Papuaweb.org: background note (September 9, 2005)

Bill number H.R. 2601 for the 109th Congress (1st Session)
of the Government of the United States of America.

"H.R. 2601. To authorize appropriations for the Department of State for fiscal years 2006 and 2007, and for other purposes. A Bill."

This BILL was introduced to the House of Representatives on May 24, 2005 and may be cited as:

FOREIGN RELATIONS AUTHORIZATION ACT, FISCAL YEARS 2006 AND 2007

2601 was introduced to the House of Representatives (H.R.) on May 24, 2005 by Republican Congressman Christopher Smith of New Jersey (together with Democratic Congressman Donald Payne of New Jersey - although Payne eventually voted against the bill - see H.R. 2601 House votes). It was immediately referred to the House Standing Committee on International Relations which recommended in Report 109-168 (July 13, 2005) that it be passed with amendments. H.R. 2601 was amended (see bill summary and status) and passed by Congress on July 20, 2005 with a 351/78 majority. It was then formulated as an ACT and put before the Senate (and a Senate Committee) for consideration. H.R. 2601 is a wide-ranging document that touches on almost all aspects of U.S. foreign relations.

A short section of July 20, 2005 version of this Bill (Section 1015 - later referred to in some documents as 1115 - see below) dealt with Indonesia, raising key issues of concern in the bilateral relationship between the United States of America and the Republic of Indonesia related to Papua (Irian Jaya) and Aceh. This version of the bill also required that follow-up reports be submitted to the US Congress detailing progress on issues of Special Autonomy for Aceh and Papua as well as a review report of the 1969 "Act of Free Choice" (Irian). The text for the relevant sections of this version of H.R. 2601 are reproduced below.

As with other House Bills, amendments must be agreed by a Joint Committee (of representatives from the Congress and the Senate). Once the Bill has majority Senate approval, it is sent to the Whitehouse. When approved by the President, it will become an Act of the United States Government and enter into law.

All amendments to H.R.2601 are noted in the bill summary and status records. The current status of this bill is available online at:
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:HR02601:@@@L&summ2=m&

You may also find other information pertaining to this Bill and receive regular updates on its progress through the Senate at:
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h109-2601.

These documents are all available online through THOMAS, the US Government's legislative clearing-house (http://thomas.loc.gov).
For a simple guide to the process of law-making in the US, see Ben's guide to US Government.


* * * * *

[the following passages are taken from H.R. 2601. Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 2006 and 2007 (as at July 13, 2005), pages 326:11 - 332:23]

SEC. 1015.* DEVELOPMENTS IN AND POLICY TOWARD INDONESIA.

[* Note: This extract is taken from the printed House copy of H.R. 2601 (July 13, 2005). In this Bill, the relevant section on Indonesia was listed as "Section 1015". Subsequent documents, including those referring to amendments to the text below as it progressed through the Senate, denote this inclusion as "Section 1115".]

    (a) Statement of Congress Relating to Recent Developments, Human Rights, and Reform- Congress--

      (1) recognizes the remarkable progress in democratization and decentralization made by Indonesia in recent years and commends the people of Indonesia on the pace and scale of those continuing reforms;

      (2) reaffirms--

        (A) its deep condolences to the people of Indonesia for the profound losses inflicted by the December 26, 2004, earthquake and tsunami; and

        (B) its commitment to generous United States support for relief and long term reconstruction efforts in affected areas;

      (3) expresses its hope that in the aftermath of the tsunami tragedy the Government of Indonesia and other parties will succeed in reaching and implementing a peaceful, negotiated settlement of the long-standing conflict in Aceh;

      (4) commends the Government of Indonesia for allowing broad international access to Aceh after the December 2004 tsunami, and urges that international nongovernmental organizations and media be allowed unfettered access throughout Indonesia, including in Papua and Aceh;

      (5) notes with grave concern that--

        (A) reform of the Indonesian security forces has not kept pace with democratic political reform, and that the Indonesian military is subject to inadequate civilian control and oversight, lacks budgetary transparency, and continues to emphasize an internal security role within Indonesia;

        (B) members of the Indonesian security forces continue to commit many serious human rights violations, including killings, torture, rape, and arbitrary detention, particularly in areas of communal and separatist conflict; and

