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"Before there can be any resumption of military ties between Washington and Jakarta, the Indonesian armed forces must undergo significant reform.  The U.S. government should accept nothing short of civilian control of the military as well as human rights trials conducted under international standards of justice as preconditions for any re-engagement with the Indonesian military," Agatha Schmaedick, Indonesia Human Rights Network co-chair

For Immediate Release
February 26, 2001

Lynn Fredriksson:  202-546-0044 Email: ihrn@etan.org
Contact: Michael Beer: 202-244-0951

Indonesia Human Rights Network Urges Continued Ban on U.S. Aid to Indonesian Military

On the eve of Secretary of State Colin Powell's visit with Indonesian Foreign Minister Alwi Shihaband in a wave of fresh violence in the Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan, on Borneothe U.S.-based Indonesia Human Rights Network (IHRN) has urged the Bush Administration to stand strongly in support of Indonesian democratization and to maintain and strengthen the current congressional ban on U.S. aid to the Indonesian military.

"When Secretary Powell meets with Foreign Minister Shihab, we hope he will emphasize that Indonesian security forces and their allies are still perpetuating extreme human rights abuses in West Papua, Aceh, Maluku, and elsewhere," said Craig Harris, co-chair of IHRN's executive board.

One example, said Harris, is the September 2000 killing of three UN aid workers by military-backed militias in the Indonesian territory of West Timor.  In December, three human rights workers from the RATA, Rehabilitation Action for Torture Victims in Aceh, were pulled from their vehicle while working and shot in the street in the province of Aceh. The only known survivor of that incident attended a conference to launch IHRN, held February 23-25 in Washington, DC. "There's no doubt in my mind that the men who took us hostage and killed my colleagues were military," said Nazaruddin Abdul Gani.

"Before there can be any resumption of military ties between Washington and Jakarta, the Indonesian armed forces must undergo significant reform.  The U.S. government should accept nothing short of civilian control of the military as well as human rights trials conducted under international standards of justice as preconditions for any re-engagement with the Indonesian military," added IHRN co-chair Agatha Schmaedick.

The Indonesia Human Rights Network is a grassroots movement actively campaigning, through public education and national advocacy in support of the archipelago's pro-democracy movement and against U.S. complicity with Indonesian military repression. The network is comprised of human rights advocates, educators, and concerned citizens from across the U.S. and around the world.

Octovianus Mote, a West Papuan journalist who spoke at the IHRN conference, stated, "The Indonesian military and government must respect international law in its actions.  In addition, the U.S. government should work to guarantee the safety of, and assistance to, the nearly one million refugees and displaced persons who have fled violence across the archipelago.

The conference featured experts on Indonesia from the U.S., Europe, Indonesia, East Timor, Australia, and elsewhere.  Jafar Siddiq Hamzah's sister dedicated the conference to her brother's memory.  Jafar was a human rights lawyer and permanent U.S. resident, kidnapped and murdered in Indonesia in August 2000.  He was working to end human rights abuses in his native Aceh and throughout Indonesia.

For more information, e-mail: ihrn@etan.org, http://www.indonesianetwork.org


The Indonesia Human Rights Network
  • 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:

    Jan 27 ETAN/IHRN: Rights groups urge continued suspension of military ties with Indonesia
    "Shipping hardware to the Indonesian military will severely set back efforts to achieve democracy and respect for human rights in Indonesia ... Anyone familiar with the ongoing conflicts in West Papua, Aceh and Maluku/the Moluccas knows that the TNI is at best impeding resolution; more often it is an exceedingly brutal central cause of the problem." Lynn Fredriksson, acting coordinator for Indonesia Human Rights Network.

    Jan 24 Reut: Top E.Timorese wants U.S. to help Indonesian army
    "One of East Timor's most prominent leaders, who denounced abuses by Indonesian troops in his homeland for decades, made a turnabout on Wednesday and urged the United States to resume military aid to Jakarta. It was a bizarre change of tack for Nobel peace prize laureate Jose Ramos-Horta who was at the vanguard of the fight against the often brutal 23-year rule of East Timor by Indonesia." Joanne Collins

    Jan 11 FPIF: U.S. - East Timor Foreign Policy in Focus Brief
    "The U.S. has declined to provide full support for an international human rights tribunal that would examine the abuses and killings (in East Timor) ... [but the Pentagon] has persisted in advocating military assistance to Indonesia, even when this has meant exploiting loopholes in legislation enacted to end military aid," Lynn Fredriksson, Foreign Policy in Focus


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