8 May 2009

Papuans seek US support for dialogue with Jakarta

12:10 pm on 8 May 2009

West Papua advocates have been urging the United States to apply meaningful pressure on Indonesia for internationally-facilitated dialogue between Jakarta and Papuan leaders.

A member of the West Papua Advocacy Team spoke before a US Congressional panel about threats to human rights and the environment in Indonesia's Papua region.

The NGO has joined with the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network, or ETAN, in urging Washington to move beyond the current Special Autonomy arrangement in Papua to address the growing human rights crisis.

Their appeal came in response to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's call for a degree of autonomy for Papuans.

ETAN's John Miller says he doesn't think the statement signals a fresh approach from the previous Bush administration.

"The Papuans themselves are saying that Special Autonomy has failed, and that they would like meaningful discussion which we think the US has the potential - because of (President) Obama's background - to do with Indonesia about what Papua's future should be where everything is on the table."

John Miller