Australian helicopters used in ’70s massacres in West Papua

Craig Hill Training Services

Research into one of the most violent episodes in the history of West Papua claims that helicopters provided to Indonesia by the Australian government were used in military operations in the 1970s that amounted to genocide.

According to a report by the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission, two Iroquois helicopters supplied by Australia were among aircraft used by the regional military command in West Papua in operations in the Central Highlands in 1977 and 1978 that killed thousands of civilians.

The AHRC report, The Neglected Genocide: Human rights abuses against Papuans in the Central Highlands, 1977-1978, details mass killings by aerial strafing and bombings – using both napalm and cluster bombs – in and around the Baliem Valley, where support for the separatist Free Papua Movement (OPM) was strong and tensions had escalated going into national elections in 1977.

In one incident described in the research…

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