TAPOL calls for Papua torture enquiry

Open letter to the UK Foreign Secretary:

19 October 2010

The Right Hon. William Hague, MP
Foreign Secretary,
Foreign and Commonwealth Office,
King Charles Street,
London SW1A 1AA

Dear Mr. Hague,

We have just learnt of an incident involving two Papuan men who were
reportedly subjected to very serious acts of torture while being
interrogated in the region of Puncak Jaya in West Papua by two or
more men who appear to be members of the Indonesian security forces.

The incident, which appears to have occurred earlier this year, was
recorded on a mobile phone by an individual who was on the spot and
circulated widely on YouTube four days ago.  The video has since been
removed by YouTube, according to yesterday's issue of The Jakarta
Post, 'because of its shocking and disgusting content'.

Monday's edition of The Sydney Morning Herald, which reported the
incident at length after having obtained a copy, describes one of the
men under interrogation as having been stripped naked and bound, with
one of the interrogators placing his foot on the man's chest, while a
colleague administers the torture with a stick that has been
burnt  and is smoldering, causing the man to scream in agony.

This incident is clearly a grave violation of  the Convention against
Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
which Indonesia signed in 1985 and subsequently ratified in 1988.

In view of the extreme seriousness of this incident and the light it
sheds on alleged actions by members of the Indonesian security
forces, TAPOL urges the British Government to make immediate
representations to the Indonesian Government for an investigation to
be conducted by independent experts in order to verify the accuracy
of this report.

We in TAPOL are well aware that the British embassy in Jakarta
regularly follows the situation in West Papua which means that our
Government is well placed to seek the cooperation of the Indonesian
authorities in matters of this nature.

We believe that action by our Government is bound to be taken
seriously by the Indonesian Government and will impress upon them the
need to conduct an immediate investigation. If the incident is
confirmed, the men responsible for these acts of torture should be
called to account and should be severely punished.

Finally we urge the UK Government to suspend all forms of military
cooperation with the Indonesian security forces until there is full
accountability for this incident.  We would be grateful if you could
let us know the current extent of such cooperation and the action you
propose to take.

Yours sincerely

Carmel Budiardjo