Sunday, March 11, 2012

ETAN and WPAT on death of Rep. Donald Payne

[ETAN is deeply appreciative of Rep. Payne's efforts on behalf of East Timorese, West Papuan and Indonesian people during his service in Congress. We mourn his passing. In addition to his actions on behalf of West Papua, Rep. Payne was supportive of ETAN's efforts to support self-determination for the now independent Timor-Leste and to restrict U.S. security assistance to Indonesia in order to support human rights and justice. - John M. Miller, National Coordinator.]

West Papua Advocacy Team on Rep. Donald Payne 1934-2012

March 10, 2012 - The West Papua Advocacy Team deeply regrets the passing of Representative Donald Payne (D-NJ), one of the greatest champions of West Papuan human rights in the U.S. Congress. Working closely with Congressmember Eni Faleomavaega (D-AS), Representative Payne regularly appealed to the Indonesian Government to end repression in West Papua and urged the United States government to use its significant influence with the Indonesian government to encourage an end to the systematic human rights violations by the Indonesian security forces targeting West Papuans.

Representative Payne used his important role in the U.S. House of Representatives' international affairs committee and his leading role in the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus to advocate for Papuan rights. The following recalls only part of that impressive record of human rights advocacy:

In December 2005, as ranking member of the House International Relations Committee's Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights & International Operations, Payne joined Congressmember Faleomavaega to call on African nations to request the United Nations to review the "Act of Free Choice," the widely discredited subterfuge through which the Indonesian government, then led by the dictator Suharto, forcibly annexed West Papua. The "Act" was "noted" by the United Nations in 1969. The call for African nations to initiate a review of the fraudulent "Act" was a follow up to a March 2005 Congressional petition organized by Reps. Faleomavaega and Payne and addressed to then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. That petition called for a review of the "Act."

In March 2008, 
Faleomavaega and Payne called on the Indonesian government to end restrictions on access to West Papua by international observers. That message also noted the failure of the Indonesian Government's "Special Autonomy" policy, then five years old, to address the fundamental needs in West Papua.

In a November 18, 2011 appeal published in the Jakarta Post, Faleomavaega and Payne urged the Indonesian Government to end "systematic abuse in West Papua."

In a formal statement on the loss of his long time friend and ally Congressmember Faleomavaega said of Representative Payne: "He advocated for and on behalf of the people of West Papua and many other unrepresented peoples across the globe and throughout America. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him well."

WPAT joins in mourning the loss of this consistent friend of the Papuans and of all those suffering repression and denial of their democratic rights.

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