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"The East Timor Action Network (ETAN) and the Indonesia Human Rights Network (IHRN) today condemned Indonesia’s participation in joint military exercises with the U.S. The groups warned that any military cooperation sends the wrong message to the Indonesian military (TNI), which has yet to be held accountable for past human rights abuses in both East Timor and Indonesia and continues to engage in systematic violations across the archipelago."
See also:

BD: Military and political aid to Indonesia - A collection of recent reports, articles and news
BD: War Crimes & Crimes Against Humanity - A collection of recent press releases, petitions, articles and news

The Indonesia Human Rights Network & East Timor Action Network/U.S.

For Immediate Release

May 16, 2001

Contact: John M. Miller (ETAN), 718-596-7668; 917-690-4391
Kurt Biddle (IHRN), 202-544-1211

Human Rights Groups Oppose Joint Training with Indonesian Military

The East Timor Action Network (ETAN) and the Indonesia Human Rights Network (IHRN) today condemned Indonesia’s participation in joint military exercises with the U.S. The groups warned that any military cooperation sends the wrong message to the Indonesian military (TNI), which has yet to be held accountable for past human rights abuses in both East Timor and Indonesia and continues to engage in systematic violations across the archipelago.

The CARAT 2001 (Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training) military exercise with the TNI is scheduled to begin May 17 in the Riau Islands.  Previous CARATs, including one held in August 1999 just before East Timor’s independence vote, have included patrolling, live fire training, and raids.

Some Indonesian officers went directly from the 1999 exercise to East Timor and participated in the referendum-period violence there. Indonesian military officers this month are also observing the annual Cobra Gold exercise which involves the U.S., Thailand and Singapore.

“The U.S. should refuse to engage the Indonesian military in any way while it rejects cooperation with UN investigations of human rights abuses in East Timor and continues to promote many of the officers identified as most responsible for the violence during East Timor’s referendum. Not one has been indicted or tried,” said John M. Miller, spokesperson for ETAN. “The few militia prosecuted so far have received token sentences. The militias in West Timor continue to operate with TNI support, persecuting East Timorese refugees and launching raids across the East Timor border.”

“This exercise is taking place just 400 miles from the region of Aceh, where Indonesian security forces are killing civilians on a daily basis,” said  Kurt Biddle, Washington  coordinator for IHRN. “The Indonesian armed forces operate without any  concern for human rights there. In December, they murdered three humanitarian workers, and just last week beat up three journalists.”

“IHRN and ETAN are working with members of Congress and others to make sure that U.S.-Indonesia relations promote human rights and democracy rather than a return to old habits of coddling a military whose commitment to reform is highly suspect,” added Biddle.

“Whenever the U.S. Congress or administration has blocked military training or weapons transfers, the Indonesian military has taken notice. But each time the U.S. has moved to resume or reinforce military ties, TNI has taken it as signal to continue its brutal business as usual,” said Miller.

On September 9, 1999 President Clinton suspended all U.S. ties with Indonesia. Soon after, the Indonesian military began to pull out of East Timor and Indonesia gave permission for an international peacekeeping force to enter the territory. Later that year Congress put part of this ban into law. The FY 2001 Foreign Operations Appropriations Act renewed those conditions which must be met before normal military ties can be restored.  These include the return of refugees to East Timor and accountability for military and militia members responsible for human rights atrocities in East Timor and Indonesia. They also require Indonesia to actively prevent militia incursions into East Timor and to cooperate fully with the UN administration in East Timor. None of these conditions have been met.
The CARAT 1998 was cancelled after the congressional uproar over JCET (Joint Combined Exchange Training), the program under which the U.S. taught urban warfare and sniper techniques in circumvention of the congressional ban on IMET (International Military Exchange Training) for Indonesia.

In testimony before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Human Rights on May 11, 2000, journalist Allan Nairn, said “One of these officers, Lt. Col. (later Col.) Willem, helped coordinate the Indonesian naval forces in CARAT and then went to Dili where he served as a senior official in KOREM military headquarters, the very base from which the Aitarak militias staged their terror raids during late September. I saw this first hand since I was a prisoner in KOREM and was interrogated by Col. Willem.”

The East Timor Action Network/U.S. (ETAN). ETAN supports human dignity for the people of East Timor by advocating for democracy, sustainable development, social, legal, and economic justice and human rights, including women’s rights. ETAN, which has 28 local chapters throughout the U.S., calls for an international tribunal to prosecute crimes against humanity which took place in East Timor since 1975. For additional information see ETAN’s web site (http://www.etan.org)

The Indonesia Human Rights Network (IHRN) is a U.S.-based grassroots organization working to educate and activate the U.S. public and influence U.S. foreign policy and private financial interests to support democracy, demilitarization, accountability, rule of law, and civil society in Indonesia. We seek to help end armed forces repression and violence in Indonesia by exposing it to international scrutiny. IHRN works with and advocates on behalf of people throughout the Indonesian archipelago. For more information see http://www.indonesianetwork.org


East Timor Action Network U.S.  Updated May 19
ETAN/US was founded following the November 1991 massacre. ETAN/US supports a genuine and peaceful transition to an independent East Timor. It also supports human dignity for the people of East Timor by advocating for democracy, sustainable development, social, legal, and economic justice and human rights, including women’s rights.
East Timor was invaded and subjugated by US ally Indonesia in 1975. East Timor chose independence in August 1999 and was soon destroyed by the Indonesian military. It is now administered by the UN.
ETAN/US provides a wide range of articles, news reports and press releases related to East Timor. ETAN has 28 local chapters. Email: etan@etan.org & info@etan.org  Homepage: http://www.etan.org
East Timor info on the ETAN site is added daily.
The Indonesia Human Rights Network  Updated Feb 15
  • IHRN, a new non-governmental organization created by human rights activists, is now working for peace and justice in Indonesia. Through education, grassroots organizing, lobbying in Washington, public education, and press work, IHRN strives to support progress already made by NGOs struggling for democracy in Indonesia.
  • IHRN is committed to advocating on behalf of people throughout Indonesia, including ethnic Chinese, indigenous minorities, women, and the peoples of Maluku, Aceh, and Papua. The network actively promotes understanding and interchange between people in the Indonesian archipelago and the US.
  • IHRN is grassroots-based and U.S. policy-focused. We strive to move U.S. foreign policy to support human rights, civilian control of the military, and rule of law in Indonesia. IHRN aims to break the power of the Indonesian military by denying it international support, thus freeing up the peoples of Indonesia to make their own economic and political choices. The network will help stop continuing military repression and violence across the archipelago by exposing it to international criticism and sanction.

  • E-mail Lynn Fredriksson: ihrn@etan.org  Homepage: http://www.indonesianetwork.org

    See also:

    BD: Military and political aid to Indonesia - A collection of recent reports, articles and news

    BD: War Crimes & Crimes Against Humanity - A collection of recent press releases, petitions, articles and news


    BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor      home May news
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