        (C) the Government of Indonesia largely fails to hold soldiers and police accountable for extrajudicial killings and other serious human rights abuses, both past and present, including atrocities committed in East Timor prior to its independence from Indonesia;

      (6) condemns the intimidation and harassment of human rights and civil society organizations by members of the Indonesian security forces and military-backed militia groups, and urges a complete investigation of the fatal poisoning of prominent human rights activist Munir in September 2004; and

      (7) urges the Government of Indonesia and the Indonesian military to continue to provide full, active, and unfettered cooperation to the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the Department of Justice in its investigation of the August 31, 2002, attack near Timika, Papua, which killed three people (including two Americans, Rick Spier and Ted Burgon) and injured 12 others, and to pursue the indictment, apprehension, and prosecution of all parties responsible for that attack.

    (b) Findings Relating to Papua- Congress finds the following:

      (1) Papua, a resource-rich province whose indigenous inhabitants are predominantly Melanesian, was formerly a colony of the Netherlands.

      (2) While Indonesia has claimed Papua as part of its territory since its independence in the late 1940s, Papua remained under Dutch administrative control until 1962.

      (3) On August 15, 1962, Indonesia and the Netherlands signed an agreement at the United Nations in New York (commonly referred to as the `New York Agreement') which transferred administration of Papua first to a United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA), and then to Indonesia in 1963, pending an `act of free choice . . . to permit the inhabitants to decide whether they wish to remain with Indonesia'.

      (4) In the New York Agreement, Indonesia formally recognized `the eligibility of all adults [in Papua] . . . to participate in [an] act of self-determination to be carried out in accordance with international practice', and pledged `to give the people of the territory the opportunity to exercise freedom of choice . . . before the end of 1969'.

      (5) In July and August 1969, Indonesia conducted an `Act of Free Choice', in which 1,025 selected Papuan elders voted unanimously to join Indonesia, in circumstances that were subject to both overt and covert forms of manipulation.

      (6) In the intervening years, indigenous Papuans have suffered extensive human rights abuses, natural resource exploitation, environmental degradation, and commercial dominance by immigrant communities, and some individuals and groups estimate that more than 100,000 Papuans have been killed during Indonesian rule, primarily during the Sukarno and Suharto administrations.

      (7) While the United States supports the territorial integrity of Indonesia, Indonesia's historical reliance on force for the maintenance of control has been counterproductive, and long-standing abuses by security forces have galvanized independence sentiments among many Papuans.

      (8) While the Indonesian parliament passed a Special Autonomy Law for Papua in October 2001 that was intended to allocate greater revenue and decision making authority to the Papuan provincial government, the promise of special autonomy has not been effectively realized and has been undermined in its implementation, such as by conflicting legal directives further subdividing the province in apparent contravention of the law and without the consent of appropriate provincial authorities.

      (9) Rather than demilitarizing its approach, Indonesia has reportedly sent thousands of additional troops to Papua, and military operations in the central highlands since the fall of 2004 have displaced thousands of civilians into very vulnerable circumstances, contributing further to mistrust of the central government by many indigenous Papuans.

      (10) According to the 2004 Annual Country Report on Human Rights Practices of the Department of State, in Indonesia `security force members murdered, tortured, raped, beat, and arbitrarily detained civilians and members of separatist movements' and `police frequently and arbitrarily detained persons without warrants, charges, or court proceedings' in Papua.

    (c) Reporting Requirements-

      (1) REPORT ON SPECIAL AUTONOMY- Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act and one year thereafter, the Secretary of State shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report detailing implementation of special autonomy for Papua and Aceh. Such reports shall include--

        (A) an assessment of the extent to which each province has enjoyed an increase in revenue allocations and decision making authority;

        (B) a description of access by international press and non-governmental organizations to each province;

        (C) an assessment of the role played by local civil society in governance and decision making;

        (D) a description of force levels and conduct of Indonesian security forces in each province; and

        (E) a description of United States efforts to promote respect for human rights in each province.

      (2) REPORT ON THE 1969 ACT OF FREE CHOICE- Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report analyzing the 1969 Act of Free Choice.




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