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 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.
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--Carmel Budiardjo (UK, 2008); John M. Miller (U.S., 2009), and Andreas Harsono (Indonesia, 2010)—have uploaded video messages to congratulate Congressmember Faleomavaega. The award includes a plaque and a financial prize which the Congressman has directed be donated to a charity selected by him.
Each of the past award recipients has recorded a video message of congratulations to Congressman Faleomavaega:
Andreas Harsono (Jakarta)
John Miller (ETAN, New York City)
Carmel Budiardjo (TAPOL, London)