Complicit in the act of killing: Denmark accused of supporting Indonesian death squad

Police academy receives Danish funding despite claims that one of its units violates human rights in West Papua

July 9th, 2014 1:24 pm| by admin
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Denmark has since 2004 supported an Indonesian police academy (JCLEC) where the country's controversial elite unit Detachment 88 is being trained to fight terrorism.

But several human rights organisations claim the unit acts as a death squad in Indonesia's troubled West Papua region, and that it tortures and kills civilians and members of separatist movements. 

"Not only are you responsible under these circumstances, in which you support the police, but you are taking part in a crime. If your attitude is so naïve, you can't help anyone," Basil Fernando, a legal advisor at the Asian Human Rights Commission in Hong Kong, told Deadline. 

You have no control
Nick Chesterfield, a journalist at West Papua Media, claimed Denmark had absolutely no control of where its funds were going.

Between 2004 and 2013, Denmark has granted the police academy a total of 13 million kroner, and the Foreign Ministry plans to extend its support until 2017. Australia is among the other countries that support the police forces. 

Denmark stands firm
Mikael Ekman, Denmark's ambassador in Indonesia, rejects the activists' allegations.

"We made it clear that human rights and the rights of women and children is a priority from a Danish aspect, and that must be acknowledged and valued at JCLEC and the Indonesian police," he said.

Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard commented that Denmark supports JCLEC to strengthen the police’s knowledge of international rules and conventions and how to translate it into practice.

(All photos: Ella Navarro)
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