28 July 2011

American Samoa Congressional Delegate given human rights award for work on West Papua issue

East Timor Action Network The West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) is pleased to announce that it is awarding the 2011 "John Rumbiak Human Rights Defenders Award" to the Honorable Eni F.H. Faleomavaega (D-AS), a member (non-voting delegate) of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Congressmember Faleomavaega has been an articulate and effective advocate for the defense of human rights in West Papua, and has long worked for a peaceful resolution of the serious problems confronting Papuans.

His extensive knowledge regarding West Papua and his manifest sincerity and good will have enabled him to draw on the respect accorded him by his Congressional colleagues and members of successive Administrations to alert them and the U.S. public more broadly to justice, good governance and development concerns in West Papua.

Congressmember Faleomavaega continues to do all he can to hold the Indonesian government accountable so that a better way forward may be found for and on behalf of the people of West Papua.

On September 22, 2010, in his capacity as the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment, Congressmember Faleomavaega convened the first hearing in the history of the U.S. Congress to include testimony from West Papua's traditional and religious leaders. The hearing, Crimes Against Humanity: When Will Indonesia's Military Be Held Accountable for Deliberate and Systematic Abuses in West Papua, also included testimony from scholars and administration officials from the U.S. Departments of State and Defense.

Driven by a sense of personal responsibility to carry forward the work of his Samoan relatives who are buried in West Papua and in honor of all those who have lived the struggle, Congressmember Faleomavaega continues to do all he can to hold the Indonesian government accountable so that a better way forward may be found for and on behalf of the people of West Papua.

Past recipients of the award include Carmel Budiardjo (UK) and TAPOL (2008); John M. Miller (U.S.) and the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) (2009), and Andreas Harsono (Indonesia) of Human Rights Watch (2010).

The award includes a plaque and a financial prize which Congressmember Faleomavaega has directed be donated to a charity selected by him. The award is named in honor of Papuan John Rumbiak, a renowned champion of human rights and founder of WPAT.

Montserrat Chief Minister explains territory's status in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States


The Montserrat Reporter

Chief Minister Reuben Meade has sought to set the record straight about Montserrat’s position as a member of the Organisation of the East Caribbean States (OECS) Economic Union and as a consequence in the ECCU, which latter extends from its membership of the East Caribbean Bank (ECCB).

One member of the local press corps had asked a question during the press conference which followed the ECCU ministers meeting on Friday, July 15, 2011, at the Cultural Centre. The question suggested that there were conflicting theories or beliefs on Montserrat’s position, being in or out of the Union as a member of the OECS.

The Chief Minister’s initial response: “I really don’t understand your perception of this in and out I have said it as clearly as I could that Montserrat will not be dictated to as to whether or not it will be in or out. Montserrat is in and we’re not asking anybody permission to go in,” he said.

Surmising there may be some confusion, hence the question, he added and explained. “Whereas, we may not be able to sign the treaty until we get special dispensation under the new Constitution, which comes into effect 1st of September, (2011), we have abided by every agreement within the OECS. And, you would recognize that the free movement of labour, which the OECS agree to implement by the first of August, was an initiative as part of the OECS. So, we are in the OECS, we’re part of the OECS community, we’re full members of the ECCU, and we pay our dues.”

To be emphatic about his statement, he added, “So I don’t want to hear any further discussion as to whether we’re in or out, we are in.”

But the CM showed his further annoyance at the question and spoke about what he refers to as mental slavery.

Let me answer on behalf of Montserrat again, and as I have said to you the sole aspect about mental slavery where we have to go to seombody from across the pond to ask for an explanation that your local politician is giving you because you don’t believe us we are saying and I’m going to say it very slowly Montserrat is a full member of the OECS, so whoever else wishes to tell you otherwise from wherever they come you can say to them we are full members of the OECS, we pay our dues, we attend the meetings, we make decisions and we comply with the regulations of the single market.

Also see:  Montserrat Colonial History From Emancipation Until...