Monday, December 24, 2012

ETAN protests at Freeport HQ in Phoenix, AZ

ETAN joined other human rights and environmental groups at protest outside the headquarters of Freeport McMoRan in Phoenix, AZ. Freeport runs one of the largest mines in the world in West Papua. Other groups participating included Sierra Club, IWW and Occupy Phoenix. Thanks to Crazy-Man Docs for the video.

Remarks by ETAN's Chris Lundry at Freeport demo:

Read the monthly West Papua Report

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Help keep ETAN strong ­ Please give to our end of year fundraising drive today!

John M. Miller
East Timor and Indonesia Action Network
December 2012
John M. Miller and Charles Scheiner with , President Taur Matan Ruak 
ETAN's John M. Miller and Charles Scheiner (right) receive Order of Timor from President Taur Matan Ruak (center). 
Dear Friends,
I had the privilege of attending last May’s official ceremony in Dili on the tenth anniversary of Timor-Leste’s hard won restoration of independence. Timor-Leste inaugurated its newly-elected President as fireworks exploded in celebration.
Two days later, I was honored to accept on ETAN's behalf the Order of Timor-Leste -- the nation's highest honor. Timor-Leste's just-inaugurated President Taur Matan Ruak presented the award to ETAN (and to ETAN co-founder Charles Scheiner for his individual efforts) as the nation's thanks for our work in support of the country's liberation. I am proud of the part we played in the Timorese struggle for independence and since. We could not have done it without your steadfast support.
The medal now has pride of place in ETAN's Brooklyn, NY office, reminding us of all that we have accomplished over the years. The honor also reminds us of how much many East Timorese relied on our support. During my visit, people repeatedly told me of their faith and confidence that ETAN will continue to provide support and solidarity for their fledgling nation.
I am writing to urge you to give generously so that ETAN can continue to support human rights, justice and accountability, democracy, and an equitable and sustainable future for Timor-Leste. Our work is only possible with your support.
ETAN began as the East Timor Action Network soon after the 1991 Santa Cruz massacre when Indonesian troops -- firing their U.S.-supplied weapons -- killed peaceful demonstrators. Hundreds of young Timorese were murdered, and the eyewitness accounts from that day inspired us to action. ETAN's relentless grassroots pressure persuaded the U.S. Congress to end taxpayer-funded training for Indonesian soldiers in the United States and eventually changed U.S. policy from support of Indonesia's illegal occupation to support for Timor's right to self-determination.
ETAN is "A voice of reason, criticizing the administration's reluctance to address ongoing human rights violations and escalating oppression in West Papua and against religious minorities throughout Indonesia."
-- Noam Chomsky

East Timor is now the independent Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, and we remain committed to supporting its people in pursuing justice not only for the victims of the Santa Cruz massacre, but for all the victims of the U.S.-backed Indonesian invasion and occupation. We continue to highlight the complicity of U.S. government officials in the oppression of the people of Timor-Leste, West Papua, and elsewhere in the Indonesian archipelago, including the still-active Henry Kissinger, who gave a green light to the invasion of Timor-Leste.
Just last month, a now-high ranking State Department official recalled her time as a human rights officer in Washington more than a decade ago. She described ETAN as “punching above its weight” in revealing ongoing Pentagon training of Indonesian soldiers, leading Congress and the State Department to cancel the program. She said that she often uses ETAN as an example of effective citizen action, and that our work in the 1990s has had lasting, worldwide impact in curtailing U.S. training for armies which violate human rights.
In 2005, we changed our name to the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network to emphasize our support for human rights and democracy in Indonesia, where U.S. engagement with the military and police has encouraged them to resist accountability. In the past year, the U.S.-created and trained Detachment 88 has been engaged in a number of rights violations in West Papua and elsewhere. ETAN continues to oppose the administration’s efforts to re-engage with the Indonesian military’s notorious Kopassus special forces and plans to sell Indonesia’s deadly Apache attack helicopters.
2012 commemoration of Santa Cruz massacre, Dili. Photo by Manuela Leong Pereira via Facebook. 
We continue to work with the West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT), helping to produce the respected monthly West Papua Report. We work with WPAT and others in supporting human rights and peaceful solutions in the region.
Noam Chomsky has called us "a voice of reason, criticizing the administration's reluctance to address ongoing human rights violations and escalating oppression in West Papua and against religious minorities throughout Indonesia."
Our information sharing and networking provide vital links among activists and others around the world. Our long-running email list keeps an expanding list of more than 3000 direct subscribers – including journalists, policy makers, East Timorese officials, activists and students -- informed with news and analysis of events affecting Timor-Leste and on solidarity around the globe.
One list subscriber recently thanked us for "the excellent work you have been doing these last years in keeping all people interested in Timor-Leste's present and future duly informed. Your objectivity and professionalism, providing an essential space for everybody to express itself freely has been a great contribution to consolidate Timor-Leste's emerging democracy. It is an example of how to give voice to the civil society and others at relatively low costs, an example that many other countries should follow."
ETAN works with advocacy and human rights organizations in Timor-Leste, West Papua, Indonesia and elsewhere, because together we are stronger.
This past year, we placed international volunteers with local groups in Dili, to assist their monitoring of national elections in Timor-Leste.  
As we continue our crucial work, we face a number of challenges. ETAN has never been very large or well-funded. We have become skilled at doing a lot with relatively limited human and financial resources. However, we have lost opportunities and with your help we could be doing more.
Many in Timor-Leste and Indonesia continue to expect a lot from ETAN. I know, because I often receive their requests for information and pleas for action. With your help, we can better respond to their requests and needs. We have many ideas for possible projects, but we need your help to gather the necessary resources to implement them.
I hope you will support ETAN. Please give generously now to help strengthen ETAN as we meet the challenges of the coming years. Thank you!
A luta continua,
John M. Miller
Coordinator, ETAN
P.S. Please consider becoming an ETAN sustainer by making a monthly donation by credit card. Help put ETAN on a firmer financial footing: information here

