Indonesia promised action on Papua: PM

Indonesia promised action on Papua: PM

The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 December 2010
By: Paul Osborne

Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she's confident Indonesian authorities want to see justice done in the case of Indonesian troops allegedly torturing two Papuan men.

The Indonesian military has reportedly dismissed claims that five soldiers tortured two Papuan men in May, despite the online release of a video in which the genitals of one of the victims are burned with a fiery stick.

When she was in Jakarta last month, Ms Gillard received assurances from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono that an investigation was under way and the matter was well in hand.

Advertisement: Story continues below But a trial which started days after she left the country turned out to be about a different matter, and the Indonesian government was accused by human rights groups of deliberately misleading concerned nations such as Australia and the US.

Ms Gillard told reporters in Brisbane on Friday she took Mr Yudhoyono on his word that he "personally wants to see the appropriate action taken about this matter".

"He wants to see any wrong doers brought to justice and he's very focused on that," Ms Gillard said.

But she said it was a matter for the Indonesian government.

"We as a nation have human rights values and we raised those human rights values on the world stage - that's appropriate," she said.

"The president of Indonesia has made it absolutely clear he wants to see any wrong doers brought to justice on this matter."

Indonesian defence ministry spokesman, Brigadier General I Wayan Midio, told ABC radio on Friday the investigators had "done all they can".

Papua and the Malukus have separatist movements which Indonesia regards as threats to its territorial unity.

It is not uncommon for activists to be jailed for crimes such as possessing outlawed rebel flags.

But human rights groups are concerned authorities overlook abuses by Indonesian soldiers.