all photos by John M. Miller/ETAN
Official Committee publication with
transcript and written submissions for the record (PDF)
Preliminary Transcript of September 22,
2010 Congressional Hearing on West Papua
Federal News Service
September 22, 2010 Wednesday
HEARING OF THE ASIA, THE PACIFIC AND THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT
SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE HOUSE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
SUBJECT: "CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY: WHEN WILL INDONESIA'S
MILITARY BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR DELIBERATE AND SYSTEMATIC ABUSES IN WEST
CHAIRED BY: DELEGATE ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA (D-AS);
WITNESSES: JOSEPH Y. YUN, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF
STATE FOR EAST ASIAN AND PACIFIC AFFAIRS; ROBERT SCHER, DEPUTY ASSISTANT
SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR SOUTH AND SOUTHEAST ASIA, ASIAN AND PACIFIC
SECURITY AFFAIRS; PIETER DROOGLEVER, PH.D., PROFESSOR EMERITUS, INSTITUTE OF
NETHERLANDS HISTORY; OCTOVIANUS MOTE, FOUNDER, WEST PAPUA ACTION NETWORK,
PRESIDENT, PAPUA RESOURCE CENTER; HENKIE RUMBEWAS, INTERNATIONAL ADVOCATE,
AUSTRALIA WEST PAPUA ASSOCIATION (AWPA); NICHOLAS SIMEONE MESSET, WEST
PAPUA; SALAMON MAURITIS 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 CENTER,
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH;
LOCATION: 2172 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING, WASHINGTON,
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: The subcommittee hearing will come to order. This is the
hearing of the foreign affairs subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the
global environment and the topic for discussion this afternoon with our
witnesses and government witnesses as well as "Crimes Against Humanity: When
Will Indonesia's Military Be Held Accountable for Deliberate and Systematic
Abuses in West Papua?"
I'm going to begin the hearing by making my opening statement and I will
then defer to my colleagues who have also joined me at this hearing this
afternoon, my good friend Dr. Diane Watson, former ambassador to the FSM and
a member from the State of California. Also my dear colleague, Congressman
Inglis, has also joined with us in this hearing this afternoon. After giving
and presenting our opening statements, then we will then have our friends
from the administration to testify before us. So I will begin now with m
My good friend and colleague, the ranking member of this subcommittee, is
not here with us but fully understandable. There's been such a mix on our
schedules and also I want to note for the record that my dear friend and
colleague Congressman Don Payne unfortunately is still on travel. But he
does want to definitely send his personal regards and submission of his
statement as well to be made part of the record of this hearing.
To my knowledge, today's hearing is historic. This hearing is the first
hearing ever held in the U.S. Congress that gives voice to the people of
West Papua. Since 1969, the people of West Papua have been deliberately and
systematically subjected to slow motion genocide, in my humble opinion, by
Indonesian military forces and yet Indonesia declares that the issue is an
internal matter, while the U.S. Department of State recognizes and respects
the territorial integrity of Indonesia.
The truth is, this is no issue of territorial integrity or an internal
matter and the record is clear on this point. West Papua was a former Dutch
colony for years, just as East Timor was a former Portuguese colony, just as
Indonesia was a former colony of the Netherlands. Because of its status as
former colony, East Timor achieved its independence from Indonesia in 2003
through a referendum sanctioned by the United Nations despite Indonesia's
serious objections over East Timor's right of self-determination.
In contrast, in 1962, the United States pressured the Dutch to turn over
control of West Papua to the United Nations. Under the U.S.-brokered deal,
then known as Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker's proposal, Indonesia was to make
arrangements with the assistance and participation of the United Nations to
give Papuans an opportunity to determine whether they wish to become part of
Indonesia or not.
In what became known as the Act of No Choice, carried out in 1969, 1,025
West Papuan elders under heavy military surveillance were selected to vote
on behalf of some 800,000 West Papuans regarding the territory's political
status. In spite of serious violations of the U.N. charter and no
broad-based referendum, West Papua was forced to become a part of Indonesia
by the barrel of a gun.
According to the Congressional Research Service, and I quote, "declassified
documents released in July 2004 indicate that the United States supported
Indonesia's takeover of Papua and the lead up to the 1969 Act of Free
Choice, even though it was understood that such a move was likely unpopular
with the Papuans.
The documents reportedly indicate that the United States estimated that
between 85 and 90 percent of Papuans were opposed to Indonesian rule and
that as a result the Indonesians were incapable of winning an open
referendum at the time of Papua's transition from Dutch colonial rule. Such
steps were evidently considered necessary to maintain the support of
Suharto's Indonesia during the height of the Cold War," end quote.
Bluntly put, in exchange for Suharto's anti-Communist stance, the United
States expended the hopes and dreams and the lives of some 100,000 West
Papuans who consequently died as a result of Indonesian military rule.
Although some challenge this estimate, it is indisputable fact that
Indonesia has deliberately and systematically committed crimes against
humanity and has yet to be held accountable.
While I have expressed my concerns, there is strong indication that the
Indonesian government has committed genocide against the West Papuans, I am
disappointed that the U.S. Department of State requested that I omit the
word genocide in the initial title I put forward for this hearing. The State
Department requested a change in title based on the assertion that the word
genocide is a legal term.
According to the Article II of the 1948 United Nations Convention on the
Prevention and Punishment of Crimes of Genocide, defines genocide as, and I
quote, "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole
or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group: killing members
of the group, causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group,
deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring
about its physical destruction in whole or in part, imposing measures
intended to prevent births within the groups, forcibly transferring children
of the group to another group," end of quote.
This definition of genocide under international law accurately describes the
crimes against humanity perpetuated by Indonesia's military, whether the
United States department agrees or not. But given U.S. complicity, it is
little wonder that every administration wishes to distance itself from this
ugliness. As Joseph Conrad wrote in his book "The Heart of Darkness", I
quote, "the conquest of Europe, which mostly means taking away from those
that have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves,
is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much," end of quote.
When you look into it too much, nothing about Indonesia's ruthless brutality
or U.S. complicity is a pretty thing. Three years ago I led a congressional
delegation to Indonesia on the personal promise from President SBY and Vice
President Kalla that I would be granted five days to visit Biak, Manokwari
and most importantly, Jayapura in support of efforts to implement special
autonomy that was approved by the government of Indonesia since 2001.
However, while en route to Jakarta, I received word that the Indonesian
government would only grant three days for my visit.
Upon my arrival in November three years ago, I was informed that I would
only be granted one day and that I would not be allowed even to visit
Jayapura. As it played out, I was granted two hours in Biak and 10 minutes
In Biak, I met with Governor Suebu and other traditional religious and local
readers hand selected by the government. Other Papuans like Chief Tom
Beanal, Mr. William Mandowen were detained by the military until my office
interceded. U.S. Ambassador Cameron Hume and I also had to make our way
through the military barricade because Indonesian military forces, TNI, had
blocked Papuans from meeting with our delegation.
For the record I'm submitting photos showing the excessive presence of
military forces. In Manokwari, the military presence was even worse. Prior
to my arrival in Manokwari, I was told that I would be meeting with the
governor, only to learn upon my arrival that he was in China and had been
there for the past five days.
Ten minutes later I was put on a plane while the TNI in full riot gear
forcefully kept the Papuans from meaningful dialogue with our delegation. At
this time I would like to share with my colleagues some videotape of my
visit three years ago. But before showing this -- hold it -- I want to give
this opportunity to the members of our Papuan delegation. I think they have
a song that they would like to sing for our audience.
Gentlemen, please be patient with us. We've got these people traveling all
the way from Indonesia, so the least that we could give them is the courtesy
of time to give us a little sharing of their culture. I told them make sure
the song is melodious and meaningful and good for everybody to hear. You can
come here in the front. Come right up here in the front row here. I would be
happy to join you but I'm afraid I don't know the words of the song.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Thank you very much. I wanted to share with our
government witnesses and my colleagues a little video that was taken on my
visit to West Papua and please, maybe -- are we on? Go ahead.
(A video was shown.)
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: That was my 10-minute experience in Manokwari. After this
experience and upon my return to Washington, I wrote to President SBY
expressing my disappointment. But Jakarta never responded to my letter three
years ago and in March, two years ago, Chairman Don Payne of the Foreign
Affairs subcommittee on Africa and world health joined me in sending another
letter to president espy which expressed our deep concern about Indonesia's
misuse of military force. We include photographs and a DVD of my experience
while in Biak and Manokwari. Again, Jakarta never bothered to reply to our
Two years ago in March, Chairman Payne and I also wrote to the U.S.
Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, and included a letter of our -- a copy
of our letter to President SBY as well as the DVD and photographs. Despite
the serious concerns we raised about Indonesia's failure to live up to its
promises to allow members of Congress access to Jayapura and our request to
restrict funding to train Indonesia's military forces, his reply in April
was trite and indifferent as if West Papua is of no consequence to our
He concluded his letter by erroneously stating TNI performance on human
rights has improved dramatically. Copies of these letters as well as the
photographs and DVD are included for the record. Copies of our materials
which we sent in March two years ago to the House Committee on Foreign
Affairs, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and House and Senate
Appropriations subcommittee on State and foreign operation and the House
Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense and the Congressional Black Caucus
are also included for the record.
In March five years ago, Chairman Payne and I wrote to Secretary- General
Kofi Annan asking for a review of the United Nations conduct in West Papua.
Thirty-five other members of Congress from the Congressional Black Caucus
signed the joint letter and I'm also submitting that letter for the record.
This year, Chairman Payne and I once more have spearheaded and effort
calling upon this administration, President Obama, to deal fairly with the
people of West Papua and to meet with the team of 100 indigenous Papuan
leaders during his upcoming visit hopefully in November of this year to
Although our letter of June 9 of this year was signed by 50 members of the
U.S. Congress, the U.S. Department of State could not be bothered to send us
a thoughtful reply. Instead, we received a dismissive letter in August
signed by the assistant secretary of legislative affairs rather than by the
U.S. secretary of State, which sends a clear picture that this
administration may not be any different than any other in its response to
addressing our grave concerns about West Papua.
As a matter of record, I also am including these letters to be made part of
the record. Also I'm including a video that due to its sensitive subject
matter I cannot and will not show. The video depicts the violent murder of a
Papuan citizen who was killed, and I hate to use the word gutted, by an
Indonesian special force corps, a brigade mobile, while the victim was still
alive pleading for someone to kill him in order to put him out of his
This isn't the only murder. The late Papuan leader Theys Hiyo Eluay was also
savagely murdered and the list of lives lost goes on and on. As chairman of
this subcommittee, I believe I have been very patient. Yes, I realize the
importance of the U.S.-Indonesian relationship. Indonesia is the most
populous Muslim nation in the world with some 224 million people. The U.S.
has a strong interest in reaching out to the Islamic and Muslim world. But
our own struggle against Islamic militancy should not come at the expense of
the pain and killing and suffering of the people of West Papua.
This is not the America that I know of. We can and must do better and in his
statement before the United Nations against apartheid, Nelson Mandela said,
and I quote, "it will forever remain an accusation and challenge to all men
and women of conscience that it took so long as it has before all of us
stood up and to say enough is enough." This is how I honestly feel about the
situation in West Papua. It is my sincere hope that today's hearing will
help us find a way forward.
So far Indonesia has failed miserably to implement special autonomy and as a
result there is a sense of growing frustration among the Papuans and
rightfully so. I have said years ago and it has always been my premise in
saying to my friends in Indonesia, since Indonesia has done such a lousy job
in the treatment of the West Papuans, you might as well give them their
According to CRS, and I quote, "migration by non-Melanesian Indonesians from
elsewhere in the nation appears to be a critical part of the mounting
tensions. By some accounts, Melanesian Papuans will be in the minority in
their own homeland by the year 2015," end of quote. While there is so much
more I want to say about the commercial exploitation of West Papua's
renowned mineral wealth, which includes vast amounts of gold and copper and
nickel and oil and gas and yes, an American company -- Freeport Mining
Company -- owns shameful woe in this exploitation.
I will address these issues in my questioning of our witnesses. In
conclusion, I want to thank Edmund McWilliams, a retired U.S. senior Foreign
Service officer of the State Department who has been a longtime advocate for
the people of West Papua. Mr. McWilliams was unable to be with us today but
he has submitted
testimony for the record that will be included in today's hearing.
I also want to welcome our Papuan leaders who have flown at considerable
expense to testify before this subcommittee. I presume none flew at the
expense of the Indonesian government but we will find out during these
Those Papuan leaders who are with us today have lived the struggle. Whatever
the differences and whatever their situations, some have returned home after
being as refugees or asylum from other foreign countries, returned home and
reclaimed Indonesian citizenship. I've been clear as to their role in the
struggle that they have given up, never fully lived.
I hope we will provide an explanation at this hearing and for now I turn --
I recognize my good friend, Congressman Inglis from South Carolina for his
opening statement if he has.
REP. BOB INGLIS (R-SC): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just a couple of things,
one is thank you to those that performed. That was a treat to come here and
hear that and what telling video there that the chairman presented and his
opening statement I think shows the value of members of Congress traveling
to places like you traveled to. I've never been to Indonesia and really
don't have firsthand knowledge of these facts. But the chairman went there
obviously at some risks to himself and to do so is to gain firsthand
knowledge of the situation.
I wish that more Americans who are in the mood right now saying there's no
need to do any of that could have seen that video and heard what you said,
Mr. Chairman, because I think they might change their mind and realize how
important it is for the Foreign Affairs Committee especially and other
committees as well to be engaged in that kind of firsthand fact-finding
because you're able now to run a very knowledgeable hearing. So I should
just defer to you and say thank you for essentially educating the rest of us
by your video and the opening statement and appreciate the opportunity to be
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: I thank the gentleman for his comments and one of the
things that I think our friends from Indonesia or West Papua, as I tried to
inform them, one of the unique features of American democracy is that
Congress is a coequal branch with the executive branch of government, the
separation of powers and under our constitutional privileges where we have
the power to conduct oversight hearings as a way to counterbalance whatever
activities or whatever it is that the president in his honest opinion is
doing the right thing for the American people and for our government.
Again, I thank the gentleman for his kind comments and by the way, I was a
little concerned but I think basically what I wanted to share with my
colleagues is that the people all just simply want to just to meet and
express their concerns on some of the issues that have been lying low or
under the table or whatever that have not been brought publicly for public
scrutiny and this is something that people have asked me, why are you so
interested in West Papua. You're not even Papuan. I said, that's true.
But over 100 years ago, many of my relatives and people from Samoa were
missionaries and went to Papua and shared Christianity as a religion with
many of the Papuan people. One of my relatives served as a pastor and a
missionary there for some 17 years and three of his children are buried
there. So I guess that is the kinship that bears on my Samoan people and
with that of the people of West Papua. I've always wondered these so-called
experts that divided our Pacific people saying that Micronesians are people
from small islands because that's the word, Micronesia.
Polynesians are from many islands. Then they give an ethic description to
our brothers and sisters from Melanesia because they're black. It kind of
has a little tinge of racism there involved in terms of how this -- but I
don't know who the idiot was, whether he was an anthropologist or
archeologist, that gave this description to the peoples of the Pacific. So
with that, my good friend, the gentleman, I thank you. The gentlelady from
California for her opening statement?
REP. DIANE E. WATSON (D-CA): I want to thank you, Mr. Chairman. This is a
very timely hearing to look at the situation in Papua and I join you in your
concerns regarding the government of Indonesia. A Papuan journalist was
recently found dead with signs of torture, reports of political oppression
and allegations of military campaigns disseminating indigenous communities.
The State Department report on Indonesia released this year notes that
although Indonesia generally respected the rights of its citizens, there
have been problems this year, citing killings by security forces. Though
most agree that the crimes have been committed against the indigenous
population, there is less agreement that it's been done in a deliberate and
systematic way by the government in Jakarta.
It's important to understand the intent and the method of the recent actions
of the government. However, tensions are on the rise and separatist
sentiments are growing. The Papuan people assemblies just voted against
autonomy status because they do not feel that it is serving the people.
In-migration is also causing angst in the native population as they are
rapidly becoming the minority in their own homeland. It's important that we
address this growing unrest in West Papua.
The United States has always been documented going against the will of the
people. If you recall declassified documents released in 2004 indicated that
the U.S. supported Indonesia's takeover of Papua in the lead up to the 1969
Act of Free Choice, even as it was understood that such a move was likely
unpopular to the Papuans.
