|November 21, 2001
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|WASHINGTON, D.C.—FALEOMAVAEGA, U.S. CONGRESS, URGE INDONESIA PRESIDENT MEGAWATI FOR INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION OF SLAIN WEST PAPUAN LEADER, THEYS ELUAY|
| Congressman Eni F.H.
Faleomavaega (D-AS), Ranking Democrat of the House International Relations
Subcommittee on East Asia and the Pacific, today announced that he and
several colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives have written to
Indonesia President Megawati Sukarnoputri urging that an impartial investigation
be conducted into the suspicious death of prominent West Papuan leader,
In a joint Congressional letter to President Megawati, Faleomavaega was joined by Congressmen Tom Lantos, Ranking Democrat of the House International Relations Committee; Christopher Smith, Vice-Chairman of the House International Relations Committee; John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Democrat of the House Judiciary Committee; Cynthia McKinney, Ranking Democrat of the House International Relations Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights; Patrick Kennedy, Member of the House Appropriations Committee; Constance Morella, Chairperson of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on the District of Columbia; and Lane Evans, Ranking Democrat of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
In the letter to President Megawati, Faleomavaega and his colleagues wrote that during her visit to Washington in September, she assured President Bush and Members of the United States Congress that her administration would insist on "accountability by Indonesia's armed forces, and would promote human rights and the rule of law." The Congressmen noted appreciation of President Megawati's "commitment to pay attention to the concerns and grievances of people in West Papua and Aceh which fuel support for separatist and autonomy movements in those regions."
"However, the recent death of Theys Eluay, chairman of the Papuan Presidium Council, under extremely suspicious circumstances, seriously threatens to undermine any hope of peacefully resolving the conflict in West Papua," stated the Congressmen. "We are writing to express our grave concern about this case and to urge you to conduct an impartial, independent investigation into his death. For such an investigation to be credible and effective, it should involve both the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights (KOMNAS-HAM) and international human rights experts."
The Congressmen noted that Theys Eluay was abducted on November 10th outside of Jayapura as he was returning home from a ceremony at the local Kopassus (Indonesian Special Forces) headquarters. His driver called Mr. Eluay's home to report he had been kidnapped by non-Papuans. The body of Mr. Eluay was subsequently found in his car at the bottom of a ravine near the border with Papua New Guinea. The whereabouts of the driver is unknown, although the police acknowledge he is alive.
Faleomavaega and his colleagues stated that the autopsy performed on Mr. Eluay in Jayapura appeared to have been bungled, with press reports indicating that internal organs removed from his body have apparently disappeared. The Congressmen observed that the "claim by doctors who carried out the autopsy that Mr. Eluay choked to death has been widely discounted by local Papuan people, leading to even greater suspicion and mistrust of government authorities."
To overcome this, Faleomavaega and his colleagues urged President Megawati to allow participation of outside parties in the investigation. "We understand that you have appointed a cabinet minister to take charge of the official inquiry. But clearly a broader, independent investigation is needed if the results are to have any credibility. Both the Papuan Presidium Council and the Provincial Parliament have called for international involvement in the inquiry; for example, assistance from the U.N. Special Rapportuer on Extrajudicial Executions or the Working Group on Disappearances."
"It is also crucial that Indonesian NGOs conducting preliminary inquiries into Mr. Eluay's death be protected from any threats, and that safeguards also be provided to witnesses and those who might provide information to the official investigation," stated the Congressmen.
"As Members of Congress committed to helping promote peace, stability, democratization and economic progress in Indonesia, we affirm our support for your efforts towards these objectives, and hope you will take urgent action on this important case," concluded Faleomavaega and his colleagues.
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