Senin, 24 Oktober 2011

Jakarta Gives US Its Side of Story in Papua Deaths

Nusa Dua, Bali. Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro has explained away last week’s deadly crackdown on civilians in Papua as a separatist rebellion that had to be quashed, at a meeting with his US counterpart on Sunday.
He said that Indonesia felt obliged to talk about the incident with the US government to avoid any misunderstandings.
“We clearly explained that the [gathering] was a separatist movement,” Purnomo said on Sunday after bilateral talks with US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

“Everywhere it’s the same — separatism has to be put down. The Indonesian government will not tolerate separatists.”

He added that although Panetta had “completely agreed” with him on the issue of separatism, it was still necessary to set the record straight because of “growing concerns over human rights violations related to what happened in Papua.”
In the incident last Wednesday, security forces in Papua’s Abepura district fired shots to break up the Third Papuan People’s Congress and arrested hundreds of participants.

Though the police and military denied firing into the crowd, six bodies were found the next day outside a military facility near the site of the crackdown.

A photograph of a body purported to be that of Daniel Kadepa, a 25-year-old university student, was obtained by the Jakarta Globe. It showed the body of a man lying face down with a wound to the back of his head.

“I talked to the forensic doctor who checked the body and he told me that Daniel was killed by a gunshot to the head,” said Oktovianus Pogau, a member of the Papua Solidarity Society.

“A relative of his also told me that she saw with her own eyes a military officer shoot him.”

Other photos showed bodies purported to be those of Max Asayeuw, 31, and Yacob Samonsabra, 54. Both men were part of the Papuan Caretaker Movement (Petapa) and were guarding the congress. Yacob had a gunshot wound to the chest, while Max’s face was bruised and bloodied.

The crackdown prompted US Congressman Eni Faleomavaega, a Democrat from American Samoa, to ask Indonesia’s ambassador to the United States for guarantees of safety for those arrested last week.

“It has been reported that the Indonesian Armed Forces [TNI] fired shots during the meeting where a crowd of thousands of defenseless and unarmed civilians were engaged in peaceful political assembly,” he wrote.

Faleomavaega said the reports gave evidence of crimes against humanity, adding: “I have very serious concerns in the matter and I do not condone the serious acts of violence by the TNI and police on the peaceful demonstration by unarmed civilians who were simply voicing their opinions about the failure of the government of Indonesia to seriously implement the Special Autonomy Law for West Papua.”

Local human rights watchdog Imparsial has urged President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to make good on his promise to end the long-running conflict in Papua. “This is the right moment for the president to use his heart and constructive communication to end the problems in Papua,” said Poengki Indarti, the group’s executive director.

Continued violence will not only further erode the trust of the Papuan people in the government in Jakarta, she warned, but also tarnish the president’s image as a democratic figure with respect for human rights in the eyes of the Indonesian people and the international community.

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