20 Apr 2010

US shouldn't re-engage with Kopassus, says Papua analyst

10:43 am on 20 April 2010

A Papua analyst says the US should not re-engage with Kopassus, the Indonesian Army's special forces unit, while it remains unaccountable for past and present abuses in Papua and other regions of Indonesia.

Kopassus was sanctioned under a 1997 US law prohibiting foreign military units from receiving military assistance or training if unit members have not been held accountable for human rights abuses they have committed.

But in recent weeks, Kopassus has emerged as an issue in negotiation of the US-Indonesia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership ahead of the visit to Indonesia by US President Barak Obama.

Jim Elmslie from Sydney University says Mr Obama's visit could be pivotal in preventing further abuses in Papua region.

"To re-engage... the US to re-engage with Kopassus without those military officers who have been accused of serious human rights abuses, without them being brought to account, in effect it waters down the US commitment on human rights."

Jim Elmslie.