How to Donate to ETAN
You can donate safely by credit card through ETAN's website below ( Or you can mail your donation. To support ETAN's political advocacy work, write a check made out to ETAN. For ETANs educational efforts, U.S. tax-deductible donations of over $50 can be made out to A.J. Muste Memorial Institute/ETAN. Please mail your donations to: East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN), PO Box 21873, Brooklyn, NY 11202-1873.

West Papua Report December 2012

December 2012 Issue

This is the 104th in a series of monthly reports that focus on developments affecting Papuans. This series is produced by the non-profit West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) drawing on media accounts, other NGO assessments, and analysis and reporting from sources within West Papua. This report is co-published with the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN). Back issues are posted online at Questions regarding this report can be addressed to Edmund McWilliams at edmcw @ If you wish to receive the report directly via e-mail, send a note to etan @ etan.orgFor additional news on West Papua see the reg.westpapua listserv archive or on Twitter.


PerspectiveReflections on The New York Agreement by Dr. John Saltford

Displaced Papuans flee security sweeps in Keerom District. Photo from Elsham Papua.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Santa Cruz massacre 21 years on

A day late, but we were busy distributing ETAN's media release on the Santa Cruz massacre anniversary.

Here is the link to ETAN's release: and an excerpt:
"As the latest UN mission ends, promises of justice remain unfulfilled," said John M. Miller, National Coordinator of ETAN. "The UN should state clearly that there can be no impunity for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during Indonesia's invasion and occupation of Timor-Leste from 1975-1999." 
"The East Timorese people can not fully overcome their past until they know the fate of the bodies of their relatives and friends," said Miller. "Impunity for decades of systematic Indonesian military and police atrocities prevents both countries from consolidating the rule of law as they transition from  military dictatorship do democracy." 
2012 commemoration of Santa Cruz massacre, Dili.
 Photo by Manuela Leong Pereira via Facebook
 ANTI (Timor-Leste National Alliance for an International Tribunal) and Amnesty International issued a joint statement. The groups concluded:
Together, ANTI and Amnesty International demand that the UN and the governments of Timor-Leste and Indonesia take responsibility to ensure justice for crimes against humanity and human rights violations which took place in Timor-Leste between 1975 and 1999. They must ensure that victims of the Santa Cruz massacre, and all those who suffered during the Indonesian occupation and in the context of the 1999 independence referendum, have access to justice, truth and reparation. Continued inaction will further entrench a culture of impunity, and leave a dark stain on the UN's record in Timor-Leste.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Support East Timorese Marathoners in NYC

UPDATE:  The East Timorese runners were unable to make it to New York in time for the marathon, which ended up being cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. ETAN will not be organizing cheering this year, but we look forward to doing so next year. 


Sunday, November 4, 2011Support East Timorese Marathoners
Once again, two of Timor-Leste's top long-distance runners are participating in the New York City Marathon on November 4.
And once again, ETAN will be cheering them on!

Meet at the southwest corner of 4th Ave. and Bergen St. in Brooklyn at 10 am. to wave Timor flags, carry supportive signs (make and bring one if you can), and otherwise show our support for the runners. Don't forget to change your clocks the night before to end daylight savings.

Later in the day, we plan to move to a spot near the finish line along Central Park South.

For more information or contact, 917-690-4391

More details and updates on Facebook o

Nearest subway is Atlantic Avenue: D, N, R, 2, 3, 4, 5, B, Q

About the Timorese runners:
Zeferino Guterres Magalhaes is from Viqueque, but currently lives in Liquica with his wife. He is 34 years old, and ran a time of 2h36m at the SEA games last year. Zeferino has consistently been in the top three of the Dili Marathon, but was unable to finish this year. However Calisto (who ran in last year's NYC marathon) and won the Dili event has now retired as an athlete and become a trainer. As he had already been to New York, he is happy for Zeferino to represent Timor-Leste.

Marquita dos Santos is from Lospalos and studying at Nino Konis Santana Senior High School in Lospalos. She is 18 years old and has been running since 2009. She participated 3 Km in Arafura games winning third place. She placed fourth in SEA games in 5 km. She speaks Indonesia and understand a little English and Portuguese. She lives with her parents in Lospalos.

see here for information about Timorese runners in last year's marathon

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What does Timor-Leste need after UNMIT?

RSVP on Facebook

Adapted from

Tetum iha kraik.  You can download this invitation in English and Tetum from .
La’o Hamutuk Public Meeting
What does Timor-Leste need from the International Community after UNMIT’s mandate ends?

