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Human Rights Watch calls for end to police, military impunity

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 23, 2012) – Abuses by military forces in Papua region again feature frequently in the Indonesia section of Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) annual world report.

Despite few foreign journalists and researchers allowed access to Papua, online social networks created increased international focus on Papua during a busy year of abuses by Indonesian security forces in the region.

However the NGO says Indonesian officials seem unwilling to take the steps necessary to ensure compliance by the forces with international human rights.

HRW’s Phil Robertson says those responsible for abuses in Papua continue to enjoy impunity.

"The government has said that it will ensure that the Indonesian army is not a rights abusing army. But it has done very very little to back up that pledge with concrete action. There’s a culture of impunity that really needs to be tackled. The international community has to premise its engagement with the Indonesian military on expecting that there will be reforms and demanding that those reforms take place."

[PIR editor’s note: Human Rights Watch has also called attention to Indonesia's stance that its police and military personnel have been adequately respecting the rights of detainees and protestors without independent observation. Robertson says that "restrictions on international people, international observers and journalists going there allows the military to operate with impunity in Papua," the results of which have been featured prominently online in videos and pictures.]

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