15 Jun 2010

Papuans take to jungle as military continues highlands sweep operation

9:17 pm on 15 June 2010

Human Rights Watch Indonesia says a humanitarian crisis is worsening in Puncak Jaya in West Papua's Highlands amid escalation of military and police activity across the remote region.

The military, or TNI, has been conducting a so-called sweep operation around Puncak Jaya for at least two months.

TNI and police are enforcing a curfew and have imposed a deadline for the surrender of guns by Papuans by the end of June.

Andreas Harsono of Human Rights Watch says Papuans are fleeing to the jungle as the TNI terrorises village communities in their hunt for members of the OPM Free West Papua movement.

"They're basically going everywhere, detaining and questioning people who have no Indonesian ID card. You might be considered to be an OPM supporter. They want to find Golias Tabuni, the OPM military commander."

Andreas Harsono says the TNI have been torturing people, and destroying houses and critical infrastructure.