Open letter: AWPA calls on Wong to protest to Jakarta over brutal torture

Recent Indonesian military images showing torture of indigenous Papuans
Latest Indonesian military images showing torture of indigenous Papuans, including a screenshot from the savage oil barrel video that has gone viral. Image: X:@angkytm

OPEN LETTER: To Australia’s Foreign Minister Senator Penny Wong

Dear Foreign Minister,

I am writing to you on behalf of the Australia West Papua Association in Sydney concerning the brutal torture of a West Papuan man, Defianus Kogoya by Indonesian troops in West Papua in early February.

Anybody watching the video footage of the Papuan man being tortured by the Indonesian security forces cannot help but be horrified and outraged at the brutality of those involved in the torture.

A video of the torture is circulating on social media and in numerous articles in the main stream media.

Flashback to Asia Pacific Report's report on the Indonesian torture on 23 March 2024
Flashback to Asia Pacific Report’s report on the Indonesian torture on 23 March 2024 . . . global condemnation and protests quickly followed. Image: APR screenshot

The video shows the man placed in a drum filled with water, with both his hands tied. The victim is repeatedly punched and kicked by several soldiers.

His back is also slashed with a knife. One can only imagine the fear and terror the Papuan man must feel at this brutal torture being inflicted on him.

At first the military denied the claim. However, they eventually admitted it was true and arrested 13 soldiers involved in the incident.

I’m sure we will hear statements from Jakarta that this was an isolated incident, that they were “rogue” soldiers and that 13 soldiers have been arrested over the torture. However, if the video had not gone viral would anybody have been held to account?

Tragically this is not an isolated incident. We will not go into all the details of the human rights abuses committed against West Papuans by the Indonesian security forces as we are sure you are aware of the numerous reports documenting these incidents.

However, there are regular clashes between the Indonesian security forces and the TPNPB (Free Papua Movement) who are fighting for their independence. As a result of these clashes the military respond with what they call sweeps of the area.

It’s not unusual for houses and food gardens to be destroyed during these operations, including the arrest and torture of Papuans. Local people usually flee in fear from the military to the forest or other regions creating internally displaced people (IDP).

Human rights reports indicate there are more than 60,000 IDP in West Papua. Many suffer from malnutrition and their children are missing out on their education.

Amnesty International Indonesia, church and civil society groups in West Papua and around the world have condemned the torture and are calling for a thorough investigation into the torture case.

AWPA is urging you to also add your voice, condemning this brutal torture incident by the Indonesian military .

The West Papuan people are calling on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit West Papua to investigate the human rights situation in the territory. We urge you to use you good offices with the Indonesian government, urging Jakarta to allow such a visit to take place.

Yours sincerely

Joe Collins
Australia West Papua Association (

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