22 Apr 2016

Indonesia's commitment to MSG principles questioned

8:05 pm on 22 April 2016

The opposition People First party in Solomon Islands is calling for a review of Indonesia's membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

Melanesian Spearhead Group flags flown in Noumea.

Melanesian Spearhead Group flags flown in Noumea. Photo: RNZI

The call follows an admission by the head of Indonesia's police that a terrorism suspect was kicked to death while in police custody.

Indonesia's police chief General Badrodin Haiti made the admission to a government committee investigating the death in custody of the suspect known as Siyono.

General Haiti confirmed that members of the elite Detachment-88 counter-terrorism unit kicked Siyono in the chest, breaking his ribs, and causing his heart to fail.

Amnesty International's Director of Campaigns for South-East Asia, Josef Benedict, said the admission was a major turnaround in Indonesia's persistent public denial that torture is rife in the country.

Derrick Manuari, a Solomon Islands opposition MP, said the admission gave credibility to reports of police brutality in West Papua, and for that, Indonesia should be removed from the sub-regional Melanesian Spearhead Group.

Indonesia was made an associate member of the regional body last year, making it the official representative of West Papua.

"It's just one of many examples or many cases that warrants a review of Indonesia's membership in MSG and it's time that Indonesia's membership be reviewed to see if it still upholds the principles of the group or not and if it is not they should remove them totally."

Derrick Manuari said the MSG should call on the United Nations to investigate police brutality in West Papua.