Sabtu, 25 September 2010

US Congress hears of Papua’s woes and hopes

0 komentar

Arghea Desafti Hapsari, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 09/24/2010 8:39 AM | National

Papuans told the US Congress at a hearing on Wednesday of the struggle to have their rights acknowledged by the Indonesian government.

University students who visited The Jakarta Post on Wednesday said hundreds of young Papuan activists would mark the congressional hearing on the resource-rich province’s woes and hopes by staging rallies in Jakarta, Makassar, Wamena, Jayapura, Sorong and Biak on Thursday.

In a rare instance of foreign notice of Indonesia’s easternmost province, several Papuan activists and academics told the representatives about the state of the province’s “special autonomy”, the role of the Indonesian Military and the overall political impasse in the area. The hearing, hosted by the Asia, the Pacific and the Environment subcommittee of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, took place on Wednesday afternoon, or Thursday morning in Jakarta.

Salamon Maurits Yumame, a former member of the Democratic Forum for Unitary Papua (Fordem) told representatives that the special autonomy granted to the province in 2001 failed to place Indonesian security forces under the control of elected local and regional leaders. Security forces have a separate command structure and budget, he added.

Henkie Rumbewas, an international advocate for the Australia West Papua Association, told representatives about the deaths of his friends and family members at the hands of the Indonesian Military.

He said he was seven when he saw his father taken away by soldiers for treason. Several years later, his two uncles disappeared without a trace while in military custody. He told of the death of a cousin who had promoted Papuan culture through a music group.

The subcommittee also heard the testimony of Octovianus Mote, a Papuan refugee who now resides in America. Papuans have lost faith in the will of the Indonesian government to resolve long-standing grievances, Octovianus said in a statement.

He said that among the gripes faced by Papuans were autocratic rule by distant officials in Jakarta, security forces that continued to operate with impunity and laws that limited basic political and religious freedoms.

He also criticized the central government for its implementation of regional autonomy. “The distribution of the revenue that has flowed back from Jakarta following the implementation of the autonomy law has been mismanaged. As a result, the primary beneficiaries of the autonomy funds are a group of Papuan elites who hold various positions in the government bureaucracy,” he said.

The congressional hearing was initiated by Eni Faleomavaega, who represents American Samoa and has long taken an interest in Papua. Faleomavaega said he thought that Jakarta had waged “genocide” against Papuans, who, in contrast to most Indonesians, are ethnically Melanesian.

“The fact that Indonesia has deliberately and systematically committed crimes against humanity and has yet to be held accountable is indisputable,” Faleomavaega said as quoted by AFP.

Indonesian Ambassador to the US Dino Patti Djalal said in a letter to Faleomavaega that he recommended differentiating between parties who cared about the situation in Papua and those who wanted to manipulate the US House of Representatives into supporting separatism in the region.

“What is happening in Papua is just a part of a democratization process that has been taking place all over Indonesia over the last 10 years. Most importantly, self-government and regional autonomy are now going well in Papua,” he said as quoted by

Henkie said he hoped his testimony would not be a showcase of indigenous people and would prompt firm action from the US Congress and government to end its support of the Indonesian military”.


0 komentar:

Posting Komentar