As this administration struggles to find a position on the issue, I hope it
will consider the rights and the abuse suffered by the people of West Papua.
Indonesia is a vital nation in the fight against Islamic extremists and it
is a past home of our current president, Barack Obama. I look forward to
hear the administration's position and their action plan on this most dire
situation. So I thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I yield back the remainder of
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: I thank the gentlelady for her statement and at this time
I would like to introduce our two witnesses representing the administration.
The first gentleman, Mr. Joseph Yun, who is currently the deputy assistant
secretary in the Bureau of East Asian Affairs and Pacific Affairs in the
U.S. Department of State, responsible primarily for relations with Southeast
Asia and the Asian countries, previously held positions as director of
office of maritime Southeast Asia in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific
Affairs in the Department of State, was also minister counsel for political
affairs at U.S. embassy in Korea.
Mr. Yun's other overseas posts include Thailand, France, Indonesia and Hong
Kong. Mr. Yun joined the Foreign Service in '85, is a career member of the
senior Foreign Service, class of minister counselor. Before joining the
Foreign Service, he was a senior economist at the Data Resources,
Incorporated, in Massachusetts. Mr. Yun holds degrees from the London School
of Economics and the University of Wales and we're very, very happy that
he's able to come this afternoon to testify.
Our other witness today is Secretary Robert Scher. He's the deputy assistant
secretary for Defense for South and Southeast Asia. The current assignment
of Mr. Scher is the deputy assistant secretary for this region. In this
capacity, Mr. Scher serves as the principal advisor to senior leadership
within the Department of Defense for all policy matters pertaining to
strategic or strategies and plans including interagency -- (inaudible) --
international strategy development and implementation.
Mr. Scher's earlier responsibilities include bilateral security relations
with India and all other South Asian countries, exceptions in Central Asia
and also the Pacific Island nations. Tremendous history, and worked with
some 15 years in the Department of Defense and State and has held numerous
posts covering Asian security and defense policy.
Mr. Scher received his bachelor of arts degree from Swarthmore College with
high honors and a master's of international relations from Columbia
University's school of international public affairs. He was awarded the
department of international affairs scholarship and gentlemen, again, I
really want to thank both of you for taking the time from your busy schedule
to testify before this subcommittee and I would like to now give you the
opportunity to make your statements. Secretary Yun?
MR. YUN: Chairman Faleomavaega, members of the subcommittee, thank you for
holding this important hearing.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Could you put the mike closer to you so that you could be
heard better? Yeah.
MR. YUN: Thank you for holding this important hearing today and asking me to
testify on the situation in Papua. With your permission, I would like to
make brief remarks and submit
the longer statement for the record.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Without objections, both of you gentlemen's statements
will be made part of the record and if you have any extraneous materials you
want to add to your statements, it will be done.
MR. YUN: Thank you. Developments in Papua are closely monitored and followed
by the Department of State and these 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
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 fair and nondiscriminatory 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 peaceful and
support development and good governance in the Papuan provinces.
Though 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've
continued 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.
Advancing human rights is one of our primary foreign policy objectives, not
only in Indonesia but throughout the world. 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 our 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 of 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. It is critical that independent and objective
observers have unrestricted access to Papua in order to monitor
At present, Indonesian journalists, 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 Indonesia government
to give these groups, including the International Committee of the Red
Cross, full and unfettered access toPapua and West Papua. There are several
factors which have contributed to tensions in Papua.
One is the democratic shift. 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 areas 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's
relatively low population density. Some Papuans have voiced concerns that
the migrants have disappeared with the traditional ways of life, land usage
and economic opportunities. Another factor is lack of 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. The region also has a disproportionally large number
of HIV/AIDS cases compared to the rest of Indonesia and high rates of infant
and maternal mortality. Another factor I would like to mention is that the
special autonomy law of 2001 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 in some central government ministries 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 increase funding to Papua, which
has totaled 27 trillion rupiah or approximately U.S. $3 billion in the past
nine years. This is the higher per capita than any other area in Indonesia.
In terms of U.S. assistance, the United States is working in partnership
with government of Indonesia and the provincial government of Papua and West
Papua to find ways to address the key development challenges of Papua,
including good governance, health, education and environmental protection.
USAID conducts various programs in Papua targeting economic growth,
democratic governance, health, environment and education. These programs
totaled $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 U.S. for thematic engagement on issues like resource distribution.
Our Fulbright programs have helped over 22 grantees from Papua. We also
partner with the private sector to effectively leverage resources. For
example, in public-private partnership, the Fulbright-Freeport scholarship
program has funded 18 individuals fromPapua to study in the United States.
Embassy Jakarta maintains a vigorous schedule of engagement in Papua and
West Papua and the U.S. mission officers routinely travel to provinces. I
understand that Ambassador Marciel, who arrived at post recently, plans to
travel to Papua in October. In closing, I would like to empathize that Papua
plays an important role in our sustained engagement with the government of
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 any questions you may have.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Secretary Scher?
MR. SCHER: Thank you, Chairman Faleomavaega and members of the subcommittee,
thank you for inviting me to appear before you today to provide testimony on
the Indonesian military's activities in Papua and West Papua. This issue is
important to our relationship with Indonesia and one that we in the
Department of Defense pay close attention to. I look forward to sustaining a
dialogue with you on these and other important issues concerning Indonesia.
As noted, I have
submitted testimony for the record, so will simply summarize that
Also, as you noted, it is important to see the situation in Papua and West
Papua in the context of our overall relationship with Indonesia. Indonesia
is a strategically important country to the United States for several
reasons. It is the fourth most populous country on the planet.
It is home to more Muslims than any other country in the world and stretches
across key maritime transit routes that connect the Middle East to East
Asia. Since the fall of Suharto more than 10 years ago, Indonesia has also
taken its place as the world's third largest democracy.
In that short time, Indonesia has made great advancements in consolidating
its democracy. During the past decade, the Indonesia armed forces, or TNI,
have undertaken several critical institutional reforms to help achieve
Indonesia's goal of establishing greater respect for human rights,
accountability and civilian control over the military.
Among these reforms are formally removing the military from political
affairs, establishing a clear delineation between the responsibilities of
the civilian police forces and the TNI and enhancing the authority of the
civilian minister of defense.
While the United States has encouraged and applauds such reforms, it is
important to note that the government of Indonesia undertook them of its own
volition. Indonesia's civilian and military leadership are both deeply
committed to the goal of professionalization and continue to take
significant steps to ensure that TNI is a force that understands the role of
a responsible military in a democratic system.
The TNI has made great strides in institutionalizing human rights training
for its forces but also knows that it has further to go. Recent steps in
this effort include the inclusion of human rights seminars in military
schooling, working with respected international institutions such as the
Norwegian Center for Human Rights and instituting refresher training prior
to deployments. Respect for human rights is now a core feature of TNI
doctrine and all deployed soldiers are required to carry a booklet
explaining the proper treatment of noncombatants.
Of course, the department takes seriously any allegations of human rights
abuses committed by Indonesian security forces, no matter where they occur.
When we hear of specific abuse allegations, the United States government
follows up on them through the appropriate State Department channels. We
recognize that there have been allegations of human rights abuses in Papua
and West Papua. The Department of Defense takes these allegations very
seriously, as we believe respect for human rights is a core mission of all
responsible security forces.
However, we have not yet seen any evidence to suggest that the incidents
under discussion are part of a deliberate or systematic campaign by the TNI
or government of Indonesia. Moreover, the government of Indonesia has stated
that there are no ongoing military combat operations in Papua or West Papua.
While Indonesia's security forces do not have a perfect record over the past
years, their reforms are continuing and moving in the right direction.
Earlier this year, the Indonesian defense minister issued a public statement
addressing Indonesia's military's commitment to protecting human rights
,explaining that reforms are in place to prevent future abuses and
expressing the TNI's commitment to holding human rights violators
Secretary Gates was recently in Jakarta and said, quote, "My view is that
particularly if people are making an effort to make progress, that
recognizing that effort and working with them further will produce greater
gains in human rights for people."
Put in other words, DOD simply believes that it is important to continue
engagement with the TNI, in part to continue to emphasize the importance of
these reforms and the importance of continuing to make progress on these
issues. We make clear that respect for human rights is an essential
component of professional military behavior and these issues are raised in
every formal meeting I have with my Indonesian counterparts as recently as
Therefore, the department and the U.S. government will continue to treat any
allegations of abuse with great seriousness. But together with our State
Department colleagues we will continue to closely monitor allegations of
human rights abuses and work with the TNI and Indonesian ministry of defense
towards appropriate investigation and accountability. Thank you for this
opportunity and I look forward to answering any questions.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Thank you, gentlemen, appreciate very much your
statements and we do have some questions. Secretary Yun, as you know, when i
met with President Megawati when she visited her in Washington, D.C., and I
was very hopeful very happy to learn that Indonesian parliament had passed a
law to provide special autonomy for the West Papuans. She even invited me to
come to West Papua and to dialogue and to meet with the government leaders
This is 2001 and as I said in my statement earlier, this is one of the
concerns that I have because I felt that special autonomy was the consensus
among the Papuan leaders in that just a sense of some respectability as to
their basic fundamental rights, allow an opportunity for them to build their
infrastructure, better roads, hospitals, health-care centers, whatever it is
that is needful and also to establish a similar relationship.
As I recalled in my meeting with President SBY, he was very excited and very
happy about the fact that they were successful after 30 years of
negotiations with the Aceh situation and with the implementation of a
special autonomy law that was made for the Aceh people and he felt that
perhaps a similar thing could also be done for the people of West Papua and
I was very excited about that.
Well, Mr. Secretary, this is nine years later now and as you said, even the
changes that have been made in the special autonomy law, and I'm just
curious what do you see as the basis. Is this the current policy of the
Indonesian government to implement the 2001 special autonomy or are we in
for another discussion or dialogue in terms of what to be done with the
people of Papua?
MR. YUN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I very much agree with you. If the 2001
special autonomy law can be fully implemented, we do believe that a lot of
frustrations currently felt by Papuans will decrease. It has been slow in
coming and I think even this year there have been a couple of incidents --
(inaudible) -- is one as well as others -- that we believe is caused by
Papuans feeling that special provisions such as cultural protection and
For example, there was strong demand that at -- (inaudible) -- level, which
is the county chief level, that they should be Papuans rather than migrants.
I think those grievances are very much felt and if the Indonesian government
in Jakarta, the central government can speed up the implementation of
special autonomy law, a lot of those grievances will -- I wouldn't say
disappear but will be somewhat lessened.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Do you consider is there a special agency or official
specifically assigned by the president to address the issues of West Papua
and the current relationship? This is what I'm a little fuzzy about too. I
understand some minister of social welfare or something was being assigned
that task and I'm not sure if that's true.
MR. YUN: As you know, the discussions take place between Papuan elected
officials. The two governors of Papua are elected and they're Papuan as well
as deputy governors and it is my understanding all of the mayors and the
county chiefs are also Papuan.
As well, they also have a separate body which represents the cultural
protection as well as consultative side of Papuan society and they are
represented in Jakarta and I understand that they travel to Jakarta to
consult with the parliament there. I'm not quite sure who in Indonesia is
the point person for making sure that special autonomy legislation is fully
implemented. I'm not sure there is one, honestly.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Can you provide for the record what --
MR. YUN: Yes sir.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: I'm at a loss myself in terms of understanding this. I
know you mentioned in your statement about the always has been a traditional
policy of our government to respect the territorial integrity of a country,
no different than the Indonesia telling the United States what to do dealing
with Native Americans, for example.
I'm fully aware and understand the situation here. It has been a little
difficult too, in that sense.
So we use that as the basis of we can't really do any more other than
Indonesia feels like talking to us or helping us about the needs of the
Papuans, they will. Otherwise, is there really anything more that we can do?
MR. YUN: last week, for example, we had as you know launch of joint
commission with Indonesia and under those joint commission which were
launched by Indonesian Foreign Minister Natalegawa and Secretary Clinton, we
did create six working groups and one of the working groups dealt with
democracy and civil society and during those working group meetings we did
have a discussion and those discussions centered around how maybe we can get
more access, especially the international NGOs such as International Red
So I think our immediate task is really getting to a dialogue, a serious
dialogue with the Indonesian side and so that we make some progress and we
discuss especially the allegations of human rights that are out there and
I'm sure the next panel will discuss them because honestly U.S. government
cannot send an investigation team of course whenever there is an allegation.
But we do want to discuss them and see where they're serious and consult
with our international community as well as the civil society.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: I'm very much aware of the fact that sometimes issues
where countries express their sovereignty, that matters are considered
internal matters and it's none of the business of other countries trying to
tell Indonesia what to do or how they're going to do things. I just want to
make the record clear. This is not the intent of this hearing, nor is it the
intent of this hearing just to talk about human rights violations.
As I said, years ago, and I still firmly believe that if we try to work
together with the government about implementing the provisions of the
special autonomy law because that was the consensus that I got years ago
from the Indonesian -- I mean, from the Papuan community and their leaders
-- that they're willing to do this.
But somehow, as you stated, there just has not been a plan put forward
perhaps by Jakarta in saying how exactly are you implementing the provisions
of the special autonomy law and I think this is where we seem to have an
impasse because either because of the difficulties or it's because they
don't feel like it.
I kind of like to hope in good faith wish the Indonesian government really
and sincerely -- let me say this for the record. I sincerely believe that
President SBY really wants to reach out and help the people ofPapua. I also
fully understand that he's under constraints. A lot of pressure is coming
from other sectors of the Indonesian community that puts him in a very
difficult situation, as you mentioned. So I'm very much aware of that.
But I just want to note and wanting to know our administration, as we are
advocating more openness by the Indonesian government, to see what is being
done to give us a sense of the Papuan people. I've got a couple more
questions but I want to give this opportunity to my colleague from
California for her line of questions.
REP. WATSON: I just want to follow up, Mr. Chairman. In your observation of
what's going on -- and we recognize the sovereignty as has been mentioned
and what our role is -- but do you feel that the Papuans are under threat in
their own land? Does it seem like they're becoming a minority or are they
already a minority in their own land, your observation?
MR. YUN: My observation is that they are not yet a minority. I think the
numbers show that about a 60-40 at the moment, 60 Papuans as opposed to 40
migrants. However, clearly if this trend continues, they will be minority
and probably in quite a short time. I think that is one of the greatest
frustrations among Papuans is the demographic shifts and special autonomy
law does create some protection for Papuans, a lot of protections for
Papuans and this is why it is important to implement those laws.
REP. WATSON: Could the motivation be the wealth of natural resources there
MR. YUN: I don't think it's necessarily -- my view is it's not only about
dividing the economic pie. I think there is a lot more to that. There is
cultural reasons and as the chairman indicated, deep- rooted historical
reasons. In fact, I think in terms of economic resources being transferred,
as I mentioned in my testimony, it has been substantial.
But it's also about the capacity to use those economic resources and I think
it's also about the political position each group will hold. So I think the
growing frustration, we do have a trend I believe where in fact, as Bob
mentioned here, there has been less and less human rights violation
incidents. However, that hasn't been accompanied by Papuans themselves
feeling less frustrated.
So we do have those two trends which are somewhat contradictory and I think
it has to do with the migration, with the economy in comparison with the
rest of Indonesia falling behind. So it's a complicated story and the
frustration is also felt in Jakarta by the Indonesians and I'm sure Chairman
Faleomavaega has heard that, which is that they have given them at least
what they thought was a lot of leeway.
They are governed by Papuans. The two governors, they have considerable
power, are Papuans. Deputy governors are Papuans. The county chiefs and
mayors are Papuans, yet it doesn't seem to have resolved the basic
REP. WATSON: I was wondering how involved will the U.N. be if the conditions
continue as they are now. Mr. Scher, maybe you want to comment?
MR. YUN: Thank you, Bob. It is very much an internal issue and I'm sure we
all appreciate that this is an internal issue. It is a domestic political
issue. But having said that, of course, we do, everyone in the international
community, have an interest in good governance, in meeting the commitment of
Indonesia towards international community and I would say that we have
stressed this over and over again.
