West Papua: Indonesian troops arrested for killings

August 30, 2022
Activists want the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to be allowed into West Papua to conduct an urgent independent investigation into the human rights situation. Photo: Free West Papua Campaign/Facebook

Four West Papuan civilians were brutally murdered and their bodies dumped in a river in the Pigapu-Logopon Village in the Mimika Regency on August 22.

According to the Australia West Papua Association (AWPA), the victims were residents of neighbouring Nduga district where there are regular clashes between the Indonesian security forces and the Free Papua movement.

Residents from the local village found four mutilated bodies in sacks in a nearby river, according to media reports.

Three civilians and six Indonesian soldiers accused of involvement in the killings have been arrested, according to one media report.

AWPA condemned the killings. AWPA spokeperson Joe Collins told Green Left: “Although six elite troops who are accused of involvement in the killing were arrested, it should be remembered that it’s rare for Indonesian security forces to be put on trial for human rights abuses in West Papua. Those that are usually receive very light sentences.”

When four Kopassus troops were convicted in 2001 for killing West Papuan resistance figure Chief Theys Eluay, they only received a two-year sentence. The Commander in Chief of the Indonesian army at the time said the soldiers should be considered “heroes”, said AWPA.

Collins said: "Australia is involved in training and aiding the Indonesian security forces. If the idea is to make the Indonesian military more professional, the behaviour of the Indonesian troops in West Papua shows it is a total failure.”

August 30 marked the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances. United Nations human rights experts expressed serious concerns in March this year 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.

Collins said: "According to Canberra we have a special relationship with Indonesia. It's time for Canberra to use its good will with Indonesia to call on Jakarta to allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to be allowed into West Papua to conduct an urgent independent investigation into the human rights situation, as other Pacific leaders have done."

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.