15 Apr 2013

Indonesian torture means to control Papuans, says study

5:23 am on 15 April 2013

A researcher says many of the victims of torture in Indonesia's Papua region are innocent people who have no real link to the resistance movement.

Budi Hernawan, a specialist in Papua and the politics of torture at the Australian National University, says torture has become a way for the Indonesian state to demonstrate its power to Papuans.

Mr Hernawan says the use of torture by police and military is persistent, widespread and generally used as a means of controlling locals rather than intelligence information gathering.

"The largest percentage of victims are actually just farmers and it represents the lowest segment or the most vulnerable segment in the Papuan society. Most of them are uneducated and they live in remote rural areas so they have very minimal access to any system of justice."

Budi Hernawan says research shows that Papuan separatists constitute very few of the victims of torture cases in the last 50 years.