US drops Congress watch on Papua

A United States’ congressman’s participation in removing US oversight of alleged human rights abuses in West Papua has disappointed an activist for the Indonesian province.

American Samoan congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin is the chairman of the Asia Pacific subcomittee of the US Congressional Foreign Relations Committee.

He took the lead in removing a provision in a bill that would have obliged the US State Department to report back to Congress on abuses in West Papua.

He says his decision is to ensure the bill does not interfere with Indonesia’s approaching presidential election.

Passionate

But a West Papuan activist is says he is disappointed.

Jacob Rumbiak, of the West Papuan Authority, says he believes Mr Hunkin is still passionate about West Papua, but may have felt pressured to push the bill’s amendment.

Mr Rumbiak says: “Especially for Papua, it is very sad congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin dropped the Papua provision from the foreign relation bill under pressure from Barak Obama administration.

“America is trying to show its respect – the growth of democracy in Indonesia.

“I believe that congressman Faleomavaega still has a noble heart and respect(s) our struggle for pure democracy – not like the democracy in Indonesia.”

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