Indonesia military: Use of child soldiers a rights violation

Indonesia military: Use of child soldiers a rights violation

In this photo taken in May 2019, and released by the West Papua Liberation Army-Free Papua Organization, men and boys from the West Papua Liberation Army pose with weapons in the Nduga region of the central highlands, Papua province, Indonesia. (AP)
In this photo taken in May 2019, and released by the West Papua Liberation Army-Free Papua Organization, men and boys from the West Papua Liberation Army pose with weapons in the Nduga region of the central highlands, Papua province, Indonesia. (AP)

JAKARTA: An Indonesian military spokesman says any use of child soldiers by Papuan independence fighters would be a violation of human rights that implicates both the rebels and state institutions.

The Associated Press reported last week that the long-simmering armed conflict between Indonesia's military and Papuan fighters involves teenagers and boys who appear barely adolescent.

The military's spokesman in easternmost Papua, Muhammad Aidi, said Tuesday that if armed Papuans have involved children in the conflict it would show they're a “wild, uncivilised” group.

He also said if the state is failing to enforce the law within its territory “it means that state institutions have committed human rights violations.”

Under international law, a child is anyone under 18 and the use of individuals under 15 in conflicts is a war crime.


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