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Congress can take a stand in support of rights in West Papau

By       Message John Miller     Permalink
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The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) is urging its members to call their representative to co-sponsor House Resolution 1355. The resolution, submitted by Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), urges the Indonesian government to improve human rights in West Papua. The resolution calls for the release of Filep Karma, Yusak Pakage and other prisoners of conscience who are imprisoned for exercising their right to express their views.

In May 2005, political prisoners Karma and Pakage were sentenced to 10 and 15 years respectively for raising the Morning Star flag during a peaceful protest in December 2004 in Jayapura, Papua. Amnesty International reports that the Indonesian police beat Karma on his way to the police station.

The U.S. Department of State, UN investigators and human rights organizations have documented threats to freedom of expression and abusive prison conditions in Indonesia. A United Nations investigation found "widespread torture in Indonesian prisons" and "the use of excessive force by Indonesian security forces in particular in Papua." It added that "a culture of impunity reigns" in Indonesia's prison system.

The resolution would add congressional pressure in support of the rule of law and freedom of expression in Indonesia by urging the government of Indonesia to release people convicted for peacefully expressing their political views, improving prison conditions, and allowing access to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

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ETAN is asking constituents to urge their representative to congressmember to co-sponsor the H Res 1355 by contacting Rep. Kennedy's office.

For more information, see http://etan.org/action/action4/32alert.htm
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John M. Miller is National Coordinator of the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN). He is Treasurer of the War Resisters League.

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