The video from Yahukimo showing Indonesian soldiers torturing a West Papuan man is horrifying, says Benny Wenda the President of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP).

Wenda said it highlights the urgent need for a UN Human Rights visit to West Papua.

In the video, soldiers can be seen kicking, punching, and slashing a young Papuan man who is tied and forced to stand upright in a drum of freezing water.

“Though it is extreme and shocking, this video merely exposes how Indonesia behaves every day in my country. Torture is such a widespread military practice that it has been described as a “mode of governance” in West Papua.

“I ask everyone who watches the video to remember that West Papua is a closed society, cut off from the world by a sixty-year media ban imposed by Indonesia’s military occupation. How many victims go unnoticed by the world? How many incidents are not captured on film? Every week we hear word of another murder, massacre, or tortured civilian. Over 500,000 West Papuans have been killed under Indonesian colonial rule,” said Wenda in a statement.

Wenda condemns this behaviour, emphasising that torture is a crime against humanity according to the Rome Statute.

Despite international calls for action, including over 100 countries urging a UN visit, Indonesia continues to disregard human rights in West Papua, he said.

“There is an urgent need for states to take more serious action on human rights in West Papua. We are grateful that more than one hundred countries have called for a visit by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. But Indonesia clearly has no intention of honouring their promise, so more must be done,” he said.

Wenda stresses the need for serious consequences,such as suspending Indonesia’s membership in the MSG and conditioning agreements like the EU-Indonesia trade deal on human rights improvements.

“The Indonesian government have committed these crimes for sixty years now. Indonesia must have their MSG Membership suspended immediately – they cannot be allowed to treat Melanesians in this way.

“International agreements such as the EU-Indonesia trade deal should be made conditional on a UN visit. States should call out Indonesia at the highest levels of the UN. Parliamentarians should sign the Brussels Declaration,” said Wenda.

Until meaningful sanctions are imposed, Indonesian forces will continue to act with impunity in West Papua, perpetuating a cycle of violence and oppression.

He said the international community must prioritise human rights and hold Indonesia accountable for its actions.