Catholic activists accuse Indonesia of killings

Catholic activists have accused Indonesia of unlawfully killing 95 people in Papua since 2010.

A separatist conflict has simmered in Papua since it became part of Indonesia after a disputed UN referendum in 1969.

An Amnesty International report found at least 95 deaths in 69 incidents. It says these happened between January 2010 and February 2018.

Of those, 39 happened during peaceful political activities like demonstrations, Amnesty says.

In one case, it says police killed a mentally disabled man after he hit a police officer with a piece of sugar cane.

Amnesty says there have been no independent criminal investigations into any of the killings.

Indonesia president breaks promise

The report criticises Indonesian President Joko Widodo. It says he failed to fulfil his promise to improve human rights in Papua when he took office in 2014.

Local activists say the killings continue despite Widodo’s promises to end them.

Father John Djonga is a prominent rights activist in Papua. He says the report contradicts government denials.

“The report is the most concrete evidence confirming lack of progress in human rights enforcement in Papua,” Djonga says.

Another Catholic activist is Yuliana Langowuyo. He is deputy director of the Franciscan commission for justice, peace, and integrity of creation. Langowuyo says the government has to look at these cases and be transparent.

Finally the government says it will investigate the killings. It says it wants to find out who, how and whether people were killed.

Amnesty says it visited towns across Papua in its two-year investigation. It says it talked to authorities, victims’ families, activists and church-based groups among others.


Image credit: UCA News

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News category: Asia Pacific.

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