Human Rights Group Condemns Military Role In West Papua Violence

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Police risk losing public confidence if investigations fail: Kontras

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Pacific Scoop, June 11, 2012) – In the wake of many shootings that have occurred this month in the West Papuan region capital of Jayapura and its environs, the human rights group Kontras has challenged the role of the Indonesian military and police and questioned the work of the state intelligence agency.

The coordinator of Kontras (Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence), Olga Helena Hamadi, said the police should investigate all the shooting incidents and reveal who was who behind them.

She said the TNI (Indonesian military), police and intelligence should work harder on this issue.

"It is strange that all these shootings are occurring in the heart of the city, yet not one of the perpetrators has yet been arrested," she said.

"The police should investigate these incidents. It is the duty of the police to safeguard the security of our citizens. It is not enough for the police to issue statements saying that these incidents are the work of OTK – Orang Tak Kenal or Unidentified People."

If the army and the police were finding it difficult to discover who was who are behind these shootings, civil society groups should work in collaboration with each other to work out a solution, she said.

[PIR editor’s note: Meanwhile in New Zealand, Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty has called attention to reviewing military training agreements with countries like Indonesia: "When we have deaths where no one is held accountable, which are highly likely to have involved the military... the ambiguous role of the military in West Papua is something New Zealand should be challenging."]

The chairman of BUK (United for Justice), Peneas Lokbere, said the police must have the confidence of the community.

"If they fail to reveal any of the forces that are behind these incidents, they will lose the confidence of the community," he said.

Albertus, a representative of the Franciscans Secretariat in Jayapura, also said the police must reveal the people who were behind these activities.

"The police are entrusted with the task of providing security and tranquility for the community," he said.

Albertus added that the shootings had created fear and anxiety among the people in general which makes it difficult for the community to feel sure about their safety.

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