Violence has again broken out in Indonesia’s troubled province of West Papua, with the Australian-supported counter-terrorism police squad Densus 88 leading the attack. In the latest violence, there are unverified but fairly detailed reports of 10 West Papuans being killed during flag-raising ceremonies at three locations across West Papua. Dozens have also been arrested in these otherwise peaceful ceremonies.
Densus 88 has been the subject of a number of critical reports, notably for being used to suppress political dissent and not in its primary counter-terrorism role.
The West Papua National Freedom Army (TPN-PB) -- the armed wing of the Free Papua Organisation (OPM) -- organised flag-raising ceremonies on May 1 across the province to mark West Papua's incorporation into Indonesia. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has said in response to the violence:
"These latest incidents are unfortunate examples of the ongoing suppression of freedom of expression and excessive use of force in Papua. I urge the government of Indonesia to allow peaceful protest and hold accountable those involved in abuses."
West Papua Legislative Council deputy speaker Demianus Jimmy Idjie condemned the use of violence by the police as a group of West Papuans attempted to hoist the Morning Star flag. "Seeing these people’s wounds, the shooters were not trying to disperse the rally, they were actually aiming at the protesters," he said.
According to several reports, two protesters were shot dead in Sorong, on the tip of the Bird’s Head Peninsula, with another three wounded and many more arrested. It is understood that four people were also killed and a further 20 arrested in the mining town of Timika, south of the central Maoke Mountain Range, and a further four shot dead in Biak, on Suipori Island, just north of the mainland, again with many more arrests.
The attacks against the protests were said to be led by Densus 88 officers, supported by conventional soldiers. Densus 88 officers arrested a further 22 activists on Saturday.
In response to this latest round of violence, a TPB-PB spokesman has called on the Indonesian government to enter into talks aimed at a peaceful resolution to West Papua's outstanding claims.
A police spokesperson, Senior Commander I Gede Sumerta Jaya, denies allegations that Densus 88 officers shot two men during the Sorong protest. However, he says the police will investigate the allegations. "It’s a hasty conclusion to condemn the police or the military as responsible for the deaths," he said, as no bodies had been found by police. Unconfirmed photos of what appear to be the bodies have been made available.
According to the UN's Pilay:
"Since May 2012, we have received 26 reports concerning alleged human rights violations, including 45 killings and cases of torture involving 27 people. While many incidents relate to communal violence, serious allegations of human rights abuses by law enforcement officials persist."
"There has not been sufficient transparency in addressing human rights violations in Papua. I urge Indonesia to allow international journalists into Papua and to facilitate visits by the Special Rapporteurs of the UN Human Rights Council."
This article was first published at The Conversation on the 24th April 2013.
Yesterday, the NSW parliamentary Select Committee on the Partial Defence of Provocation released its final report. The report contains a set of recommendations for reforming a defence that has long attracted criticism.
This opinion piece first appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on 20 February 2013.
On Wednesday, the Select Committee of the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into the partial defence of provocation will release its final report recommending reform to a law that has long animated debate and attracted criticism.
We are surprisingly poor judges how a particular event will make us feel into the future. In other words, we rely on how we feel right now to predict how we might feel about something later. Psychologists call it affective forecasting.
As Spain’s Operacion Puerto trial neared the end of its second week, the Australian Crime Commission has released a report that exposes what it calls widespread doping in many Australian sports along with links to organized crime involved in the supply of doping products and match fixing. This report follows up the USADA Armstrong case and further exposes the lie peddled in the Anglo American world that doping in sport is something that only happens somewhere else, for example in European countries like Spain or in sports like cycling.
Parents of babies born severely premature or with serious abnormalities are turning to the courts in a bid to override medical opinion to commence or continue life-sustaining treatment for their infants.
If the goal of product disclosure statement (PDS) is to help consumers make the most appropriate choices, we have to start with the consumer, rather than the document.
So, when we think about consumers, decision-making, and even consumer protection, we need to understand how people decide, and the processes they use to understand information.
How did Lance Armstrong get away with it?
It is a question for the ages, and one that is a key to a lot of doors that have sat quietly locked for years, but which are now being thrown wide open.
It is a matter of little White lies, and great big black ones more than it is about the blood, or the science of drug testing and evading that testing.
Above all, the stench of a hidden hand, or maybe a not so hidden hand, remains.
It is clear to all except maybe Blind Freddy that Lance Armstrong ran the most managed and professional doping system ever seen in professional sport.
The Armstrong Effect and above all the Armstrong Stench … surely The Sergeant Schultzes of Cycling Australia must have smelt it?
Dr John Basarin, Research Fellow, Deakin University & Project Manager, Gallipoli-2015
In the past decade, the expansion of the coal seam gas (CSG) industry in Australia has been nothing short of momentous. In the Eastern states, where the growth has been concentrated, this progression has generated increasing social and environmental concerns. Uncertainty regarding the effect of coal seam gas extraction upon ground water aquifers, the full impact of hydro-fracturing, and how to effectively dispose of gallons of “associated” water without causing cross-contamination have all contributed to this. Additionally, land-holders in these areas have been subjected to what the New South Wales Senate Standing Committee has recently described as an “aggressive” assertion of mining rights.