Tuesday 23 October 2012.    9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Dili University (UNDIL), Mascarenhas, Dili
Uphill from the Alola Foundation, across from the former CNE office

La’o Hamutuk invites the public to participate in a discussion about the mandate of UNMIT in Timor-Leste which will finish this December.

During the mandates of the UN in Timor-Leste since 1999, UN assistance has helped achieve some good results, such as the creation of a democratic state under rule of law, with peace and security. Unfortunately UNMIT has not yet implemented some important commitments, including ending impunity for crimes against humanity committed during the Indonesian occupation. In addition, the UN and the State of Timor-Leste have not yet chosen a sustainable and inclusive development path.

The people of Timor-Leste, together with our leaders, must take responsibility for these gaps after UNMIT leaves.


  • Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Shigeru Mochida: Reflections on the successes of UN missions in Timor-Leste and what remains to be achieved 
  • RDTL Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Luis Guterres: Reflections on hopes for what the UN Missions were not able to do during their time in Timór-Leste 
  • Representative, ETAN, Jill Sternberg: International solidarity from ETAN now and in the future after UNMIT ends 
  • Director, Fundasaun Mahein, Nelson Belo: The Security Sector after UNMIT’s mandate finishes 
  • Researcher, La’o Hamutuk, Inês Martins: Sustainable development after UNMIT finishes 
This public meeting will be in Tetum and English. We are grateful for your attention and participation.


Enkontru públiku La’o Hamutuk nian
Saida mak Timór-Leste presiza husi Komunidade Internasionál hafoin mandatu UNMIT remata?
Tersa feira 23 Outubru 2012,  tuku 09:00 dadeer to’o 01:00 lokraik
Fatin: Universidade Dili (UNDIL) Maskariñas, Dili
Fundasaun Alola nia leten ba, Ex. Edifísiu CNE nia oin

La’o Hamutuk konvida públiku atu mai partisipa diskusaun relasiona ho mandatu UNMIT iha Timór-Leste nia ne’ebé sei remata iha fulan Dezembru tinan ida ne’e.

Durante mandatu Nasoins Unidas iha Timór-Leste dezde 1999, ONU nia asisténsia ajuda atinje rezultadu balu di’ak, hanesan kriasaun estadu direitu demokrátiku, ho dame no seguransa. Infelizmente, UNMIT seidauk implementa kompromisu importante balun, inklui hakotu impunidade husi krime kontra umanidade ne’ebé akontese durante okupasaun Indonézia. Ida seluk, UN no estadu Timór-Leste seidauk hili polítika ba dezenvolvimentu ho diresaun ida ne’ebé sustentável no inklusivu.

Lakuna hirak ne’e povu Timór-Leste hamutuk ho nia ukun na’in sira mak tenke simu responsabilidade hafoin UNMIT sai.

Oradór sira:

  • Vice-Reprezentante Espesiál Sekretáriu Jerál ONU, Shigeru Mochida: Reflesaun kona ba susesu ne’ebé Misaun ONU halo iha Timór-Leste no saida mak seidauk atinje 
  • Ministru Negósiu Estranjeiru, RDTL nian José Luis Guterres: Reflesaun kona ba esperansa ba buat ne’ebé misaun ONU la konsege halo durante nia misaun iha Timór-Leste 
  • Reprezentante ETAN, Jill Sternberg: Solidariedade Internasionál husi ETAN agora no ba futuru hafoin UNMIT remata 
  • Diretór Fundasaun Mahein, Nelson Belo: Analiza setór seguransa hafoin mandatu UNMIT remata 
  • Peskizadór La’o Hamutuk, Inês Martins: Dezenvolvimentu sustentável hafoin misaun UNMIT remata 

Enkontru públiku ne’e la’o iha lian Tetum no Inglés. Mak ne’e de’it ami nia konvite ba ita boot sira nia atensaun no partisipasaun la haluha hato’o obrigadu barak.

West Papua Report October 2012

Note: With this edition, West Papua Report has changed format: The Report leads with "Perspective," an opinion piece; followed by an "Update," a summary of some developments during the covered period; and a "Chronicle" which lists of statements, new resources, appeals and action alerts related to West Papua. Anyone interested in contributing a Perspective or responding to one should write to The opinions expressed in Perspectives are the author's and not necessarily those of WPAT or ETAN.

Perspective: The New York Agreement: 1962-2012
  • US Apache Helicopters Seen as "A Means of Destruction for Papua"
  • Papuan NGO's Collecting Donations for Political Prisoners Harassed by Police
  • New Zealand Fund Divests from Freeport over Human Rights/Security Concerns
  • All the Ingredients for Genocide: Is West Papua the Next East Timor?
  • Papuan Prisoner of Conscience Filep Karma Returns to Abepura Prison from Jakarta Medical Treatment
  • Calls Mount For SBY to Inaugurate Dialogue with Papuans
  • Amnesty International Issues Urgent Action Appeal on Behalf of Olga Hamadi
  • AHRC: Police Shoot Unarmed Civilian in Nabire, Papua
  • ALRC and KontraS Denounce Government's Failure to Accept Key UPR Recommendations

Urgent Action: Fears for Papuan activists

TAPOL Urgent Action: Fears for Papuan activists

16 October 2012

Papuan political activists and human rights defenders are living in increasing fear as a result of an intensifying crackdown by Indonesian police, military and intelligence officers against activists, particularly members of the non-violent West Papua National Committee, KNPB. There are concerns that further acts of terror, intimidation, arrests, torture and extrajudicial killings against activists are imminent.

