Australia, US implicated in Indonesian atrocities: report

It’s been alleged that Australian-supplied helicopters were used by Indonesia’s military to kill thousands of civilians in the central highlands of Papua in the 1970s.

The allegations are among a series of other rights abuses detailed in a new report by the Asian Human Rights Commission, a Hong Kong based non-government organisation.

Australian authorities say they are looking into the matter.

Presenter: Auskar Surbakti

Speaker: Basil Fernando, policy and programs director, Asian Human Rights Commission

FERNANDO: They did a lot of things which are very humiliating and rather gruesome to tell in detail. But in the report we have given quite a bit of detail of these things. What those gruesome details show is also there was a humiliating element. Humiliate people into submission. So that is the basis, is the killings and the other sufferings imposed on the people, and the fact of trying to bring them to submission that we have named as genocide.

SURBAKTI: These human rights abuses are alleged to have taken place under the rule of the now deceased former Indonesian president Suharto. Who do you think should answer to these allegations?

FERNANDO: Well the basic international law position is that it is the state and the commanders of the military. We have named the particular battalions which were used during this, and they can easily be named, the individuals involved can easily be named. We are talking about something of a living memory.

SURBAKTI: Are these alleged culprits that you’ve identified in positions of power in Indonesia right now?

FERNANDO: Some of them are still there but some are retired. So the retirement does  not extinguish their responsibilities. These people can be, if there is serious action, can be brought to justice.

SURBAKTI: And what’s your assessment of the current state of Indonesia’s Papua provinces?

FERNANDO: The military control of the area which is now prevailing and the cost of violence is the reality of Papuan people, which is very much documented almost by many human rights organisations on a constant basis.