Last year The New Zealand Defence Force hosted a Kopassus officer, Major Edwin Sumanta at its six month Staff and Command training course.
The Komando Pasukan Khusus (Kopassus) is Indonesia’s Special Forces Command. Formed in 1952 in the wake of Indonesian independence from the Dutch, Kopassus conducts special operations missions, including intelligence gathering, counter-terrorism, deep penetration and other specialized missions.
The Indonesia Human Rights Committee says was shocked that this has happened. “We have been a constant critic of military ties to Indonesia, since these links were restored in 2007, but the acceptance of a Kopassus officer onto an elite New Zealand training programme marks a new low,” it said.
Spokesperson for the committee, Marie Leadbetter, says the Kopassus Special Forces have a long and bloody record of involvement in human rights crimes and repressing legitimate dissent. She said Kopassus officers have never been held to account for their numerous documented crimes in Jakarta, East Timor and Aceh In West Papua.
Radio New Zealand International was told by a NZDF spokesperson that the involvement of Major Sumanta in the College’s course is too sensitive to comment on.
The Indonesia Human Rights Committee describes itself as a solidarity organisation which aims to build links between people of New Zealand and Indonesia by distributing information and by organising activities such as letter writing and petition campaigns, meetings, film showings and tours of visiting activists.
News category: Pacific.