According to reports received by TAPOL, in the early hours of Tuesday 16 October Indonesian intelligence officers raided student dormitories at the University of Cenderawasih (UNCEN) in Waena, Jayapura in an unsuccessful attempt to arrest Fanny Kogoya, a member of the TIKI network of women human rights defenders, and other activists. 

Last week, on 9 October, Simson Yohame, another activist was unlawfully detained and forced by intelligence officers to reveal the whereabouts of Fanny Kogoya and Viktor Yeimo, leader of the KNPB.    

These incidents followed the arrests in late September of eight people in the highland town of Wamena after police targeted homes and offices of KNPB members.

The targeting of KNPB activists appears to have intensified after the killing of the KNPB leader Mako Tabuni, on 14 June 2012. Officers of Indonesia's counter-terrorism unit, Special Detachment 88 (Densus 88), funded and trained by Australia, the US and the UK, are thought to have been involved in the killing of Mako Tabuni and the arrest of the KNPB members in Wamena. 

Please call or write to the authorities urging them to:

  • End the campaign of terror, intimidation and violence against human rights defenders and political activists, particularly members of KNPB
  • Guarantee the safety of Fanny Kogoya, Viktor Yeimo, and others who have been targeted. 
  • End the deployment of Densus 88 to Papua, investigate all allegations of human rights violations by Densus 88 officers and other security forces personnel and bring those responsible to justice.

Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
President of Republic of Indonesia
Istana Negara
Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara
Jakarta Pusat 10010 Indonesia
Tel: +62 21 386 3777
Fax: +62 21 344 2223

Inspector General Tito Karnavian
Papua Police Chief (Kapolda)
Jl. Samratulangi No. 8 Jayapura,
Papua, Indonesia
Tel: +62 811 161 777
Fax: +62 967 531717 


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Timor-Leste government contact lists

List of members of Parliament members, committees with mobile numbers
A two-page printable version of this list can be downloaded from

Text version here:


List of contact info for most members of the 5th Constitutional Government (ministers, vice ministers, secretaries of state

Sunday, September 9, 2012

West Papua Report Sept 2012

Latest West Papua Report is out


The West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) called on Secretary Clinton to raise concern about West Papua with Indonesian officials during her September 3 visit to Jakarta. Military operations there continue to disrupt and endanger the lives of Papuan civilians in Paniai. Security forces raided a student dormitory beating students; initial reports indicate at least one student died in the assault. A religious leader and long-time resident in West Papua paints a bleak and deteriorating picture of conditions there. Indonesian security forces continue to rely on armed force to address Papuan dissent according to religious leaders. A detailed report explores the dire humanitarian consequences posed by the proposed sale of U.S. Apache helicopters to the Indonesian military. A new project to provide easy access to information on Papuan prisoners of conscience/political prisoners is being organized. Amnesty International has issued an alert regarding the recent detention of Yusak Pakage. A Papuan member of the Indonesian parliament (DPR) decries failure of the body to create human rights mechanisms in West Papua as mandated by Special Autonomy legislation passed in 2001.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

ETAN, Lao Hamutuk and Rede ba Rai as Hillary Clinton travels to Timor-Leste

ETAN to Secretary of State Clinton: Commit the U.S. to work for justice for U.S.-backed crimes in Timor-Leste

On the eve of her visit to Timor-Leste, the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) urged Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to commit the United States to support justice and accountability for U.S.-backed crimes committed during Indonesia's 24-year occupation of Timor-Leste.
"'We appreciate ongoing U.S. engagement with Timor-Leste, but there is unfinished business between our two nations. Secretary Clinton' should acknowledge and begin to make amends for U.S. leading role in aiding and abetting Indonesia's brutal takeover of Timor,' Miller added. 'At a minimum she should officially receive the report of Timor-Leste's Truth, Reception and Reconciliation Commission's (CAVR) and set a timetable for a detailed U.S. response.'"

Lao Hamutuk writes to Hillary Clinton on justice


"Today, your visit to our country; coincides with the day, when thirteen years ago we were living in situations of anguish, tears and bloodshed. We hope your visit will give us hope for our wounds, wipe our tears and also relieve our thirst for justice."

Rede ba Rai writes Hillary Clinton on the people’s land rights


"Land is fundamental to the lives of all Timorese people. Land is fundamental as a living space, it is fundamental to our society, our culture, our identity, our ecology, our economy and how we ensure equal distribution of resources and benefits in our communities.
"Therefore civil society asks Madam Secretary Hillary Clinton during her visit to Timor-Leste to guarantee that the US Government will not abandon the Timorese people who have already been involved in land registration in Timor-Leste through the SPRTL program (Strengthening Property Rights in Timor-Leste) and the INR (Ita Nia Rai) project."

