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Members of U.S. Congress call upon Indonesia to end systematic abuses in West Papua

Washington, D.C. —Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, and Congressman Don Payne, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Africa and Human Rights, announced that they have called upon Indonesia to end systematic abuses in West Papua. The full text of their Op Ed published in the Jakarta Post on Friday, November 18, 2011 is included below.To Indonesia: Step Up and End Systematic Abuses in West PapuaAhead of his visit to Bali, Members of Congress are calling upon President Obama to make West Papua one of his top priorities during his upcoming talks with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. On October 19, 2011, Indonesian security forces opened fire on unarmed West Papuans who had gathered at the Third Papuan People's Congress to peacefully air their political aspirations. At least three indigenous Papuans were killed, dozens injured, and many pistol whipped and beaten with rattan canes. Six were detained and are now in custody, including Forkorus Yaboisembut, the newly elected President of the Republic Federal State of West Papua. He joins Filep Karma, an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience who is now serving a 15-year jail term for raising a flag in 2004.Key leaders in the U.S. Congress are calling for their release and asking that Indonesia be held accountable before further U.S. funds are expended in training Indonesian security forces. Indonesia denies that systematic abuse is taking place in West Papua, but history is clear on the point. Since West Papua was handed over to Indonesia by an Act of No Choice in 1969, West Papuans have suffered blatant human rights abuses including extrajudicial executions, imprisonment, environmental degradation, natural resource exploitation and commercial dominance of immigrant communities. The U.S. Department of State acknowledges these facts and further states that Indonesia \security force members [have] murdered