Congress Demands Action on West Papua Political Prisoners as
Human Rights Viol
John M Miller
Aug 29, 2008 08:10 PDT
Congress Demands Action on West Papua Political Prisoners as Human
Rights Violations Persist
Contact: Tom Ricker, 301-922-8909
John M. Miller, 718-596-7668
August 7 - The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) today
congratulated U.S. congressmembers for their letter to Indonesian
president, Dr. H. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono urging him to work for the
"immediate and unconditional" release of West Papuan political
prisoners Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage.
"We are pleased that Congress is taking this important stand for
human rights in Indonesia. Karma and Pakage have been in prison for
three and half long years for merely exercising their right of
political expression. We hope the letter coupled with increasing
pressure from the human rights community will gain their release,"
said Tom Ricker, advocacy coordinator for ETAN
The letter was signed by 40 members of the U.S. House of
Representatives. The letter with a complete list of signers can be
found online at
Karma and Pakage are serving 10 and 15 years respectively for raising
the Morning Star flag during a peaceful protest in December of 2004
in Jayapura, Papua. Karma and other participants in the protest were
beaten by Indonesian police. Karma and Pakage were sentenced in May
2005 and have been in prison since. Amnesty International has
declared Karma and Pakage to be prisoners of conscience.
The letter also points to the deteriorating human right situation in
Papua: "The unjust imprisonment of Mr. Karma and Mr. Pakage occurs in
the context of a crackdown on Papuan human rights defenders, which
has included general public threats by senior military officials and
intimidation directed at individuals by anonymous figures."
"This letter from Congress comes at a crucial time. Peaceful
protesters continue to be arrested in West Papua. Just two weeks ago
nearly 40 people were arrested for demonstrating. Six of the
organizers now face the same prison terms as Karma and Pakage," said Ricker.
"The U.S. government has once again become a major supplier of
military assistance to Indonesia despite the deteriorating
circumstances in West Papua. We hope this action by members of
Congress signals a renewed willingness to promote respect for human
rights as a condition of any future assistance," he added.
The congressional letter was coordinated by Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI)
ETAN was formed in 1991. The U.S.-based organization advocates for
democracy, justice and human rights for Timor-Leste and Indonesia.
For more information, see ETAN's web site:
ETAN welcomes your support. For more info: http://etan.org/etan/donate.htm
John M. Miller Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org
East Timor & Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)
PO Box 21873, Brooklyn, NY 11202-1873 USA
Phone: (718)596-7668 Mobile phone: (917)690-4391
Web site: http://www.etan.org
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