From Amnesty International
Amnesty International urges the National Head of Police, Bambang Hendarso Danuri to initiate an immediate investigation into reports of police using excessive force to disperse a demonstration in Nabire, Papua. This is the third reported incident of such abuses by the Nabire police force since December 2008.
On 3 April 2009, police opened fire on a protest demonstration in Indonesia’s remote Papua region, injuring at least seven people. According to local sources, four are currently in critical condition in hospital, including a 10 year-old student who was shot as he was returning from school. A police officer was also injured by an arrow. The police arrested at least 15 political activists for “rebellion” prior to the demonstration, who are believed to still be detained.
The 200 demonstrators had called for the boycott of upcoming parliamentary elections and investigations into past human rights violations in Papua. They also celebrated the launch of the International Lawyers for West Papua (ILWP) in the United States in early April 2009.
Amnesty International recognizes the challenges involved in policing demonstrations. However, opening fire on protestors may contravene the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials and the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials. These state that force should be used only as a last resort, in proportion to the threat posed, and should be designed to minimize damage or injury.
Amnesty International urges that an impartial and independent inquiry into all three incidents in Nabire be carried out; with a review of police tactics and weapons in the policing of demonstrations. The authorities should make the findings and recommendations public in a timely manner.
The Indonesian authorities should discipline and bring to justice those involved if the force used is found to have been excessive and to have contravened the principles of necessity and proportionality. They should also put in place measures and training to ensure that future policing operations comply with international standards.