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Congressmember Faleomavaega Calls on Indonesia to Assure Safe and Humane Treatment of West Papuans in Custody and to Work for Their Release

October 21, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: (202) 225-8577

Washington, D.C. —

FALEOMAVAEGA CALLS UPON GOVERNMENT OF INDONESIA TO ASSURE SAFE AND HUMANE TREATMENT OF WEST PAPUANS IN CUSTODY AND TO WORK FOR THEIR RELEASE

Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he has sent a letter to Ambassador Dr. Dino Patti Djalal of Indonesia raising concerns about the safety and treatment of Mr. Forkorus Yaboisembut and many others who were arrested at the recent meeting of the Papuan People’s Congress in West Papua. It has been reported by the international media that the Indonesian Armed Forces and police have beaten and arrested hundreds of civilians who attended the meeting.

The full text of the Faleomavaega’s letter, which is copied to U.S. Ambassador Scot Marciel to Indonesia, is included below:

Dear Mr. Ambassador:

I am writing to request your intervention in ensuring the safety and the humane treatment of Mr. Forkorus Yaboisembut and many others who were arrested on Wednesday, October 19, 2011, at the third meeting of the Papuan People’s Congress in West Papua.

According to numerous media outlets, it has been reported that the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) fired shots during the meeting where a crowd of thousands of defenseless and unarmed civilians were engaged in peaceful political assembly. While the crowds dispersed after the shots were fired, many West Papuans, including journalists, were attacked and apprehended by the Indonesian military and police.

These are serious violations and crimes against humanity especially given that the Government of Indonesia is a signatory to both of the United Nations treaties on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.

Enclosed are photos that display the heavy military presence of the TNI and police at the meeting prior to the chaos. Clearly, the presence of the Indonesian military was to intimidate the peaceful citizens, which is a continuation of the human rights violations by the TNI as reported in the U.S. State Department 2010 Human Rights Report.

Media reports also continue to circulate that Imam Setiawan, Chief Police of Jayapura Province, may have played a significant role in the attacks given his reported links to the death of a West Papuan leader, the fatal attack on a journalist reporting from West Papua, and many West Papuans attacked and killed within the past few years.

I have very serious concerns in the matter and I do not condone the serious acts of violence by the TNI and police on the peaceful demonstration by unarmed civilians who were simply voicing their opinions about the failure of the Government of Indonesia to seriously implement the Special Autonomy law for West Papua. It is obvious the actions by the TNI and police are contrary to the commitments made by President Yudhoyono to solve the issues in West Papua in a “peaceful, just, and dignified manner.”

For these reasons, I am concerned about the events that have transpired and I want to be assured by the Government of Indonesia that Mr. Yaboisembut and others will be treated humanely while in custody and that you will work for their release. I would like to meet with you sometime early next week to discuss the matter further.

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