Torture of West Papuan by TNI troops condemned

March 25, 2024
Graphic: Asia Pacific Report

The Australia West Papua Association has condemned the brutal torture of a West Papuan man by Indonesian troops in Yahukimo, in Papua’s highlands.

A video of the man’s torture was circulated on social media, showing soldiers in Indonesian national military (TNI) uniforms beating him and slashing him with a bayonet, as he stands in a barrel of water.

AWPA spokesperson Joe Collins said on March 22: "One can only imagine the fear and terror the Papuan man must feel at this brutal torture being inflicted on him."

Gustaf R Kawer, chair of the Human Rights Lawyers Association PAHAM Papua, said the organisation suspects that so-called “Non-Organic Troops” from Kodam III/Siliwangi, Yonif Raider Unit 300/Brajawijaya were responsible.

PAHAM Papua called on Indonesia's National Human Rights Commission (and the TNI Commander) to immediately carry out a thorough investigation and take the perpetrators to court.

Benny Wenda, Chair of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), also condemned the torture, saying he was “horrified” by the video. “More than anything, the sadistic brutality on display shows how urgently West Papua needs a UN Human Rights [Commission] visit."

The video, which contains graphic content, is on the ULMWP’s website.

In an article published by Asia-Pacific Report, Australian-based West Papuan activist Ronny Kareni wrote: “We must confront this grim truth — what we witness is not an isolated incident but a glaring demonstation of the deep-seated racism and systematic persecution ravaging West Papuans every single day.

“These videos are just the latest chapter in a long history of atrocities inflicted upon Papuans in the name of suppressing their cries for freedom.

“Regencies like Nduga, Pegunungan Bintang, Intan Jaya, the Maybrat and Yahukimo have become notorious hotspots for state-sanctioned operations, where Indonesian security forces operate with impunity, crushing any form of dissent through arbitrary arrests.

“They often target peaceful demonstrators and activists advocating for Papuan rights in major towns along the coast.

“These arrests are often accompanied by extrajudicial killings, further instilling intimidation and silence among indigenous Papuans.

In light of the ongoing failure of Indonesian authorities to address the racism and structural discrimination in West Papua, the prospect of Prabowo’s presidential leadership casts a shadow of uncertainty over the future of human rights and justice in the region.

“Given his controversial track record, there is legitimate concern that his leadership may further entrench the culture of impunity. We must closely monitor his administration’s response to the cries for justice from West Papua.”

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.