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

WPAT: Letter to Secretary of State Clinton on West Papua Concerns

Read whole letter here

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton

Department of State
Washington, DC 20520
via fax

Dear Secretary Clinton:

The West Papua Advocacy Team respectfully requests that you raise the following concerns in your upcoming meetings with Indonesian officials during your visit to Jakarta:

The Killing of Mako TabuniOn June 14 in West Papua, Government of Indonesia security elements shot and killed Mako Tabuni, a prominent Papuan human rights advocate. According to eyewitnesses, Mr. Tabuni was shot by plainclothes officers after he eluded their attempts to force him into an unmarked vehicle. Although he was badly wounded, the plainclothes officers failed to take him to a nearby hospital and instead brought him to a distant police facility where he died. The appearance and modus operandi of the security officials strongly suggest that they were members of the U.S.-funded "Detachment 88." This unit has been accused of human rights violations in West Papua and elsewhere by reputable human rights organizations.

The issue of impunity continues to prevail in Indonesia and Timor-Leste because the authorities of the two governments only want to improve diplomatic relationships and have neglected the human rights violations that occurred during the Indonesian occupation.

We strongly urge you to insist that the Government of Indonesia conduct a thorough and transparent investigation of the killing of Mako Tabuni.

Military Operations Impacting CiviliansFor decades the Government of Indonesia has conducted military operations in remote areas of West Papua purportedly aimed at countering the activity of the small, lightly-armed Papua Freedom Movement (OPM). These operations have severely affected local civilians resulting in the destruction of homes, places of worship and public buildings, and causing the flight of civilians to nearby forests where they face life threatening conditions. Invariably, security forces impede efforts by humanitarian relief organizations to assist these displaced civilians. Many civilians have died as a result of these military operations. Currently such an operation is underway in the Paniai region.

We strongly urge you to call on the Government of Indonesia to cease resort to armed measures to address largely peaceful Papuan protests and to permit humanitarian relief organizations to respond to the urgent human need generated by these military operations.

Provision of Vital Human Services to PapuansSince assuming control of West Papua through the widely discredited "Act of Free Choice" over 40 decades ago, the Government of Indonesia has consistently failed to provide minimally adequate health, education and other vital services to the Papuan people. That failure has resulted in health and education indices for the Papuan population that are consistently among the lowest in Indonesia and the region and have prompted charges that Jakarta's malign neglect of the Papuan people's basic human needs amounts to genocide.

We strongly urge that you press the Government of Indonesia to address the dearth of human services in West Papua and that the U.S. Government increase its own assistance, particularly in the areas of health, education and creation of employment opportunities for the systematically-marginalized Papuans.

Papuan Political PrisonersHuman rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have repeatedly accused the Government of Indonesia of incarcerating Papuans for peaceful activities protected under international covenants assuring the right to peaceful political activity and the right to assembly. Moreover, these organizations and a 2007 report by a UN Special Rapporteur determined that conditions of incarceration for these (and other) prisoners and detainees do not meet minimal international standards. Recently, Papuan political prisoner (and Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience) Filep Karma has suffered delays in the provision of crucial medical services guaranteed him under international covenants to which Indonesia is a signatory party.

We strongly urge you to raise with Indonesian officials concern over the continued persecution of peaceful dissent by Papuans and their mistreatment when in custody, including the Indonesian government's failure to provide minimally adequate medical care as required under international law.

U.S. Sale of Attack Helicopters to IndonesiaIn March of this year, 90 international NGO's urged the U.S. not to sell AH-64 Apache attack helicopters to Indonesia. These organizations argued that provision of these helicopters would pose a direct threat to Papuan civilians, who have suffered deadly TNI (Indonesian military) assaults for many years. Specifically, the NGO's noted that the heavily-armed AH-64 was a highly lethal weapon which could be used to escalate conflict within Indonesia and in West Papua as these aircraft would substantially augment the TNI's capacity to prosecute its "sweep operations" in West Papua. The consequence of this augmentation of the TNI arsenal would lead to increased suffering among the civilian populations long victimized by such operations.

We again urge that the U.S. government not approve the sale of this weapon system to the Indonesian military and that you use the occasion of your visit to inform the Indonesians that the sale will not go forward.

Calls for Government of Indonesia-Papuan DialogueRespected Papuan leaders have long called on the Government of Indonesia to engage in an internationally mediated dialogue with the Papuan people regarding the future of West Papua. At the July 2011 "Papua Peace Conference" which convened in Jayapura with more than 1,000 in attendance, Papuan representatives were selected for such a dialogue. The Indonesian Government observed this conference at the ministerial level.

Welcoming past U.S. Government support for a dialogue, we urge you to reiterate U.S. Government encouragement for such a dialogue.

Thank you for your consideration of our concerns.


The West Papua Advocacy Team

The West Papua Advocacy Team is a U.S.-based NGO composed of academics, human rights defenders and a retired U.S. diplomat.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

West Papua Report - August 2012

Read the full report here


Indonesian security forces have detained Papuans attempting to raise funds for medical care for Papuan political prisoners. Indonesia has long fallen short of its international obligations to provide medical care for prisoners. Meanwhile, private efforts to raise funds for medical care for Papuan political prisoner Filep Karma are progressing well. Australian researchers have noted evidence of expanding operations by Indonesia's notorious Detachment 88 which is heavily funded by the U.S. and Australian governments. An observer is raising questions about the impact of international solidarity movements aimed at helping Papuans, contending that the involvement of western-based organizations in the solidarity movement may instigate Jakarta's security approach in West Papua. WPAT invites comment on this argument. A number of international groups named in a list of OPM supporters have issued a statement rejecting the Indonesian charges, challenging the government's strategy of seeking "to blame others for problems created by the Indonesian government's and security forces' own policies and actions." An Indonesian lawmaker has charged Freeport with "arrogance" as negotiations between the U.S. mining giant and the Indonesian government fail. WPAT notes the larger tragedy that Papuans have never played a significant role in such negotiations over the exploitation of Papuan natural resources. The Asian Human Rights Commission has published an excellent article on the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE).

