19 Dec 2007

American Samoa's Faleomavaega deplores Papua trip restrictions

4:08 pm on 19 December 2007

American Samoa's Congressman says he found the overpowering Indonesian military presence that shadowed his brief visit to Papua deeply disturbing.

Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin has written to the Indonesian President expressing his disappointment over a recent trip to Papua to study the provisions of the Special Autonomy Law.

Instead of his scheduled five-day visit, Faleomavaega was only allowed just over two hours in Biak and Manokwari, and wasn't permitted to visit the capital Jayapura.

Faleomavaega says he can't advocate support for the Special Autonomy Law in the US Congress because he saw too little of Papua.

"But one thing that came out very very strong in terms of what I was able to observe is the strong presence of the Indonesian military - the TNI military forces there - and it was quite clear also that they wanted to limit as much opportunity as I had to meet with the people and that was very disappointing."

Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin