23 Sep 2010

US Congress urged to provide more oversight of Papua

6:29 pm on 23 September 2010

There are hopes that today's US Congressional hearing on human rights issues in Papua will prompt more scrutiny of US policy towards Indonesia.

The Congress' Sub-Committee on Asia and the Pacific heard from witnesses such as the Asia Advocacy Director for Human Rights Watch, Sophie Richardson.

Her testimony focussed on ongoing abuses in Papua by security forces such as severe restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly, extra-judicial killings, rape and torture.

Ms Richardson says she thinks that as a result of the hearing, there should be more oversight of Indonesia's performance in Papua.

"One of the points that I tried to emphasise was that as the US' relationship with Indonesia broadens and deepens and solidifies, that should make it easier - not harder - to raise some of these real hold-over problems like Papua. You know, we can't just have a narrative that says, Indonesia has made it across the Rubicon and there are no problems anymore."

Sophie Richardson