JUNE 2000 ACTION ALERT
THE BAN ON U.S.- INDONESIA MILITARY TIES
& RESOLVE THE REFUGEE CRISIS
Call your Senators and Representative and ask for their foreign
policy staffer. The congressional switchboard number is 202-224-3121.
For fax and e-mail info: House,
Senate. You can also find out who your members of Congress
are, through your local League of Women
Voters. Remember to thank your
Senators and Representatives for any previous support. (See below for background
Tell your Senators and Representative
Now is not the time for normalization of military ties with
Indonesia. Now is the time for the U.S. administration to increase
pressure on President Wahid and the Indonesian government to finally
resolve East Timor's refugee crisis.
Request that your Representative and Senators:
- Actively support the inclusion of the current Leahy conditions (see
below) pertaining to East Timor in the FY 2001 Foreign Operations
Appropriations bill. Let her/him know that the Leahy conditions have
not been met.
- Express their opposition to joint military exercises with Indonesia,
such as CARAT, until all Congressional conditions have been met.
- Actively support the provision of $25 million in aid for East Timor
for FY 2001. President Clinton requested only $10 million for East
Timor for 2001, down from $25 million for FY 2000. Current levels must
be maintained to support development, reconstruction, and institution
building for the next several years.
Request that your Representative:
- Co-sponsor HR 4357, the East Timor
Repatriation and Security Act of 2000, introduced by Representatives
James McGovern (D-MA) and Chris Smith (R-NJ).
- Co-sponsor HR 1063, the International Military
Training Transparency and Accountability Act, introduced by
Representatives Chris Smith and Lane Evans (D-IL), if they have not
already done so.
Click here for a list of
current co-sponsors of HR 4357 and HR 1063.
Request that your Senators:
- Co-sponsor S 2621, the East Timor
Repatriation and Security Act, recently introduced by Senator Russ
Feingold (D-WI) and others.
Click here for a list
of current co-sponsors of S 2621.
Thank you for your support. It does make a difference. Please let
the East Timor Action Network know the results of your contacts. For
sample letters send a blank e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
or go to http://www.etan.org/action/letters.htm.
Contact Karen Orenstein at ETAN's Washington office, 202-544-6911, email@example.com,
or consult the ETAN website,
for more information.
THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION is considering re-engagement with the
Indonesian military (TNI) despite continued military and militia
intimidation and violence in East Timorese refugee camps in West Timor and
activity on the East-West Timor border, and despite continuing
military-backed human rights abuses in some areas of Indonesia, including
Ambon, Aceh and West Papua. While current law prohibits weapons transfers
and military training, Pentagon and State Department officials have
already authorized exchanges between the U.S. and Indonesian armed forces.
A regional exercise, Cobra Gold, has already gone forward with Indonesian
military personnel observing. The administration is also making
plans to stage a CARAT (Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training)
military exercise with the TNI in July. CARAT is a large-scale exercise
involving Navy, Marines, and other forces that stages simulated amphibious
invasions of Indonesian islands. Previous CARATs, including one held last
August just before East Timor voted, have included patrolling, live fire
cross training, and raids. Some Indonesian soldiers went directly from
last August's CARAT to East Timor to participate in the worst violence.
Pentagon officials and some in the State Department and Congress are
attempting to overturn the current suspension of military training and
weapons transfers. Clearly, now is not the time to discuss normalization
of military ties with Indonesia.
More than 100,000 East Timorese remain in
military- and militia-controlled camps in West Timor. Most want to return
home. Conditions in the camps are horrendous, with malnutrition and
disease rampant. Healthcare is inadequate. Some 60 refugees were killed
and tens of thousands further displaced in recent
flash floods. Elements in the State Department are pushing for a June
30 deadline for the start of camp closures and attempting to cut funding
for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). This is unacceptable
until serious progress has been made in securing refugee safety and
meeting humanitarian needs. An unknown number who were moved to other
areas of Indonesia last year have not returned. It is unacceptable that
over nine months after the East Timor voted for independence this refugee
crisis continues. The U.S. government must increase pressure on President
Wahid and the Indonesian military to resolve this crisis.
