Shooting of two students by police sparks outcry in Indonesia
JAKARTA, Indonesia – Investigate the shooting of two West Papuan high school students by police officers.
This was the demand of Minority Rights Group International (MRG) on Wednesday, September 30 from the Indonesian government, after a 17-year-old died and another was critically wounded from being shot by security forces in Timika earlier this week.
On Monday, police officers raided a residential building in Timika, where a group of high school friends were socializing. Fearing for their lives, two of the teenagers reportedly fled into the street where police officers then opened fire. Kaleb Bogau died on the scene and Efrando Sobarek, who was shot in his chest and leg, is in a critical condition in the hospital.
MRG said perpetrators must be held accountable.
“There is no justification for these senseless murders and the Indonesian government must urgently establish an independent inquiry to hold perpetrators to account,” said Claire Thomas, Deputy Director at MRG. “Extrajudicial killings in West Papua have reached unacceptable proportions, with the indigenous population living in daily fear of security forces and for their lives.”
According to MRG, residents say the police claimed to be looking for “troublemakers” whose fathers belonged to the Free West Papua Movement. The families of the victims deny any connection to the separatist group.
In their press release, MRG added, "Regardless of the veracity of these claims, the shooting of reportedly unarmed teenagers who were fleeing at the time and apparently due to allegations concerning their parents is in breach of all international human rights norms and standards."
It continued, "While the circumstances leading up to the shootings are contested, MRG understands from local sources that the housing complex was quiet and peaceful until the arrival of police. Police trucks reportedly surrounded the residential complex, before officers interrogated locals about the whereabouts of the youths."
Not the first time
The family of Bogau, has accused the Indonesian police of carrying out a political assassination. The teen's father, Daniel Bogau, is a priest with the local Papuan Evangelical Kingme Church, and a member of the National Committee for West Papua, a peaceful civil society organization advocating for an independent Papuan state.
The shooting of the students is not the first in West Papua.
In December 2014, 4 unarmed Papuan teenagers were killed and 17 more Papuans were injured when the Indonesian army and police opened fire on a group of peaceful protestors in Paniai. Despite widespread calls for an independent investigation into the massacre, the case remains unsolved.
MRG said, "This week’s shooting resurrects concerns about extrajudicial killings and impunity in the conflict-torn region, despite a pledge by Indonesian President Joko Widodo to address human rights concerns in West Papua."
“It is not enough for President Joko Widodo to make bold promises about promoting human rights in Papua unless it is followed up with concrete action,” said Thomas. “This must include addressing the underlying causes of violence and insecurity in West Papua, including endemic impunity for state-sponsored violence and the disregard for minority and indigenous rights.”
On Tuesday, locals in Timika staged a peaceful demonstration against the killings. Timika is the location of the controversial Freeport-McMoRan copper mine.
According to MRG, dozens of Papuans, including peaceful protesters and unarmed youths, have been killed by the Indonesian army or police force in recent years. Dozens more have disappeared while many remain incarcerated as political prisoners. – Rappler.com
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