U.S. PUSHES INDONESIA ON PAPUA AUTONOMY

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Pledges to investigate human rights abuses

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Oct. 3, 2010) - The United States has called for Indonesia to move forward on autonomy in its Papua region and insisted it would not overlook human rights as it seeks broader relations with Jakarta.

The (Agence France Presse) AFP reports testifying in a first-ever congressional hearing on the long-simmering conflict, senior US officials pledged to investigate abuse allegations in Papua.

But the hearing said there was no evidence to back charges of genocide.

Indonesia in 2001 introduced autonomy in Papua but local activists say that the law has half-hearted and not improved their rights.

The US Deputy Assistant Secretary Of State tasked with Southeast Asia, Joseph Yun, says the US opposed separatism in Papua province and neighboring West Papua.

But he says it supports autonomy.

He says if the 2001 Special Autonomy Law can be fully implemented, the US believes a lot of frustration currently felt by Papuans would decrease.

He says Indonesia’s overall human rights situation has improved along with the country’s rapid democratic development.

But he says the US is concerned by allegations of human rights violations in Papua and continuously monitors the situation.

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