Instead of making West Papua safe and ensuring human rights standards are adhered to, the AFP’s police training program in Indonesia is creating more effective human rights abusers,” she said.

The AFP, with the assistance of the US government, helped to set up the Indonesian police counter-insurgency force, D88, in 2004.

Despite decades of reports detailing grave human rights violations committed by the Indonesian police and military, the AFP continues to train D88 and the Indonesian Police.

Indonesia’s designation of the OPM as a terrorist organisation comes as it expands its military operations to Nduga, Puncak and Intan Jaya in West Papua.

More than 20,000 Indonesian troops, backed up by D88, have been deployed.

Villages are emptying and TNI-POLRI (Indonesian police and military) have occupied churches and schools, forcing internally-displaced people to flee to neighbouring towns.

“The AFP is complicit in the murders of West Papuan farmers, students, and pastors. The AFP continues to turn a blind eye while West Papuans and solidarity activists call on the AFP to stop training killers,” Pilbrow said.

[See footage from the action here.]

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