Saturday, February 14, 2015

Human Rights Watchdog Deploys to Interview Paniai Massacre Survivors

Human Rights Watchdog Deploys to Interview Paniai Massacre Survivors

By Kennial Caroline Laia on 09:49 pm Feb 13, 2015
Students and people of Papua rally in front of Monument liberation in West Irian, Makassar, South Sulawesi, on Feb. 4, 2015. (Antara Photo/Dewi Fajrian)

Jakarta. The National Commission on Human Rights, or Komnas HAM, is intensifying its investigation of alleged human rights violations in security forces’ deadly shooting of unarmed residents, including women and children, in Paniai, Papua.
“We are going to interview locals, victims, Papuan public figures and security officers from February 18 to 20,” Maneger Nasution, who is leading the human rights watchdog’s investigative team for the Paniai incident, said on Friday.
“Our focus is on the witnesses and victims. In addition, there will be also be an event re-enactment to clarify the information we gathered earlier regarding the shooting,” Maneger said.

Commissioner Natalius Pigai said the team would also attempt to collect additional evidence of alleged human rights violations in Papua. The team will leave for Papua on Monday.
“For now, we have indications of four human rights being violated in Paniai: the right to life, children’s rights, women’s rights and the right not to be tortured,” he said. “But we’re not going to stop there. We’re also going to collect evidence of whether there were more severe human rights violations. Should there be any indications of such, the possibility of forming an ad hoc team is there.”

The team plans to probe for evidence that the shooting was premeditated.
On Dec. 8, security forces opened fire on 800 reportedly non-violent protestors demonstrating against alleged abuse by authorities in an altercation between police officers and local teenagers the previous day.
Five protesters were killed and at least 17, including elementary school students, were injured, according to a report by Human Rights Watch.
“The Papua inquiry has been stymied because civilian investigators can’t interview the soldiers who were at the scene,” Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at the organization, said last December.
“A joint probe with police, military, and human rights investigators is crucial to ensure that all information is collected and that the findings will be taken seriously.”

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