Friday, August 5, 2011

West Papua Report August 2011

[Don't forget: Call Congress to sign the House letter on Papuan prisoner Filep Karma - Deadline is August 12.]

West Papua Report for August 2011 is now out. Read in full here.


Thousands of Papuans peacefully took to the streets August 2 to support calls for a referendum on West Papua's political future. The demonstrations proceeded despite the presence of armed security forces intended to block the demonstrations and the presence of Jakarta-backed militia provocateurs. Violence erupted near Jayapura and in Puncak District on the eve of the demonstrations. Over 50 international organizations publicly called for the Indonesian government to respond positively to appeals by Papuan NGOs and churches for justice, an end to human rights violations in West Papua, and protection of human rights advocates and journalists. WPAT called on Secretary Clinton to raise with Indonesian officials the ongoing military sweep operations in Puncak Jaya, West Papua. These operations have had devastating affects on innocent Papuan civilians. Secretary Clinton called for dialogue to settle disputes over West Papua. Her repetition of US Government support for "special autonomy" made clear that the Obama administration is deaf to the voice of Papuans who have rejected "special autonomy" repeatedly. Efforts by Indonesian security forces to cover-up the human cost of their military sweep operations in Puncak Jaya have failed. Komnas Ham has proposed a dialogue about violence in Puncak Jaya. A peace conference which convened in West Papua has explored the possibility of advancing dialogue with the Indonesian government. Renowned international academics, lawyers and Papuan activists will convene in Oxford to discuss the continuing denial of the right of self-determination to Papuans. The military commander in West Papua has apologized to the Papuan Kingmi church over intimidating language he employed against the church. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Call Congress concerning Papuan prisoner Filep Karma

Representative Joe Pitts and Jim Moran are circulating a letter to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia concerning the case of political prisoner Filep Karma, a prominent Papuan advocate of self-determination. Karma has been serving a 15-year sentence for raising the Papuan Morning Star flag at a peaceful political rally in 2004. Karma is designated a Prisoner of Conscience by Amnesty International for his nonviolent advocacy.

This bi-partisan initiative is currently circulating in the House of Representative. Please call your Representative this week and urge him or her to sign the letter.

Call the Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121. Ask for your congressperson's foreign policy aide. Ask that your representative sign on to Representative Joseph Pitt's and Jim Moran's letter to Indonesia's President concerning the case of prisoner of conscience Filep Karma. Urge them to support human rights and the rule of law  in Indonesia. Offer to e-mail them a copy of the letter. Tell them that if your Representative wishes to sign, she or he should contact Carson Middleton 52411 in the office of Rep Pitts. The deadline is Friday, August 12, so call soon.
If necessary leave a detailed message. If you have trouble getting through by phone send an e-mail to the office, but be sure to follow up with a call.

Thank you for your support.

To find out who your representative is go to

Signers so far include: Reps. Pitts (R-PA), Moran (D-VA), Baldwin (D-WI), Dogget (D-TX), Faleomavaega (D-AS), Farr (D-CA), Filner (D-CA), Hinchey (D-NY), Honda (D-CA, McDermott (D-CA), McGovern (D-MA), Pingree (D-ME), Rohrabacher (R-CA), Rothman (D-NJ), Schakowsky (D-IL), Wolf (R-VA).
If your congressperson has already signed be sure to thank them.

The letter is an initiative of Freedom Now, who represent Karma pro-bono. Please let us know the results of your call.

Background on Filep Karma and his case can be found here from Freedom Now and here from Amnesty International. Background on Indonesia's political prisoners, Prosecuting Political Aspiration Indonesia’s Political Prisoners, can be found here.