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

ETAN, Groups Respond to Mystery List of Papua Supporters

A list is currently circulating on the internet which purports to list international supporters of the OPM (Organisasi Papua Merdek) in West Papua. A number of the organizations on the list - including ETAN - recently issued a statement

The list seems to confuse support for the rights of the people of West Papua with support for a particular West Papuan organization, the OPM. Our organizations work on issues and do not take sides among local organizations. We do this out of respect for the right of the Papuan people to organize themselves. 

Lists like these seek to blame others for problems created by the Indonesian government’s and security forces' own policies and actions.

see full statement here:

ETAN Observers Report on 2012 Timor Parliamentary election

Links to reports and observations from ETAN's volunteer election observers during Timor-Leste's 2012 parliamentary election.

ETAN volunteers assisted the electoral work of local NGOs: La’o Hamutuk, Fundasaun Mahein (monitoring, research and advocacy on the security sector) and Asosiasaun HAK (Association for Law, Human Rights, Justice). Below are the observations and personal reflections of the ETAN volunteers.

ETAN Observes with Fundasuan Mahein

ETAN Observes Voting Day in Liquiça

ETAN: Election Observers on the Move

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

APSOC statement on recent events in Timor-Leste

[Like others, ETAN is watching the post-election government formation process in Timor-Leste with great interest. We will have more to say for ourselves shortly. In the meantime, here is a statement from our colleagues in APSOC, GPPAC-SEA and IID. More on the recent election from ETAN volunteers can be found here.)


We are deeply saddened by the turn of events in our beloved Timor-Leste.

After observing a rather peaceful and awe-inspiring parliamentary elections last week, we left the country with the firm belief that indeed the brave but gentle Timorese people have shown the world that democracy is alive and well in their young nation. We went home rejuvenated by the Timorese people's commitment to the sacredness of the electoral process, humbled by their discipline in exercising this fundamental right and awed by the congeniality of the political rivals among themselves during the entire electoral exercise.

We even wished and hoped that other peoples and older nations in the region --including ours-- can learn, nay, copy, how the Timorese people conduct their elections.

We issued a glowing report about this humbling and seminal experience.
One death is too many and we urge all political parties to rein in their followers and accept the election results with equanimity and humility.
But following the announcement of Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao of his party's decision to form a coalition government with two other parties, we are very disheartened to learn about the violence that has erupted in the capital Dili and in some districts like Viqueque. We have received reports of the mayhem having been initiated by disgruntled young followers of one party that was not invited into the coalition, spurred by their party's exclusion and alleged "insults" that was publicly broadcast against them by some members of the ascendant party. We have also learned of some alleged high-handed response of some security authorities to what was perceived as an initial emotional outburst to the alleged "insults" and announcement. As of this writing, we have learned of one death, scores of injuries inflicted on all sides and at least 50 vehicles burned.

Democracy can only thrive with strong checks and balances. But these must be done within the parameters of the law and even in the parliament of the streets if need be, but sans any form of violence.
One death is too many and we urge all political parties to rein in their followers and accept the election results with equanimity and humility. We also urge for calm and for the decibel of political rhetoric to be restrained if not muted at this crucial period. If there are major questionable issues about the exercise, we urge that the parties resort to peaceful and legal processes that they have anyway collectively established themselves. We however also call that those responsible for the violence- whether they come from any party or from the authorities, be meted with the full force of the law. This, as we call on all parties to endeavor to work in a framework for the common good, in harmony and complementation, while in partnership or in opposition.

Democracy can only thrive with strong checks and balances. But these must be done within the parameters of the law and even in the parliament of the streets if need be, but sans any form of violence.

We call on all our Timorese brothers and sisters, on civil society, to guard your democracy with vigilance, persistence and resolve. It is ultimately you, the people, who will make your democracy work. You deserve no less.

We call on the international community and in particular the solidarity movement, to offer what it can to accompany the people of Timor Leste in their tedious path to democracy, peace and progress.
We pray that Timor Leste emerge from this momentary hump a stronger and prouder nation.




Monday, July 9, 2012

ETAN Observes Voting Day in Liquiça

Read full post here

Liquiça District, Maubara, Suco Viviquinia, July 8 - It is hard to believe that Election Day has come and gone.

by Elice Higginbotham

In this northern coastal suco, west of Dili, Saturday, July 7, parliamentary voting began at 6:00 a.m. in the local public school. STAE staff in bright pink polo shirts and baseball caps set up the polling places in two classrooms. Boxes of sensitive (pads of ballots and voter registration records) and non-sensitive (office supplies) materials were unpacked; corrugated cardboard voting booths were set up in a row at one end of the room. Tables for the staff, who are checking identification, crossing voter’s name off the registration list, and handing out the ballots were set up along one wall. The ballot box itself, followed by a table where each voter dips his right index finger into indelible ink after voting, along with staff for each, were placed at the opposite side. Along the final wall were ranged the chairs for fiscais (accredited observers from each party and coalition on the ballot) and national and international observers. The presiding officer displays the uncovered ballot box, showing it to be empty, then places the slotted cover on top, and fastens it to the box with numbered seals, reading each seal number aloud as fiscais and observers take notes.

