Commander indicted for crimes against humanity is removed from West Papua

An Indonesian military commander accused of crimes against humanity has been removed from his post in West Papua. Colonel Burhanuddin Siagian faces two indictments in the UN-backed courts in East Timor for crimes committed in 1999. The international police organisation Interpol also issued an international warrant for his arrest in 2003.

The tribal peoples of Papua have suffered greatly under the Indonesian military occupation which began in 1963. The Indonesian army has a long history of human rights violations against the Papuans.

In May 2007, Siagian issued death threats against anyone who demonstrated in support of independence for West Papua, saying he would ‘destroy’ them. Survival joined organisations in West Papua and around the world in calling for the Colonel’s removal from West Papua and for him to be tried for his crimes.

Siagian remains a leading Indonesian military figure on active duty.