Van Bommel: West Papua violence ‘extremely worrying’

8 June 2012

Van Bommel: West Papua violence ‘extremely worrying’

SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel is alarmed over recent reports of widespread violence in the Indonesian province of West Papua. ‘I would like the minister to tell us clearly what he knows about the circumstances surrounding the recent violence and the role of the Indonesian army in relation to it. It would be totally immoral were the minister to go ahead with the intended sale of Dutch tanks to Indonesia in the midst of this violence.’

Harry van Bommel Recent reports point to extensive acts of violence, with local sources mentioning thirteen dead, hundreds of Papuans arrested, and hundreds of houses set alight. More than 1,500 Indonesian soldiers, an entire battalion, were allegedly involved in the operation, while the notorious anti-terror unit Densus 88 is said to have been responsible for the burnings. The violence appears to have been provoked by the killing by Indonesian soldiers of a young boy.

In January, Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal called the violence in West Papua ‘occasional’ in character. ‘I want the minister to say whether he still holds this opinion, which I can’t believe is the case,’ says Van Bommel. ‘I also want the Indonesian authorities to let us know the fate of those arrested and to demand that they are treated in accordance with the law. There must also be an independent enquiry into these events.’

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