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Amnesty Tells SBY Action, Not Talk, Needed on Papua Abuses

Sumber: THEJAKARTAGLOBE.COM | Tgl terbit: Minggu, 19 Februari 2012

After President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono acknowledged that security forces have committed human rights violations in Papua, Amnesty International on Friday called on him to go further â?? not merely discussing the abuses, but taking action to end them.

Rights groups, including Amnesty, have long condemned the use of violence by Indonesian security forces in Papua, including a crackdown in October on unarmed participants at the Third Papuan Peopleâ??s Congress in Abepura that killed at least three people and injured 90.

Eight police officers were let off with written warnings for disciplinary infractions, though rights groups, including the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas Ham), accused the police and military of using excessive force.

â??In turning his words into action, the President should ensure that all investigations into human rights violations by security forces are conducted in a thorough, independent and impartial manner,â? Amnesty said in a statement.

â??This should include the investigation and prosecution of past human rights violations,â? the rights group added. â??Suspects should be prosecuted in proceedings which meet international standards of fairness and victims should be granted reparations.â?

In a meeting on Wednesday with diplomats at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Yudhoyono acknowledged that both police and military personnel have committed rights violations, saying the cases would be legally processed and the perpetrators punished.

He said soldiers suspected of rights violations would be tried in military courts. However, activists say these courts are rarely impartial and have called for civilian court trials instead.

In January last year, a military court in Papua sentenced three soldiers to between eight and 10 months in prison after they tortured two civilians. The torture was documented in a video that circulated on the video-sharing Web site YouTube, sparking massive international outcry.

â??Amnesty International believes that the lack of independent and impartial monitoring of the human rights situation in Papua contributes to the climate of impunity there,â? the group said in the statement on Friday. â??The Indonesian authorities should allow international observers, nongovernmental organizations and journalists unrestricted and ongoing access to the provinces of Papua and West Papua.â?

Indonesia imposes strict visa regulations on foreign visitors to Papua and tight restrictions on foreign journalists looking to report from the region.

A Jakarta-based rights group, the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), on Friday also called on the president to act on the 2009 recommendation of the House of Representatives to form an ad hoc human rights tribunal and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

â??So far, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has seemed to lack confidence in pursuing these recommendations and taking political steps to resolve cases that have not been prosecuted by the Attorney Generalâ??s Office,â? Kontras said in a statement on Friday.

Kontras said the Presidential Advisory Council (Wantimpres) should ensure the government kept its promise to resolve cases of rights violations. It added that Yudhoyono, with support from the majority of factions in the House, should not worry about the political consequences of doing so.

â??Wantimpres can absorb the hopes and aspiration of the public by expediting the resolution of these cases,â? Kontras said

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