19 Dec 2007

American Samoa's Congressman unhappy with Papua visit

2:32 pm on 19 December 2007

American Samoa's member of the US Congress, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, has written to the Indonesian President expressing his disappointment over a recent trip to Papua.

Faleomavaega says until he can visit Papua properly, he can't advocate support for the Special Autonomy Law in the US Congress.

Faleomavaega's trip was in support of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's efforts to implement the provisions of the Special Autonomy Law, approved in 2001.

Faleomavaega says instead of the five-day visit he expected to Biak and Manokwari, and the capital Jayapura, he was told on arrival that he would only spend two hours, and wouldn't be permitted to visit the capital.

He says Papuans who had gathered in the streets in Biak were denied the opportunity to meet the US delegation.

He also says he found the overpowering military presence that shadowed his visit deeply disturbing.

Faleomavaega says it will be difficult for him to support the goals of Special Autonomy when clearly the Papuans in these two provinces are still being intimidated.