There has been a democratic transition in Indonesia. President SBY has been
reelected by enormous majority and there is strong civil society in
Indonesia as well as a healthy parliament. So it's really for them to work
this through and I think obviously U.N. can help as well as international
I'm sure you will see in the next panel, for example we do have Human Rights
Watch who have personnel out there in Jakarta especially and that will give
us a good report on what is going on. So in this day where communication is
quick, we're going to learn and we're going to know what is going on. So
however basically it is a domestic Indonesian issue and I do believe given
the democratic transition we will make improvements.
REP. WATSON: I'll yield back, Mr. Chairman.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Thank you. Secretary Yun, you had mentioned one of the
delays in giving provincial governments the opportunity to develop given the
fact that for a nine-year period, Jakarta gave some U.S. $3 billion as part
of the infrastructure development, which has been brought to my attention.
So on a per capita basis, with envy and disappointment, there are other
provinces or other states within Indonesia share disappointment why West
Papua is given all that money.
It also happens to be that the largest corporate taxpayer to Jakarta is the
American Freeport gold mining operation that's going on right now in West
Papua. So by all means, all these mineral resources are coming from West
Papua and rightly so, they should be getting some of that money back since
it is their resource.
But I do want to say that give credit where credit is due. There is no
question the last time that I met President Suharto, he was very ill and on
the eve of his finally giving up his presidency, the elections were then
conducted and I do believe in giving credit where credit is due.
Indonesia has come a long way and these two national elections of President
SBY has demonstrated that Indonesia, a Muslim country, is committed to
democracy and principles of the ballot box determining a leadership and all
of that. I'm very much aware of that. But at the same time, I do want to say
that maybe we are not doing enough to give assistance to Indonesia or is it
because of the problems internally within Indonesia that has made the
process very slow in implementing the autonomy act? My point is if it was
possible to implement the special autonomy for Aceh, then why is it
difficult -- why is it that they couldn't do the same for West Papua? Is it
You know there's no ethnic ties, nationality, culturally or any way close of
the Javanese or the people of Indonesia with that of Papua. I think that's a
fair fact and we have to admit that. But I curiously wanted to know from
both of you what is the administration -- where is the administration's
position in terms of dealing with West Papua. We can all talk about we've
filed -- we sent a cablegram, we talked to the people there, our
counterparts at our U.S. embassy and all of that.
But Mr. Secretary, it's been nine years and I'm still waiting. Some say,
well, why are you in a rush, Eni? Sixty years it's going on now and still
not very much opening in terms of giving the people of West Papuatheir basic
fundamental civil rights and I think that's basically in my discussions with
the leaders of Papua, just treat us with decency. Give us the right to
pursue and at the same time be part of the overall bigger picture in terms
of their involvement and be made part of the national government in Jakarta.
So that's basically what we're trying to pursue here and I wanted to ask
Secretary Scher a little question here. You noted that basically our overall
national policy towards Indonesia, where does our strategic and military
interest come into play in dealing with Indonesia?
MR. SCHER: We see the strategic and military interests as part of a broader
picture of Indonesia and it's difficult I think to divide all of them. I
obviously spoke about some of the broader interests that we have, strategic
interests. But a very important part, we play a supporting role in the
Department of Defense for the overall foreign policy and so we use the tools
that we have at our disposal to help build further U.S. policy to serve our
interests and to help build partner capacity in countries that share common
So I'm not one to be able to say how we rank different pieces but it's
obviously a very important piece and it's one that we think we bring
valuable tools to achieve our overall U.S. objectives and goals.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Secretary Yun, you had indicated that journalists do
travel freely to Papua and West Papua. I want to share my own experience. I
was supposed to go there for three days and I only went for two hours and 10
MR. YUN: I think that has to be corrected. I said Indonesians can travel
freely to Papua, Indonesian journalists and others. But foreign journalists,
diplomats and overseas civil society, NGOs, they have to get permission
before they can travel to Papua.
FALEOMAVAEGA: well, I think the question now before us is where do we go
from here. It's my understanding there has been some rumblings in some of
the sectors of the Papuan community where they have come and said that
special autonomy has failed and we want something else. Are you aware of
MR. YUN: Yes sir.
FALEOMAVAEGA: Do you believe that our policies should continue to work with
Indonesia in implementing special autonomy?
MR. YUN: Yes, I believe that. I think we need to continue to work with
Indonesian government and work and with the international community. I think
those two are crucial. Indonesian government, I believe as it has happened
over the past decade, as the civil society and as the democracy takes even
firmer root, I do think there will be tendency, increasing tendency to look
at Papua as what it is, which is part of Indonesia and work towards that,
taking into account Papuan culture, history and a lot of issues that have
been disappointed has to do with lack of implementation of special autonomy
law rather than special autonomy law itself.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Given my own personal experience in dealing with
colonialism, we fought against the most powerful country in the world at
that time during the Revolution and we defeated the mighty British Empire
and as a matter of principle, as we all know, the Dutch Netherlands,
Indonesia was a colony of the Dutch and so was West Papua.
When Indonesia became independent, they continued putting West Papua as part
of Indonesia when in fact culturally, historically and in every way there is
just no connection whatsoever between the Papuan people and that of the
Indonesia people. So how do we balance -- how do we say that it's okay that
Papua, a former colony, took over by another colony, former colony,
justifies the fact that a better consideration be given to the Papuan people
than just simply you're part of Indonesia, no ifs, ands or buts and that's
MR. YUN: Mr. Chairman, I don't know whether that was a question. I would
fully agree with you. History is full of oddities and for us now to go back
and correct that is not a possible task. We are what we have today and we
have to work with what we have today and this is the reality and I do
sympathize that there is tremendous ethnic, cultural division in these
areas, even let alone Papua, within Indonesia itself. So we do have to
recognize integrity of Indonesia, its territorial integrity. But that does
not mean that we should ignore history. But at the same time we cannot
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Well, with all due respect, Mr. Secretary, South Africa
comes to my mind, that apartheid was practiced in the worst way and black
people who held a majority in population of South Africa were treated almost
like animals as far as I'm concerned and after year after year after year,
even pleading with the European countries and even with our own government,
as a matter of principle, is it right that apartheid could be practiced the
way it was done in South Africa, where thousands and thousands of people
were killed. There's no question there was bloodshed.
So you're saying that it's okay to disregard the past just as it was in the
struggles of Mr. Nelson Mandela and other black leaders dealing with the
South African apartheid issue where there was a lot of resistance. As a
matter of principle, as a matter of principle, is it proper for black people
who were the vast majority in this country, were treated less than humans
and with all the civil rights and everything not even part of it. But
history then put itself forward in saying it's not right.
What I'm suggesting here is I'm not trying to plead that Indonesia work now
towards granting independence for the Papua but what I am saying -- what I
am saying -- are they getting proper treatment? Are they respecting the
rights of the Papuan people to be part of the national government and all of
that? Do you feel that it will be forthcoming or are we just going to
continue another 10 years, as I've been waiting for the last nine years
about special autonomy and nothing happened?
MR. YUN: Mr. Chairman, I do agree with you that tremendous improvements can
be made in situation in Papua. But I don't think I would agree that
situation in Papua in any way resembles the situation in South Africa during
the height of apartheid. I don't think I would agree to that. Am I
optimistic that the situation will be improving or continue to improve?
I think it depends on the route of democracy and whether freely elected
governments and all the institutions that go with such governments such as
law and order and accountability and parliamentary democracy and also
accountability of regional governments. If they can grow together, then I am
very optimistic that situation in Papua will improve.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Secretary Scher?
MR. SCHER: I certainly defer to deputy assistant Yun. I would just say that
I think it's a constant -- it's a struggle for much of the government of
Indonesia to deal with the wide range of heterogeneous populations that
exist within the incredibly large archipelago and certainly they are doing
it better in some places than in others and clearly West Papua and Papua I
think is a place where there is a need for an improvement in how they're
But I do think that it is worthwhile to note that the success of this
experiment of being able to include wide variety of different ethnic,
linguistic groups into a country is one that we have done very well with
here in the United States and I think we should realize and hope and support
any country that is trying to do the same thing under the democratic system
that we see in Indonesia.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Gentlemen, I deeply appreciate your statements and the
dialogue and do you have any further statements that you want to add for the
record? All right, thank you very much, appreciate your coming.
For our next panel of witnesses, we need to set up the table there, if we
could have our friends that are going to be testifying here. I'm sure that
we have all of our witnesses here. We have enough chairs there, Villi (ph)?
We need another chair for Mr. Messet. So why don't we just move it down
further? I think Mr. Messet is right here. Can we just move down? Mr. Messet,
you there, okay?
All right, for our panel of witnesses that we have this afternoon I want to
introduce our distinguished witnesses for the record. On my extreme left is
Dr. Pieter Drooglever, who has a doctorate from the -- (inaudible) --
University in the history department. His doctoral dissertation explored the
internal politics of the Dutch East Indies in the 1930s.
He was a staff member of the Institute of Netherlands History from '69 to
2006. His main project was editing some 20-volume collections of source
materials on Dutch-Indonesian relations from 1945 to 1963. This project was
completed at the time of his retirement four years ago. He also wrote a
series of articles and other books on related subjects.
His final study, his book "The Act of Free Choice in West Papua", was
published in English last year and is expected that the Indonesian language
version will be coming out this year. He's served on the board of several
key institutions and committees promoting the study of Indonesia and the
Netherlands. He's also professor of history at the Radboud University in
Nijmegen -- I hope I pronounce that incorrectly.
Our next witness -- oh boy, they've got these sequences mixed up here. I
don't even have it. We'll work on Mr. Mote's bio. It's not here. But our
next witness will be Mr. Henkie Rumbewas. He worked with the United Nations
in East Timor to investigate human rights abuses during the period of
He is a refugee from Biak in the Papua province who witnessed the detention
and torture of his father during the 1969 Act of Free Choice. Mr. Rumbewas
is an Australian citizen who travels freely with delegations from Australia
Protestant churches to his home to do humanitarian and educational work in
Mr. Nicholas Messet is here with us also. He's the director of human
resource development of the general affairs for Sarmi Papua Asia Oil, two
years now, deputy chairman of the independent group supporting special
autonomous regions in the Republic of Indonesia foundation in Jakarta,
assistant moderator in Papua Council Presidium for 10 years now.
He's a pilot with Islands Nationair in Port Moresby as well as in
Bougainville, Buka, Vanimo, Kimbe and Papua New Guinea, also a pilot in Air
Vanuatu, pilot with Air New Guinea. He's a flying instructor to the national
aviation special academy, worked with the Australian Broadcasting Commission
and worked with the public works department in Port Moresby.
Educational background, he trained in Piedmont in Greensboro, North
Carolina, and Pan Am in Miami, Florida, for wide-bodied aircraft and B-727s
and 737s, since 1988, trained with American flyers in Santa Monica, trained
with national air cooperation, a very distinguished record as a pilot and
aviator for that reason.
As a member of this foundation team and witness, Mr. Nicholas Jouwe
reinstated as a full-fledged citizen of the Republic of Indonesia by
minister for justice and human rights, His Excellency Patrialis Akbar, and
minister coordinating for social services and Mr. Messet has been a member
of several delegations traveling all over the world; the United Nations,
even here in the United States and five years ago returned voluntarily to
Indonesia after living in exile for some 36 years and as a result, he's now
a full-fledged citizen and a strong advocate of special autonomy status for
the people of Papua. He's fluent in Bahasa, Indonesian, Dutch, English and
Swedish languages. Boy, that's quite a deal there, Mr. Messet.
Octovianus Mote earned his undergraduate studies in the social and political
science faculty in Parahyangan Catholic University in Indonesia, began
working as a journalist for Kompas, leading daily newspaper in Indonesia in
'88 and from '98 to 2000 was bureau chief of the Kompas for West Papua, led
a historic team of 100 to meet with President Habibie. Mr. Mote obtained
political asylum in the United States following death threats. He's now
visiting fellow at the Cornell University Southeast Asian program and
genocide studies at Yale University.
Mr. Yumame, Maurits Yumame, we have? Mr. Salamon Yumame is a retired
executive of talcum, an Indonesian government communications company, is
chairman of the Democratic Forum, has been involved in a dialogue with the
governor's office and the Indonesian government department of interior about
the implementation of special autonomy. In June and July of this year, some
20,000 people took to the streets in demonstration against FORDEM's call to
return the special autonomy law to the Indonesian government.
Eben Kirksey is a visiting assistant professor at CUNY Graduate Center in
New York. In '98 he was an exchange student at Cenderawasih University where
he witnessed the shooting of fellow students and the subsequent massacre in
Biak, earned his bachelor's degree in anthropology and biology from New
College in Florida, as a Marshall scholar at the University of Oxford, he
studied Indonesian state violence and the provinces of Papua and West Papua,
earned his master's of philosophy from Oxford University and now completed
his doctoral program at the University of California at Santa Cruz. It's
expected that he will be publishing a book concerning the issue.
Ms. Sophie Richardson is the acting director of Human Rights Watch Asia
division and oversees agency's work on China, graduate University of
Virginia and Oberlin College. Dr. Richardson is the author of numerous
articles on domestic Chinese political reform, democratization and human
rights in Cambodia, China, Hong Kong and the Philippines. She's testified
before European Parliament and the U.S. Senate and the House of
Representatives. She has provided documentary or commentary to the BBC, CNN,
Far East Economic Review, Foreign Policy, a whole host of other
I think -- did I miss anybody? I think we've pretty much covered our bases.
I would like at this time for Dr. Drooglever for his testimony and again,
without objection, all your statements will be made part of the record and
if you have any additional materials that you want to add to be made part of
the record, yes, do so. Also, because of the number of witnesses that we
have, please, if you could be concise and limit your statements to five
minutes so that we can -- give us the meat, okay? Don't go all over the
world and go to the moon and then come back and miss the point. Give us the
meat of your statements and as I said, your statements will fully be made
part of the record.
Again, I want to thank all of you, especially those of you who have traveled
all the way from Indonesia to come and testify before this subcommittee. As
I said earlier, I am not aware at any time ever in the history of this
Congress, both in the Senate and in the House, that an oversight hearing has
ever been held concerning West Papua. So consider yourself pioneers.
T he direction this hearing is going to take us in the future, I want to
assure you, ladies and gentlemen, that my purpose of this hearing is not to
point fingers and to do any disparaging things to embarrass Indonesia, other
than the fact that it would be very helpful for my colleagues and for the
American public at that to know more about your people and understand at
some point 2.2 million of your fellow people living in Papua and West Papua
do have an interest and someone once said here in America there is after all
one race and that's the human race.
I think if we understand that in terms of the principles involved here, I
think we will elevate this issue and hopefully something good will come out
as a result of this hearing. Professor Drooglever, and I might also add
before he begins his statement, this is a copy of the book that Professor
Drooglever gave me, almost 700 pages. I spent all night last night reading
the book, Professor Drooglever.
To my knowledge, this is probably the most comprehensive work ever done on
the history of the situation in Papua, Indonesia and U.S. involvement and
the United Nations. I'm making a plug here for him. Buy the book. It's
interesting about this that he was assigned by the Dutch parliament, if I
remember correctly, to do a study about West Papua and under the condition
that he be given absolutely access, freedom to do the research in the
archives and documents and everything and for which it was promised it was
The archives here in the United States, Great Britain, France, Netherlands,
unfortunately with the exception of Indonesia, but hopefully maybe one day
you will be given access to do a study on that too. So I just want to say
that I was very, very impressed, Professor Drooglever, with this work that
you've done. Five years is a long time. I don't think I could ever write a
book that would take me that long.
Taking five years to meticulously document and put everything in mind in
terms of explaining to the public mind and to the scholars and to everybody
for that matter what happened. So Pieter, please proceed.
MR. DROOGLEVER: [prepared
statement here] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. You have given an excellent
example and I hope many will follow. Well, the book then, "An Act of Free
Choice: Decolonization and the Right to Self- Determination in West Papua"
is the subject. That book gives an overall --
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Professor Drooglever, can you put the mike closer to you
so that -- I know you have a very strong accent and sometimes --
MR. DROOGLEVER: Thank you, yes, I'll do my best.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Us Americans, we have a very difficult time in speaking.
I'm still learning to speak English, by the way. So forgive me for this. I
know you tend to speak very fast, but please help me. Go about 50 miles per
hour and I think I can grasp your -- thank you.
MR. DROOGLEVER: Okay. The book gives an overall picture of the history of
West Papua, a territory that was only brought under effective rule of the
Netherlands in the 20th century. The focus of the book is on the post-war
history of the territory. It explores Papua's exclusion from the transfer of
sovereignty to Indonesia in '49, the subsequent conflict with Indonesia and
the origins of the New York Agreement which was signed in 1962.
