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ETAN to Jakarta West Papua Solidarity Conference
March 21, 2013
To: West Papua Solidarity Conference
The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) extends greetings and support
to the West Papua Solidarity Conference. We congratulate the organizers and
participants. We hope that the meeting builds fruitful alliances among the
ETAN was founded in solidarity with the people of East Timor (now Timor-Leste).
Living in the U.S. we felt strongly that we had to act to right the wrongs of
our own government and to join with the East Timorese people in their struggle
to assert their rights. The U.S. of course, bore great responsibility for their
fate. As is now well known, President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry
Kissinger personally gave the go ahead for the invasion of East Timor to the
dictator Suharto. Over the next two decades, the U.S. supplied weapons and
training that the Indonesian military used to repress the East Timorese. ETAN
worked with some success to end that support and to shift U.S. policy toward one
supporting justice for the East Timorese.
More and more people need to
hear directly about the realities of Indonesia’s repression in West Papua
and learn about the hopes and dreams of its people.
Less well known to many is that the U.S. conspired with Indonesia and the
United Nations to deny the fundamental rights of people of West Papua. In the
early 1960s, President John F. Kennedy brokered the notorious New York agreement
which ultimately led to the “Act of Free Choice.” Then years before the invasion
of East Timor, Henry Kissinger played a personal role in denying West Papua a
genuine act of self-determination; instead the U.S. and UN endorsed the sham
consultation. West Papua was delivered into Indonesian control. The U.S., as it
has done too many times, worked to crush the hopes of a nation.
Conferences like this one enable us to hear directly from the people of West
Papua about their experiences. More and more people need to hear directly about
the realities of Indonesia’s repression in West Papua and learn about the hopes
and dreams of its people.
Together, we can work together to amplify those voices, bring them to our own
communities, as well as to decision-makers in Washington and other capitals and
to the United Nations.
Together, we can work to educate people about the plight of the people of West
Together, we need to demand that human rights of the people of West Papua are
respected. We must end our governments’ complicity in the brutality that West
Papuans experience every day.
Together, we must work to challenge the policies of our own governments which
make us complicit in the oppression of West Papua. In the U.S. and elsewhere, we
need to act to change our own government’s policy – which ignoring the lessons
of East Timor – is once again arming and training the security forces that
oppress West Papua. Our governments are actively assisting this oppression by
funding, training and arming Kopassus, Brimob and Detachment 88. Foreign support
for the TNI must stop.
Together, we must confront the government of Indonesia to end its exploitation
of West Papua and its denial of the rights of the people West Papuan.
Together we must take up this challenge!
John M. Miller
Read the West