11 Nov 2005

US Bill still contains Papua references, says Human Rights group

2:41 pm on 11 November 2005

An International Human Rights Organisation says reports that the United States Congress has decided to omit references to Papua from the State Department Authorisation Bill are untrue.

The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network, or ETAN, says the Bill still calls for an analysis of the so-called Act of Free Choice in 1969, in which carefully selected Papuan representatives voted for the territory to remain part of Indonesia.

ETAN's spokesman, John Miller, says Indonesian press reports are incorrect in saying this provision and the references to human rights abuses in Papua have gone.

He says the US House of Representatives passed the Bill in July while the Senate is yet to finalise its version.

"And they come together, work out the differences, vote on that combined Bill and that's what goes to the President for his signature. That is still in process for the Authorisation Bill and the House version - nothing's changed - still contains a requirement that the State Department provide a report on the Act of Free Choice."

ETAN's spokesman John Miller