Compared to the crowd and noise that often characterize my New York City polling place, the voting takes place in what seems to me like a very quiet, calm atmosphere.

I arrive with a co-worker from La’o Hamutuk. This is her home suco and her polling place, where she and the other Timorese observers and STAE staff cast the first votes of the day, so they’ll then be free to concentrate on their jobs for the rest of the long electoral workday. At 7:05, as my notes show, the local observers and STAE staff are in line to receive and cast their ballots; by 7:15, the queue controller lets in the first voters who have been standing in long lines outside the classroom door.

The first time I observed at a polling place in Timor-Leste, I worried because it seemed to me that the process of ID checking and marking the voter’s name off the registration list presented the first opportunity for potential cheating – if there’s a crowd around the table with the registration lists, wouldn’t it be possible for someone to slip quickly past the crowd and pick up a ballot without being checked first for valid ID and registration? More careful observation on my part, however, showed that this is the responsibility of the queue controller: s/he limits the number of voters who enter the room at any given time. Anyone standing at the ID/registration check table is clearly seen being served by staff before picking up a ballot.

Compared to the crowd and noise that often characterize my New York City polling place, the voting takes place in what seems to me like a very quiet, calm atmosphere. The voters waiting outside in line are, also quiet, anything but unruly or impatient. Pregnant women and people accompanied by small children are given first priority, ushered politely to the front of the line by the queue controller, as are persons with disabilities. I notice a number of older women who look very dressed up in their traditional colorful kebaya blouses. They, too, receive special courtesy by the polling place staff.

As was explained to us in our STAE training for observers, the voting booths are positioned differently for this election. In previous elections, the voter’s back was to the wall of the room, and s/he was hidden from view by the booth. This time, the booths’ position is reversed – the voter’s back faces the middle of the room, and we can observe the voter’s back as s/he votes. This is to help prevent a number of fraud possibilities: leaving anything in the voting booth that could offer direction to other voters; marking anything on the wall of the booth; photographing or phoning within the booth. 

Counting votes at Colmera in Dili on Saturday afternoon (Photo: Simon Roughneen)
My own worry is about the size and cumbersomeness of the very large ballot, with 21 parties and coalitions listed, each with names, flags and symbols. Is it possible for a voter to find her/his selection, mark it by pen or pencil or (more commonly) by nail-punch (a nail on a string hangs in each booth) without holding it up where some watcher could see the voter’s selection? If voters folds the long ballot to keep as much of it as possible hidden in front of them while voting, what are the chances that the nail may actually perforate two layers of paper, thus invalidating the ballot? These worries do not seem to become actual problems. I can see no one’s selection as I watch her/him voting from my observer’s seat at the opposite end of the room; and the small percentage of invalid, or “spoiled,” ballots seems to indicate that most voters are perfectly able to mark their choice without confusion.

From my observer post in this seaside suco, the voting was free, fair and transparent. No campaign propaganda was evident. Neither Timorese nor UN police appeared in any way intimidating, but played their proper role of being unobtrusively watchful at an appropriate distance from the polling place. Staff were courteous and helpful, but did not intrude. Voters had the necessary privacy for a secret ballot. The integrity of the process – from polling place set-up, to voting, to close of voting, to counting, to transfer of the counted ballots to the District Tabulation Center -- was rigorously maintained and documented.

Read full report here

SUMMARY The West Papua Advocacy Team gives its annual John Rumbiak Human Rights Defenders Award to Anne Noonan and Joe Collins and the Australia West Papua Association (Sydney). Detachment 88 forces gunned down leading Papuan activist Mako Tabuni in what witness describe as an extrajudicial killing. Tabuni was a key official of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), an organization pressing for a referendum on West Papua's status. Indonesia's security forces and Detachment 88, a purportedly anti-terror unit supported by the U.S. and Australian governments, are ratcheting up pressure on KNPB and other Papuan groups at a time of growing tension in the territory. That tension derives in part from an early June assault on the village of Honai Lama by Indonesian military personnel which led to the death of at least one Papuan civilian, the beating of others, and destruction of villagers' homes. The Asian Legal Resource Center warned the UN Human Rights Council of "escalating violence" in West Papua and the failure of Indonesian authorities to arrest the perpetrators of this violence. WPAT urges the U.S. government to suspend support for Detachment 88. WPAT also endorses a Human Right Watch call for the Indonesian government to admit the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions.

Mako Tabuni. West Papua Media Alerts.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

ETAN: Election Observers on the Move

Dili, July 5 - ETAN volunteers joined international election observers from throughout the world yesterday for an afternoon of training by STAE: Timor-Leste's Technical Secretariat for Electoral Administration. The structure and legal basis of STAE and the National Electoral Commission (CNE) were explained, as well as the process of setting up polling places, conducting the voting, counting the votes, confirming and announcing the results.

