Thursday, June 3, 2010

West Papua Report - June 2010

This is the 73rd in a series of monthly reports that focus on developments affecting Papuans. This series is produced by the non-profit West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) drawing on media accounts, other NGO assessments, and analysis and reporting from sources within West Papua. This report is co-published with the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) Back issues are posted online at

The West Papua Advocacy Team editorially notes that Papuans are welcoming the June visit of President Obama to Indonesia with the hope that the administration will seek to build a new U.S.-Indonesian relationship not based on military and commercial interests but rather founded on common respect for human rights and democracy. That hope fuels Papuan beliefs that such a transformation in the U.S. perspective could bring about fundamental change in their plight, an increasingly desperate situation in which the U.S. is historically complicit. 

A military ultimatum to a rebel leader in the Papuan central highlands and thus far small scale military operations there are raising fears of a massive "sweeping operation" when the ultimatum expires in June. Initial reports indicate that operations may have begun ramping up at the end of May. In the past such operations have uprooted thousands of civilians and led to many civilian deaths.

Leading U.S. legislators have strongly cautioned the U.S. administration against resuming training and other assistance to the Indonesian Special Forces (Kopassus). Those forces are among the most prominent violators of human rights, especially in West Papua. Also in the U.S. Congress, Congressman Patrick Kennedy has launched a resolution in the U.S. Congress which expresses the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the human crisis facing Papuans. The resolution, now gaining support in the U.S. House of Representatives, calls on the Government of Indonesia to address human rights concerns, including the abuse of detainees.

An editorial by a senior official in Human Rights Watch has again called attention to extraordinary abuse of prisoners in West Papua and decried the unaccountability of the abusers. Indonesian authorities have again prevented international journalists from documenting peaceful civil dissent in West Papua. An Amnesty International report is strongly critical of the Indonesian government's continued repression of dissent noting in particular the use of torture against peaceful demonstrators. The Indonesian government is moving forward with plans for a massive "food estate" in the Merauke area of West Papua. The plan has drawn strong criticism from Papuan and international observers concerned that the government-organized in-migration of very large numbers of non-Papuans to work in the estate will further marginalize Papuans, amounting to what could be described as creeping genocide. Environmentalists have also voiced concern about the destruction of vast stretches of forest and peatland which will significantly increase carbon emissions.

Full report here

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Give A Heart for Ila and Others In East Timor!

Medical Aid for East Timor


We are writing to you today to ask for your help in contacting your U.S. Senators and Representative about the visit of the US Navy Hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) which is expected in East Timor for a short two week visit beginning August 6. 

Dr. Dan Murphy of the Bairo Pite Clinic and numerous Timorese heart patients are seeking your help in convincing the US Navy Sealift Command to provide the use of one surgical bay on the USNS Mercy Hospital Ship in order for a team of Australian heart surgeons to help untold numbers of East Timorese with heart problems. At present East Timorese with heart problems needing surgery have little hope of survival unless they are one of the chosen few sent to Australia for heart surgery. Sending East Timorese to Australia is difficult, expensive and involves complicated visa and immigration paperwork - all of which takes precious time, resources and money from being used in other critical areas of healthcare at the clinic and East Timor. As of next year the national hospital in East Timor will have a heart surgery bay, but in the interim the US Navy has the facilities, resources and opportunity to help these patients and we hope you can spend some time to make this happen.

An 8 year old little girl by the name of Ila with severe mitral valve disease needs your help to give her the chance to live a full vibrant life, full of energy, like other children have. At this point little Ila has no chance of growing up to early adulthood, but, with a few minutes of your time she may live a full life. Please do not allow this opportunity to pass without contacting your elected officials in Washington and encouraging them to contact the US Navy Sealift Command to make this happen for Ila and many others with heart disease.

Please call or send e-mail to your elected officials encouraging them to contact the US Navy's Sealift Commander Rear Admiral Mark H Buzby immediately and express support for offering a surgical bay aboard the USNS Mercy hospital ship, for use by the Australian surgical team in Dili, East Timor.

Call your Senators and congressional Representatives via the Congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121 (ask for the office of your Representative and Senators), or check for other contact information.  

This small effort requires only a little time only your valuable voice of support for the future of numerous East Timorese medical patients. We hope that you will see this small effort through to its successful completion.

Dr Mike Iltis/ communications

Elliot Stokes/facilitator
Medical Aid for East Timor

Keep us up to date on the response you get.

If you have time please also contact:

Dean Tano, Humanitarian and Civic Affairs,
Commander, Pacific Fleet, (NO1H),
250 Makalapa Dr, Pearl Harbor, HI. 96860. 
808-471-2463, fax 808-474-7806,

Other contacts:

Rear Admiral MH Buzby, c/o Public Affairs, 
914 Charles Morris Court, Navy Yard, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20398-5540 or
phone 1-888-SEALIFT (888-732-5438).

Give a heart for Ila and others in East Timor

PHOTO: USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) anchored in Dili harbor in 2008. U.S. Navy photo By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joseph Seavey.

ETAN's Charles Scheiner receives Timor-Leste's Princess Grace of Monaco award

Congratulations to ETAN co-founder Charles Scheiner for being in the first group of recipients of Timor-Leste's parliament “Princess Grace of Monaco” award for his work in solidarity with Timor's struggle for independence.Charles currently serves on ETAN's board and is on staff of La'o Hamutuk.

Charles is donating the $2500 that accompanies the award to Timor-Leste National Alliance for an International Tribunal (ANTI).

In an open letter, he writes
One of the most critical unfinished aspects of the struggle for independence is ongoing impunity. Until the major perpetrators of serious crimes from 1975 to 1999 are held accountable for their actions – which is primarily an international responsibility – the peoples of Timor-Leste and Indonesia will not live in peace. Cycles of impunity, lawlessness and violence will continue, preventing the stability, security and development which Timor-Leste’s people have fought for. 
Today, a new generation of young activists has joined Timor-Leste’s struggle for justice and human rights, through ANTI and other movements. Once again, I am fortunate to participate in their campaign, and I thank Parliament for enabling me to provide some much-needed financial support for their work.
The other deserving recipients were Rob Wesley-Smith and Kevin Sherlock of Australia, Kalle Sysikaski of Finland, George Junus Aditjondro of Indonesia, Colin Iles from New Zealand, Luisa Teotonia Pereira (in absentia) from Portugal, and Timorese Alexandrino Xavier Araújo (PNTL), Reverendu Padre Adriano Ola Duli and Colonel Cornélio Ximenes Maunana Bobar Mate (FDTL).

video from Tempo Semanal below