28 Jul 2008

Indonesia rights body to launch Papua abuse probe

2:56 pm on 28 July 2008

Indonesia's National Commission on Human Rights will launch an investigation into alleged human rights violations in Papua.

The Jakarta Post reports the commission's deputy chairman, Ridha Saleh, as saying the rights body is completing preliminary research into cases of atrocities that took place between 1963 and 2002.

Ridha says that once established, the probe would focus on alleged atrocities in Timika and Biak, collecting first-hand data through interviews with survivors, families of victims and witnesses, as well as excavations of victims' graves.

The result of the study would be presented at a plenary meeting next month to decide whether a field investigation was warranted.

Ridha describes the history of Papua conflicts as a burden on the nation's history.

However the Attorney General's Office is opposing the probe.

The deputy attorney general for special crimes, Marwan Effendy, says his office wants legally recognised facts and physical

evidence, not just reports and assumptions.

He says that without proof, people's testimony on past abuses means little.