Subject: AFP: China accuses Habibie; World Bank guidelines; telphone rates
Date: Fri, 4 Sep 1998 09:21:02 +0100 (BST)
From: tapol@gn.apc.org (TAPOL)

Articles... --Hong Kong women renew protests over Indonesian violence against Chinese --China accuses Habibie of trying to confuse public over rape allegations --World Bank to issue stringent guidelines to prevent fund leakage: report --Indonesia postpones planned raise in telephone tariffs


Hong Kong women renew protests over Indonesian violence against Chinese

Fri 04 Sep 98 - 05:16 GMT

HONG KONG, Sept 4 (AFP) - Hong Kong women's groups Friday staged new protests outside the Indonesian consulate, demanding a public apology from Jakarta over violence which targetted the ethnic Chinese population there.

Some 60 protesters from six women groups shouted slogans outside the Jakarta consulate in Causeway Bay and condemned the savage riots there in May which left more than 1,000 dead.

According to human rights groups, some 168 ethnic-Chinese women were raped of whom some 20 later committed suicide.

Lam Wai-ha, who led the Joint Action Against the Sex Abuse of Indonesian- Chinese Women, said the international community should pressure the Jakarta to give a full account of the rapes.

"We want to raise awareness and exert more international pressure on the Indonesian government," she told reporters.

Jakarta has set up a fact-finding team to determine whether the May riots were masterminded, but officials, including the police chief, the head of the state intelligence agency and the army chief, have said they found no evidence to substantiate the rape reports.

Indonesian President B.J. Habibie has said he believed press reports of rape cases had been exaggerated.

But rights groups have charged that security forces had failed in their job of protecting the people and should be held responsible for the riots.

An Indonesian consulate official accepted a petition submitted by the umbrella groups, but other consulate officials were seen filming the protests, witnesses said.

The group also mailed 4,000 signed protest letters to the Indonesian government. Last month, several such protests were held outside the Indonesian consulate.


Indonesia postpones planned raise in telephone tariffs

Fri 04 Sep 98 - 04:39 GMT

JAKARTA, Sept 4 (AFP) - Indonesian authorities will postpone a raise in telephone tariffs planned for October in light of the crippling economic crisis currently facing the nation, a report said Friday.

"We think that it is inappropriate to raise the tariff again because Telkom has raised it twice this year," Director General of Post and Telecommunications Sasmito Dirjo was quoted as saying by the Jakarta Post.

The government, through state-owned PT Telkom, hiked local call rates by 8.7 percent in January and by a further 10 percent for houshold suscribers and up to 15 percent for businesses in April.

"We plan to review the tariff in January (of 1999) but this may be postponed again, depending on the (economic) situation," Dirjo said.

In April, the government decided that telephone rates would be reviewed in October in line with inflation and the exchange rate of the rupiah.

The rupiah, which was trading at 2,450 to the dollar in July last year, was at 10,800 to the dollar Friday after reaching up to 17,000 earlier this year.

Inflation in the first eight months of 1998 has already reached 69.12 percent and analysts expect the rate for the whole year to reach above 100 percent.

But Telcom Friday hinted at dissent over the postponement, saying that it needed a tariff rise to keep revenues in line with inflation.

"Frankly speaking, if you look the inflation rate, we need a (tariff) adjustment," the company's investor relations head Setiawan Sulistyono told AFX-ASIA, an AFP-affiliated financial news agency.

"But any decision will depend on the government," he said.


World Bank to issue stringent guidelines to prevent fund leakage: report

Fri 04 Sep 98 - 05:15 GMT

JAKARTA, Sept 4 (AFP) - The World Bank is planning to issue stringent and detailed guidelines to prevent leakages from bank-funded projects in Indonesia, a Bank official was quoted Thursday as saying.

"Now is the time to repair past mistakes and we will no longer tolerate risks (of leakage,) no matter how small they are," the head of the Coordination and Consultation team on Sub-district Development Program of the World Bank, Victor Bottini, told the Kompas daily.

World Bank officials here were not immediately available for comment on the remarks.

Bottini said the mechanism for preventing corruption in World bank project funds will be very detailed and would have to be strictly respected by all executors up to the village level.

The on-site executive officer will have to be a local figure chosen by the local population and not someone assigned from higher up, he said, adding that anyone found guilty of corrupt practices would be immediately discharged.

The World Bank in a report has alleged that between 20 and 30 percent of World Bank funds channeled to Indonesian development projects had been lost to corruption.

Bottini said that supervision teams from the World Bank and from the government will routinely make on-site visits to check on sub-district development programs funded by the bank and that information about ongoing projects would be posted on boards at the site.

The information, which will include the cost of the project, the funding, the progress of work and manpower needs will have to be revised monthly, he added.

Suppliers of material for projects would be selected from among at least three firms. The lowest bidder, who will have to provide details including the orgin and the whereabouts of the material, would be chosen.

The Indonesian government is currently working with the World Bank to seek ways to prevent leakages in project funding, officials and the World Bank here have said.


China accuses Habibie of trying to confuse public over rape allegations

Fri 04 Sep 98 - 04:49 GMT

BEIJING, Sept 4 (AFP) - Indonesian President B.J.Habibie was accused by an official Chinese newspaper Friday of trying to confuse the public over the reported mass-rape of ethnic Chinese women during the May violence in Jakarta.

"It is all too clear that what he is attempting is just to confuse public opinion on what did happen," the China Daily said in an editorial.

"With their unhealed wounds still bleeding, ethnic Chinese now have to endure their president's irresponsible words. Is this fair?"

Habibie has said he believed media reports of rape cases had been exaggerated, and Indonesian military chief General Wiranto said on Tuesday no evidence had been found to support allegations of mass rapes during the bloody May riots.

Human rights groups claim 168 women, mostly ethnic Chinese, were gang-raped or sexually assaulted during the violence which rocked Jakarta and several other cities.

They said 20 of the rape victims, women and young girls, died from their wounds, were murdered by their assailants or committed suicide.

"Under the country's racially biased government policies, ethnic Chinese have been regular victims of Indonesia's instability," the China Daily said.

"Life for Indonesian Chinese has not become easier since Habibie took office because the administration has so far made no effort to adjust those policies.

"People have begun to doubt whether the Habibie administration can bring justice to the victimized Indonesian Chinese," it said.


TAPOL, the Indonesia Human Rights Campaign 111 Northwood Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey CR7 8HW, UK Phone: 0181 771-2904 Fax: 0181 653-0322 email: tapol@gn.apc.org Campaigning to expose human rights violations in Indonesia, East Timor, West Papua and Aceh

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