Members of Congress Oppose U.S. Assistance to Unreformed,
"Corrupt" Indonesian Military
Contact: John M. Miller, 718-596-7668; 917-690-4391 (cell)
Karen Orenstein, 202-544-6911
For Immediate Release
October 12, 2004 - Citing "grave concerns over the prospects for
real military reforms," 45 members of the U.S. Congress called
possible State Department plans to provide foreign military
financing (FMF) for Indonesia in 2006 “premature, unwarranted, and
In a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell, the members of
Congress wrote that "impunity remains firmly entrenched" and justice
has not been served for past human rights violations in East Timor
"The rights record of the TNI [Indonesian military] continues to
be unacceptable. Crackdowns against civilians have escalated in West
Papua. The end of martial law in Aceh has not led to improvements on
the ground," they wrote.
They called the Indonesian military "a massively corrupt
institution," much of whose income "comes from illegal and
semi-legal activities, including prostitution, drug-dealing,
environmentally destructive logging, and trafficking in people."
The Representatives wrote, “Restricting FMF sends a critical
message to the TNI and should not be dispensed until there is
genuine reform and justice for rights violations.”
In a briefing this week, departing U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia
Ralph Boyce told foreign press that he was disappointed that
U.S.-Indonesia military relations remain restricted due to Jakarta's
failure to prove that it had improved its human rights record. Boyce
stated, "we don't have the material with which to seriously go to
Congress and do that."
FMF provides grants and loans for weapons and other military
equipment and training. Congress has restricted FMF since 2000 and
is set to renew the restriction for the
2005 fiscal year.
Representatives Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Lane
Evans (D-IL), and James McGovern (D-MA) organized the letter. A copy
of the letter and a complete list of signers can
be found below.
see ETAN's Legislative
U.S.-Indonesia Military Assistance page
Congress of the United States
Washington, DC 20515
October 7, 2004
The Honorable Colin L. Powell
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretary Powell:
We are deeply concerned that the Department of State is
considering provision of foreign military financing (FMF) for
Indonesia. FMF for Indonesia is ill-advised and should not be
included in the Administration's FY06 budget request.
As you are aware, Congress has restricted FMF for Indonesia since
FY 2000, conditioning its provision on Indonesian military (TNT)
budget transparency and accountability and justice for gross human
rights violations. There has been no such justice served, and
impunity remains firmly entrenched. Recently, an appeals court in
Indonesia overturned the only convictions of Indonesian military and
police charged with crimes against humanity in East Timor in 1999.
The State Department declared, "We are profoundly disappointed with
the performance and record of the Indonesian ad hoc tribunal." The
tribunal on the 1984 massacre of Muslim protesters at Tanjung Priok
in Jakarta has been gravely disappointing. Further, because of the
absolute lack of cooperation by Indonesian government and security
forces with the East Timor-UN Serious Crimes Unit, 75 percent of
those accused remain at large in Indonesia.
The rights record of the TNI continues to be unacceptable.
Crackdowns against civilians have escalated in West Papua. The end
of martial law in Aceh has not led to improvements on the ground.
Since May, hundreds have been killed. Support for Laskar Jihad,
nationalist, and other terrorist militia to cause and provoke
conflict remains a common strategy of the TNI.
Despite Congressional and other calls for greater transparency in
the TNI's budget, the military remains a massively corrupt
institution, with less than a third of its funding provided by
Jakarta. Much of the rest comes from illegal and semi-legal
activities, including prostitution, drug-dealing, environmentally
destructive logging, and trafficking in people.
While Indonesia's civilian institutions deserve praise for the
country's first direct presidential election, we have grave concerns
over the prospects for real military reforms. President-elect Susilo
Bambang Yudhoyono was a general under Suharto and a commander in
East Timor in the 1980s.
Restricting FMF sends a critical message to the TNI and should
not be dispensed until there is genuine reform and justice for
rights violations. To date, however, reform and accountability are
absent. Provision of FMF for Indonesia in FY06 is premature,
unwarranted, and unwise.
We thank you for your serious consideration and look forward to
your prompt response.
|Patrick J. Kennedy
Christopher H. Smith
James P. McGovern
John Conyers Jr.
Peter A. DeFazio
Eni F.H. Faleomavaega
|Carol B. Maloney
Eleanor Holmes Norton
Steven R. Rothman