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Towards Democracy in Indonesia

The Indonesia Human Rights Committee,
Box 68-419,

5 April, 2000

MEDIA RELEASE: Successful Conference launches the new Indonesia Human Rights Committee

Conference key-note speaker, Dr George Aditjondro leading anti-corruption campaigner and academic told the weekend conference “Towards Democracy in Indonesia” that New Zealand has a key role to play in locating the Suharto billions.

George and the other main conference speaker Murray Horton of the Campaign against Foreign Control in Aotearoa both highlighted Suharto family land holdings. Tommy Suharto’s luxury resort “Lilybank” was last year mysteriously sold for $1.00 to a suspected Suharto crony and a Queenstown holiday hideaway is owned by Suharto daughter, Titiek and her husband former Kopassus head Lt General Prabowo. There is also a labyrinth of corporate ownership links between businesses based here such as Brierleys and Indonesian Suharto ‘crony’ companies such as the Salim group.

While Suharto’s health is apparently helping him to escape the consequences of his crimes, the people are becoming impatient - 40% of the budget goes on foreign debt and poverty and unemployment are rampant. Dr Aditjondro says that the ill-gotten wealth of the entire family and cronies could amount to as much as US $100 billion.

Speaking for the new Committee, Maire Leadbeater said that, “Phil Goff the new Minister of Foreign Affairs and his parliamentary colleagues Disarmament Minister Matt Robson and Green M.P. were well received by the conference participants. However, the are all going to be under pressure to do what they can to see that there is a full parliamentary enquiry into the Suharto assets in New Zealand.”

“We will also be pursuing the demand that the government undertake to examine past New Zealand foreign policy with respect to Indonesia. The pro-Indonesia stand of past governments led us to turn a blind eye to genocide in East Timor.”

“We are now learning about militia provoked violence in other parts of Indonesia such as West Papua and about suspected military backed murders in Aceh. New Zealand should not blindly accept that all is well in Indonesia - the military still retains its pre-eminence and repression continues at many levels.” for further information: Maire Leadbeater - 09-376-9098 or cell phone 025-436-957

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