etmnlong.gif (2291 bytes) spacer For Immediate Release Dec. 20, 1999
Contact: John M. Miller, 718-596-7668

Norwich University to End Training of Indonesian Military

The East Timor Action Network today praised the decision by Norwich University, a private military university in Vermont, to sever ties with the Indonesian military. In October, Terry J. Allen writing in the Boston Globe, revealed that 13 Indonesian students were receiving ROTC military training. Eleven had a billing address at the Kopassus elite forces, one of the most notorious and brutal units of the Indonesian military.

In a statement John M. Miller, spokesperson for the East Timor Action Network said:

"We applaud Norwich University's decision to "sever all formal ties with the Indonesian military." Norwich's program was wrong-headed from the start and Norwich's President Richard W. Schneider is correct in saying that the Indonesian military is not interested in reform. However, it should not have taken the massive destruction in the wake of East Timor's independence vote to recognize this. The Indonesian military's well-documented record of abuses in East Timor and Indonesia has long been available.

"We join President Schneider in looking forward to the day when all of Indonesia's institutions respect democratic values. We believe that day will come much sooner through continuing the U.S. government's suspension of military training and weapons sales to Indonesia instituted by President Clinton and reiterated by Congress. We hope President Schneider will join us in pressing the U.S. Congress and administration toward that end.

"Norwich has said it will offer two cadet scholarships to East Timorese. While East Timor has yet to decide if it will have an army, Norwich students would certainly benefit from interacting with East Timorese, hearing their experiences, and learning about the atrocious human costs of U.S. support for regimes, like Indonesia, which persistently violate human rights. The Norwich University community has much to learn from the East Timorese, perhaps more than the East Timorese have to learn from Norwich. It is of course up to the people of East Timor to accept or reject Norwich's offer. However, we hope that Norwich will offer a choice of civilian or cadet scholarships.

"Norwich can help East Timor by pressing its friends in the Indonesian military to end collusion between the miltiary and its militias and to disarm and disband all miltia groups now preventing East Timorese from returning home."

In September, as Indonesian troops rampaged through East Timor following its pro-independence vote, President Clinton suspended all military ties with Indonesia. Continued training by Norwich, which uses active duty U.S. military officers, appeared to violate that policy.

The East Timor Action Network/U.S. was founded in November 1991, following the massacre of more than 271 peaceful demonstrators in Dili, East Timor. ETAN/US supports East Timor's transition to independence and democracy and human rights in Indonesia. ETAN has long campaigned to end weapons sales and military training to Indonesia. ETAN has 27 local chapters across the country.

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