NZ joins chorus of demands for Papua shooting probe
NZ has joined other international voices condemning the shooting of students in Papua.
The New Zealand government says the Indonesian Government needs to thoroughly investigate the shooting death of five school students.
But there are calls to go further and sever all military ties with Indonesia.
More than 20 others were injured as authorities allegedly opened fire on a peaceful protest in the restive province of Papua.
Alex Perrottet has more.
The five students were among a much bigger group protesting the alleged police brutality against a fellow student the previous day in Paniai. The co-ordinator of the Indonesia Human Rights Committee, Maire Leadbeater, says the deceased students were aged 17 and 18 but there were many other younger students in the crowd.
MAIRE LEADBETTER: They were doing nothing more than simply dancing a traditional dance. Quite a large group, you know there was quite a lot of feeling and anger in the group but it was very peaceful. So they were gathering to protest at what they saw as police brutality and the police response to that was more brutality and in fact shocking killings.
In response to the December the 8th incident, the New Zealand Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, says the government is deeply concerned and the Indonesian Government needs to investigate. The Greens MP Catherine Delahunty, who joined Ms Leadbeater and others in a demonstration in Auckland, says if Indonesia doesn't investigate, the United Nations will have to.
CATHERINE DELAHUNTY: President Widodo cannot let this go. He must provide an independent investigation and accountability for this. Otherwise the international community and the United Nations will need to do it. It's just appalling.
Catherine Delahunty says it has already gone too far when children are being killed.
CATHERINE DELAHUNTY: We're really asking our New Zealand government to put pressure on Widodo. The time has come for everybody to realise, this is actually the Sharpeville of the West Papuan issue. When children are being shot, when students are being shot - that is what happened in South Africa. People have got to realise they can't go on killing with impunity and they must challenge the Indonesian government to change their ways.
The Indonesian Government has not made any comment, but the National Police chief, General Sutarman, told the Jakarta Globe the police are not responsible for the deadly shooting. The military, or TNI, were also present, and some have blamed them for opening fire, but they too have denied fault. In October, a military commander was shot by Brimob police in Papua after a heated exchange between the two forces. Maire Leadbeater says there is blanket impunity in Indonesia and no one in a position of responsibility has ever been held to account.
MAIRE LEADBETTER: One or two lower-level army people have served a few months in jail but that's it, no one with command responsibility. It's just blanket impunity.
The New-York based Human Rights Watch, as well as Amnesty International, had earlier called for an investigation. Ahead of President Widodo's Christmas visit to the provincial capital, Jayapura, the Papua Presidium Council has called him to revive a commission for truth and reconciliation in Papua.
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