For Immediate Release
Contact: Megan Walsh (IHRN); (202) 544-1211
John M. Miller (ETAN); (718) 596-7668;
U.S. House of Representatives Reaffirms Support for Indonesian
Military Reform and for East Timor
Foreign Operations Appropriations Act Maintains Restrictions on U.S.
Military Assistance to Indonesia, Gives Aid to East Timor
July 24, 2001 — The Indonesia Human Rights Network (IHRN) and the
East Timor Action Network (ETAN) today praised continued
congressional support for human rights in Indonesia and for East Timor's
transition to independence, but urged Congress to do more.
The Foreign Operations Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2002 (HR
2506), passed by the House of Representatives tonight, continues
restrictions on military assistance to Indonesia. A day after Megawati
Sukarnoputri took office in Indonesia with the military's backing, the
bill renews the “Leahy Provisions,” conditions that the Government of
Indonesia and the Indonesian Armed Forces must meet before U.S. military
assistance can resume. The bill also appropriates $25 million to support
“Congress has once again demonstrated its understanding of the
importance of publicly and formally refusing Indonesia nearly all U.S.
military assistance until it is able to control its armed forces and hold
human rights violators accountable in a court of law,” said Kurt Biddle,
Washington Coordinator for the IHRN. "The current political
transition in Jakarta makes tonight's action all the more necessary."
"While pleased that the House has renewed the $25 million in
economic support for the physical and political reconstruction of a
soon-to-be independent East Timor, we urge Congress to appropriate at
least $30 million. Congress must also actively support an international
tribunal for East Timor and make a humane resolution to the refugee crisis
in West Timor a priority. This is the least the U.S. can do given its past
support for Indonesia's illegal occupation of East Timor," said Karen
Orenstein, Washington Coordinator for ETAN.
The appropriations bill conditions restoration of U.S. military
assistance to Indonesia on substantial progress by Indonesia in
prosecuting members of the Indonesian armed forces and militias
responsible for crimes against humanity in East Timor and Indonesia,
particularly surrounding the overwhelming pro-independence vote in East
Timor in 1999. Indonesia has yet to hold anyone accountable for the
murder, rape, and destruction in East Timor.
"Acting to end the military's impunity is especially important for
Aceh and West Papua, where Indonesian forces continue to brutally violate
people’s rights," said Biddle. Over 1,000 people have been killed
in Aceh, since the beginning of the year.
This year’s bill, however, includes language that allows for U.S.
military training of some Indonesian civilians under E-IMET (expanded
International Military Education and Training) program. Human rights
groups, including IHRN and ETAN, criticized this change in the bill, but
applauded the renewal of strong overall restrictions on military
assistance to Indonesia.
“The Indonesian Government and armed forces have not met even one of
the Leahy provisions. The Indonesian people suffer daily at the hands of
their own military and police. Ten people each day are killed in Aceh. Why
would the U.S. want to reward the Indonesian military with prestigious
training when no improvements have been made?” asked Biddle.
"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 the archipelago. The U.S. should restore
no military ties with Indonesia until it has established civilian control
of its military and accountability for human rights violations, and
militia controlling East Timorese refugee camps in West Timor are
verifiably disarmed and disbanded," said Orenstein.
Tens of thousands of East Timorese refugees remain under militia
control in West Timor. Last September, militias murdered three
international and two local UN refugee workers in Atambua, West Timor, as
Indonesian police and soldiers stood by watching. The confessed killers
were given only token sentences. Well-armed and well-trained militias
continue to infiltrate East Timor. Return of the refugees and preventing
militia incursions are two of the Leahy conditions.
The appropriations bill renews much of the 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, 1999 vote for independence.
The bill also renews a requirement for reporting for all U.S. military
training provided to foreign military personnel in 2001 and 2002, a
provision human rights organizations hope will provide greater
transparency over such programs in the future.
While the bill places six conditions on renewing International Military
and Education Training (IMET) and Foreign Military Financing for
Indonesia, in a separate provision, the bill also continues the ban on
full IMET even after those conditions are met. IMET for Indonesia has been
restricted since 1992.
The Senate will consider its version of the Foreign Operations
Appropriations bill later this year.
The East Timor Action Network/U.S. (ETAN) supports human dignity
for the people of East Timor by advocating for democracy, sustainable
development, social, legal, and economic justice and human rights,
including women's rights. ETAN, which has 28 local chapters throughout the
U.S., calls for an international tribunal to prosecute crimes against
humanity which took place in East Timor since 1975. For additional
information see ETAN's web site (http://www.etan.org).
The Indonesia Human Rights Network (IHRN) is a U.S.-based grassroots
organization working to educate and activate the American public and
influence U.S. foreign policy and international economic interests to
support democracy, demilitarization, and justice through accountability
and rule of law in Indonesia. We seek to end armed forces repression in
Indonesia by exposing it to international scrutiny. IHRN works with and
advocates on behalf of people throughout the Indonesian archipelago to
strengthen civil society. See www.IndonesiaNetwork.org
for more information.
More on legislation and congressional
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 http://www.v3inc.com/