Foreign Operations Appropriations Act -
Leahy Conditions: Last fall, Congress cut off military training and
weapons transfers until Indonesia meets certain conditions pertaining to
East Timor. This legislation -- the Foreign
Operations Appropriations Act, which contains the "Leahy
conditions" -- must be renewed every year. Current conditions are far
from being met, and others pertaining to civilian control of the
Indonesian military should be added. Current conditions stipulate that
before normal military ties can be restored between the U.S. and
Indonesia, the Indonesian government and military must allow
"displaced persons and refugees to return home to East Timor"
and bring to justice military and militia members responsible for human
rights atrocities in East Timor and Indonesia. They also require Indonesia
to actively prevent militia incursions into East Timor and cooperate fully
with the UN administration in East Timor. The Leahy conditions reinforce
President Clinton's own suspension of military ties with Indonesia - put
in place last September as the destruction of East Timor escalated
following the overwhelming vote in favor of independence. Representatives and
Senators who sit on the Appropriations Committees are especially
important. Click here
for a list of House and Senate Appropriations Committee members.
Remember to thank your Representatives and Senators for any previous
and S. 2621, the East Timor
Repatriation and Security Act of 2000. These companion bills would
prohibit military relations and assistance to the armed forces of
Indonesia until the Indonesian government provides for the territorial
integrity of East Timor; the security and safe return of refugees; and has
brought to justice those individuals responsible for murder, rape, torture
and other crimes against humanity in East Timor and elsewhere. Urge
your Senator to co-sponsor S 2621. Urge your Representative to co-sponsor
HR 1063, the
International Military Training Transparency and Accountability Act,
closes loopholes the
Pentagon has used to continue to train human rights violators in
Indonesia. Although Congress has banned combat training for Indonesia
under the IMET (International Military Education and Training) program,
this bill would ban JCET (Joint Combined Education and Training) and all
similar programs to Indonesian and other human rights violating
militaries. This bill has far-reaching implications for the human rights
of all Indonesians and others around the world (including Latin America
Over 100,000 East Timorese refugees are living in some 200 refugee
sites scattered throughout West Timor. Another 11,000 to 30,000 are
believed to be elsewhere in Indonesia. A recent
fact-finding mission coordinated by the East Timor Action Network
found that the situation for refugees in West Timor and other parts of
Indonesia remains dire. East Timorese in camps face ongoing threats and
intimidation by Indonesian military (TNI) supported militia leaders,
little to no medical care, and malnutrition. Over 700 people, most
children, have died from various illnesses since last September due to
inadequate sanitation and medical care. Nearly 100 refugees were killed
and tens of thousands further displaced in mid-May in flash floods.
Continuous damp and muddy conditions in the camps due to an unusually long
rainy season have already exacerbated the health care crisis. A malaria
catastrophe looms once the rains stop. Access to many of the camps by
humanitarian organizations remains limited, and aid workers are still
being threatened. The Indonesian military, its militia allies and the
local media continue to spread disinformation to discourage East Timorese
from returning home. Elements in the State Department are now pushing to
shut down the camps beginning on the arbitrary date of June 30, ignoring
the conditions that prevent free and safe refugee return, in spite of
UNHCR's own recommendation to keep the camps open. Elements in the State
Department are also threatening to cut off funding to UNHCR.
Steps needed to end the lingering refugee crisis include:
- An immediate end to Indonesian military support for militias, and
the disarming and disbanding of all militia groups.
- The separation of militia leaders from the civilian refugee
population, their arrest by Indonesian police or UN authorities, and
their extradition to East Timor.
- Open and complete access to all refugee camps in West Timor for
humanitarian aid workers.
- Assurance that all refugees who wish to return home can do so
without intimidation before any forced closing of camps under
- A coordinated effort to track, locate, and safely return East
Timorese refugees taken off Timor island.
- Better preparations in East Timor by UNHCR and others for
reintegration and resettlement of returning refugees.
May 30, 2000
ATTEND AN EVENT, HOST A SPEAKER
Demonstrations and events are taking place around the U.S. and world.
Click here for latest list. ETAN
speakers and East Timor support
groups are available nationwide.
Much still needs to be done to support East Timor and
ETAN continues to work hard to insure a peaceful transition to
independence.Please send a contribution to ETAN by using our donation
form. Thank you for any support.
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