Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
Media release 6 September 2012
Crackdown in West Papua?
Former head of Detachment 88 set to become the new Papua Police chief.
Brig. Gen. Tito Karnavian, of Densus 88 is to become the head of police in West Papua. Joe Collins of AWPA said "this is of great concern particularly in light of the 7.30 program on the ABC which showed West Papuans testifying that Densus 88 was involved in the June killing of Mako Tabuni of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB).
Because of the large number of shooting incidents in the past months, bringing international attention to the territory, it is believed that he is being appointed to try and solve the troubles in the region. However, it is hard to imagine that a former head of an elite unit will not use such a unit to crackdown on so called separatists.
Joe Collins said "in fact it appears a crackdown has already started with the arrest of members of the OPM and civilians in a series of raids on the weekend. There is always concern for anybody arrested in West Papua as the Indonesian security forces routinely use torture to get confessions.
AWPA is also concerned with the recent news that Australia will sell military equipment to Indonesia particularly in light of the ongoing human rights abuses being committed by the security forces.
At the moment the West Papuan people are now calling for peaceful dialogue with Jakarta, and although not unanimous, the will is there.
Dr Albert Hasibuan, a member of the law and human rights section of the President's Consultative Commission, has expressed the hope that a dialogue will be held between the central government and Papua before the end of current presidential term of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Hillary Clinton also suggested that dialogue between Papuan representatives and the Indonesian Government would help address concerns of the West Papuan people
The international community should place pressure on Jakarta to resolve West Papuans’ issues of concern. If we don’t, we will see increasing conflict in West Papua which in turn could affect the region. The problems in West Papua won't be solved by cracking down on the population but by dialog with representatives of the West Papuan people.