Tag Archives: us congress

US paying serious attention to Papua: Awom

US paying serious attention to Papua

(Bintang Papua)  According to the moderator of the Papuan  Presidium Council, Herman
Awom, the hearing held at the US Congress was of great significance for
the Papuan people. 'This was the first time in 48 years that Papua was
discussed on an international forum. In our dialogue  we urged the US to
press Indonesia to open dialogue on the question of the failure of
special autonomy, OTSUS and the Papuan people's rejection of  OTSUS.

A number of Papuan leaders said that they would continue to demand
dialogue as the solution to the Papuan problem, and the holding of a
referendum.

Awom said that OTSUS had failed to prevent the marginalisation of the
Papuan  people. It had led to large-scale migration which was
intensifying the marginalisation of the Papuan people. 'Dialogue with
Indonesia should be mediated by a neutral third party, with the two
sides recognised as equals, as was the case between Indonesia and Aceh.
'For us, there is no other way forward than freedom.'

Forkorus Yoboisembut said that genocide in happening in Papua.' While no
large-scale killings are occurring, genocide is occurring gradually.
Indonesia should allow foreign observers and  foreign journalists to
visit Papua to prove to them that genocide is not occurring,' he said.

As regard s the US position that supports the NKRI and regards OTSUS as
the best solution, he said he understands that this is in order for the
US to preserve good relations with Indonesia. 'But we called on the US
not to sacrifice the Papuan people for a second time. The hearing at the
US Congress was an important development, bearing in mind that we were
not yet a state that could enter into dialogue.

-------------------------

Testimonies at US Congress hearings on West Papua

September 22, 2010

Crimes Against Humanity: When Will Indonesia’s Military Be Held Accountable for Deliberate and Systematic Abuses in West Papua?

Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment

Statements available for download are hyperlinked:

Mr. Joseph Y. Yun Deputy Assistant Secretary Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs U.S. Department of State

Mr. Robert Scher Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia Asian and Pacific Security Affairs U.S. Department of Defense 

Pieter Drooglever, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus Institute of Netherlands History

Mr. Octovianus Mote Founder, West Papua Action Network President, Papua Resource Center

Mr. Henkie Rumbewas

Mr. Nicholas Simeone Messet West Papua, Independent Group Supporting Special Autonomy as Part of the Republic of Indonesia

Mr. Salamon Maurits Yumame Head of FORDEM (The Democratic Forum)

S. Eben Kirksey, Ph.D. Visiting Assistant Professor The Graduate Center The City University of New York

Sophie Richardson, Ph.D. Asia Advocacy Director Human Rights Watch

US CONGRESS: The Status of Papua, Statement by US STATE Dep

LIVE

watch hearing at http://www.hcfa.house.gov/

http://www.state.gov/p/eap/rls/rm/2010/09/147551.htm

September 22, 2010

Crimes Against Humanity: When Will Indonesia’s Military Be Held Accountable for Deliberate and Systematic Abuses in West Papua? US CONGRESS Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment

Joe Yun
Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Statement Before the House Foreign Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment
Washington, DC
September 22, 2010

Chairman Faleomavaega, Mr. Manzullo, and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for inviting me to testify today on the situation in Papua.

U.S. Policy

Developments affecting Papua, which includes the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua, are closely followed by the Department of State and represent an important aspect of our overall relations with Indonesia. The United States recognizes and respects the territorial integrity of Indonesia within its current borders and does not support or condone separatism in Papua, or in any other part of the country. At the same time, we strongly support respect for universal human rights within Indonesia, including the right of peaceful assembly, free expression of political views, and the fair and non-discriminatory treatment of ethnic Papuans within Indonesia.
Within this context, we have consistently encouraged the Indonesian government to work with the indigenous Papuan population to address their grievances, resolve conflicts peacefully, and support development and good governance in the Papuan provinces. The Administration believes the full implementation of the 2001 Special Autonomy Law for Papua, which emerged as part of Indonesia’s democratic transition, would help resolve long-standing grievances. We continue to encourage the Indonesian government to work with Papuan authorities to discuss ways to empower Papuans and further implement the Special Autonomy provisions, which grant greater authority to Papuans to administer their own affairs.
Human Rights

Advancing human rights is one of our primary foreign policy objectives not only in Indonesia, but also throughout the world. We believe that respect for human rights helps to strengthen democracy. We want to see the right of peaceful, free expression of political views and freedom of association observed throughout the world, including in Papua.

