Forced Relocations & Human Rights Violations – Business As Usual in West Papua

Forced Relocations & Human Rights Violations – Business As Usual in West Papua News, Pacific, Regions, West Papua
December 8, 2011

Source: West Papua Media AlertsEntire Paniai villages forcibly evacuated by Brimob Gegana
Photos by West Papua Media

Disturbing reports have been provided to West Papua Media overnight showing the latest human rights violations by Indonesian police against civilians in West Papua.

Human rights, church sources and local activists had independently claimed that 542 people have been forcibly evacuated by troops from the Special Gegana Brimob “Counter” terrorist police unit. The villages of Dagouto and Kopabatu and surrounding hamlets in the Dagoutu Paniai district were evicted after the Gegana unit decided it wanted to expand a new headquarters facility to deploy in the offensive against Jhon Yogi, the local leader of the armed guerilla unit of the National Liberation Army (TPN-OPM).

Two Brigades of BRIMOB based in Papua, and a Brigade from Kalimantan will be housed in the sprawling new complex squatting on the former villages.

This comes after the Gegana unit was involved in an armed attack on a peaceful raising of the banned Morning Star flag on December 1, the 50th anniversary of an event widely seen to be West Papua’s first day of independence.

Reports from the area have been sporadic and it is still unconfirmed if civilians were arrested, injured or killed in the flag seizure.

The Gegana unit, a specialised elite anti-terrorist unit of the Indonesian police has been deployed heavily across Papua to crackdown on pro-independece activists engaged in non-violent resistance, as well as to eliminate the armed stuggle groups. Gegana is one of several elite Indonesian police units that receives arms, funding, and training from the Australian Government, and was blamed on December 3 for burning down a church and school in Wandenggobak, in the highland regency of Puncak Jaya.

According to sources in Paniai, the local government (regency level) have guaranteed to shelter and feed the displaced evacuees, and the local government will have to support the relief operation alone. Reports indicate that the evacuees will be held in a secure camp in a local government owned Uwatawogi Community Hall in Enaratoli, Paniai. Indonesian police who caused the displacement has provided no information about supporting civilians they have displaced.


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