The parties to this agreement decided to hand over the territory to
Indonesia through the intermediary of a temporary U.N. administration. That
New York Agreement stipulated that after a period of Indonesian rule there
would be a plebiscite for the Papuans, in which they would be able to choose
between permanent integration within the Indonesian state or not. That
plebiscite, called the Act of Free Choice, had to be organized by Indonesia
under the terms laid down in the New York Agreement, and carried out under
the supervision of the United Nations.
It took place in 1969 and it resulted in a unanimous vote in favor of
permanent inclusion in Indonesia. None of the United Nations observers
present in the field, nor observers from abroad, believed the result. The
evidence -- which was brought forward in my book -- allows for no other
conclusion than that the outcome was in no way representative of the real
feelings of the populations.
Under the eyes of the United Nations, the Act of Free Choice perpetuated an
era of repression and depreciation for the Papuans that essentially
continues until the present day. In this story, a few points are relevant
for the hearing today.
One, the final period of Dutch administration between 1950 and '62 was a
somewhat belated effort in preparing the Papuans for self- determination. It
led to the creation of a small but rapidly expanding young Papuan elite who
entered the administration and educational system in increasing numbers.
They developed a communal feeling and a nationalism of their own. Political
life sprang up and a national committee decided for a flag and an anthem for
the Papuans. Upon instigation of the Dutch, plans were narrowed down to
self-determination in or around 1970. For the Papuan elite, the entrance of
the Indonesians shortly afterwards, after the conclusion of the New York
Agreement, was a sudden shock which made an end to their dreams of future
independence. The Papuans felt like they had been betrayed by the world.
Two, the New York Agreement was brought about under strong pressure from the
United States. At the end of the Eisenhower administration, the State
Department drafted a document that later was to form the basis of the New
York Agreement. U.S. officials first proposed the idea of a U.N. interim
administration before transfer to Indonesia.
Following pressure from the Dutch some paragraphs on self- determination
were added in, but these were weakly worded as a result of Indonesian
counter-pressure. Thus, the foundations for the inadequate Act of Free
Choice were already laid down in the agreement itself.
In 1962, when the New York Agreement was formulated, the Indonesians were in
a position to put strong pressure upon the Dutch. The Republic of Indonesia
had assembled, in the-space of a few years, an impressive invading force.
They had advanced weaponry, ships and airplanes that had been supplied both
by the Americans and the Russians. Earlier U.S. promises of military support
for the Dutch, in case of an Indonesian attack, were played down gradually
during the negotiations. The Dutch were thus confronted with a war that
would have to be fought out without American support.
Moreover, in the Netherlands itself a longing for better relations with
Indonesia, its former and dearest colony, was growing stronger. This mixture
of circumstances and arguments and sentiments forced the Dutch government to
Then the fourth point, under these conditions, the role of the military in
the Indonesian victory of 1962 was undeniable and conspicuous. Indonesian
soldiers were well aware of this. When given access to New Guinea, as it was
called then still, in October 1962, they took possession of the territory in
a spirit of a victorious occupational army. The Dutch slipped out under U.N.
protection ? and for them that was an advantage indeed.
But the Papuans had to cope with the soldiers and accompanying officials.
From the beginning, the Indonesian army was the prime force in the
administration of the territory. It was carried out in a very rough handed
way, with hardly any appreciation for the special character of Papuan
worlds. For most Indonesians, West Papua was a place of banishment. Yet, in
the beginning at least, they enjoyed taking over a comfortable colonial
administration. The typewriters, the hospital equipment and other elements
of the basic infrastructure were taken away.
Jobs of the Papuan elite were taken over, the educational system graded down
and the civil society of West Papua slipped down the road towards greater
misery. After General Suharto became president of Indonesia, the new
minister of foreign affairs, Adam Malik, visited the territory. Malik was
shocked by the desolation he found there. The Javanese civil servants had
robbed the country blind. Embitterment reigned everywhere. In his own words,
Malik promised improvement, but in effect his government brought increasing
The first operations of the Papuan resistance had already started in '65,
and were countered by Indonesian soldiers with maximal violence.
The number of victims is hard to determine, in large part due to lack of
access to the territory by foreign observers. All together the casualties
ran into thousands already by 1969. By most estimations, the violence
increased until 1985 and then slowed down afterwards. Yet it is still a
harshly governed territory, but this is outside the scope of my book. That's
for my neighbors.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Thank you, Professor. Mr. Mote, for your testimony?
MR. MOTE: [prepared
statement here] Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for this historical testimony
for us and on behalf of my nation I would like to say thank you for this
testimony. Let me start with making a statement that special autonomy in
West Papua has failed. This was the conclusion drawn not just by a
particular group that fights for independence but the Papuan Traditional
Council and then Papuan Presidium Council, governor of West Papua also
signed local university -- (inaudible) -- special autonomy and the
conclusions are the same as the aspirations by the people.
Recently, the same university organized a seminar in the University of
Indonesia, also tried to explain that this special autonomy has failed and
they have tried to get support from other universities in Indonesia to raise
their concern. As a background, Congressman, when this autonomy was raised,
I was in Papua as a chairman, a bureau chief of Kompas, the biggest
So the dictatorship of President Suharto, who ruled Indonesia for 32 years,
came to an end in 1998 amidst a widely popular reform movement that swept
this island nation. The era of comparative freedom that came to the end of
Suharto's rule opened new political opportunities for the people of West
Papua, as well as East Timor and Aceh. Nationalist movements developed
grassroots support in each of these territories.
The public demonstrations in Papua, which featured the flying of the morning
star flag, were staged throughout the territory in 1998. A delegation of 100
Papuan leaders met with President Habibie. I was appointed by government of
Indonesia to facilitate that meeting and then in the palace in October 25,
1999, people expressed their experience under Indonesian control and then
they said we must be let go to maintain ourselves.
Right after that meeting, Mr. Chairman, I was accused by government of
Indonesia and I was put in a -- (inaudible) -- to abroad. Actually, in that
moment I was invited by U.S. government. I traveled to the U.S. and then I
gathered political asylum in this country.
Mr. Chairman, there are a couple of progress that we can admit that happened
under special autonomy, which is the funding for instance, the amount of
money that Mr. Yun just mentioned. The problem, Mr. Chairman, is that
governor of West Papua admitted that more than 80 percent of that funding
goes for the government for salary and to build new agencies. The government
of Indonesia is extending right now. When I was there as a journalist, Mr.
Chairman, it was just nine agencies. Right now we have 30 new agencies and
all this money goes for the new construction, for the public servants that
come to the agencies. This is one of the threats, Mr. Chairman, about the
Papuans that we feel we will -- (inaudible) -- faster than what we were
thinking of before.
Another point that I would like to raise, Mr. Chairman, is about the
security in West Papua. Under a proposal that the west Papuan people in
preparing the special autonomy, they tried to put the security under
governor's control. But it was cut out and it stated that no civilian
authority can control the military. Right now, Mr. Chairman, the number of
the troops is extending more and more. Under immigration law, each and every
agency are allowed to form a new district of a military. So it is just a
matter of time that a military will extend more and more to under Indonesian
So, so far the military are the same. There is nothing changed in the
military's attitudes in West Papua. The Papuan people right now reject the
special autonomy, Mr. Congressman. Basically not just because they don't get
any education, economic and the welfare issue, but really because they see
they are really about to extend and that they can see either almost all of
big city in West Papua, Mr. Congressman, the population are 16 percent of
settles and 40 percent are Papuans.
So we still have a West Papuan population in remote areas but inner cities
are already we are minatory, Mr. Congressman. That's really -- I went a
couple of years ago at the Yale University where I'm part of a seminar. A
professor right there explained when he visits West Papua, he needed to
recognize the situation in West Papua. You don't have to study a long time.
You just sit in the market and you will see how the neo-colonialization
taking place in West Papua.
Therefore, Congressman, Papuans have lost faith in the rule of an interim
government to resolve longtime differences autocratic rule by the --
(inaudible) -- in Jakarta, security forces that continue to operate with
impunity as well as laws that limit basic political and religious freedoms.
The Papuan traditional council, the Dewan Adat Papua, is a grassroots
political organization representing the 250 indigenous WestPapuans has
recently reiterated a call for a dialogue between Republic of Indonesia and
the Papuan people.
Such a dialogue would only be possible according to the Papuan Traditional
council, which we have the chairman of the Papuan Traditional Council right
there, Mr. -- (inaudible) -- that such a dialogue should be taking place
with the international facilitation as a neutral third party.
Then last, just this week, President SBY stated that he rejects the dialogue
with the Papuans and this is what we see as Papuans as discriminatory policy
because the same current president willing to dialogue with Acehnese but why
he reject us? Mr. Chairman, therefore we would like to thank you for your
recent letter to President Obama encouraging him to make West Papua one of
the highest priorities of the administration. We also thank you to the other
50 members of the U.S. Congress who signed this letter asking the president
to meet with the people of West Papua during his upcoming trip to Indonesia.
We certainly hope that the president takes your request to heart. Thank you
FALEOMAVAEGA: Thank you, Mr. Mote. We are joined this afternoon by one of
our distinguished colleagues and senior members of the Foreign Affairs
Committee, my good friend, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee, from the great
State of Texas, and I would like to give her this opportunity for an opening
statement if she has one.
REP. SHEILA JACKSON-LEE (D-TX): Mr. Chairman, thank you so very much. I
think it is important for the witnesses to know that the chairman was kind
enough to make this an open meeting for members of the full committee that
may not be on the subcommittee and forgive me for possibly being here or not
being here at the start of the hearing and I may not be able to stay but I
wanted the chairman to know that I consider this of such importance that
beyond the letter that we have written, I would like to join him in whatever
his leadership chooses to pursue, i.e., an additional letter as we begin to
approach 2011 to encourage the president to meet on this very important
issue regarding West Papua and the people, the indigenous people of that
My remarks speak to the largeness of human rights and I am sympathetic and
very knowledgeable of the important role that Indonesia plays as a
democratic Islamic nation, the largest Muslim nation, the importance of
that. We should not take away from that. But I believe that human life and
dignity must also stand up against or stand alongside of comprehensive peace
agreements or alliances where we are trying to bolster the relationship
between an Islamic nation and the United States.
Frankly, I believe that the United States in its government today probably
has less to apologize for as it relates to the Muslim world. We have
extended our hand of friendship. I believe I'm a friend of the Muslim world.
I don't believe we hold to discrimination despite the diversity in our
country raises their voices sometimes. So I think we're on good ground.
But if here's anything that we have the moral high ground to stand on,
including our own internal assessment of our own beliefs, is the question of
human rights and the indigenous rights or the rights of people to be
sovereign or at least to be respected. I now there are separatists who have
become frustrated and don't believe that there is a serious commitment to
recognizing the people and particularly concerned because of the pending
visit of our president focused around the relationship between Indonesia and
the United States.
So I really came to add my support to the leadership of this very fine
chairman who has brought enormously important issues on indigenous people
who may not feel that they have been heard. We cannot, and I would pose a
question for the record, Mr. Chairman, I know we're not in the questioning
time frame at this point but I think it's important that Mr. Joseph Yun, who
I believe is here, deputy Assistant to the East Asian and Pacific affairs --
I'm not seeing his name but maybe I'm ignoring it.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA Would the gentlelady yield?
REP. JACKSON-LEE: Yes.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: He did testify earlier this afternoon and I will be more
than glad to forward whatever list of questions that you might have for him
to respond to us for the record. We'll be happy to do that.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: Thank you. Then I'll articulate the question. I don't
think the Congress should have to wait until the night before the
president's visit to get a firm response as to whether or not this issue
will be an agenda item as he goes to meet with the leadership in Indonesia.
I know this very fine chairman probably probed Mr. Yun, Secretary Yun, with
that same question. I'm not sure how detailed the answer may have been.
But this is so important. Indonesia is so distant that we should not lose
the opportunity to have a very serious discussion that involves human
rights. Frankly, I believe that as we engage with the Muslim world, as we
continue to emphasize Islam as a faith, as other faiths are, a faith of
nonviolence, a faith of charity and love, we can do that and work to
establish relationship with Indonesia as we ask the hard questions about
what you are doing, about the indigenous people who are still asking for
their rights as well.
This is a difficult challenge because, Mr. Chairman, I would wonder whether
or not we would be able to assess that we had the people from this region as
our neighbor. When I say that, some say, oh yes, there's a family down the
street. Maybe there is but it's probably not as much on the minds of
Americans as it should be. It is the responsibility of the United States
Congress to do it.
Let me conclude, because of the chairman's indulgence, to be able to just
emphasize the issues that I have read in this memo and I'm tempted and will
put on the record that it is alleged that potentially this population, West
Papuan, has suffered great injustices and deprivation at the hands of
Indonesia, where some may have described it as genocide. We were afraid of
that word with Sudan. We ran away from that word with Sudan. We ran away
because we were sensitive of wanting to create relationships and continue
dialogue. I want to create relationships. I want to continue dialogue.
But, Mr. Chairman, I'm not willing to create relationships and continue
dialogue over the dead bodies or the loss of rights of a population of
people. I did say this was my last comment but I'm reminded of the
collaboration of which so many Americans, including you, Mr. Chairman, being
the leader, during the tsunami when many rushed to Indonesia and that
region, Sri Lanka and other places, because we cared about the loss of human
life and we wanted to be there to aid our friends.
We simply ask now that Indonesia as a pending friend and as a friend joins
us in answering the questions about the military operations and the denial
of human rights and the potential of the terrible act that may be called
genocide and to our president, who I know holds a moral high ground on human
rights, we're asking that these discussions be carried on in any visit by
the president of the United States to Indonesia as they look forward to
cementing their partnership and as well recognizing the rights of all
people. Mr. Chairman, thank you for allowing me to provide an opening
statement and with that I yield.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: I thank the gentlelady for her most eloquent statement
and deep insights in terms of the issues confronting the people of West
Papua as well as our ongoing current relationship with the leaders in the
Republic of Indonesia.
There is no question that the issue poses a lot of challenges and tremendous
amount of problems affecting the lives and the welfare of the people of West
Papua and it is my sincere hope that this hearing is an indicator of the
interest of my colleagues and members of Congress and just to see and make
sure that we will continue this dialogue and want to work very closely with
the leaders of Indonesia to see what we can do to give proper assistance to
the needs of our Papuan brothers and sisters.
So with that, the gentlelady, I thank her for her statement and she's
welcome to ask any questions. We just got through with two witnesses
testifying. So at this time I would like to ask Mr. Rumbewas for his
MR. RUMBEWAS: [prepared
statement here] Allow me to extend the greetings and gratitude from the
people of West Papua. We are the indigenous people from Koya, from Motte and
Jow Suba from the people and Achemo from the people of the head of the birds
for to you, Chairman, Mr. Chairman, and Chairman Donald Payne and to all
members of the United States Congress who have supported West Papuans.
With my whole heart, all the way from West Papua, although I've been living
in exile in Australia at the moment, but the last six years I've been
teaching English and I've been witnessing so much and today I'd like to say
as follows. We owe particular gratitude to the 50 members of Congress who
signed the recent letter about West Papua to the president of the United
States, Mr. Barack Obama.
I'll start with myself. I was born on September 27, '56 on the Island of
Biak, West Papua, where in the Second World War, where the American bases
were more than 12,000 Americans -- Japanese were massacred. I was only
7-years-old when the Indonesian military invaded West Papua in 1962. My
father was a health worker at the local hospital during the Dutch
administration. In the middle of the night my father was taken by the armed
forces and sent to prison with many other West Papuans on the island of
This was the first nightmare I experienced in my life that I bring with me.
My father was sent to jail simply because he rejected the Dutch government
also, and that we have to be an independent state of Melanesian people and
he also rejected the Indonesian military so that both the Dutch and the
So from 1963 up to 1970, I did not live with my father and my mother brought
us all. So those are the images I brought with me. But it's funny that a
year after the free Act of No Choice, which is 1970, then my father was
released. Another experience I had, in 1967, one of my close uncles,
Permenas Awom, looking at the failure that we could not win the
possibilities of maintaining our land since the Dutch left, he started an
arms struggle in Manokwari.
