23 Jul 2010

American NGO concerned at closer links between US and Indonesian military

6:49 pm on 23 July 2010

A United States based NGO, the West Papua Advocacy Team, has raised concerns that a new partnership between the United States military and the Indonesian Special Forces, or Kopassus, will lead to more human rights abuses.

The Obama Administration has announced it will begin gradual and limited engagement with Kopassus.

But Ed McWilliams from the West Papua Advocacy team and a former employee at the US Embassy in Jakarta says he fears the level of this cooperation will expand quickly.

He says the NGO is worried Kopassus in Indonesia will increase pressure on human rights activists.

"I think the international pressure that had been on the Indonesian military to reform, is now much, much relieved. And as a consequence I think the concern is that the Indonesian military will probably resume much more, even more blatant abuse of human rights and criminal activity."

Ed McWilliams of the West Papua Advocacy Team.