Australian Minister’s Comments On Papua Violence Slammed

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Australian Minister’s Comments On Papua Violence Slammed Counter-terrorism unit allegedly involved in attacks on protestors

By Alex Perrottet

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Pacific Scoop, Aug. 30, 2012) – The leader of Indonesia’s parliamentary commission for security, Mahfudz Siddiq, has criticized Australia’s Foreign Minister Bob Carr for his comments about West Papua in an interview with The Age newspaper in Australia.

In an interview with ABC’s 7:30 Report, Senator Carr confirmed Australia had helped to set up and fund the controversial Detachment 88 troops, who were deployed in Indonesia to combat terrorism.

He defended Australia’s role, saying the assistance was provided in the wake of the 2002 Bali bombings and the troops had also received human rights training.

And he confirmed that he had raised his concern with the Indonesian foreign minister on a number of occasions about allegations that the anti-terrorist troops were involved in the killing of West Papuan activist Mako Tabuni.

‘Double standards’

But Mahfudz Siddiq reacted angrily to Senator Carr’s comments, saying he was showing "double standards" for not showing the same concern for those killed in terror raids by Detachment 88 in Indonesia.

Senator Carr told the 7:30 Report the training was strictly for anti-terrorism, not anti-insurgency.

However, several reports have now confirmed Detachment 88 are deployed in the provinces of Papua and West Papua and the comments of Siddiq have also confirmed that they are playing a role there.

The Australian Federal Police has told the 7:30 Report that Indonesia do not distinguish between counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency.

Siddiq said Mako Tabuni was "one of the actors behind a series of violent actions" in Papua, despite the reports to the contrary that said he was gunned down in cold blood by the Detachment 88 troops.

Presence confirmed

"That makes the presence of Detachment 88 and its involvement in some cases in West Papua as being very much about doing their job," said Siddiq.

Several human rights groups as well as political leaders in Australia have made repeated calls for the Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to speak about the issue of West Papua at the Pacific Islands Forum in Rarotonga.

Pacific Scoop All editorial and news content produced under the principles of Creative Commons. Permission to republish with attribution may be obtained from the Pacific Media Centre - pmc@aut.ac.nz

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