New Zealand Defence Force connection to military violence in West Papua
The Defence Force must clarify its role in training an Indonesian officer of the notorious Kopassus Special Forces especially given this week's assassination and military violence in West Papua, Green MP Catherine Delahunty said today.Kopassus conducts special operations for the Indonesian government. Human rights groups have linked Kopassus to numerous human rights violations in West Papua, East Timor, and Aceh. Kopassus Major Edwin Sumanta attended the Staff and Command College at Trentham last year.
"The Defence Force has refused to explain the presence of Kopassus Major Edwin Sumanta at Trentham," said Ms Delahunty.
The Defence Force's role in training someone from a military unit well known for human rights abuses compromises the reputation of New Zealand."That is not acceptable.
"Military violence in West Papua by unaccountable groups like Kopassus have been a matter of international concern, notably by Human Rights Watch.
"The revelation of the Defence Force involvement with Kopassus is particularly disturbing given the assassinations of West Papuan community leaders, burning of villages and abuse of citizens in the last week.
"The Defence Force's role in training someone from a military unit well known for human rights abuses compromises the reputation of New Zealand and connects us to the suppression of human rights in West Papua.
"The role of New Zealand should be as a mediator in a peaceful dialogue between Indonesian and West Papuan leaders," said Ms Delahunty.