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Continued ban on U.S. military aid to Indonesia

Continued ban on U.S. military aid to Indonesia

Press Release

February 26, 2001

Lynn Fredriksson: 202-546-0044
Contact: Michael Beer: 202-244-0951

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:

Indonesia Network website:


© Scoop Media

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