World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Etan Calls For Stronger Government Action

On One Month Anniversary Of Rights Activist's Disappearance, Etan Calls For Stronger Government Action

On the one-month anniversary of the disappearance of Jafar Siddiq Hamzah, a New York-based Acehnese human rights lawyer, the East Timor Action Network/U.S. (ETAN) called for stronger action by the governments of both the U.S. and Indonesia.

"The U.S. and Indonesian governments must take concrete steps to resolve the disappearance of Jafar immediately. While we appreciate strong statements by the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, words are not enough," said Karen Orenstein, spokesperson for the East Timor Action Network/U.S.

"Jafar's disappearance warrants a strong public statement by U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to the Indonesian authorities explicitly outlining how seriously the U.S. takes Jafar's disappearance, as well as the ramifications if Jafar's safety is not secured," said Orenstein.

Jafar Siddiq Hamzah was last seen on August 5 in Medan, Indonesia, where he failed to keep an afternoon appointment. His family, friends, and colleagues have had no contact with him since. A tireless campaigner against Indonesian military violence and for the human rights of the Achenese people, he is well-known both inside Indonesia and internationally. Jafar had received death threats and reported being followed in the days prior to his disappearance.

"Jafar disappeared without a trace in a crowded city in broad daylight, indicating the likely involvement of military professionals. Indonesian human rights organizations suspect the involvement of the Indonesian military. The Indonesian police investigation of the case has proven totally inadequate. There must be civilian oversight of the investigation, preferably including independent human rights advocates," said Orenstein.

Indonesian police forces are conducting investigations in Medan and Aceh on the northern tip of Sumatra, but have refused to cooperate with Jafar's family and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The military has denied any knowledge or involvement in Jafar's disappearance. Queries by the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, journalists and human rights advocates have not yielded results.

"Jafar's case merits the formation of a high level civilian investigation team that includes the participation of the Indonesian attorney general's and Komnas HAM, Indonesia's National Commission on Human Rights. The Clinton Administration should publicly call for the formation of such a team, which should also include international officials and human rights advocates. Leaving the investigation entirely in the hands of the Indonesian police, given their record of severe human rights violations in Aceh and elsewhere, seriously compromises its integrity and transparency," said Orenstein.

"While five mutilated bodies have reportedly been found recently near Medan, none have been identified yet. Whether or not Jafar turns out to be among them, we urge that all efforts, including those outlined above, be used to discover and prosecute those responsible for this horrible crime," said John M. Miller of ETAN.

"The disappearance of such a prominent human rights activist shows that no one is safe," he added.

Jafar Siddiq Hamzah is the founder and chair of the International Forum on Aceh (IFA), a non-governmental organization actively campaigning for peace and human rights in Aceh, where a strong independence movement is active. Serious human rights violations are routine in Aceh, where over 300 Acehnese have been killed this year, many by Indonesian security forces. Through the IFA, Jafar has worked to inform the international community about human rights violations in Aceh. He has helped to organize several seminars on Aceh involving NGOs and others, and has raised the issue before the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva and the U.S. Congress. A permanent U.S. resident, Jafar has been pursuing a degree in political science at the New School University in New York since 1999, where he is enrolled for the fall semester, which begins this week.

ETAN has often worked with Jafar to address human rights issues and military violence in Indonesia and East Timor.

end

etanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetan John M. Miller Internet: john@etan.org Media & Outreach Coordinator, East Timor Action Network 48 Duffield St., Brooklyn, NY 11201 USA Phone: (718)596-7668 Fax: (718)222-4097 Mobile: (917)690-4391 Web site: http://www.etan.org

Send a blank e-mail message to info@etan.org to find out how to learn more about East Timor on the Internet etanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetan


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: Zimbabwe - Meet The New Bosses

At 75, Mnangagwa is not exactly what you’d call a new broom. As many observers have pointed out, his track record has been one of unswerving dedication to Mugabe ever since the days of anti-colonial insurgency... To these guys, things had to change in Zimbabwe, so that things could remain the same. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: Is This Guy The World’s Most Dangerous Thirtysomething?

Saudi Arabia has long been regarded as a pillar of stability in the Middle East, and is the essential caterer to the West’s fossil fuel needs. It is also the country that gave us Osama Bin Laden, al Qaeda, and 15 of the 19 terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks... More>>

ALSO:

Non-Binding Postal Vote: Australia Says Yes To Same Sex Marriage

Binoy Kampmark: Out of 150 federal seats, 133 registered affirmative totals in returning their response to the question “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”. More>>

ALSO:

Bonn Climate Change Conference: Protecting Health In Small Island States

The vision is that, by 2030, all Small Island Developing States will have health systems that are resilient to climate change and countries around the world will be reducing their carbon emissions both to protect the most vulnerable from climate risks and deliver large health benefits in carbon-emitting countries. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC