Komnas HAM vows to probe reports of violence

Komnas HAM vows to probe reports of violence
, 21 October 2010  


The National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) says it will launch an investigation into reports of rights violations committed by law enforcers against Papuans, an issue that was rekindled with the recent release of an alleged torture video.

The video, which appears to show several men in military fatigues torturing two Papuans, surfaced on YouTube this weekend before the website pulled it.

Yoseph Adi Prasetyo, a Komnas HAM commissioner, said he had received a report that the Papuans in the video were Rev. Kindeman Gire, from Tingginambut in the village of Gorage, and Pitinius Kogaya.

“From the information I have compiled, the video was made on April 12, 2010,” he said, adding that he had received information that Kindeman’s decapitated remains were found on April 20.

He said the scenes of torture depicted in the video were “typical methods used by interrogators to get an avowal about weapons caches”. He said the “video is authentic”.

The commission has formed a team, headed by one of its Jakarta-based commissioners, to investigate the location in the video, he added.

He said the team would have to make “special preparations” to be able to navigate the rough terrain in Puncak Jaya regency.

Almost 5,000 meters high, Puncak Jaya is Indonesia’s highest mountain. Any expedition to the peak must have government approval.

An earlier report by Komnas HAM’s Papua chapter revealed 29 cases of rights abuses occurred in Puncak Jaya regency from 2004-2010, including the torture and rape of villagers in March 2010 by law enforcers.

The reason for the recent upturn in abuse cases in the region is related to the return of alleged Free Papua Movement (OPM) member Goliath Tabuni to the area in 2004, Ifdhal said.

Goliath’s return became the pretext for the 2004 military operation launched in the regency to prevent insurgencies.

Yoseph said there were several signs of an ongoing military operation, including the rotation of 150 personnel from the Kelapa Dua Mobile Brigade 10 days ago and the establishment of a battalion headquarters in Nabire.

“The Nabire battalion is on the Nabire to Puncak Jaya road, and is also facilitated by a landing zone in Wamena. Thus, the battalion has access to Puncak Jaya from the west and the east,” he said.

He said the commission had received reports that the Puncak Jaya regent, Lukas Enembe, had ordered law enforcers to subdue protests by civilians who accused him of corruption.

“The regent branded those who protested his policies as [members of the] OPM,” he said.

Amnesty International urged the government to appoint Komnas HAM to lead the investigation into the cases of alleged violence.

Another video released recently showed Papuan political activist Yawan Wayeni laying on the ground with his bowels hanging out of his stomach while police officers look on without offering him aid.

“The video is the latest reminder that torture and other sick actions in Indonesia often go unchecked and unpunished,” said Donna Guest, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific deputy director.