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Protest Against Indonesian Presence At Symposium

7 November, 2000

MEDIA RELEASE: Protest planned against Indonesian military presence at the Western Naval Symposium

Human rights and peace activists will protest at the presence of an Indonesian naval chief at the Western naval Symposium being held at the Stamford Plaza Hotel later this week.

The action will take place between 12 noon and 1 pm on Thursday 9 November. There will be a sombre witness outside the hotel and symbolic street theatre re-enactment of the deaths of the 3 UN aid workers in Atambua West Timor.

" We will deliver a letter to the Indonesian delegation - it will convey a strong message that we abhor the role that the military plays in the suffering and death of ordinary people in Indonesia," said Maire Leadbeater speaking for the Indonesia Human Rights Committee.

" We also our condemn our own government for this "business as usual" invitation, which undermines New Zealand's support for reform and democracy in Indonesia. The Indonesian military should be isolated until it is no longer engaged in repression."

"The Indonesian military has been actively engaged in human rights atrocities against students, pro-democracy activists and villagers in Aceh, Maluku and West Papua. In West Timor the military stood by while militia brutally executed three UN aid workers in cold blood. More than a year after East Timor 's freedom the military is still suspected of aiding and abetting the militia intimidation in the refugee camps."

" When this Seminar was announced there were many calls for Indonesia's invitation to be withdrawn. Since the Government will not send the message the people will deliver it :

The Indonesian military must act now to stem the violence in West Timor and protect the rights of the people who struggle for democracy, self-determination and reform."

"The Government should adhere to its own Defence Policy Framework which states that New Zealand will not engage in military co-operation with the armed forces of states which sanction the use of their armed forces to suppress human rights. "

"We believe that any so called "security co-operation benefits" of this get-together must be weighed against the infinitely more serious consequences of continuing to do 'business as usual' with the Indonesian military."

for further information: Maire Leadbeater 09-376-9098 (Cell 025-436-957)


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