etmnlong.gif (2291 bytes) spacer

U.S. Congress Reaffirms Support for Independent East Timor

Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill Maintains Pressure on Indonesia to Prosecute Rights Violators and End Militia Violence, Gives Aid to East Timor 

For Immediate Release

Contact: Karen Orenstein, (202)544-6911 
John M. Miller, (718)596-7668; (917)690-4391 (mobile)

October 25, 2000 -- The East Timor Action Network/U.S. (ETAN) today praised continued congressional support for a East Timor's transition to independence. The Foreign Operations Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2001 (HR 4811, click here for excerpts from the bill and conference report), passed by both houses of Congress today, continues restrictions on military assistance to Indonesia until its government and military have cooperated fully with efforts to prosecute those responsible for human rights violations in Indonesia and East Timor, “allowed refugees to return home, and actively prevented militia incursions” into East Timor. The bill also appropriates $25 million to support East Timor's transition to self-government.

"This bill demonstrates continued congressional commitment to human rights in Indonesia and East Timor and to maintain pressure on the Indonesian military and government until East Timorese refugees have safely returned home and East Timor completes a peaceful transition to independence," said Lynn Fredriksson, ETAN Washington Representative and Interim Coordinator of the new Indonesia Human Rights Network.

"We are pleased that Congress has appropriated $25 million in economic support to rebuild East Timor both physically and politically. This is the least the U.S. can do given past support for Indonesia's occupation of East Timor," said John M. Miller, spokesperson for ETAN.

The appropriations bill continues to link restoration of U.S. military assistance to Indonesia to substantial progress in prosecuting members of the Indonesian armed forces and militias responsible for massive loss of life and extensive destruction in East Timor, particularly surrounding last year's overwhelming pro-independence vote. President Clinton is expected to sign the bill.

In report language explaining the bill, members of Congress said, “The managers strongly urge the Secretaries of Defense and State to press the government of Indonesia to fulfill its commitment to disarm and disband militia groups, end military and financial support for these groups, and bring militia leaders to justice.”

"It is important for Congress and the administration to recognize the devastating impact the Indonesian military continues to have on human rights and democracy throughout Indonesia. Military ties should not be restored until there is civilian control of the military and accountability for human rights abuses," said Karen Orenstein, ETAN's Washington Organizer.

The bill requires the Indonesian military and government to cooperate with investigations and prosecutions of Indonesian armed forces and militia groups responsible for human rights violations in Indonesia, as well as East Timor before restoring U.S. military assistance. This is especially important in Aceh, West Papua and Maluku, where Indonesian forces continue to brutally violate people's rights.

More than 100,000 East Timorese refugees remain under militia domination in West Timor and in early September militias murdered three international and two local UN refugee workers in Atambua, West Timor, as Indonesian police and soldiers stood by. Militias, well-armed and well-trained according to the UN, continue to infiltrate East Timor. On October 24, UN peacekeepers exchanged fire with well-equipped militias inside East Timor, killing one militia member.

Earlier this week, Indonesia refused a UN request to extradite one of the most notorious militia leaders, Eurico Guterres. He is wanted in East Timor for his role in leading several brutal massacres preceding last year's independence vote. He is currently being held for questioning in Jakarta, accused of ordering followers not to cooperate with Indonesian efforts to disarm militias in West Timor this September, although a Jakarta court has ordered his release.

The appropriations bill codifies for Fiscal Year 2001 much of the Clinton administration's temporary ban on military assistance to Indonesia first announced in September 1999 as the Indonesian military and its militias began their scorched earth campaign in the wake of East Timor's August 30 vote for independence.

Last spring, the U.S. military began a planned phased re-engagement with its Indonesian counterparts. Indonesian officers took part as observers in a U.S.-sponsored Cobra Gold military exercise in Thailand in May. In July, a joint U.S.-Indonesian exercise called CARAT/2000, in which the Indonesian navy and marines trained with their U.S. military counterparts, took place in East Java.

Just prior to Secretary of Defense William Cohen's visit to Indonesia on September 17 and 18, the Pentagon said it had reinstated the U.S. suspension of all military assistance to Indonesia in the wake of escalating militia violence and the murder of U.S. citizen Carlos Caceres, who was working with refugees in West Timor.

The foreign operations bill also calls for a detailed report of all overseas military training for foreign militaries conducted or planned by the Pentagon. This provision resulted from controversy over the Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) of the Indonesian military, which Representative Lane Evans (D-IL) and ETAN exposed in 1998.

While the bill places strict conditions on renewing IMET (International Military and Education Training) and Foreign Military Financing for Indonesia, the bill continues the ban on full IMET even after those conditions are met. IMET for Indonesia has been restricted since 1992.

The foreign operations bill also appropriates money to specifically support "economic rehabilitation" in Aceh where escalating human rights violations have displaced thousands despite a ceasefire, called a "humanitarian pause," between Jakarta and pro-independence guerrillas. This year Indonesian military and police have disappeared and killed hundreds in Aceh, including noted human rights advocates, with virtually no international presence to monitor and potentially deter such atrocities.

Additional information can be found at

The East Timor Action Network/US was founded in November 1991, following the massacre of more than 271 peaceful demonstrators in Dili, East Timor. ETAN/US supports genuine self-determination and human rights for the people of East Timor. ETAN has 27 local chapters.


