24 Jul 2009

Call for US to cut ties with Kopassus

11:39 am on 24 July 2009

Concerns over Indonesian military abuses in Papua are at the heart of a letter to the US President from more than 50 organisations urging Washington to cut ties with the Indonesian Special Forces, or Kopassus.

The letter, signed by human rights, religious, peace and other NGOs, calls on President Barack Obama to prohibit any cooperation with or assistance to Kopassus.

The Papua region is recognised as the last region in the country where Indonesia's military can still operate beyond civilian control.

One of the letter's signatories is the West Papua Advocacy Team whose Ed McWilliams says Kopassus factions are suspected of being involved in this month's wave of deadly attacks on Freeport mine employees in Timika.

"Some are loyal to their former commander Prabowo (General Prabowo Subianto) and some are not. So it's a very complex situation on the ground in the Timika/Tembagapura area and as a consequence we're hoping that we can get an investigation that will be transparent and something we can respect in terms of outcome."

Ed McWilliams