Archive for October 19th, 2010|Daily archive page

Testimony of US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Robert Scher
Asian and Pacific Security Affairs
Office of the Secretary of Defense
before the
Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment
Committee on Foreign Affairs
United States House of Representatives
September 22, 2010

“Crimes Against Humanity: When Will Indonesia’s Military Be Held Accountable for Deliberate and Systematic Abuses in West Papua?”

Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to discuss the Indonesian military’s activities in Papua and West Papua. This issue is important to our relationship with Indonesia, and one that we in the Department of Defense are paying very close attention to. I look forward to sustaining an on-going dialogue with you as these dynamics evolve.

Indonesia is a strategically important country to the United States for several reasons. It is the fourth most populous country on the planet, is home to more Muslims than any other country in the world, and stretches more than 3,000 miles across a key maritime transit route that connects the Middle East to East Asia. These have been facts for a long time. However, now we can add another reason that makes Indonesia important to the United States, and that is that Indonesia is a democracy. In fact, since the fall of Suharto more than ten years ago, Indonesia has taken its place as the world’s third largest democracy. In that short time, Indonesia has made great advancements in consolidating its democracy, an important piece of which is progress on both defense reform and military professionalization.

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