Groups Disappointed by U.S. House of Representatives Removal of
Provision Highlighting West Papua
Contact: Contact: Ed McWilliams, WPAT, +1-575-648-2078
John M. Miller, ETAN, +1-718-596-7668
The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) and West Papua
Advocacy Team (WPAT) are disappointed that between the vote of the full
House Foreign Relations Committee and its passage by the full House of
Representatives, a provision concerning West Papua was removed.
We do not believe that good relations between the governments of the
United States and Indonesia, election year or not, would have suffered
by the fact-finding required by the original provision. Indeed, the
required reports would have come out long after elections in Indonesia
A greater understanding of the current human rights and governance
situations in West Papua and a fuller understanding of the effects of
West Papua's incorporation into Indonesia are certainly needed
internationally and within Indonesia.
The deleted provision would have required for two
reports to Congress from the U.S.State Department: A "report on the 1969
Act of Free Choice, the current political status of West Papua, and the
extent to which the Government of Indonesia has implemented and included
the leadership and the people of West Papua in the development and
administration of Special Autonomy." The second report is to describe
"the extent to which the Government of Indonesia has certified that it
has halted human rights abuses in West Papua."
Last week, ETAN and WPAT erred in stating that the provision had passed
the full House of Representatives.
The removed text can be found at below.
ETAN was formed in 1991. The U.S.-based organization advocates for
democracy, justice and human rights for Timor-Leste and Indonesia. For
more information, see ETAN's web site:
WPAT produces the monthly
West Papua Report.
Removed from H.R.2410
Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011
(Reported in House)
SEC. 1123. WEST PAPUA.
(a) Findings- Congress finds the following:
(1) West Papua was a former Dutch colony just as East Timor
was a former Portuguese colony just as Indonesia was a former
colony of the Netherlands.
(2) In 1949, the Dutch granted independence to Indonesia and
retained West Papua.
(3) In 1950, the Dutch prepared West Papua for independence.
(4) However, Indonesia, upon achieving independence, demanded
the entire archipelago including the Dutch holding of West Papua
and the Portuguese controlled territory of East Timor.
(5) In 1962, the United States mediated an agreement between the
Dutch and Indonesia. Under terms of the agreement, the Dutch
were to leave West Papua and transfer sovereignty to the United
Nations after which time a national election would be held to
determine West Papua's political status. But almost immediately
after this agreement was reached, Indonesia violated the terms
of the transfer and took over the administration of West Papua
from the United Nations.
(6) Indonesia then orchestrated an election that many regarded
as a brutal military operation. In what became known as an `act
of no-choice', 1,025 West Papua elders under heavy military
surveillance were selected to vote on behalf of more than
800,000 West Papuans on the territory's political status. The
United Nations Representative sent to observe the election
process produced a report which outlined various and serious
violations of the United Nations Charter. In spite of the report
and in spite of testimonials from the press, the opposition of
fifteen countries, and the cries of help from the Papuans
themselves, West Papua was handed over to Indonesia in November
(7) Since this time, the Papuans have suffered blatant human
rights abuses including extrajudicial executions, imprisonment,
torture, environmental degradation, natural resource
exploitation and commercial dominance of immigrant communities
and it is now estimated that more than 100,000 West Papuans and
200,000 East Timorese died as a direct result of Indonesian rule
especially during the administrations of military dictators
Sukarno and Suharto.
(8) Today, the violence continues. In its 2004 Country Reports
on Human Rights Practices the Department of State reports that
Indonesia `security force members murdered, tortured, raped,
beat and arbitrarily detained civilians and members of
separatist movements especially in Papua'.
(9) In response to international pressure, Indonesia has
promised to initiate Special Autonomy for West Papua.
(10) Considering that East Timor achieved independence from
Indonesia in 2002 by way of a United Nations sanctioned
referendum, Special Autonomy may be an effort to further
disenfranchise a people who differ racially from the majority of
(11) West Papuans are Melanesian and believed to be of African
(1) SECRETARY OF STATE- For fiscal year 2010, the Secretary of
State shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a
report on the 1969 Act of Free Choice, the current political
status of West Papua, and the extent to which the Government of
Indonesia has implemented and included the leadership and the
people of West Papua in the development and administration of
Special Autonomy. (2) PRESIDENT- For each of fiscal years 2010
and 2011, the President shall transmit to the appropriate
congressional committees a report that contains a description of
the extent to which the Government of Indonesia has certified
that it has halted human rights abuses in West Papua.
East Timor and
Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)
PO Box 21873
Brooklyn, NY 11202-1873
718-596-7668; mobile: 917-690-4391