14 Sep 2012

Concern that US military aid to Indonesia used against Papuan civilians

3:34 pm on 14 September 2012

The West Papua Advocacy Team's Edmund McWilliams has voiced concern that Apache helicopters sold by the US to Indonesia's military could be used for sweep operations in Papua region.

The United States recently agreed to supply more military hardware to Indonesia, including sophisticated weapon systems like Apaches.

Mr McWilliams says Indonesia's military, which remains unaccountable for years of human rights abuses in Papua, is currently conducting a sweep operation in Paniai regency.

He says with US support, innocent Papuans are being targetted by Indonesia's anti-terrorist units:

"These sweep operations in rural areas, nominally pursuing the Free Papua Movement, in fact are inflicting heavy casualties on civilian communities there, essentially forcing people into the jungles and so on where they don't have access to food or medical care. There have been literally hundreds of Papuans in recent years who have died as a consequence of these operations."

Edmund McWilliams