BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor    home | Feb news

"The Prime Minister of Australia John Howard is scheduled to visit Indonesia from 6th to 8th February. The visit has met with strong opposition from a number of members of the parliament (DPR) and from Amien Rais, Chairman of the Consultative Assembly (MPR).  The Australian government, they claim, has been meddling in Indonesia’s internal affairs as in East Timor and is suspected of supporting a proposed referendum for Papua at the forthcoming People’s Congress of Papua. ... The statement released by the DPR Deputy Chairperson Soetardjo Soerjoguritno saying that Australia’s interference in East Timor still hurts, fails to take into account the historical facts. After all, Australia was the one and only country in the whole world which recognised Indonesian sovereignty over East Timor. It is Indonesia which must take responsibility for its occupation of East Timor, an act which was clearly opposed by a majority of the countries in the world as well as by the United Nations of which Indonesia is a member." Bonar Tigor Naipospos, Chairperson, SOLIDAMOR
See also:

West Papua Information Kit: http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/cline/papua/core.htm
West Papua referendum petition: http://www.petitiononline.com/westpap/petition.html

SOLIDAMOR

* Objections to visit of Australia’s Prime Minister John Howard show:
INDONESIA’S PARLIAMENTARY REPRESENTATIVES
TAKING A BLINKERED VIEW
 

Solidamor Statement No: 03/SLD/II/2002

The Prime Minister of Australia John Howard is scheduled to visit Indonesia from 6th to 8th February. The visit has met with strong opposition from a number of members of the parliament (DPR) and from Amien Rais, Chairman of the Consultative Assembly (MPR).  The Australian government, they claim, has been meddling in Indonesia’s internal affairs as in East Timor and is suspected of supporting a proposed referendum for Papua at the forthcoming People’s Congress of Papua.

The comments and suspicions of these representatives of the people reflect their lack of knowledge of both international law and the importance of maintaining good relations with neighbouring countries.  It is common knowledge that the case of East Timor was already on the agenda of the UN Security Council. The referendum on the future of Lorosae was inevitable.  I would have occurred with or without the support of Australia.

The statement released by the DPR Deputy Chairperson Soetardjo Soerjoguritno saying that Australia’s interference in East Timor still hurts, fails to take into account the historical facts. After all, Australia was the one and only country in the whole world which recognised Indonesian sovereignty over East Timor. It is Indonesia which must take responsibility for its occupation of East Timor, an act which was clearly opposed by a majority of the countries in the world as well as by the United Nations of which Indonesia is a member.

Meanwhile the suspicion of the DPR members that Australia will support a referendum on Papua is without foundation. Was it not Australia which worked hard to soften the wording of the communiqué from the South Pacific Forum Summit meeting in Kiribati on 30 October 2000 which finally called upon the Indonesian government, as holder of sovereignty, and the opposing groups to resolve their differences through a process of dialogue and consultation?  So where did Australia go wrong?  And where are the facts supporting the belief that Australia supports a referendum in Papua?

What does become evident from this case is that some DPR members are still trapped in a sort of “politics of prejudice” towards Australia. Whereas what is needed in the new world order is an atmosphere of calm conducive to the building of relationships between countries which are based on friendship, mutual respect and mutual benefit. We must also come to terms with the empirical reality that, like it or not, no matter what happens, Australia will always be our neighbour. As well, harmonious bilateral relations between Indonesia and Australia are important to the many Indonesian students currently pursuing their studies in the land of the kangaroo.

But perhaps the objections of the DPR members are intended as a warning to the Australian government not to be so persistent in their demands that the Indonesian government take a more serious approach to bringing to trial those accused of human rights abuses in East Timor (see the Kompas article of 30 July 2001).  They may also be related to Australia’s rejection of asylum seekers from the Middle East, which has recently upset Jakarta.

We make these assessments against the background of the 15-point communiqué signed by President Megawati and Prime Minister Howard mid August 2001 affirming the principle of the overriding importance of Indonesia-Australia bilateral relations. At that time, MPR Chair Amien Rais and DPR Chair Akbar Tanjung were both photographed holding hands with John Howard.  Amien said then that it had been agreed that Canberra-Jakarta relations should become more cordial with time. Amien also declared that the East Timor differences could be regarded as closed and no longer presented a problem (Tempo, 14 August 2001).
 

Concerning the objections of DPR members to the current visit of Prime Minister John Howard, the position of Solidamor is as follows:

1. The objections of parliamentary politicians to the visit of Prime Minister John Howard are a matter of extreme regret. The narrow-minded and childish attitude of the people’s representatives in this matter is inconsistent with their proper role, which should be to maintain and strengthen relations between the two countries.

