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is an important barometer of the success of security sector reform efforts in the country more generally.
Outside scrutiny is minimal and the security challenges are pronounced-pro-independence guerrillas have long been based in the region and public resentment of Indonesian authorities and institutions continues to simmer.
In the 14 incidents documented in this report-which include eight alleged killings, two rapes, and many cases of ill treatment and torture-at writing, only one member of the security forces had faced prosecution, and that was before a military court; a low ranking officer was sentenced to eight months in prison for killing a 16-year-old Papuan high school student.
To our knowledge, no Brimob or regular police officers have been investigated or prosecuted for their role in the remaining seven killings.
The reality is that surprisingly little is known about what is happening in many parts of the region.
One reason is that this region is a large, mountainous, inaccessible, and sparsely populated area with little modern infrastructure.
During the course of this research Human Rights Watch documented eight confirmed and five other possible extrajudicial killings since 2005, all involving members of the police, and one for which members of the Tentara Nasional Indonesia (TNI), the Indonesian military, appear to be primarily responsible.
We documented two rapes, one by a TNI soldier of a child, and another by Brimob officers In 10 of the 14 cases documented in this report, members of the police force were the perpetrators.
Security forces often presume civilians to be linked to, or vicariously responsible for, acts by the OPM.
The pro-independence guerrillas have conducted repeated low-level armed attacks against Indonesian security forces, while Indonesian security forces, fearful of a repeat of the successful movement for independence in East Timor, have conducted regular sweeping operations to search for OPM guerillas or their supporters.
These operations have typically involved looting, destruction of property, and in some cases harm to civilians and displacement.
The lack of reliable factual accounts means that unfounded rumors circulate with much the same potency as accurate accounts.
The prominence of misinformation has served only to magnify the Central Highlands' reputation as a hotbed of dissent and abuse.