Thursday, October 3, 2013

ETAN and WPAT on Obama's Upcoming Trip to Indonesia

UPDATE: Obama is not going to Indonesia because of U.S. government shutdown. Our criticisms of U.S. policy to Indonesia remain; the policy needs to change.

Read: ETAN Urges President Obama to Put Human Rights at Center of U.S.-Indonesia Relations During Upcoming Visit to Indonesia

“The U.S. must not ignore injustice and human rights violations to advance narrow strategic and economic interests that have little to do with the well-being of the U.S. or Indonesian people,” said ETAN National Coordinator John M. Miller. “While much has changed in Indonesia since the Suharto dictatorship, U.S. security assistance does not promote further change. Instead it encourages impunity and further violations of human rights.” 
“We are calling for a new relationship between the two countries built on an honest assessment of the bloody past,” said Miller. “Instead of offering more weapons and more training to Indonesia’s military, President Obama should suspend this assistance until there is an end to abuses and real accountability for past human rights crimes.”

We are calling for a new relationship between the two countries built on an honest assessment of the bloody past.

Since Obama's last visit to Indonesia, the human rights situation has deteriorated in West Papua and religious intolerance has grown.
“President Obama can send a strong message against impunity by making clear he and and other senior U.S. officials will not to meet with any Indonesian politicians -- including likely presidential candidates, such as retired generals Prabowo and Wiranto -- who have been credibly accused of human rights and other crimes,” said Miller.
The two presidents.
Read: West Papua Advocacy Team Open Letter to President Obama

This year marks 50 years of Indonesian rule over West Papua, which had previously been a Dutch colony slated for independence. Half a century of Indonesian rule has seen West Papua subjected to crimes against humanity, according to numerous credible human rights reports. Half a century of colonization of one people by the armed forces of another has taken place. Half a century of ongoing conflict has been the result. To resolve the conflict peacefully, international mediation is needed. West Papua was delivered to Indonesian rule as a result of American mediation, which confers upon the United States a special responsibility to act to resolve the current conflict peacefully.

The increasing militarization of West Papua indicates that there is no let-up in sight to the half-century of widespread violations of basic human rights in West Papua. If Indonesia is democratizing, the reverse is the case in West Papua.

We therefore recommend that on your trip to Indonesia, you:
  1. Press for a dialogue between the Indonesian government and West Papuan civil society, with international third-party mediation, along the lines of the successful international medication of the Aceh conflict in 2005. Current policy is not advancing dialogue. Internationally-mediated dialogue is a growing call from civil society voices in both West Papua and Indonesia.
  2. Halt military assistance to the Indonesian security forces. United States cooperation with the most brutal elements of the security forces encourages the climate of impunity, and United States sale of Apache helicopters increases the repressive capacity of the security forces in West Papua. Cooperation with the Kopassus Special Forces and Detachment 88of the Indonesian National Police should be suspended pending an improvement of the human rights situation in West Papua and the initiation of dialogue, and the agreement to provide Apache helicopters should be cancelled. Non-military ties should continue to expand but military cooperation be made conditional on respect for human rights in West Papua, as it was with respect to the Timor-Leste situation prior to Timor-Leste's independence.
  3. Press for open access to West Papua by international observers, NGOs and others, so that the conflict will no longer be hidden.
  4. Support efforts from within Melanesia to address the root causes of the conflict in West Papua, the denial of self-determination and the persistence of repressive policies by the Indonesian security forces.
  5. Press President Yudhoyono to order a halt to security forces' violations of the human rights of West Papuan civilians, and hold security personnel accountable for their crimes by laying charges, where evidence merits, in civilian courts.
West Papua Advocacy Team

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