US Ambassador Visits Papua, Welcomes Human Rights Progress

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During visit Blake stressed respect for freedom of expression, assembly

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jun 16, 2014) – The United states ambassador to Indonesia has completed a visit of the Papua region where he has welcomed an improved performance on human rights by security forces.

The Jakarta Post reports that during Ambassador Robert Blake Jr's six-day visit, he met with local leaders, businesses, civil society and students to advance cooperation and partnership with the US.

Last year, the US invested 10 million US dollars in Papua and West Papua provinces in health, education, good governance, forest conservation and climate change programmes.

Mr Blake says he discussed with senior government, as well as religious, tribal, police and military personnel, the importance of respecting universal rights to freedom of expression and assembly.

He says they also discussed benefits that would come from increasing access for international journalists to visit Papua.

Following his talks with the province's military commander and police chief, the ambassador praised an improved rights adherence by security forces and emphasised the need for sustained progress on the issue.

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