24 Sep 2010

US Congress hears testimony on human rights abuses in Papua

8:50 am on 24 September 2010

The Sub-Committee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment of the United States Congress has held a hearing on human rights issues in Indonesia's Papua region.

It heard from witnesses such as native Papuans, NGO workers, US State and Defense Department officials and researchers.

The Asia Advocacy Director for Human Rights Watch, Sophie Richardson, says there was much discussion about whether Papuans support Special Autonomy status.

"Implicitly it was really a conversation about the rights of Papuans and their ability to even have a reasonably public debate about how they do want to be represented or governed in the absence of fear of reprisal simply for having that discussion."

Sophie Richardson says her comments focussed on ongoing abuses by Indonesian security forces such as severe restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly, extra-judicial killings, rape and torture.