Excerpts from bill and conference report

Other Bilateral Economic Assistance

ECONOMIC SUPPORT FUND Provided further, That of the funds appropriated under this heading, not less than $25,000,000 shall be made available for assistance for East Timor of which up to $1,000,000 may be transferred to and merged with the appropriation for Operating Expenses of the Agency for International Development: Provided further, That of the funds appropriated under this heading, in addition to funds otherwise made available for Indonesia, not less than $5,000,000 should be made available for economic rehabilitation and related activities in Aceh, Indonesia: Provided further, That funds made available in the previous proviso may be transferred to and merged with the appropriation for Transition Initiatives:



Sec. 579. (a) Funds appropriated by this Act under the headings `International Military Education and Training' and `Foreign Military Financing Program' may be made available for Indonesia if the President determines and submits a report to the appropriate congressional committees that the Government of Indonesia and the Indonesian Armed Forces are-- (1) taking effective measures to bring to justice members of the armed forces and militia groups against whom there is credible evidence of human rights violations; (2) taking effective measures to bring to justice members of the armed forces against whom there is credible evidence of aiding or abetting militia groups; (3) allowing displaced persons and refugees to return home to East Timor, including providing safe passage for refugees returning from West Timor; (4) not impeding the activities of the United Nations Transitional Authority in East Timor; (5) demonstrating a commitment to preventing incursions into East Timor by members of militia groups in West Timor; and (6) demonstrating a commitment to accountability by cooperating with investigations and prosecutions of members of the Indonesian Armed Forces and militia groups responsible for human rights violations in Indonesia and East Timor.


Sec. 571. (a) The Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State shall jointly provide to the Congress by March 1, 2001, a report on all military training provided to foreign military personnel (excluding sales, and excluding training provided to the military personnel of countries belonging to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) under programs administered by the Department of Defense and the Department of State during fiscal years 2000 and 2001, including those proposed for fiscal year 2001. This report shall include, for each such military training activity, the foreign policy justification and purpose for the training activity, the cost of the training activity, the number of foreign students trained and their units of operation, and the location of the training. In addition, this report shall also include, with respect to United States personnel, the operational benefits to United States forces derived from each such training activity and the United States military units involved in each such training activity. This report may include a classified annex if deemed necessary and appropriate.

(b) For purposes of this section a report to Congress shall be deemed to mean a report to the Appropriations and Foreign Relations Committees of the Senate and the Appropriations and International Relations Committees of the House of Representatives.


Funds Appropriated to the President


For necessary expenses to carry out the provisions of section 541 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, $55,000,000, of which up to $1,000,000 may remain available until expended: Provided, That the civilian personnel for whom military education and training may be provided under this heading may include civilians who are not members of a government whose participation would contribute to improved civil-military relations, civilian control of the military, or respect for human rights: Provided further, That funds appropriated under this heading for grant financed military education and training for Indonesia and Guatemala may only be available for expanded international military education and training and funds made available for Indonesia and Guatemala may only be provided through the regular notification procedures of the Committees on Appropriations. ...

Conference report

Other Bilateral Economic Assistance

ECONOMIC SUPPORT FUND The managers encourage AID to support effective economic restructuring and decentralization programs, where feasible, in key regions throughout Indonesia, especially in the Moluccas and other areas of Eastern Indonesia.

The conference agreement also includes language that provides that not less than $25,000,000 shall be made available for East Timor. The House bill did not address this matter. The managers strongly support AID's Economic Rehabilitation and Development Project, also known as the East Timor Coffee Project. The managers are concerned about reports that certain individuals in East Timor are seeking to restore monopolistic control of coffee production, that would jeopardize the livelihoods of thousands of farmers. The managers will continue to closely monitor this project. The managers are also aware of the importance of the Consolidated Fund for East Timor and expect that the United States will provide up to $4,500,000. The managers also urge AID to continue supporting activities that will improve the economy and establish democratic practices.


The conference agreement includes House language that provides that Expanded International Military Education and Training (E-IMET) for Indonesia is subject to notification, and Senate language that provides that Expanded IMET for Guatemala is subject to notification.



Sec. 579. Indonesia

The conference agreement provision regarding military assistance to Indonesia is similar to current law. The House bill and the Senate amendment included identical conditions under which a Presidential report and determination could result in a resumption of military assistance to Indonesia that is funded in this bill. The restrictions on assistance include both IMET and Foreign Military Financing programs, instead of FMF only, as proposed by the House bill.

The managers are concerned about the more than 100,000 East Timorese refugees still trapped in West Timor. This severe humanitarian situation has been exacerbated by ongoing harassment of aid workers by armed gangs, and recurring border incursions into East Timor by West Timor-based militias. These attacks have resulted in the deaths of several UN aid workers, as well as refugees. The managers strongly urge the Secretaries of Defense and State to press the government of Indonesia to fulfill its commitments to disarm and disband militia groups, end military and financial support for these groups, and bring militia leaders to justice. The managers note that, as provided in this section, resumption of security assistance to Indonesia is conditioned, in part, on the armed forces of Indonesia providing safe passage to refugees returning from West Timor.

Search this site                 powered by FreeFind

If your browser does do not support forms use: Search   Site Map   What's New

Note: For those without a fax application on their computer - CallCenter V3.5.8, is a Native 32-bit Voice Telephony software application integrated with fax and data communications... and  it's free of charge!  Download from



make a pledge via credit card here

Bookmark and Share

Background | Take Action | News | Links | What You Can Do | Resources  | Contact

ETAN Store | Estafeta | ImagesHome | Timor Postings | Search | Site Index |