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West Papua Advocacy Team January 21 Appeal To Secretary of State Clinton Regarding Human

Her Excellency
The Secretary of State
Ms. Hillary Rodham Clinton 
Dear Secretary Clinton:

The West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) wishes to congratulate you on your assumption of the office of Secretary of State. Your record as a champion of human rights and the rule of law gives hope to those who struggle for their human rights against brutal repression.  We strongly agree that those who exercise brutal repression of their peoples are, in the words of President Obama, "on the wrong side of history."  We trust that his unequivocal assertion of America's commitment to human rights and your own leadership in development and implementation of US foreign policy will ensure a principled stand on behalf of those for whom justice is still only a dream.

The struggle for human rights is especially arduous in the Indonesian province of West Papua which has been under Indonesian control since 1969 when a purported "act of self-determination," widely regarded as fraudulent, secured Indonesian control of this area.  For over four decades Indonesian security authorities, principally the Indonesian military, have employed extreme brutality to repress Papuans who have demanded political rights, and an end to destructive exploitation of their vast natural resources. Papuans have broadly rejected a six-year old Indonesian promise of "special autonomy" as an unfulfilled pledge and are urging an internationally mediated dialogue between the Indonesian government to address long-standing Papuan demands for fundamental political rights, demilitarization of the province and a Papuan role in immigration, development and other policies that fundamentally affect the Papuan people.

Among those in especially urgent need of US foreign policy founded on consistent promotion of human rights are Papuan prisoners of conscience incarcerated for exercise of their right to peaceful dissent.  In the latter months of the 110th US Congressional session, 40 members of the US House of Representatives signed a letter to Indonesian President Yudhoyono calling for justice with regard to two Papuans, Filip Karma and Yusuf Pakage, jailed for peaceful assertion of their right to protest. Both are designated "prisoners of conscience" by Amnesty International.

The West Papua Advocacy Team also wishes to call  to your attention the recent conviction by Indonesian courts of yet eleven more Papuans who were found guilty of subversion and sentenced on the 8 January 2009 to jail terms of three and three-and-a-half years.  These individuals were arrested in March 2008 for involvement in peaceful, non-violent demonstrations.  They now join prisoners of conscience Karma and Pakage and dozens of Papuans who similarly have been jailed for non-violent protest which is protected by Indonesian law and by international conventions to which Indonesia is a party. It is important to note that the Papuans who are incarcerated in the Indonesian penal system in which a recent UN report noted torture and maltreatment is widespread.

The Indonesian court's conviction of these Papuans stands in stark contrast of the chronic failure of the Indonesian judicial system to effectively prosecute senior Indonesian military and intelligence officials for their roles in violent acts against Papuans and other Indonesian and East Timorese civilians, including the massacre of thousands of East Timorese and the 2004 murder of the leading human rights advocate and military critic Munir Said Thalib.

We urge that the new administration develop a plan to encourage the democratizing Indonesian government to respect human rights, and especially to end its repression of peaceful dissent in West Papua and elsewhere in the Indonesian archipelago. Papuan prisoners of conscience should be released.

Finally, we also also urge you to demand fundamental reform of the Indonesian military which continues to abuse human rights, is unaccountable before Indonesia's flawed judicial system and which is not subordinate to civilian government control.

The incoming administration should not provide assistance to an Indonesian military or an Indonesian intelligence agency which remain unreformed and unaccountable to the Indonesian people.
The West Papua Advocacy Team
   Charles Farhadian, Phd.
   Eben Kirksey, Phd.
   Edmund McWilliams (Senior US Foreign Service Officer, retired)
   Octo Mote (Human Rights Asylee)
   Miriam Young (Human Rights Advocate)
(Transmitted by Edmund McWilliams, WPAT Secretary, edmcw  @, 703-237-3913 - Falls Church, Virginia)


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