/ News & Events / Report claims Australian-supplied helicopters used by Indonesia in West Papua ‘genocide’ By Cathy Harper

Report claims Australian-supplied helicopters used by Indonesia in West Papua ‘genocide’ By Cathy Harper

Sonja Sedmak on December 16, 2021 - 9:02 pm in News & Events


Report claims Australian-supplied helicopters used by Indonesia in West Papua ‘genocide’

By Cathy Harper
Posted , updated 

A new report claims Australian-supplied helicopters were used by Indonesia’s military to kill civilians in West Papua in the 1970s.

The allegations are among other abuses detailed in the report, by the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission (AHCR), which contains graphic detail of the alleged murder, rape and torture of more than 4,000 Papuans by Indonesian military in the late 1970s.

It names numerous Indonesian military commanders, including the late Indonesian President, General Suharto, as those responsible for ordering or failing to stop the violence, and says they should be tried by a human rights court.

The report “The Neglected Genocide – Human Rights abuses against Papuans in the Central Highlands, 1977 – 1978” attempts to document violence that occurred when Indonesia launched several military operations around Wamena, in response to independence uprisings after general elections in 1977.

The AHRC conducted field visits, interviewed witnesses and examined historical records.

It has collected the names of 4,146 people it believes were killed by the Indonesian military and claims the total number of victims who died from torture, disease and hunger as a result of the violence could be well over 10,000.

Indiscriminate shooting

Papuans of the mountain areas in the 1960s.(Asian Human Rights Commission)

The report says Papuans in the Central Highlands were victims of napalm bombing and indiscriminate shooting from the air, sometimes from aircraft supplied to the Indonesian military by Australia and the US.

It says two Australian-supplied Iroquois helicopters, along with US-supplied Bell UH-1H Huey helicopters, were among aircraft used by local command in the attacks

In one reported incident, villagers in the Bolakme area were told they would be receiving aerial aid from Australia, only to be bombed by American-supplied planes.

The ABC has contacted Australia’s defence and foreign affairs departments, and the office of the foreign minister, and has been told they’re looking in to the matter.

The report also contains details of independence supporters being burned alive, boiled alive, and being forced to perform sexual acts in public.

In other incidents, the report claims women and children were targetted: children’s heads were cut off, women were raped and had their breasts cut off and internal organs pulled out.

AHCR’s Policy and Programs director, Basil Fernando, has told Australia Network the acts amount to genocide.

“What those gruesome details show is that there was a humiliating element, to humiliate the people into submission,” he said.

“So that is the basis – the killings and the other sufferings imposed on the people – and trying to bring them to submission – the we have named [this] as genocide.”

The report names 10 Indonesian commanders and senior military leaders it says were responsible for either ordering or failing to prevent the violence perpetrated by various battalions.

Among those responsible, according to the report, is the former President Suharto, as Supreme Commander of the Indonesian military.

Mr Fernando says some of those named in the report are still in positions of power within the Indonesian military.

The report calls for an ad hoc human rights court to be set up to hear the allegations and try those responsible, as well as the establishment of a truth commission.

The AHRC is calling on the international community to demand the Indonesian government be held to account for human rights violations in Papua.

Posted , updated 
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