October 2010

Torture captured on mobile phone video

Videos recorded on mobile phones in West Papua that graphically show incidents of torture have been published by media outlets around the world. The footage shows Papuan men tied and being beaten, threatened with knives, hooded in plastic bags and having their genitals burnt by what appear to be Indonesian security forces.

The videos have once again demonstrated the type of extreme human rights violations that continue to occur in the troubled province on Australia's doorstep and sparked renewed calls for the Australian Government to push for independent human rights monitoring and unrestricted media access.

The Indonesian Government has confirmed the videos are real and said the unprofessional conduct of the military personal involved would be investigated. However, with such crimes usually only resulting in minor repercussions for those involved - if any, Free West Papua activists in Australia are not hopeful the investigations will lead to any meaningful action.

Melbourne-based human rights campaigner, Tom Clarke, said injustice in West Papua appears to be part of daily life for the Papuan people.

"Papuans who simply raise their 'Morning Star' flag can face 15 years in jail. Yet Indonesia's military seemingly has a free pass to intimidate, brutalise and persecute any Papuan people who dare try to exercise their basic rights," Mr Clarke said.