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Reassess military approach in Papua: NGOs

Sumber: THEJAKARTAPOST.COM | Tgl terbit: Jumat, 23 September 2011

Recent violence in Papua in July and August underscores the urgent need for the government to reassess its military approach and place respect for human rights at the heart of conflict resolution policies and practices, human rights activists say.

â??Freedom of expression and freedom to assemble have been repeatedly violated in Papua, which in turn has seriously fueled tensions. Besides, gross human rights abuses, such as acts of torture, remain unaccounted for,â? said Poengky Indarti, executive director of Imparsial, in a joint release sent to The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
The release was sent on behalf of Imparsial, the Commission for the Missing and Victims of Violence (Kontras), the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).

Kontras recorded at least 10 violent clashes between July 5 and August 3 involving members of security forces and local armed groups. Civilians were injured and killed in some of these clashes.

At least 13 Papuans were arrested by the police on August 31 at Kampung Nafri, Abepura, for allegedly inciting unrest during a religious ceremony. There were also allegations that the 13 were involved in a shooting on August 3, in which three civilians and a military officer were killed.

However, local rights groups pointed out that the police made arrests without properly investigating and substantiating their charges. Some of the arrested suspects have reportedly been tortured while in police custody.

â??The work to monitor human rights [abuses] has been deemed a threat to national security by the military, which endangers the safety of human rights defenders and other activists in Papua, as they could bear the brunt of harassment and physical intimidation by state security forces under the pretext of fighting separatism,â? said Yap Swee Seng, executive director of FORUM-ASIA.

The four organizations called on the government to instruct its military to immediately cease all unlawful surveillance activities in Papua and revise its current draft intelligence bill by incorporating recommendations by civil society organizations and bringing it in line with the Indonesian Constitution and Criminal Procedure Code as well as international human rights law.

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