World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Naming of Kopassus Officer as Military Commander

WPAT and ETAN on Naming of Senior Kopassus Officer as Indonesia Military Commander in West Papua

The West Papua Advocacy Team and East Timor and Indonesia Action Network are extremely troubled by the naming of a senior Special Forces (Kopassus) officer as regional commander in West Papua. Kopassus forces have a long and dark history in the region.

The appointment of Major General Hotma Marbun to the Military Command for the Kodam-XVII Cenderawasih region comes as Papuans continue to seek a dialogue with the Jakarta Government and the demilitarization of their homeland. Their appeals have been resisted by a military that persists in describing Papuans seeking their rights as "separatists" and justifies attacks on peaceful demonstrators as necessary to defending Indonesia's territorial integrity.

The naming of any Kopassus officer in command of the region raises obvious human rights concerns. In addition, Major General Marbun has a personal record that underscores these concerns. As pointed out by the respected UK human rights organization Tapol, Marbun was involved in operations in Indonesia-occupied East Timor in 1983 and 1986, a particularly bloody period during the occupation. He also participated in military operations in West Papua in 1982 and 1994.

General Marbun takes command at a time of growing security force abuse in the region, as recently documented by Human Rights Watch. Indonesian human rights organizations including the Papuan branch of the Indonesian government's official Human Rights Commission (Komnas Ham) recently voiced public support for the withdrawal of military forces from West Papua to improve prospects for dialogue.

Kopassus actions in West Papua include "sweeping operations" purportedly in pursuit of "separatists" that in fact targeted highland Papuan villagers and the torture/murder of the leading Papuan political figure Theys Eluay. The deeply flawed Indonesian justice system notoriously has chronically failed to hold accountable Kopassus and other Indonesian security forces responsible for criminality and human rights violations.

For decades, the U.S. military provided training and other assistance to Kopassus notwithstanding its widely acknowledged abuses and criminal activity. Despite the demonstrated failure of international assistance to improve its behavior, the Obama administration is reportedly considering resuming such assistance, terminated under Congressional pressure more than a decade ago.

Papuans are increasingly marginalized in their homeland, as tensions grow between Papuans and migrants, and Papuan demands for an internationally mediated dialogue with Jakarta and for the demilitarization of West Papua go unanswered In this context, the appointment of a commander from the Indonesian military's hard line Kopassus is profoundly disturbing.

ETAN was formed in 1991 to advocate for self-determination for occupied East Timor. The U.S.-based organization continues to advocate for democracy, justice and human rights for Timor-Leste and Indonesia. For more information, see ETAN's web site: http://www.etan.org. The West Papua Advocacy Team produces the monthly West Papua Report.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

APEC: COVID-19 Crisis Deepens Contraction In The APEC Region: Report

A new updated report from the APEC Policy Support Unit finds that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing a deeper contraction to the region’s economy. The APEC region’s economic growth is now expected to decline by 3.7 percent in 2020, down from its initial forecast ... More>>

Climate: Report Finds Economic Benefits Of Protecting 30% Of Planet's Land & Ocean Outweigh The Costs 5-To-1

'Protecting nature halts biodiversity loss, helps fight climate change, and lessens the chance of future pandemics. This is sound public policy, economically, ecologically, and morally.' by Jessica Corbett, staff writer Second growth redwood ... More>>

Asia: UN Rights Office Expresses Alarm At Hong Kong Arrests Under New Security Law

Unsplash/Man Chung | The skyline of Hong Kong harbour The UN human rights office, OHCHR , has expressed alarm at the arrest of demonstrators in Hong Kong, following China’s adoption of a national security law for the Special Administrative Region ... More>>

Israel/OPT: Annexation Plan Promotes ‘Law Of The Jungle’ And Must Be Stopped

The Israeli authorities must immediately abandon plans to further 'annex' territory in the occupied West Bank which breach international laws and exacerbate decades of systematic human rights violations against Palestinians there, Amnesty ... More>>