We monitor allegations of human rights violations in Papua and West Papua, and we report on them in the annual Country Report on Human Rights. With the growth of democracy over the past decade in Indonesia, there has been substantial improvement in respect for human rights, although there remain credible concerns about human rights violations. The improvement includes Papua, although, as our annual reporting has documented, there continues to be some credible allegations of abuse. We regularly engage the Government of Indonesia on the importance of respect for human rights by security forces, and we continue to emphasize our strong support for an open and transparent legal system to look into any claims of excessive use of force. We also urge them to increase accountability for past human rights abuses. We deplore violence committed by armed groups, including in Papua, against civilians and government security forces.

It is critical that independent and objective observers have unrestricted access to Papua in order to monitor developments. At present, Indonesian journalists, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and Indonesian citizens may travel freely to Papua and West Papua. However, the Indonesian government requires that foreign journalists, NGOs, diplomats, and parliamentarians obtain permission to visit Papua. We continue to encourage the Indonesian government to give these groups, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, full and unfettered access to Papua and West Papua.

Papuans are Indonesian citizens and are free to travel to other parts of Indonesia.

Demographic Shifts

Migration from other parts of Indonesia has increased the number of non-Papuan residents to about 40 percent of the current population in Papua and West Papua. The total population of both provinces is 2.4 million, of which 900,000 are migrants. Past government-sponsored transmigration programs, which moved households from more densely populated areas to less populated regions, account for part of the influx. The majority of the population shift has resulted from natural migration trends from Indonesia’s large population centers to Papua where there is relatively low population density. Some Papuans have voiced concerns that the migrants have interfered with their traditional ways of life, land usage, and economic opportunities.

Economic Development

Although the region is rich in natural resources, including gold, copper, natural gas, and timber, Papua lags behind other parts of Indonesia in some key development indicators. Poverty is widespread in Papua and Papua has the lowest level of adult literacy in Indonesia at 74 percent. The region also has a disproportionately high number of HIV/AIDS cases compared with the rest of Indonesia and high rates of infant and maternal mortality.

According to the World Bank, the two greatest challenges to economic development are Papua’s topography and climate—great distances between towns, steep mountains, swampy lowlands, fragile soils, and heavy seasonal rainfall—and its social structure—low population density and cultural fragmentation.

Special Autonomy

Indonesia’s parliament in 2001 granted Special Autonomy to Papua, which, along with Aceh, was one of the two areas in Indonesia that harbored high-profile separatist movements. This law devolved to provincial and local authorities all government functions outside of five national competencies; defense, foreign affairs, religious affairs, justice, and monetary/fiscal policy.

The Special Autonomy Law has not been fully implemented in Papua. Implementation has been delayed due to lack of implementing regulations. In addition, the provincial governments have lacked the capacity to take on certain key responsibilities and some central government ministries have yet to cede their authorities. Although full implementation of Special Autonomy has not yet been realized, Indonesian government officials point to increased funding to Papua, which has totaled Rp 27 trillion or approximately US$3 billion in the past nine years, higher per capita than any other area in Indonesia. The Special Autonomy Law created the Papuan People’s Council (MRP) to protect Papuan culture. Recently, the MRP rejected Special Autonomy, symbolically handing Special Autonomy back to Indonesian authorities. This action had no practical legal effect, but it did highlight the need for increased dialogue between Papua and Jakarta to resolve the region’s outstanding differences.

We continue to encourage the Indonesian government and the provincial governments of Papua and West Papua to fully implement the Special Autonomy Law. This would include the promulgation of implementing regulations for all provisions of the law, central government action to ensure that provincial or local laws take precedence in areas of delegated authority, and actions to increase the capacity for development and good governance. We believe that full implementation would help to address Papuans’ grievances against the central government. Dialogue between central authorities and the indigenous Papuan population could facilitate full implementation of Special Autonomy, and result in actions that would support development and boost good governance in Papua.

U.S. Assistance

The United States is working in partnership with the government of Indonesia and the provincial governments of Papua and West Papua to find ways to address the key developmental challenges of Papua, including increasing good governance, access to quality healthcare and education, and protecting the environment. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) implements programs in Papua to foster improvements in these sectors with activities that total $­­­­11.6 million, or 7 percent of USAID’s budget for Indonesia for fiscal year 2010.

In addition to USAID programs, the Department of State also brings Papuans to the United States for thematic engagement on issues such as resource distribution. Our Fulbright programs have had over 22 grantees from Papua. We also partner with the private sector to leverage resources. For example, in a public-private partnership, the Fulbright-Freeport Scholarship Program has funded 18 individuals from Papua for study in the United States.

Embassy Jakarta maintains a vigorous schedule of engagement with Papua and West Papua. U.S. Mission officers routinely travel to the provinces. Ambassador Marciel, who arrived at post in mid-August, plans to travel to Papua soon after he presents his credentials to the Indonesian government. Officers maintain a wide base of contacts concerning Papua, including central and provincial government officials, human rights activists, military and police personnel, traditional and religious leaders, and NGO staff. In addition to official meetings, Embassy officers conduct regular public outreach in Papua and West Papua.