2. The allegations about Australia’s involvement in the support of activities or movements in East Timor, Aceh and Papua are biased and prejudiced, because these activities are directed towards resolving differences in areas of conflict through peaceful and non-violent means.  In today’s international order where the significance of national borders is relative, humanitarian considerations must take precedence.  In this environment it is acceptable for the government or even the people of Indonesia to give their support to movements or NGO’s which are critical of the Australian government over its treatment of the aborigines or are critical of the American government for the double standard it exhibits on the issue of Palestine.

3. We appeal to all DPR representatives in their observation and assessment of a situation - especially one of international dimensions - to apply the standard of our universal humanity.  By this we mean that the time has past when it was enough to rely on (narrow) nationalistic sentiment to rally public support for a State cause. Because, in today’s world, it becomes a matter of concern and responsibility of the worldwide community to deal with abuses of human rights anywhere, including those which occur in East Timor.

4. We appeal to the government of Australia not to use Indonesia’s domestic issues for short-term political advantage in Australia at election time.  Because to do so will incite negative reaction in the Indonesian community and among Indonesian politicians who continue to be prone to Australia-phobia.

This completes this Solidamor position statement.

Jakarta, 5 February 2002

Bonar Tigor Naipospos
Chairperson

SOLIDAMOR "Solidarity Without Borders"


English:
SOLIDAMOR "Solidarity Without Borders"  Added June 9 Bahasa Indonesia
Solidarity for Peaceful Solutions in East Timor (Solidaritas untuk Penyelesaian Damai Timor Leste - Solidamor) is an independent advocacy, information and action group which is concerned about East Timor and its future.
Associating together in Solidamor are Indonesians of a number of different professions and a wide range of backgrounds.
Areas of Working:
· Developing public concern and support for, and mounting campaigns in aid of, East Timor.
· Conducting analysis and forming working networks for advocacy, action and disseminating of information about East Timor.
· Producing bulletins, books, films, brochures and other documentation on all aspects of the situation in East Timor.
· Solidarity building and cooperation with human rights and democratisation advocacy bodies.
· Assisting the people of East Timor to achieve self-determination.
· Fund raising in support of the people of East Timor.
Advisory Committee (Dewan Pertimbangan): - Dr George Junus Aditjondro - Prof Dr Lukman Sutrisno
Jl. Salemba Tengah III No. 15 Jakarta Pusat - 10440, Indonesia; Telefax: 62-21- 3923905, 3161614, 3151923
Email: solidmor@solidamor.org; solidmor@centrin.net.id  Homepage: http://www.solidamor.org/english/english.html

Bahasa Indonesia:
SOLIDAMOR "Solidaritas Tanpa Batas"  Updated Oct 25  English
Solidaritas untuk Penyelesaian Damai Timor Leste (SOLIDAMOR) adalah organisasi advokasi, informasi dan aksi yang bersifat independen dan peduli pada masalah dan nasib Timor Timur.
Solidamor menghimpun semua anggota orang Indonesia dari berbagai profesi dan latar belakang yang sangat beragam.
Bidang Pekerjaan:
. Membangun kepedulian publik, support serta kampanye terhadap masalah Timor Timur.
. Menganalisa dan membentuk jaringan kerja advokasi, aksi dan informasi mengenai masalah Timor Timur.
. Memproduksi bulletin, buku, film, brosur dan dokumen lainnya mengenai semua aspek masalah Timor Timur.
. Membangun solidaritas dan kerja sama dengan lembaga-lembaga advokasi hak asasi manusia dan demokratisasi.
. Pendampingan terhadap rakyat Timor Timur untuk menentukan nasibnya sendiri.
. Fund Rising untuk membantu rakyat Timor Timur.
Dewan Pertimbangan: - Dr. George Junus Aditjondro - Prof. Dr. Lukman Sutrisno
Jl. Salemba Tengah III No. 15 Jakarta Pusat - 10440, Indonesia; Telefax: 62-21- 3923905, 3161614, 3151923
Email: solidmor@centrin.net.id; solidmor@solidamor.org
Halaman Uatama: http://www.solidamor.org | Bahasa Inggeris: http://www.solidamor.org/english/english.html


See also:

West Papua Information Kit:
http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/cline/papua/core.htm

West Papua referendum petition:
http://www.petitiononline.com/westpap/petition.html


BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor    home | Feb news
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