22 Oct 2010

Amid Papua abuse, NZ police role in Indonesia questioned

2:37 pm on 22 October 2010

The New Zealand-based Indonesia Human Rights Committee is again questioning New Zealand's training of Indonesian police in Papua following reports of a village burning earlier this month.

The reports allege Indonesia's mobile police brigade burnt at least 29 homes leaving about 150 Papuans homeless.

A spokesperson for New Zealand's foreign minister Murray McCully says the brigade is a separate entity from the Indonesian officers New Zealand police have been training in Papua.

The Indonesia Human Rights Committee spokesperson Maire Leadbeater says she accepts New Zealand is not training paramilitary officers, but she says the latest incident raises greater concern about its role in Papua

"Is this is a police force with structural problems where brutality and violence against indigenous people is endemic and is this really the right way our aid should be directed. Would we not be better spending our aid dollar on something clearly useful like offering scholarships for English language training to indigenous people."

Maire Leadbeater says very few of the police New Zealand is training are indigenous Papuans.