Last evening, STAE saw the observers off with a gracious reception, presided over by Tomas Cabral, STAE's Director General, and with thanks and good wishes from Finn Riske-Nielsen, Acting Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, along with representatives of other diplomatic missions whose compatriots are observing the parliamentary election.

Today, ETAN's volunteers join their Timorese NGO colleagues as they begin to move out to the districts to monitor the voting on Saturday, July 7. The Viqueque team departs this afternoon; other teams leave tomorrow morning for Baucau and Liquica.

What are we expecting to see? What are we watching for? What are we hoping for?

Starting with the last question - we're hoping, above all, for "free, fair and transparent" - the watchwords of a democratic election process. Asosiasaun HAK, with whom ETAN is observing in Viqueque and Baucau, developed the following objectives: 

Photo by John M. Miller/ETAN

 To observe how:

  • Citizens rights to free and secure elections are guaranteed. The State has a duty to ensure elections run well.
  • The entitlement to live in peace is safeguarded.
  • The people or voters are free to exercise their rights.
 HAK observers will watch, on the one hand, how well the security services are supporting the electoral process, protecting all citizens' human rights; and, on the other, will take particular note of conditions that particularly affect women's exercise of their right to vote. HAK's teams will include in their kit a checklist developed in conjunction with the Alola Foundation for women and children, including such questions as:
  • Is there a gender balance amongst the polling staff?
  • Is there separation of the sexes in the voting line?
  • Were pregnant women or women nursing small children adequately attended to?
  • Did the media interview females?
Election observation is, above all, accompaniment. We watch. We take note. We report. We do not intervene. We hope that our presence will serve as a measure of protection (if it's needed) but, more importantly, as a quiet sign of solidarity.

-- Elice Higginbotham

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

ETAN Volunteers Support Timor-Leste Groups Electoral Work


ETAN Volunteers Support Timor-Leste Groups Electoral Work

Dili, July 3, 2012 – Tomorrow is the last day of campaigning for Timor-Leste’s Parliamentary Election. The vote will be held on Saturday, July 7, and, by law, campaigning ceases for two full days before voters go to the polls.

It’s been a noisy day in the office of La’o Hamutuk (“Walking Together,” Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Research), where an ETAN volunteer is preparing to accompany one of the group's staff as she returns to her home district to vote over the weekend, as well as to observe the election in that district. La’o Hamutuk is on a main Dili thoroughfare, and banner-covered trucks filled with chanting party members and sympathizers, roaring motorcycle caravans, cars with amplified music and loudspeaker campaign slogans, and police vehicles with sirens blaring have passed by regularly throughout the day.

La’o Hamutuk offered a briefing this morning for international media and election observers, to provide background on key development and other issues that the new government will face in the next five years, Presenters had to stop speaking periodically, until a noisy campaign parade had passed.

Photo by John M. Miller/ETAN
In addition to La’o Hamutuk, ETAN volunteers are assisting the electoral work of two other local NGOs: Fundasaun Mahein (monitoring, research and advocacy on the security sector) and Asosiasaun HAK (Association for Law, Human Rights, Justice). Hailing from Australia, France, Uganda and the U.S., the volunteers are attending and reporting on campaign events, receiving briefings on electoral monitoring from STAE (the Technical Secretariat for Electoral Administration), and will join NGO staff as they observe voting and counting throughout the country, bringing the particular questions and objectives of each organization to the observation process. 

From this observer’s perspective, it’s been a “quiet” campaign thus far (notwithstanding the street noise!). While the public media report how well-prepared the country’s police and security forces are to confront and contain any conflict, the people of Timor-Leste do not appear poised for violence. We are regularly reminded here that the United Nations security force will be withdrawing from Timor-Leste at the end of the year - if this election goes well, that is, without significant conflict. Yet conflict seems less on people’s minds than the real issues of survival: employment, sustainable development, education, health care, land rights. Whether and how the next government will move forward on these fronts seem a far more immediate and substantial matters than whether the elections will be marred by mayhem.

La’o Hamutuk reminded us this morning that an election is more than the mechanics of voting, and democracy does not lie only in a free, fare and transparent ballot. Rather, the election is the people’s opportunity to choose the leaders who will determine the direction the country takes over the next five years: whose leadership will – or will not – respond to the Timorese people’s aspirations to vastly improve their lives.

-- Elice Higginbotham

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

West Papua Report for June 2012

West Papua Report


The Indonesian Government's human rights record came under scrutiny at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva which convened a quadrennial review of Indonesia's progress on human rights protection. The focus on developments in West Papua was more intense than the last review with the denial of freedom of speech and the holding of political prisoners among the leading concerns. Indonesia promised to invite the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Speech though it was unclear if he would be allowed to visit West Papua. The U.S. State Department released its annual global review of human rights observance. The report gave significant attention to human rights violations in West Papua with some focus on the role of the security forces. As in the past, the State Department report ignored the Indonesian government's failure to provide minimally adequate health, education and other vital services to the Papuan people. Amnesty International also issued its annual report on human rights with a significant focus on rights issues in West Papua. A detailed study revealed the Indonesian government's failure to protect Papuans from unscrupulous land developers in West Papua. Demonstrators in Vanuatu targeted their government's warming relationship with Indonesia, particularly with Indonesian security forces.

Full report here