Permenas was later persuaded by the Suharto's military government. The
Indonesian military took him and he disappeared and until today we question
where about he was. In 1969, a younger brother of my uncle Permenas Awom,
which is Nataniel Awom, was very disappointed with the death of his brother
Permenas. So he also started an arms struggle in Biak. He was also persuaded
and surrendered peacefully but then disappeared without any trace. The two
uncles that I mentioned above are just the examples of many other West
Papuans who disappeared without any trace.
Between 1964 and '67, a cousin but a close friend of mine -- you might have
seen how well I dance this afternoon because Arnold Ap, a fellow Papuan who
was studying my Sunday School teacher, he was only promoting our culture and
our language. But the Indonesians saw it as a sign we maintained our black
culture. He was assassinated, burned to death and the body was thrown with
other West Papuans along the beach in the middle of the town of Jayapura.
These are the examples I am looking at. So since the death of my cousin and
a good friend of mine and the cousin of Arnold Ap, the Catholic Church came
to Papua while I was doing my English training teaching and talking about
East Timor. I'm very glad that this afternoon Mr. Chairman you mentioned
about Mr. Mandela in South Africa.
But a clearer example is the democratic leader, Mr. Clinton, Mr. Clinton
looked at the case of East Timor and America supported the independence of
East Timor. How come the government of the United States could not look at
the case of West Papua for the same -- (inaudible) -- which Indonesian
government to the people of West Papuan refugees.
I myself since 1984 I decided that I liked to make Australia as a second
home. I am very proud that my Australian friends from the Catholic Church
took me in and sponsored me to go to Australia. But whenever I return to
Papua, it always huts me. It always hurts me that we are living in poverty,
although our country is very rich.
The examples that I have given to you that I lost my uncle, he disappeared
without any trace, but my colleague here, Mr. Messet, I myself in 1970, I
witnessed the Indonesian military shot dead or assassinated his brother and
I witnessed that myself, saw the brutality of the Indonesian military in our
What I could see since the last few years is that the Indonesian government
yesterday or a few days ago when I arrived here at the airport, it is a very
strong message I got. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, of the examples of the
terminology that they use, Micronesians, Polynesians and Melanesian. When I
arrived here, the immigration member asked me meaning when you look at the
color of my skin, that I am black.
Of course Australian people are white people but the good question he asked
me is, aha, you come from a country which is known as Papua where we lost an
American Rockefeller. Was he eaten by cannibals? I said he was not eaten by
cannibals but he was probably eaten by the crocodiles because that is a
swampy area that he fishes in.
But I remember our dignity is being played around like a very famous -- not
Martin Luther King but what you call in this country Malcolm X, that the
negativity that the Indonesians have towards us, the black color is always
nothing but negativity and I'm very proud of you, Mr. chairman. I'm sorry I
bring my emotions to you. But these are the feelings I carry, I brought to
you to represent the people of West Papua. Because I live as a citizen of
Australian, I've gained everything. But at the moment we have more than
12,000 refugees in Papua New Guinea.
But we were called as border-crossers. In the future, I would like to see if
Australians can take migrants from internal war of Sri Lanka or any other
internal wars in Asia. I'd like to see if Australia, because I'm a citizen
of Australia, I'd like to see Australian government take some of our
refugees instead of being called border-crossers and also in America
hopefully we could have United States of America accept some of our people
who live with stateless status in Papua New Guinea. Thank you, Mr. Chairman,
and this is all I'd like to bring to you today. Thank you.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: I thank the gentleman for his statement. You had
mentioned something about stereotyping and the story going around that Mr.
Rockefeller was eaten by the Papuans. You had said earlier that no, he
wasn't eaten by the Papuans. He was eaten by the crocodiles. I never could
differentiate between crocodiles and alligators.
But we have our own little story about people eating other people. This was
Captain Cook, the famous British captain that came to our islands and he was
visiting one of our islands, our cousins the Tongans, and unbeknown to
Captain Cook, of course he left and he gave a real grand name to the
Tongans. He named the island the Friendly Island of Tonga. Little did he
know, if he had stayed just a little longer, the Tongans were going to kill
Of course then he came to Hawaii and another interesting story about how
these people were being introduced as to what great things that your people
did and this fellow was from Samoa and he said, oh, I'm from so and so, we
built the Empire State Building. I'm from so and so. So when it came to him,
what famous thing can you claim? We ate Captain Cook.
The gist of my story, Mr. Rumbewas, were the Hawaiians, Captain Cook, they
thought that he was the great god Lono that had come just at the right time
of the festival and of course they treated him almost like a god. They
treated him and all of that and then one of the scrumshehs (ph), one of the
Hawaiian chiefs, stole some nails or whatever it is from the boat. They
fought over it and Captain Cook was in the mix and what happened is that one
of the native Hawaiian chiefs struck him and to the amazement of the
Hawaiian chiefs, he groaned and the traditions of the Hawaiians, gods are
not supposed to groan so he must not be god. He's human. So they killed him
So that's our story of who ate Captain Cook and who ate Mr. Rockefeller. We
have all kinds of stories. So I can identify with your statement about
sometimes negative stereotyping does come very badly and puts us in a very
difficult situation. Mr. Messet, please?
MR. MESSET: (Inaudible) -- exciting story about this Mr. Cook. I want to ask
you is he cooked before he was eaten or was he eaten alive by a crocodile?
Captain Cook, the name is already cook.
: Captain Cook, we have no crocodiles in our islands.
MR. MESSET: All right.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: When they killed him, they have a special ritual for high
chiefs and they considered him a high chief. So according to Hawaiian
tradition, what they do, they normally cooked them, stripped the meat, body
from the bones, either fed them to the dogs or whatever, but then the bones
were kept as a token that he was a high chief but he wasn't a god. That's
the story of Captain Cook.
I might also note to the fact that his notoriety of being a great navigator
when in fact it was a Tahitian navigator chief by the name of Tupaia who
told Captain Cook where some 80 islands were located throughout the Pacific.
So Captain Cook accompanied, took him on these voyages that went to the
Pacific and he came to New Zealand and my Maori cousins of New Zealand
thought that the Tahitian chief was the head of the delegation and not
Captain Cook. So we have our own set of stories in relation to what Mr.
Rumbewas wants. So to your question sir, he literally was cooked.
MR. MESSET: Chairman, thank you very much.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: All right.
MR. MESSET: [prepared
statement here] Chairman Faleomavaega, members of the subcommittee,
ladies and gentlemen, first of all thank you for this opportunity to testify
before you on the issue of Papua, my home and the place where I was born and
raised. I know you will hear many views today. The views I am about to say
come from my own life experience with human rights issues and political
development in Papua. They come from my heart. I have been on the outside
and on the inside and I think I have the better view now.
Chairman, let me be clear on where I came from. I was critical and opposed
to the Indonesian government on the issue of Papua. Papua has had a very
difficult history. It is the most beautiful place on the planet but also a
place where the people suffer from Dutch colonialism and Indonesian
authoritarianism. There were injustices there just like there were
injustices all over Indonesia. There were conflicts there and there are
human rights violations. This also affected members of my family.
But after many years of struggle and hardship, I realized that I can only
cry for so long. No amount of tears can bring back the past. More
importantly, I came to realize that the best solution is special autonomy.
The special autonomy is the solution that is endorsed by the world
community. This is the solution that is most practical, good for Jakarta,
good for the Papuans. This is the solution that is best for the Papuans. I
really hope and believe that this solution would bring political, economic
and social empowerment for the Papuans.
It is just a fair solution that will finally allow the Papuans to come to
terms with our future. There is now a light of hope for Papuans. We can
breathe the air of freedom. We can choose our own leaders. We can control
and spend our own spending. We can write our own future. The more democratic
Papua becomes and the more development we get, the more we can resolve
social and political tension in Papua.
As a Papuan, I really feel that we are now opening a new beginning. We no
longer feel sidelined but we are in control of our own destiny. I know my
fellow Indonesians also feel like this. I have come here because I share
your concern on human rights. Believe me, I have experienced this problem
firsthand. There is still tension in Papua. The underlying conflict has not
gone away and there can be no bright future, no peaceful Papua unless
respect for human rights is part of that future.
I do not know how long this tension will go on. But I do ask you not to make
the tensions worse because when things get worse in Papua, you stay here in
your comfort and we suffer. You have to help give them more hope, the right
hope, not the false hope. It is the hope of unity, reconciliation, freedom
and development. You cannot understand Papua if you only look and hear only
one side and you cannot help us if you impose your views on us.
We Papuans are not a political community. I return to Papua but Mr. Rumbewas
remains to stay in Australia. I've been living in Sweden, the most wealthy
country in the world, not America, Sweden. But I have to leave that
beautiful country. I have to go. My daughter said to me, dad, you are a
madman. Why you took us from the darkness and brought us to the light and
now you want to go back to the darkness? I said, that's your philosophy, my
daughter. I want to take that light back to the Papuans so that they can see
the light too.
That's my daughter's -- (inaudible.) It's better for me to struggle from the
inside as part of this process rather to fight from the outside with no
result. I will keep pushing them to make their commitment to protect the
rights and interests of my people and because of special autonomy, I will
also keep pushing the elected Papuan leaders to do more for our people. I
have no doubt whether the Indonesian government was serious about human
rights. But I changed my mind during the case of -- (inaudible) -- murder.
The military officers were found to be masterminding and executing him were
sentenced accordingly by the court. The military now is also restrained,
unlike before, and I have not heard of major human rights violations
recently. In fact, there's a growing tent of former figures who have
abandoned their cause and rejoined the new Papuan democracy, including me.
Papua still has a fairly long way to go, Chairman. I do not have any
delusions about the magnitude of our problems. But we cannot be stuck with
the past. Otherwise, we are imprisoned by our fears. I really want the
United States Congress to help Papuans improve their lives with more
education, more jobs.
I also hope Papua will be more open to outside world. But this has to lead
not to more conflict but to more peace, Chairman. I represent the attention
of the United States Congress on the issue of Papua. I hope you do not send
the wrong message to Indonesia and Papua. Do not undermine the goodwill that
is now being developed. Help us preserve and improve our human rights that
is now happening. Help us promote unity and reconciliation.
In conclusion, Chairman, I, on behalf of the -- (inaudible) -- foundation,
as an independent and privately funded group dedicated in collaborating with
all institutions and individuals whoever they may be, including the
government of Indonesia, to creating a just, peaceful and prosperous society
in the nation of Indonesia, inclusive of Papua -- (inaudible) -- following
three part recommendation on this historic occasion.
Number one, that the United States House of Representatives and the United
States administration under the leadership of President Barack Hussein
Obama, as a matter of regional and international strategic priority,
reaffirm and strengthen the comprehensive partnership arrangement between
the united states and the Republic of Indonesia without further delay.
Number two, that in future, necessary and important issue relating to human
rights and environmental concerns affecting Papua as well as political,
social and economic empowerment concerning intended for the people of the
autonomous region be appropriately addressed quickly within the spirit of
the comprehensive partnership agreement between the two nations.
Thirdly, the last, that care must at all times be exercised whilst in the
pursuit of the objectives of the cooperative partnership agreement between
the two nations and not allow any party to act in a manner that is liable to
inflict unnecessary discomfort and anxiety upon the people of the autonomous
region of Papua. Mr. Chairman, I am very grateful to be here to testify.
Thank you, God. I am pleased to hear that. Mr. Chairman, I am a Papuan and
I'm still being a Papuan but -- (inaudible) -- Indonesia. Thank you.
FALEOMAVAEGA: Thank you, Mr. Messet. Mr. Yumame, for your statement?
MR. YUMAME: Your Excellency, Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of
Congress, it is a great pleasure for me to speak before you. I speak on
behalf of Papuan peoples. We Papuan people, our basic human right has been
denied for 41 years. When 1969 we have been forced to become under
Indonesian rule by the Act of No Choice, the act of manipulated choice.
Through this very important thing, I want to thank you for this meeting.
It is very crucial to attend this testimony so that you can observe the
heavy burden that we are facing now in West Papua, that our people in West
Papua today are in the face of extinction. That is no immediate action to --
(inaudible.) Yesterday, when I am in the airplane, when I was flying from
Jakarta to New York, I saw a big photo of Mr. Obama when he is starting his
campaign for the president.
He has promised American people that we'll bring change. We believe that
change can give a better life for us, for American people. In the plane, I
feel that America has the capability -- American people, American government
has the capability to serve the welfare, to serve the improvement of our
life, change in our Papuan life.
Mr. Chairman, I tell of my testimony the failure of special autonomy in West
Papua as you know from having been there. Today there are ongoing social
conflicts in West Papua and has led to fewer human rights in Papua.
Basically there are three -- (inaudible) -- of this conflict. Firstly is the
political status quo of West Papua. Secondly is security approach and human
rights violations and third is lack of political commitment from the
government of Indonesia to develop Papuan people. They only not just have
our natural resource, but the lack of commitment to develop our Papuan
Special autonomy policies are not the policies of the Indonesian government
for the people of Papua. In 2001, after a team of 100 people meeting with
President -- (inaudible) -- in West Papua -- (inaudible) -- for almost 10
years. Special autonomy policy is considered by most Papuan people that it
does not become Papuans policy but on the contrary it has marginalized more
of Papuan people and left them deeper in the cycle of poverty.
(Inaudible) -- massive deal of Papuan people have poor health -- (inaudible)
-- nation in Papua face the threat of extinction -- (inaudible) -- in Papua
of special -- (inaudible) --government paralyzed. Secondly, divide and
conquer policy among Papuan people -- (inaudible) -- in Papua. Third,
massive influx of -- (inaudible) -- into the system, Papua population
becoming the minority in their homeland; fourth, the discriminatory
disparity, Papuan population has been marginalized in economic circles in
Five, exploitation of natural resources without considering Papuan people's
interest and six, silent genocide policy implemented by the Indonesian
government and seven, the human rights violation by military and police
As a native Papuan, seeing this worsening situation of most Papuan people,
we organized a forum we called United Democratic Papuan People Forum. We
initiated a new nonviolent strategy where we're working together with all
Papuan community-based organizations. Some of those community leaders are
with me today. They came with me and they shake their head like this.
(Inaudible) -- we have been actively working hard to set up a -- (inaudible)
-- of our Papuan identity and dignity, which has been destroyed by
Since then, we have approached various groups of communities, mainly the
European Union -- (inaudible) -- besides that, we proffered information --
(inaudible) -- Papuan people from door to door. We have also successful
organized more than six peaceful public demonstrations participated by more
than 20,000 people, most of them -- (inaudible.)
We have been working closely with Papuan people to help Papuan people
general congress on June 9 and 10, 2010 in -- (inaudible) -- in this
congress, we together represented the Papuan people and have carried out a
collection of implementation of special autonomy in Papua. Finally, we have
concluded that special autonomy policy has failed to bring welfare for
As a consequence of the failure of special autonomy policy, Papuan people --
(inaudible) -- implementation of special autonomy and argued Indonesian
government seek special way for implementing referendum as the final
solution for Papuan people to exercise their rights for self-determination.
In the session of Papuan people's congress and decree of Papuan people
assembly, number two that as well as June I attach with my statement.
The decision of the Papuan -- (inaudible) -- public demonstration in --
(inaudible) -- 20 miles -- (inaudible) -- and more than 10,000 people spend
the night at the parliament house in Jayapura during this public
demonstration -- (inaudible) -- violence in this public demonstration. We
believe that through peaceful and nonviolent strategies we will gain
international attention and support.
We regard the failure of special autonomy, which has brought human rights
abuse in Papua since 41 years and in relation authoritarian rule --
(inaudible) -- and propose to the U.S. committee as follows.
One, to uphold the protection of human rights in the world, including the
human rights of West Papuan people and to request the government of
Indonesia to open a humane and acceptable dialogue for a fresh referendum to
replace the special autonomy policy.
Second, the U.S. government should stop military support for Indonesian
government, as many of the human rights abuses in Papua still committed by
military and police force. Third, to put pressure on Indonesian government
to allow international NGO, researchers and journalists to visit Papua.
Now they have been to Papua. Four, to help, we hope American government can
help and can consider to have a permanent consulate, U.S. government
representative to be in Papua in order to monitor the human rights abuses in
Mr. Chairman, I have a PowerPoint presentation and I want to show you the
situation of our citizens in Papua. If you don't mind, I will show you.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Mr. Yumame, we've got two other witnesses that still have
not testified. I think you've pretty much outlined what you've just stated
orally. I don't think we need to go through your PowerPoint at this point in
time but they will be made part of the record, okay?
