East Timor ACTION Network ALERT
Bush Says “Yes” to Indonesian Military, We Say “No”
Senate Decides on Military Assistance for Indonesia Next Week!
Call Congress Today!
Congress has unexpectedly accelerated a major decision on U.S.-Indonesia policy. Next week, the Senate begins work on the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. This bill contains the restrictions on military assistance for Indonesia, which were put in place in response to the Indonesian military’s 1999 scorched-earth campaign in East Timor. The House will begin work on its version of this bill soon after the Senate.
The Bush administration, exploiting the “war on terrorism,” has mounted an aggressive campaign to remove congressional barriers to engagement with the brutal Indonesian military (TNI). Unfortunately, it has already had some success. The Pentagon lobbied to create the Regional Counter-terrorism Fellowship program, a new Asian “School of the Americas,” by securing funding outside the jurisdiction of the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, in violation of the spirit of existing law. While the new training center will be established, it is not too late to stop the training of Indonesian troops there. Act now to ensure that Bush and his Pentagon friends are not able to give more military assistance to human rights violators.
The Pentagon and the State Department are pushing their pro-Indonesian military agenda in the halls of Congress. You can help counter their campaign and fight for human rights and justice!
lease act on this urgent matter. Fax or phone your Representative and Senators as soon as possible. Tell them to use their voice and vote in Congress to support:
Renewal of the Leahy conditions restricting International Military Education and Training (IMET) and Foreign Military Financing (FMF) programs for Indonesia in the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. The Indonesian military continues to strongly resist reform and evade accountability for human rights violations, and continues to commit atrocious abuses of civilians throughout Indonesia. (click here see how Indonesia has failed to meet the Leahy conditions.)
Language in the Department of Defense Appropriations bill that excludes the training of Indonesian security forces under the Regional Counter-terrorism Fellowship program.
hone calls and faxes are generally more effective than emails. The congressional switchboard number is 202-224-3121 (ask for the office of your Senators or Representative), or check http://www.congress.org on the internet for direct phone lines, fax or e-mail contact information (please note e-mail is not a very effective way to send your message). Every call makes a difference, so please contact your members of Congress today!
lease let us know the results of your calls. Send updates to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Human rights conditions have markedly deteriorated over the past year in Indonesia, especially in Aceh, West Papua, and Maluku. The ad hoc human rights court on East Timor now taking place in Jakarta has been denounced by East Timorese, Indonesian and international organizations as a sham. Rather than address the systematic role of the military and its formation of lethal militia groups, the Jakarta trials have provided a forum to accuse the UN of rigging the referendum on East Timor’s independence and blame the UN for the post-ballot violence and destruction in 1999.
Human rights advocates, academics, and even Bush administration officials have acknowledged that reform of the Indonesian military (TNI) is dead for now. Under Indonesian President Megawati, the military is as powerful as ever, regaining ground lost after Suharto was forced from office.
The Pentagon and others in the administration argue that the U.S. needs to open channels to influence the TNI. What positive influence the Pentagon hopes to achieve baffles anyone concerned with human rights. Past experience demonstrates that exposure to U.S. military culture has done nothing to improve TNI practices. The 1999 scorched-earth devastation of East Timor followed decades of engagement that never tempered Indonesian military abuses. Moreover, the Pentagon’s argument is disingenuous; many channels of influence with the TNI currently exist, including some that have only recently been opened.
The “war on terrorism” must not become an excuse to support state-sponsored military terror on civilians in Indonesia. Military restrictions are the primary leverage the U.S. government has over the TNI. If Congress removes them, the TNI will take this as an endorsement of business-as-usual or even a signal of support for continuing abuses nothing will be gained and the people of Indonesia will lose.
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