8 Dec 2008

Obama administration called on to push for human rights improvement in Papua

2:14 pm on 8 December 2008

The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network, ETAN, has urged the incoming Obama administration in the US to put more pressure on Indonesia to address human rights violations in Papua region.

ETAN's John Miller says that the US could help encourage Indonesia's security forces to improve their conduct in Papua by threatening to restrict military assistance again.

Mr Miller says that since the US began incrementally to reinstate military assistance to Indonesia in 2002, the process of reform has stalled within the army which still enjoys widespread impunity in Papua for crimes against humanity.

He hopes that the new US Democratic administration will engage with Indonesia differently to how the Republicans did.

"That's not clear yet. it will probably take a lot of public pressure and, I think, a realisation that this strategy of engagement hasn't really worked and the Bush administration always said they were for human rights accountability, they wanted to see military reform. They claimed they shared the same goals as we did but we very much disagree and have disagreed with the pentagon all along about the way to do that."

John Miller