MR. YUMAME: Okay, thanks.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: All right, thank you. Dr. Kirksey?
MR. KIRKSEY: [prepared
statement here] Mr. Chairman, I'd like to thank you for your leadership.
It's been really consistent and I see it's a real heartfelt thing and it's a
struggle that I share with you. I didn't start out as a human rights
activist. I went to West Papua in 1998 with a grant from the U.S. Indonesia
Society. I basically wanted to study food. I wanted to study how indigenous
communities subsist and survive amidst changing environmental circumstances.
Weeks after I got there, I saw two fellow students get shot. I was at the
University of Cenderawasih. That's the main government university in
Jayapura. Steven Suripatti, a law student, was shot in the head. Corina Onim,
a young woman -- she was in high school -- she was shot in the leg. I tried
to get out of Jayapura. I went to Biak and over the course of three days I
was trapped in a hotel while a massacre took place.
Basically a group of protestors was surrounded at dawn. There were
Indonesian police there. There were military people. There were navy troops
involved. They surrounded protestors who were peacefully sleeping under a
Morning Star flag and they started shooting into the crowd. Let me read what
one of the eyewitnesses, one of the survivors told me.
This eyewitness saw a truck that took the dead bodies, the bodies of the
dead and dying, away from this crime scene. "I counted 15 people in the
first load. The truck came a second time and I counted 17 people inside.
When they opened up the truck bed, I could see lots of blood. In that small
truck there was lots of blood."
In that initial attack there was about 29 people killed from human rights
reports. The survivors of the initial attack, living people, were loaded
onto navy ships. I could see those ships from the hotel where I was trapped.
We don't know exactly how many people were on those ships. What we do know
is that in the coming weeks 32 decaying bodies washed onto the shore. I'm
going to be meeting with Mr. Scher later this week. We're going to help him
fill in some of those numbers. We are coming up with more and more accurate
numbers of how many Papuans have been killed.
Rather than go through those numbers today, I'd just like to show a single
picture. This picture is of a bag. It's floating in the ocean. In that bag
is a body. It was a 32-year-old health worker named Wellem Korwam. He was
executed by Brimob police forces and, Mr. Chairman, I'm not going to show
the pictures in this envelope today. I'm going to offer them to you at your
discretion. You can put them in the record.
These pictures in this envelope here show what happened after that bag was
opened up. Basically it shows -- the next picture in the series shows a man
with plastic gloves. He's arranging a torso in a coffin. You can see white,
black and pink organs inside of the torso. The next picture is a jumble of
seven different body parts -- two legs, two arms, a head and a torso, two
other pieces of the body's trunk. The mouth of this body, the mouth of
William Korwam, someone who was a living human being, is distorted in these
pictures. It's opened in a yawn. His eyes have turned whitish green. They're
staring unfocused. The nose and the arms and the ears are all gone.
Those pictures are in this envelope. The Rome Statute gives us a global
framework for prosecuting violators of human rights when they enjoy impunity
in their home country. I disagree with Mr. Scher. I think there is a very
systematic and deliberate pattern taking place. People who harbor
nationalistic sentiments are targeted and killed. They are jailed. Amnesty
International has a prisoner of conscience, Filep Karma, who is jailed for a
15-year jail sentence for raising a flag.
Mr. Chairman, when U.S. citizens are killed, we can bring the perpetrators
of those crimes to our courts. I'm offering a 33-page article published in a
peer-reviewed journal about two U.S. citizens, two school teachers who were
killed in Timika. I reviewed the evidence in this article that Indonesian
soldiers participated in the shooting and killing of these Americans. The
Indonesian courtroom that tried this crime sentenced Antonius Wamang and a
couple of other Papuan accomplices.
Wamang got life. The other guys got a few years. Waman pled guilty to this
crime but it's very, very clear from the evidence that I have that he was
not acting alone. The mastermind is at large. Mr. Wamang should be brought
to a U.S. courtroom to be tried. I would also like to repeat a
recommendation that Mr. Yumame made. In the moment after Wamang was
sentenced, this person who has pled guilty to killing Americans -- for
several years, U.S. military aid was held up on the outcome of this case.
But after Wamang was sentenced to life in prison, the Bush administration
signaled a new era of military cooperation with Indonesia. Right now we have
millions of taxpayer dollars going to foreign military financing as well as
international education triaging -- IMED -- for the Indonesian security
forces. These are U.S. tax dollars funding this. There's currently no
legislative restrictions on purchases of U.S. military equipment by
Indonesia. Mr. Chairman, Indonesia's track record speaks for itself.
The question I have for the administration is does the Democratic Party
really want to continue associating with these human rights abuses. In my
personal opinion, I think military aid from the U.S. to Indonesia should be
cut off. If the Appropriations Committee decides to keep these programs in
place, very real conditions and clearer benchmarks should be established.
The Indonesian police, military and navy should receive no more funding from
the U.S. government until the murderers of William Korwam are brought to
justice. They should receive no U.S. funds until Indonesia officials let
forensic pathologists exhume the mass graves on Biak. Mr. Chairman, thank
you for holding this historic hearing. With your continued leadership, the
U.S. government will play a role in ending Indonesian military impunity in
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Thank you. Dr. Richardson?
MS. RICHARDSON: [prepared
statement here] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'll do my best to be succinct.
But thank you very much for having this hearing. I think your leadership on
this issue gives people hope. Human Rights Watch takes no position on claims
to self-determination in Indonesia or in any other country.
However, consistent with international law, we take a very strong position
on the right of all individuals, including peaceful independence supporters,
to express their political views peacefully without fear of arrest or other
forms of reprisal. We have long expressed concerns about ongoing abuses by
the security forces in Papua and the lack of accountability for those
Since 2007 alone, we have written four reports about abuses in Papua. There
are copies here and I would like to ask that they be made part of the
record. Those detail abuses ranging from severe restrictions on the freedoms
of expression, assembly and association to executional killings, torture and
rape. Many of those abuses were being carried out by members of the security
forces, including Brimob, Kostrad and Kopassus.
You asked earlier -- or you asked the earlier witnesses -- about what they
thought contributes to some of the frustrations of people in Papua and I
think it is imperative that we spend a few minutes talking about impunity. I
think it is very difficult to get people to buy into any sort of governing
regime when they feel that the terrible abuses that they have suffered will
go uninvestigated and that has very much been the case not just in Papua but
In July 2010, shortly after Secretary Gates left Jakarta, the TNI chief,
Djoko Santoso, was quoted saying that as far as the TNI is concerned, the
issue of past human rights violations is over. As long as people are not
prosecuted for human rights abuses, they are not over.
Impunity itself is a human rights abuse and while many people, either in
Washington or in Jakarta, may want us to believe that the TNI or other
security forces in Indonesia do not carry out abuses on the scale that they
once did, the fact that there is near total impunity for these abuses in the
past and now -- and now -- this is not in the past -- this is now -- is an
extremely serious problem.
I want to share with you just a few examples both from Papua and elsewhere.
The failure to investigate and prosecute, for example, the cases of civilian
abuse by Kopassus forces in Merauke in 2008 and 2009; the case of Yawan
Wayeni in August 2009, who was taunted by members of the security forces as
he lay dying; the case of the 13 activists who disappeared in 1997 and 1998;
and of course, the case of Munir, for which no one has ever really
successfully been prosecuted.
We have also documented extremely light sentences given to members of the
military who were actually prosecuted and convicted for human rights abuses.
We continue to see ongoing promotions or service within the military of
people who are both credibly alleged and who have been convicted of human
rights abuses. Here I find it a little bit difficult to accept the
characterization of the removal of TNI from politics when the new deputy
defense minister is in fact Kopassus officer who has a somewhat checkered
We also see tremendous resistance to parliamentary oversight for impunity.
We have not seen the kinds of commissions, the ad hoc courts requested by
the DPI to look into the disappearances of the students, nor have we seen
movement on a bill that would give jurisdiction of the prosecution for
abuses committed by members of the military of civilians into civilian
courts. I think the argument often goes that somehow accountability and
justice are inimical to peace.
We couldn't disagree with that more and in fact my organization has done
extensive research to show that accountability is crucial to long-term peace
settlements and their stability. In that spirit, I would make the following
recommendations, particularly to the Indonesian government, that it
immediately and unconditionally release all of the persons who are held for
peaceful expression of their political views, particularly those who we have
written about in Papua; to amend or repeal all articles and regulations that
criminalize forms of expression; to promptly respond to credible reports of
torture in custody -- this is also a very serious problem we've written
about in Papua -- and to remove arbitrary restrictions on access to all
regions of Papua.
To the U.S. government, which we believe seriously undermines standards for
military cooperation and accountability globally when it resumed ties to
Kopassus, the U.S. should first recondition assistance to the Indonesian
military and place on strict standards of accountability for current and
It should also push for the amendment or repeal of the Indonesian laws that
allow for the imprisonment of individuals for peaceful political expression
and the release of those in prison and last but not least it should push for
the passage of Indonesian laws that shift prosecution of soldiers who have
abused civilians into civilian courts. Thank you.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: It's been a long afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and
it's not been very easy. I sense that there seems to be a difference of
opinion about the current status of Papua and its relationship with
Mr. Mote, you indicated that you feel that special autonomy status has
failed. I hear from Mr. Messet that he feels that special autonomy should
still be on the books or on the table and that every effort should be made
with the Indonesian government to continue the process. I would like to ask
Mr. Mote, since you've said that special autonomy has failed, so what do you
propose in exchange or in place of that?
MR. MOTE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The conclusion that special autonomy has
failed is really based not just people's experience, Papuan Traditional
Council, Papuan Autocratic Council, but this is based on the review that the
Cenderawasih University has conducted. The President Yudhoyono just stated
he will really implement it. But the problem is it is simple. In one end,
the president is promising and promising but on the other hand at the same
time, he allows the military is conducting their nightmarish to the Papuans.
The people of --
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Mr. Mote, my question -- you made the statement that
special autonomy has failed.
MR. MOTE: Right.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: What do you propose in exchange for that?
MR. MOTE: Oh, thank you, Mr. Chairman. My proposal, which is in line with
the people of Papua, they call for a dialogue and the dialogue that they are
calling for is the dialogue that facilitated by a third party.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Mr. Messet, as you know, months ago when I was in
Jakarta, we had a very, very -- what I thought was a very meaningful
meeting, especially with one of our senior elders, Mr. Nicholas Jouwe, and
I'm very curious and I'm curious that all of you have had communications in
your relationship with Mr. Jouwe. What is your assessment of the situation
among the leaders because I'm getting mixed signals here now? I mean, do you
honestly believe that President SBY is making every effort to implement the
provisions of special autonomy or --
MR. MESSET: Mr. Chairman, President SBY is a very honest man, I can tell you
now, and we've met in Jakarta on the 2nd of April this year, a lengthy
discussion that has been mostly about developments inPapua, how Americans
involved themselves, how the American authority can ask the Indonesian
government about special autonomy.
That's why the recommendation that I made here is for your Congress to
consider and the United States administration to consider special autonomy
doesn't work because we the Papuans, we ourselves, have to reclaim
ourselves, not Jakarta.
Our leaders from the governor, agencies, mayors, they are the ones that are
using -- the money doesn't go down to the grassroots. In this injections of
-- (inaudible) -- that's why everyone wants to say -- (inaudible) -- better
than living with Indonesia. But if tomorrow we get our independence --
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Is your mike on? Is your mike on? Something's wrong with
the PA system here. Even my mike is not on. My mike is not working either
and yet the red light is on. Okay, somebody --
MR. MESSET: So Mr. Chairman, I think dialogue can be done to reprise what
autonomy has failed in Papua, so we Papuans can talk with the central
government. What we want -- because special autonomy is a new thing to
Indonesia. It's a new thing that we met only in Papua and Aceh, Mr.
Chairman. So the trouble is how to run the enormous amount of money that has
been given to indigenous Papuans -- not me, Mr. Chairman.
MR. KIRKSEY: If I might jump in, Mr. Chairman --
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: I want to ask Mr. Yumame because you've also expressed a
similar concern that you feel special autonomy has failed.
MR. MESSET: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: What is your option if you feel that special autonomy has
failed? What do you suggest that the Papuan people do?
MR. YUMAME: I thank you. Most of the Papuan people -- we do not believe in
the Indonesian government anymore. They say what are good things but they've
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA : No, my question Mr. Yumame, what do you propose?
MR. YUMAME: I propose, as many Papuan people want, don't ask to determine
ourselves. We still stay in -- (inaudible) -- or we make our own state. All
the Papuan people live like that. So they see there's no hope in special
autonomy. They want to -- any other solution, give the chance to Papuan, the
choice for the kind of government they want. They don't want to stay in
Indonesia. They will make a state. For example, you did it in United States.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Dr. Kirksey?
MR. KIRKSEY: So I know that Mr. Yumame has submitted some remarkable
documents for the record, basically a signed statement by very senior
leadership reflecting the outcome of this congress that involved thousands
and thousands of people. It was a unanimous consultation. I think there were
two dissensions but everyone said special autonomy has failed. I think the
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Let me -- I want to follow up on what you just said. Was
there a summit? Was there a meeting of all the top leaders among the Papuan
MR. KIRKSEY: There was a very large summit coordinated by --
FALEOMAVAEGA: When was this done?
MR. KIRKSEY: This was in July of this year. This was the Majellas (ph) --
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: A few months ago?
MR. KIRKSEY: Right, Majellas Papua, a body that was created by the special
autonomy legislation. What's really significant about that summit is that a
lot of drafters of the legislation were the participants. So the very people
who wrote this law are saying this is no longer working, we need to do
something new. One of the flaws in the legislation as it was passed by the
Indonesian government is that it rejected some earlier provisions to put the
Indonesian military under the control of local and regional civilian elected
Right now there's still this shadow power structure. The Indonesian military
and police operate with complete impunity. They're off civilian budgets.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Well, that's because Suharto has been operating for some
30 years, the shadow military presence and all the different councils, not
just in West Papua. But it was also true throughout Indonesia.
MR. KIRKSEY: Exactly.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: So there's nothing new in that respect and bottom-line
basically is to make sure that he has control of the situation.
MR. KIRKSEY: Exactly.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: So this summit that was held in July concludes now that
special autonomy is no longer viable. Now, what do you propose?
MR. KIRKSEY: Actually in those documents there is a series of
recommendations that that summit made. I don't know if you have those at
hand now but they are in the record. There's a series of recommendations.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Well, what are they? Give us the two or three most
MR. YUMAME: Yes, we have recommendations. Firstly, we reject the
continuation of special autonomy law because we think that it will destroy
our dignity and extinguish our Papuan people and our homeland.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: What does Governor Suebo say about that?
MR. YUMAME: We have -- (inaudible) -- he never attended our meeting, Papuan
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: What about the other governor?
MR. YUMAME: We have given our decision to -- (inaudible) -- the people
assembly, to the SBY government. Now they think about it and they think they
want to give consideration to the special autonomy in terms of they --
(inaudible) -- autonomy has been -- (inaudible) -- good things or not.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: So let me ask you this. It's my understanding that
Governor Suebo and the other governor are the two highest elected officials
among the Papuan people. Now, how much credence is given to these two
elected governors in terms of their relationship as elected officials with
the Papuan people?
MR. YUMAME: Okay, now we, most Papuan people, we don't believe about the
government because we see they leave us under the present system that did
not give them a chance to formulate strategy for development of Papuan
people based on Papuan dignity.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: These two gentlemen were elected by the Papuan people and
of course as you know, a democracy, if you feel that these gentlemen are not
doing the will of the people, isn't there a process among the two provinces
of recall or make an effort to get rid of them if they're not doing properly
their leadership role in being the two highest elected officials among the
MR. YUMAME: Maybe I want to tell you that the election system in Indonesia
is now currently we chose our choice with our heart. Now they are --
(inaudible) -- to the people. So we have choice the man who can give more
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: I'm sure that Governor Suebo -- what's the other
gentleman, the governor --
MR. RUMBEWAS: Narui (ph).
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Narui, this is critical because we need to understand
this a little better because in understanding that these are the two highest
elected officials among the Papuan people, that was the will of the people
Now you're saying that you don't want special autonomy, that these two
elected officials don't represent your interests anymore.
