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UK-Indonesia: Rights Violations Overshadow President Visit

NGO Forum for Indonesia and Timor-Leste

UK - Indonesia: Rights Violations Over-Shadow Presidential Visit

Civil society groups question UK-Indonesia ties

Fourteen years ago, the downfall of President Suharto in 1998 set Indonesia on a course of reform and democratic transition that has impressively transformed the country from a harshly repressive dictatorship to a chaotic yet functional democracy.

But many problems remain. The country’s overall record on human rights, the rule of law and religious freedoms, still falls far short of accepted international standards.

Although the Indonesian military, TNI, has been deprived of its former role as a major political force, it retains an influential role in social and political affairs and continues to be implicated in serious human rights violations. Egregious past violations, including those committed in Timor- Leste, Aceh, West Papua, and during Suharto’s rise to power in 1965/66, are still unaccounted for. Some alleged perpetrators continue to play prominent roles in public life at the highest level.

As ties between the UK and Indonesia are about to be further strengthened by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s state visit to London, from 31 October to 2 November 2012, serious questions remain about the human rights, social and environmental impacts of UK business, trade and investment links with Indonesia.

Members of the UK-based NGO Forum on Indonesia and Timor-Leste are highlighting key issues during the visit, including UK training of Indonesia’s counter-terrorism unit; Arms Sales; Human Rights in Papua; The Need for Dialogue in Papua; Rights, Livelihoods and Climate Justice; Religious Intolerance; and Timor-Leste and Impunity. Information about these issues and recommendations from members of the NGO Forum are set out in this briefing. More>>

ENDS

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