Conclusion

In closing, I would like to emphasize that Papua plays an important role in our sustained engagement with the Government of Indonesia. While Indonesia’s overall human rights situation has improved along with the country’s rapid democratic development, we are concerned by allegations of human rights violations in Papua and continuously monitor the situation there. We urge increased dialogue between the central government and Papuan leaders and the full implementation of the Special Autonomy Law. We will continue to provide assistance to build a strong economic and social foundation in Papua.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to testify before you today. I am pleased to answer your questions.

WPNA: WEST PAPUANS WANT PAYBACK FROM THE US

MEDIA RELEASE:  WEST PAPUA NATIONAL AUTHORITY, 22 Sept 2010

WEST PAPUANS WANT PAYBACK FROM THE US

Today there are rallies at US Embassies in West Papua, Jakarta, Melbourne and Perth, reminding US Senators in a Congressional Hearing in Washington of Indonesia’s atrocious human rights record in West Papua and the republic’s dismal effort to decentralize, demilitarize or democratize.

West Papuan lawyer, Edison Waromi, who is President of the West Papua National Authority, arrived in Washington this morning to attend the Congressional hearing.

“We West Papuans have a lot of history with the United States” he said. “General MacArthur’s children might not know their father dropped us two thousand guns to fight the Japanese during World War 2. John Kennedy’s children probably don’t want to know their father called us ‘just 700,000 cannibals’ as he artfully bullied the Dutch into relinquishing its colony to the Indonesians. I would of course remind Ellsworth Bunker’s children that their father was the architect of the New York Agreement that enslaved us to the Indonesians. And then there’s Mr Kissinger and the whole Freeport mine business”.

The West Papua National Authority/West Papua National Consensus is in Washington to advise American politicians to support

(1)     The re-insertion of West Papua on the UN Decolonization List

(2)    West Papuans’ inalienable right to self-determination in terms of the recent ICJ ruling on Kosovo

(3)    An international fact-finding and peace-keeping mission to West Papua immediately.

“Ultimately someone has to take responsibility for the 546,000 ‘missing’ Papuans since the beginning of the Indonesian occupation in 1962” said Mr Waromi.

50 members of US congress call on Obama to place West Papua at the top of his foreign policy agenda

Source: Office of Congressmen Eni H Faleomavaega, and Donald M Payne, Washington DC

For original release, please download pdf here:
West Papua press release 7.31.10

The Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment, Rep. Eni F.H. Faleomavaega, and Chairman Donald M. Payne of the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health have spearheaded an effort in Congress calling upon President Obama to “make West Papua one of the highest priorities of the Administration.”

As a result of their efforts, 50 Members of the U.S. Congress signed a letter to the President stating that there is strong indication that the Indonesian government has committed genocide against the Papuans.  West Papua is the half of New Guinea that was invaded by Indonesia in 1962.

While Papuan leaders have repeatedly tried to engage in dialogue with the Indonesian government, dialogues have failed to produce concrete results and Papuan leaders are now calling for an International Dialog.  In this context, signatories of the letter have asked President Obama to meet with the people of West Papua during his upcoming trip to Indonesia in November.

Many Members who signed the letter are members of the Congressional Black Caucus.  The signatories include men and women who fought for civil rights in America in the 1960s.  Younger politicians have also joined this initiative to support the people of West Papua who have suffered long enough.

In addition to the Congressional Black Caucus, many other American leaders who are long-time advocates of human rights joined this request to the President of the United States, including members of the Hispanic Caucus.  The last remaining member of the Kennedy family in Congress, Rep. Patrick Kennedy from Rhode Island, also signed the letter to President Obama.

The letter to the President suggests that slow motion genocide has been taking place in West Papua and reviews findings by human rights organizations and scholars who have conducted extensive research about crimes against humanity and genocide by Indonesian security forces.  “Genocide is usually difficult to document since leaders are often reluctant to state their intention to destroy another nation, race, or ethnic group,” Members of Congress wrote.  “Even still, in 2007 Col. Burhanuddin Siagian, who was then the local regional commander (DANREM) said, ‘If I encounter elements that use government facilities, but still are betraying the nation, I will destroy them.’”

According to international agreements, other nations are legally obligated to intervene when a genocide is in process and Members of Congress remain hopeful that President Obama and the U.S. State Department will hold Indonesia accountable.  Members concluded their letter by encouraging the President to meet with the Team of 100 from West Papua during his upcoming visit, noting that President Obama has the opportunity to bring lasting change to this part of the world.