Well then, how does this work within your provincial governments where these
two need to be recalled by way of having an election to get rid of them if
that's what you wish? Mr. Rumbewas?
MR. RUMBEWAS: Right, Mr. Chairman, I know Mr. Narui. I used to be an
interpreter for him. But he's a former general for the army, from the navy.
He is one of the leading Papuans, including -- (inaudible.) They have very
good records of working together with Indonesian government to invade East
Timor. So basically, yes, we would like to have our own leaders, our
Melanesian leaders to lead us. But they are just remote controllers.
They are controlled by the Indonesian central government. I just visited
recently the province of Aceh but the good thing I noticed in Aceh and also
New Caledonia, you mentioned this morning about -- (inaudible.) I wish if
the Indonesian government could give us a chance -- as a matter of fact on
the decision of -- (inaudible) -- we are not allowed to have a full --
although we are only -- although we are only some kind of symbolic
leadership. We are refused to do that.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Let me just -- taking the -- don't bring East Timor into
this situation. I don't think it's fair that Mr. Namberi (ph) -- I know Mr.
Namberi. He's a member of the president's cabinet, highly respected, and he
has his own point of view and a former governor of West Papua. As I recall,
one of the big problems that we have in Papua is the corruption even among
the Papuan leaders and members.
So I just want to kind of make sure that the record is clear, that what I
want just to get from you. You're saying that you have serious problems with
the special autonomy, that I have always advocated, I have always believed
because that was the consensus that I got from the Papuan people and
leaders. They want to continue working about implementing this special
I feel that if these basic essential elements are within the implementation
of special autonomy, your civil rights, being treated fairly, the military
not to harass you or Kopassus or whatever and that you have then an
opportunity to make your own decisions. One of them, and correct me if I'm
wrong, is the fact that you have elected your own governors, not selected by
Jakarta but it was by vote of the Papuan people to say that Governor Suebo
and who's the other gentleman -- I always forget.
MR. RUMBEWAS: Narui.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Narui, were duly elected officials of the two provinces.
Now, if you feel that that is now highly questionable in terms of their
leadership, then it's the Papuan people themselves that are going to have to
do that, not Jakarta. Mr. Mote?
MR. MOTE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The problem with the two governors is
that on the one hand they are representative of Jakarta and then also they
are representative of West Papuan people who elect them. I have two personal
story about Governor Suebo where he trying to disadvantage his people. In
many times he gets a threat. He was even cannot leave country because he was
about to put in a travel ban.
That happened just right after he come back from Mexico as ambassador and he
tried, Mr. Chairman, tried to vanish people. But Jakarta didn't listen to
him, what he trying to defend. So in terms of people ofWest Papua, he seems
like a powerless governor because he cannot fight on behalf of them and one
other example, Mr. President -- Chairman -- which has just happened this
month. There is a project in Merauke. It's called -- (inaudible) -- project.
It was proposed by --
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Mr. Mote, I don't want to interrupt you but we're not
here to point the finger of past judgment on Mr. Suebo's capacity, whatever
may have been his conduct. As I've said, this is really a local issue among
the Papuans themselves. I don't want to suggest that we're out here to put
out dirty laundry, all the bad things about your own leaders that you
elected, not Jakarta.
MR. KIRKSEY: Mr. Chairman --
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Wait, wait, wait I'm not through yet. So I just want to
make sure in fairness to your elected leaders and I'm going to say this that
is very, very important and elementary in American democracy. You elect
someone, even if he's the son of whatever -- but he's the elected person.
There is a recourse and a process that if he's not worthy of that position
or that office, that's something that the Papuan people themselves are going
to have to work within the system to find someone else to be your governor
because I think we're moving astray from the line of question that I have.
If not special autonomy, then what? Mr. Kirksey?
MR. KIRKSEY: If I might, a lot of the assertions about democracy in
Indonesia from the State Department earlier this afternoon were sort of
uncritically just sort of left hanging there in the air. The current
situation for elections must be seen within this longer history. During the
Suharto era, every couple of years, or every four years you would have this
grand democracy celebration where the president staged these rituals that
there really weren't any other candidates. It was just him getting selected
again and again and again --
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Dr. Kirksey --
MR. KIRKSEY: There definitely has been --
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Dr. Kirksey, I don't mean to interrupt you, President SBY
was one among two or three other candidates for the president.
MR. KIRKSEY: Exactly.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: You can't say that he was the only candidate during the
MR. KIRKSEY: Exactly. There's definitely been improvement since 1998 when a
popular democracy movement in Indonesia kicked Suharto out of office. But on
the local and the regional level, there's still all sorts of shenanigans
that go on during election time. Ballot boxes are stuffed.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: (Inaudible) -- only election process here in America.
MR. KIRKSEY: So the candidates that are elected are constrained by political
parties that are centered in Jakarta. It's not as transparent and
representative as it is here.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: We questioned our own sense of transparency when we had
to have nine justices of the Supreme Court to determine who our next
president is going to be. That's not very democratic. I mean, come on.
But I am very concerned, as I've always said from the very beginning when I
met with the delegations of our friends from Papua, how important it is that
there is a sense of direction and sentiment and consensus coming from the
Papuan people as to their desires and their aspirations. We talk about
reconciliation. We talk about all these things. I think we all agree on
Now, there are difficulties, as Mr. Messet has said. There's no denial of
human rights abuse and all these things continue to go on. But at the same
time, I'm wanting to know from you give me a better proposal or a better
plan or what are other options that I know we proposed we have a dialogue
with the best minds both among the Indonesians and the Papuans to have a
dialogue with Jakarta or the SBY administration.
Now, that hasn't come about and there's some serious questions and as you
all know one of the most serious concerns in Jakarta is once you start
talking about independence, then all bets are off. There is just no way that
the Indonesian government is going to grant independence as best as I can
assess the situation for the 15 years that I've been following this and
we've known that Indonesia is very determined to see that Papua continues to
be under the umbrella or the sovereignty of Indonesia.
But I think the challenge for us is that being the reality, what are some of
the suggestions that you might have on how we can move Indonesia to another
phase of the ongoing process so that Papuan people's right are respected and
human rights and all of this. I think that's where the rubber meets the road
in terms of the difficulties that we have and just as much has been my
Mr. Messet, I want to assure you that the last thing I ever want to do or
even this institution of Congress is to tell your people what to do; not the
least ever, ever that we would ever entertain the thought that we would ever
want to do this to your people or even to the Indonesian government. But the
whole basis of what we're trying to pursue here, give us a line, give us a
Give us an area or things that you feel are constructive that in the
process, and I suppose with a sense of confidence that President SBY will
say, okay, let's do something to be more helpful and making sure that the
rights of the Papuan people are preserved or enhanced and that the military
or TNI's presence will be controlled and just have a good mutual
relationship between Jakarta and the people of Papua. If that is not your
goal or your sense of looking to the future, then tell me what other options
MR. MESSET: Mr. Chairman, thank you. I apologize for making those remarks
but I certainly hope that Papuans will decide the best for themselves with
the Republic of Indonesia and special autonomy should be reprised and will
properly to empower the Papuan people.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Well Mr. Messet, you know as I've said part of my
frustration is it's been nine years now since we've been talking about
special autonomy and my friends -- or our friends in Indonesia and Jakarta
has not produced or shown any sense of plan how to go about implementing the
provisions of special autonomy. Correct me if I'm wrong but that's been my
observation for the past nine years.
MR. MESSET: I totally agree with you, Chairman. Special autonomy is not only
wanted by the Papuans in West Papua but also in Jakarta. It's been decided
there. (Inaudible) -- goes around but they tell you the tale. So if the
special autonomy is totally given to the Papuans, I believe and I trust
Papua can look after themselves and they will be very happy to remain part
of Indonesia until the end of the world. Thank you.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: I believe in response to your comment, I think that is
the challenge of our Papuan people and leaders to show to Jakarta that you
do have the capacity, you do have the capabilities and the withal to be
autonomous and not cause a revolution or something to that effect because I
think that's really where we're at as far as the issue is concerned. Let me
ask you this. Some of you may have expressed concern about the Congress
expressing an interest about West Papua. I believe there are other countries
who their leaders have also expressed the same concern. I believe members of
the British Parliament have also expressed concern in this, but not very
many, not very many.
I'll be upfront and be frank with you. West Papua is not even on the radar
screen as far as Washington is concerned. I just want to be realistic. We
are not the forefront of establishing or saying that this is part of our
national conscience and national policy in dealing with Indonesia and the
reality of how we go about in dealing with the Papuan people.
But it doesn't mean that we ought to just stop there. But we have the
process. It has to start somewhere and it's my sincere hope that this
hearing will be part of that process. Again, I want to ask a question of Mr.
Jouwe. What is Mr. Jouwe's position on this whole matter of special
MR. MESSET: Mr. Jouwe is not attached to the -- (inaudible) -- foundation
and he is now living in Jakarta.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: I know but what is his outlook in the long- term for
Papua's future? If I'm understanding, he's the founder of OPM.
MR. MESSET: Yes.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Certainly one of the elder statesmen and leaders of the
Papuan people and I sense very, very highly respected among the Papuan
leaders and the people. I just wanted to ask the question what is his sense
of vision for the Papuan people.
MR. MESSET: His vision is special autonomy is the only solution for the
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Mr. Mote and after that Dr. Drooglever.
MR. MOTE: When he arrived in Jakarta, he said that he wanted to see the
government of Indonesia is really protect Papuans' rights so that they can
leave freely. My question relating back to Mr. Jouwe, he's planning to live
in West Papua, why now then he live in Jakarta. There's something wrong.
Part of special autonomy really the problem is I really --
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Mr. Mote, I'm not defending Mr. Jouwe, but I can think of
several reasons, maybe his health condition, maybe he's unable to live in
Jayapura simply because of health reasons and not because he doesn't want to
live in West Papua.
I make that assumption but please don't raise questions of that nature in
fairness to Mr. Jouwe and his reasons for staying in Jakarta rather than
living in West Papua. I think the gentleman certainly -- my sense when I met
with the gentleman, has a sense of respect among the Papuan people and their
leaders. I just wanted to --
MR. MOTE: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I highly appreciate that for
your concern about Mr. Jouwe. Thank you.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Dr. Drooglever?
MR. DROOGLEVER: Mr. Chairman, actually I was not wishing to intervene. It
was just a token of concern for what was being said here. But now I'm
speaking. I'm living in the past so I have not arrived to talk about the
present. But when you look through what has happened --
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Let me add this, Dr. Drooglever. I think it was the
famous poet philosopher Santayana who said those who don't remember the past
are condemned to repeat it. Maybe take off from that point.
MR. DROOGLEVER: Quite right, yes, thank you. When you're looking back to the
past, the recent past, you see that as soon as special autonomy was the
thing of the future, then a couple of times revisions have been proposed and
that in all new proposals that were formulated, the last point was at the
end of the period revision, the right of self-determination. So I think the
problem indeed for Papuan society is that it cannot make a choice between
autonomy and self- determination. They want to have both and I think that's
the core of the problem.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Comments to that gentlemen? Mr. Yumame?
MR. YUMAME: I want to remind you that most of Papuans when they formed the
Papuan Peoples' Congress, they have decided that they promised to be given
the choice to give their voice, to give the choice, they see that under the
Indonesian government we have -- (inaudible) -- policy. So the root of the
problem, as I have said to you, many Papuans still think that our political
status is questionable.
So the reason we say special autonomy would help harm the commitment, let us
-- we don't believe in the government anymore. The special autonomy he will
give us, to the Papuan people, give us chance to choose. We want to stay in
Indonesia. We want to make our own meeting -- (inaudible.) That is the voice
of all the people, most of the people in Papua. Maybe some of us can
represent the voice of some -- (inaudible) -- that now they have benefit of
I am going to recommend as I have said to you that we don't believe --
(inaudible) -- Suebo he tried to campaign for the governor position, he gave
the wish that he will take the Papuan people to freedom and he has promised
So all the people, Papuan people give him as the government. But when he was
sent as a governor, he forgot his people.
He don't fight for that. He just only give promise, promise, promise, while
many Papuan people have died. Some things are like a -- (inaudible) --
Indonesian political system. Their political party system not give the
chance for our Papuan to take part in that.
So as you have said to us that why you elect Suebo, why you elect in the
election, because he at best appeared democratic -- (inaudible) -- the
political party. So we choose the governor that can protect their interest.
So our Papuan -- if I'm for example go there for Papuan people but if there
is no political party, just me as the candidate --
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Okay, so I gather that now there seems to be consensus
among the Papuan leaders to get rid of Governor Suebo.
MR. YUMAME: Yes.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: All right, then who do you want to be in his place? What
options can you propose if you want to get rid of Governor Suebo, get rid of
Governor Abraham? Where do you go from there? Mr. Mote?
MR. MOTE: Mr. Congressmen, I think it is not fair we judge our governor. I
tried to explain that he tried as a governor tried to defend his own people.
I agree with what Mr. Messet said that you give some things but you control
from Jakarta. Whoever will be governor, with that condition, no one can
really lead our people.
The demand from West Papuan people because of the pressure, on the one hand
you let these radical groups run their dirty work in West Papua, on the
other one let others kind of try to explain that the want to do something
and in that kind of condition, whoever the governor would be in West Papua
would not be able to lead. So what we are trying to say is the charge to the
governor is not representative of his ability because no one would be able
to control -- even U.S. government, on the human rights issue, the powerful
government here cannot talk with Indonesian government.
Really the problem in West Papua is I think we lost our dignity. We know we
will extinct from our land. We are just 2 million people in 250 million
Indonesian population. So I think, as I was trying to explain, one example
about the -- (inaudible) -- project, he reject that project but Jakarta
said, no, we will go ahead with that and he wasn't even invited by governor
Indonesian minister of forestry when this project as launched in --
(inaudible.) This has just happened. What they want is someone -- West
Papuans -- like a puppet who can just follow. Congressman, I assure you he
is a good leader.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Let me share with you something. We have probably 56
elected governors from the different states and territories in America and
these governors have the same problems against the federal government,
almost like Washington has been their biggest problem too as well. So what
I'm saying is I don't think your situation and your problems are any
different from the problems that we face here as elected officials in
Washington are a lot of times in conflict with the wishes of people from
different states who elect their governors.
So I just wanted to share that bit of information. When you elect your
people, whatever Jakarta's opinion is about who you elect, the fact is that
your people elected these two officials, not Jakarta, not anybody. I don't
think Jakarta put any pressure on you to elect Governor Suebo to begin with.
So whatever deficiencies or problems that you feel that Dr. Suebo doesn't
represent your interests, we have the same problems with our state
Some complain that state governors don't represent the interests of their
states, especially dealing with the federal government. So I just wanted to
kind of put to you that idea, that you elect your governors. They've got a
lot of serious problems and their leadership may be weak in various areas.
That's how it's true with all others. But the whole idea, and I want to ask
you were these two gentlemen elected by the people. They were not selected
by Jakarta. Am I correct or wrong on this?
MR. MOTE: That's right, Congressman.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Mr. Messet?
MR. MESSET: I too would say that's correct. Next year will be another
election and hopefully the Papuan people will decide who is the next
governor for Papua and West Papua province and this time issues that don't
blame the leaders but ask the --
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: In our democracy, once the people make its will known to
the ballot box, are elected. That is very dear and close to the hearts of
the people because the people's will has been expressed about you, you and
you represent us. Now, if they're not doing their job, we vote them out.
It's as simple as that and I suspect that come next year, Governor Suebo is
up for reelection and Abraham, you will have an opportunity to say, we want
to get rid of these two leaders and choose somebody else.
But I think when you generalize by saying it's Jakarta who puts the pressure
on us but in fact in Jakarta was never involved in the election process,
this is what I want to really emphasize. You elected these two officials,
not Jakarta, and whatever problems that you are having with them now, next
year's election, if you wish to elect someone else. That's what
representation and democracy is all about, unless I understand it
differently, how and why people are elected.
For us, come two months from now, all 441 members of Congress are going to
be up for reelection. Every two years, the entire House of Representatives
has to stand reelection so that what, so that the will of the people will be
made known in the process.
Now, again, you have to understand, all your culture, all your traditions,
all this and that, but when it comes to the point where you now have the
privilege of electing these two officials, the highest ranking officials
among the Papuan people being elected, that is very, very serious on how
members of Congress, my colleagues and how people here in America perceive
how your democracy has evolved and the fact that your people are now given
the privilege of electing your own governors and not being selected by
Jakarta. Okay, are we understanding that? Mr. Rumbewas?
