Subject: Obama administration called on to push for human rights improvement in Papua

Radio New Zealand International
The Voice of New Zealand, Broadcasting to the Pacific

Te Reo Irirangi O Aotearoa, O Te Moana-Nui-A-Kiwa

Obama administration called on to push for human rights improvement in Papua

Posted at 03:35 on 08 December, 2008 UTC

The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network, ETAN, has urged the incoming Obama administration in the US to put more pressure on Indonesia to address human rights violations in Papua region.

ETAN’s John Miller says that the US could help encourage Indonesia’s security forces to improve their conduct in Papua by threatening to restrict military assistance again.

Mr Miller says that since the US began incrementally to reinstate military assistance to Indonesia in 2002, the process of reform has stalled within the army which still enjoys widespread impunity in Papua for crimes against humanity.

He hopes that the new US Democratic administration will engage with Indonesia differently to how the Republicans did.

“That’s not clear yet. it will probably take a lot of public pressure and, I think, a realisation that this strategy of engagement hasn’t really worked and the Bush administration always said they were for human rights accountability, they wanted to see military reform. They claimed they shared the same goals as we did but we very much disagree and have disagreed with the pentagon all along about the way to do that.”

John Miller

see also:


Obama administration called to recognise opportunity to advance human rights in Indonesia

Posted at 07:27 on 08 December, 2008 UTC

An Australian academic says that by applying pressure on Jakarta the incoming Obama administration in the United States could help affect improvements to the situation in Indonesia’s Papua region.

The convener of the West Papua Project at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Sydney University, Jim Elmsie says the new US administration is a critical opportunity to improve the worsening situation in Papua.

This follows a call by the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network for President Obama to restrict US military assistance to Jakarta again unless human rights violations in the Papua region by the Indonesian military are curbed.

But Jim Elmsie says it wouldn’t require threats over withdrawing assistance to encourage more civilian control over the military in Papua.

“But I think even without any overt threats, they could just simply say that the way that the situation is progressing in West Papua is incompatible. I think just by applying pressure they could easily change the whole situation in West Papua.”
Jim Elmsie


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