Helicopters supplied by Australia were used by Indonesia in a “genocidal” crackdown on civilians in West Papua in the 1970s, a new report has claimed. The report, conducted by the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission, says two Iroquois helicopters from Australia were among the aircraft deployed by the Indonesian military in the central highlands of Papua in 1977 and 1978.
The commission said the military operations resulted in the death of more than 4,000 indigenous Papuans, often from aerial assaults by helicopters and OV-10 Bronco planes, supplied by the US.
The report accuses Indonesian soldiers of “brutal and inhumane” treatment of civilians, with survivors telling the AHRC that officers forced elderly Papuans to eat their own excrement, while those arrested by the military were lined up and indiscriminately shot.
The report paints a disturbing picture of sexual violence against Papuan women, with accounts of rape and sexual abuse “common”. Some women had their breasts cut, while others were buried, burnt and boiled alive.
In one incident, villagers were bombed with napalm as they awaited planes they were told would deliver aid from Australia.
The military campaign intended to quash support for the separatist Free Papua Movement, which was popular in the region.