MR. RUMBEWAS: Mr. Chairman, I am not sure whether you are familiar with the
recent situation where more than 10,000 people walking down to the
parliament to vote for referendum. One of the decisions which is still part
of the Indonesian system which is the decision 14, the Papuans have
mentioned -- Mr. Messet mentioned that we would like to have a full voice
whether the chairman, or the governor, the district, full-blood Melanesian
There is a fear. There is a fear from the Indonesian government to reject
the policy and at the moment, they expect not a full-blood Melanesian but we
also have -- (inaudible) -- where they are Indonesians. As I mentioned to
you, I travel to Aceh and I see the Acehnese, they are Indonesian citizens
like us, according to the Indonesian constitution. But they are free to
appoint or to elect their own native Acehnese and plus international
community allowed that to happen.
Now, as Mr. Messet mentioned, if Acehnese are Indonesians and we are
Indonesians too, we have the right to support by the international community
to elect our own leaders like Aceh or we have discrimination. So people like
Mr. Suebo and the governor of -- (inaudible) -- are basically people, the
leaders who are making promises like Mr. Yumame mentioned.
During the campaign, Mr. Suebo promised some people that when he stood up,
he would talk about independence. But after all, he looks after his own
party and his own family.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Mr. Rumbewas?
MR. RUMBEWAS: I'm sorry.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: A lot of times politicians make promises, okay? If you
want to get reelected or elected, you make promises and a lot of times
there's a failure on those promises, just like our President Obama has made
a lot of promises and now he's coming under severe criticism. That's part of
the election process.
Now, you mentioned that the Aceh people select their own governor. Now, I am
given to understand that you have a legislative council in the two
provinces. Who elect members of the legislature in your provinces? Are they
selected or are they elected? Mr. Yumame?
MR. YUMAME: The election system in the Papuan province -- the candidates
would be put by the political party.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Okay.
MR. YUMAME: So as I said, now most of the political party led by --
(inaudible.) So most of all Papua not involved in this political party and
by now, as you know, migrations, massive migrations come toPapua. So now we
become a minority in our place. So when they lead the political party and we
go to the election system, we first become the minority voice. So by now if
we follow the election, that will not be Papuans who become the leaders in
Papua if we cannot become -- (inaudible) -- in Aceh.
Our Papuan people's assembly has made decision that only Papuan can be
recruit as the candidate for the chief and his wife. But the Indonesian
government don't achieve that. So we tried to pursue that. We tried to speak
our voice that now we have become minority in our place.
So if we force us to follow the election system, democratic election system,
no Papuan will become -- (inaudible) -- because we have become minority in
our place -- (inaudible) -- Papuans' people voice become minority, has
become minority. So we could not -- just Papuan people as the chief --
(inaudible.) So that's the problem for us.
You said democracy is like that. But our situation, real situation, we
Papuan people have become the minority there. So that is the problem. We
believe if we follow the democratic system like that, we will lose.
MR. KIRKSEY: On that point, Mr. Chairman, I would like to correct something
that Mr. Yun said earlier. He said it's a 60-40 relationship right now. We
just have the 2010 census results. The strange thing about the census is
that it doesn't differentiate between Papuans and migrants. It's done this
in previous census data.
What has been done by an Australian scholar, Jim Elmslie, and this is a
document I can put on the record, he's taken the historical growth rate of
Papuan populations and extrapolated what he thinks is the current
relationship -- the current ratio of Papuans versus migrants. His conclusion
in a paper published last week is that Papuans have already become a
minority. So just to correct what Mr. Yun --
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Well, what's the percentage difference?
MR. KIRKSEY: It's just under 50 percent right now, based on his
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: But again, they're just estimates. They're not real
MR. KIRKSEY: Right, so it's basically they're hiding this question.
Previously the Indonesian government made that data available. So us as
scholars, we have to do math to figure out basically what we think is going
on and Indonesia should make that data available but at this point they're
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Any further comments?
MR. MESSET: Chairman, I just want to make a comment about Yumame's remarks.
Special autonomy -- (inaudible) -- and one of the articles clearly said that
the governor and the vice governor should make the decision. It doesn't
mention that political party or agency, doesn't mention anything because
it's not stated in the special autonomy article.
It should be made a condition on that -- (inaudible) -- which the MRP hasn't
done so. It's our vote, the Papuans' vote, not Jakarta's vote. We gave
millions of pounds to establish this, to make that. But we are lazy. We are
lazy to do that. That's why it happened. That's why I said autonomy is a
good start. We have to go build on it. We make dialogue to require autonomy
so that it can be success for the Papuan people to remain in the big nation,
number four in the world.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Mr. Mote? Thank you.
MR. MOTE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I didn't know what kind of data that Mr.
Messet is using to manipulate this fact that Cenderawasih University conduct
based on assignment from governor and that really showed that what Mr.
Messet just said are totally wrong. Then I would like to explain to you that
this is not because of himself as lazy. I'm not and this is really racial --
I never imagine in this kind of a forum, this gentleman say that we are
lazy. It is not the case. Mr. Chairman --
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: I don't think that he was implying that you're lazy. He's
just making a generalization about some Papuans are lazy. But I don't think
he was directing his remarks to you.
MR. MOTE: T He case is this, Mr. Chairman, that regardless of West Papua
presence -- (inaudible) -- that Mr. Messet is just saying is in the past.
That's supposed to be an embarrassment -- (inaudible) -- in order to take
that for the practice. Indonesia formed a party to evaluate the implication
of special autonomy. He stated clearly that the central government doesn't
have a heart because they don't endorse the law.
So then another example, under special autonomy law, government formed
people's assembly, MRP, and when they tried to fight for Papuans' rights
according to that law, the Jakarta stigmatized, Mr. Chairman, this as a
separatist movement group. The leaders are separatist leaders. How in the
world the elected leaders, Mr. Chairman, according to Indonesian law, they
are put in stigma as a separatist leader? So really the special autonomy is
not working because Jakarta really doesn't want to give this special
Just as a background, Mr. Chairman, the special autonomy is agreed not
because of Jakarta's intention to give Papua but because of the political
situation in that moment and in the people's assembly, MRP, MPR was decreed
that we have to give special autonomy. The government delayed many of the
purposes of the special autonomy.
So I will file as recourse the objective or facts of the special autonomy
because we are not making statements just as statements, as Mr. Messet was
just saying. But please, share the objective facts that all of this is not
working because Jakarta didn't pass a law that all the regulation can work.
Jakarta stigmatized whoever fight for our dignity, whoever fight for our
protection as a separatist. That's the problem. The comparison to the
democratic system in the United States, Mr. Chairman, you have a governor
where you can always face in federal government.
But the federal government will not stigmatize that governor as enemy of the
state and he doesn't have to care about his life just because he is critical
of the government. The last example, Mr. Chairman, I was journalist in
Indonesia's biggest newspaper for 11 years. I experienced, and I can give
you many other Papuan intellectuals, where we're trying to fight and protect
our people and they stigmatized us as enemy of the state.
That's really the problem. That's a problem that is faced by Narui. That's a
problem that's faced by any other Papuan. So what Jakarta wants is someone
West Papuan as a slave, someone who just follows what Jakarta wants. That's
also a problem. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: I want to note with interest that one of our senators, a
very noted gentleman from the State of New York, Senator Moynihan, in the
heat of the debate, everybody was quoting all their facts and all these
things and saying it's the honest truth and he made an observation which I
thought is very much part of this dialogue is he said, sir, you may be
entitled to your opinion but you're not entitled to your facts.
The point is you can't make your own facts and try to justify what you said
is the truth. Again, I'm not trying to lessen the importance of your
opinions, which all of you are entitled, and all of you have different
The same reason that we were in a very interesting situation in dealing with
Jakarta and the purpose of this is to figure out what are some of the
challenges, what are some of the suggestions or recommendations that you
gentlemen and Dr. Richardson may want to make impacting the government of
Indonesia's treatment of the people in West Papua.
I just want to note that. You have any more further statements? I'm about to
put the gavel down. Dr. Kirksey?
MR. KIRKSEY: Just a real quick one on that last point. Mr. Yumame suggested
that a consulate in West Papua of the U.S. government could help monitor
human rights abuses.
I think that is --
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: There is no way that's going to happen.
MR. KIRKSEY: No way? On a related --
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: You need to understand the question of sovereignty is
very weighty (ph) and important. No one is suggesting that Indonesia wants
to set up a consulate here to keep track of whatever problems that --
(inaudible.) So there's got to be an understanding that we deal in terms of
our interactions with other countries but at the same time there has to be a
respect for their sovereignty.
As bad as it may seem to the opinions of others when you talk about human
rights and all this, but that's the traditional rule in terms of the
relationships existing among the different countries of the world. While I
respect your recommendation that we have a consulate in West Papua to do
this, but I can just say with --
MR. KIRKSEY: Related to U.S. government presence, NAMRU, the naval medical
research unit, has been there for at least a decade if not much longer than
that. My question is what are they doing there. They're conducting research
about malaria. I've had malaria 12 times. Part of this -- what has been
called by some Papuan intellectuals -- a silent genocide or a slow genocide,
deals with public health.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: The Americans are doing that?
MR. KIRKSEY: This is the U.S. naval medical research unit. They have been
conducting experiments for many years. But they have not liaised with any
local health officials. Malaria is a disease that we know how to control. It
used to be all over the United States and many Latin American countries.
It's been eliminated. It's within our capacity as the U.S. government with
this research unit, with this history of working there, we can solve this
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: I can't answer your question, Dr. Kirksey, as to why
they're there and conducting experiments and the problem of dealing with
mosquitoes and malaria. That's a very serious issue in West Papua as it is
in other parts of the world. So I am afraid I can't respond to your
statement and question as to why we're there. Mr. Rumbewas?
MR. RUMBEWAS: Yeah, Mr. Chairman, I'm sorry to return to you again and again
but one clear example is when I received a letter from a conversation with
my comrade here, Mote, and also with arguments but very positive arguments
with Mr. Messet, let me say regarding being lazy or not. I had good
opportunities when my father was in prison.
I have testified to you today and I got good education. Prosperity in
Australia like in American and Western world, but when I received the
invitation, I returned. I come here. But I have returned to Papua to teach
English and that's what I wish that we were given the opportunity for the
indigenous from the beginning of what in the history the Dutch tried to
recruit us before we got our independence. Political independence, like
Papua New Guinea, after getting independence, they have problems.
What I like to see is -- I'd like to remind you, Mr. Chairman, as soon as I
return after sitting with my other colleagues here as Papuan, I am not
allowed to return to Papua as Mr. Messet mentioned. You aware of America,
but the concern of my people, the concern of my people, but what I've
experienced in my life, I can never return again. Since the last two days,
the Indonesian intelligence have been vising the relatives that live in
Papua. This is their freedom and that's what I like to see, that a full
autonomy like, as I said again and again, the Acehnese are Indonesians. We
But why can't we have -- why can't America ask the Indonesians as a third
party so I can return like Mr. Messet and -- (inaudible) -- behind us as a
human being like any Papuans and we decide these are the leaders we would
like to choose and to lead ourselves like any other human being. We don't
have that. Mr. Chairman --
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Mr. Rumbewas, in fairness, I can't say why you can't go.
Maybe it's a security risk.
MR. RUMBEWAS: That's right.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Maybe it's the fear of the Indonesian government you're
going to cause riots and cause a revolution. I don't know. But I just want
to say that your capacity and why you're under asylum and living in
Australia, as it is true for many other people from other countries of the
world living in other countries simply because of those concerns.
So I can't answer your question as to why the Indonesian government does not
allow you to return, just as Mr. Nicholas Jouwe or Mr. Messet are now able
to return. But they were also very much anti- Indonesia in terms of what
happened in the past and the abuses or whatever. But in your particular
situation, I really can't respond to your question as to why you can't
return the same way Mr. Messet and Mr. Jouwe were able to go back.
MR. RUMBEWAS: That's true, Mr. Chairman. Only if I can be Melindo, not
Melanesian to look after my own people, only if I can be Melindo, Melanesian
and Indonesian, which means I have to accept the reality that the
Indonesians are ruling us. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
MR. MOTE: If I may?
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Mr. Mote?
MR. MOTE: Yes. Congressman, I would like to add that I am fully agree with
what just Professor Drooglever was saying that we never had any experience
of our self-determination. I just would like to inform you that the special
autonomy package was not decided by West Papuan people. We just forced to
accept that as the same as when our right of self-determination was forced
So we didn't call for our right to decide about our -- as a human being in
our land, which is therefore I support Papuan people calling for referendum
or you can say internationally facilitated dialogue; whatever form it will
be, but the change that West Papuan people, they can exercise our freedom to
express what we want to be. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
DEL. FALEOMAVAEGA: Well, I can't question your sincerity in terms of saying
what happened in the past in terms of the rights of the Papuan people.
That's a matter of history. Dr. Drooglever's book clearly points out to
that. I don't question that. But the challenge here now is where do we go
from here. How is the right of self- determination going to be given to the
Another question is whether or not the Indonesian government is going to
grant that, the same way the referendum was held in East Timor through the
auspices of the United Nations. I know that's the ideal situation, to be
given the right for you to determine your own future. We all want that.
There's no question as a matter of principle. Your people were denied that
privilege of self- determination.
So the reality is where do we go from there in terms of this denial that was
given to you. You can take it to the streets. You can have demonstrations.
You can take up arms and conduct a guerrilla war. These are the options. But
the question is are you willing to spill the blood for this kind of thing
and I've always cautioned as much as possible, with all due respect to our
Papuan people, you have arrows and bows and spears and they have guns and
That bullet travels a little faster than the spears. That's reality. I just
want to share with you that my ultimate -- really, really the last thing
that I'd ever want to do is to spill blood of the Papuan people over this
issue. I wish we could do it, if there's a way it could be done peacefully
through dialogue and keep pushing for this so that Jakarta will give you
that privilege. But we're not at that juncture right now. When that's going
to come about, your guess is as good as mine.
But I sincerely hope, and for something now I'm sensing that you have an
entirely different agenda now in terms of saying you deny any more
discussions about special autonomy. But my question to you is where do we go
from there. If not special autonomy, then what? Take it to the streets? Take
up arms? That basically is the price -- if you want freedom that badly,
you're willing to spill your guts and blood for it, then do it.
But I say the better part of my sense of commonsense is I just don't think
that Papuan blood -- it's too expensive to be spilt over a situation now
that over the 60-year period, history your people have suffered. But we have
to continue the process and I sincerely hope that President SBY in his last
term for the next three years, and I say this in good faith that he is
sincere in wanting to help the Papuan people.
How he's going to go about in doing this, this is something that I hope that
the dialogue will continue and like I said, the whole purpose of this
hearing is not to finger point at anybody and to give any sense of charge
about the evils that have been done in the past.
My more serious concern is where we are now and what we need to do for the
future. If you've got better ideas, and always the basis of where the
consensus of the Papuan people lie in this. I've had some of our leaders
who've come from other countries all claiming that they speak on behalf of
the Papuan people. I take that with a grain of salt because personally I
would rather talk to the people who are in Papua, who are struggling, who
are actually there to know their problems and their struggles.
So there's so many different issues and concerns that we need to address and
like you, Mr. Messet, as I've always said, yes, your people have to make
that determination. You have to make that decision, not the American
Congress or this country. But ultimately what is it that your people want,
collectively and under a unified sense of voice that this is what you want.
Certainly with what little thing that I could do in my capacity as chairman
of this subcommittee, that's all I can do. So this has been a very lively
dialogue to say that in a sense we have certainly differences of opinion
about different issues, but that's the very purpose of having this hearing.
Where do we go from there? I've got to know if I get reelected in November.
I may not show up again and you may not see my ugly face again come
November. I don't know.
But I will say, again, that my good faith and sincerity that I think
President SBY does have a sincere heart in wanting to help the Papuan
people. How he goes about doing this, what things that are being done,
that's the challenge for all of us, whether it be by dialogue or some other
form, however that we may want to do this.
But I really hope we continue to have this dialogue and communications and
hopefully that Jakarta will be more forthcoming in helping the people of
Papua. So with that, if you have no further statements you want to add for
the record, I'm going to use this gavel and say the hearing is adjourned.
see also West Papua Report