News Release, May 15, 1992 -
For further information, Neal Flieger, (202) 226-5470
HALL MOVES TO CUT U.S. AID TO INDONESIA, CITES RIGHTS ABUSES AGAINST TIMORESE CIVILIANS
Rep. Tony P. Hall (D-OH), today introduced legislation to terminate all U.S. bilateral assistance to Indonesia, citing that nation’s history of human rights violations against the citizens of East Timor. Joining Hall as original cosponsors of the legislation were Reps. Tom Downey (D-NY), Joseph Moakley (D-MA), Ron Machtley (R-Rl.) and Barney Frank (D-MA).
“This is strong legislation, but a strong response is long overdue to Indonesia’s aggression, repression, and terror in East Timor,” Hall said in a statement accompanying the bill’s introduction in the House. “At a time when every U.S. foreign aid dollar is undergoing rigorous scrutiny, why should the taxpayers provide aid to a nation which has seized and subjugated its neighbor? The Congress can both save money and stand for principle in terminating aid to Indonesia.”
On December 7th, 1975, Indonesian military forces invaded the former Portuguese colony of East Timor; the territory was made the 27th Province of Indonesia the following year. Since then, international rights groups have continued to report widespread and ongoing violations of basic human rights. The most recent incident to draw world attention was the Indonesian military’s massacre of 75 to 100 Timorese civilians participating in a funeral march on November 12, 1991. Hall noted that, although there have been other atrocities in East Timor since 1975, this particular incident was different.
“The atrocity was videotaped by an outsider who succeeded in smuggling the tape out of the militarized territory,” he said. “In addition, two American reporters, Allan Nairn and Amy Goodman, were savagely beaten and nearly killed by the Indonesian soldiers who perpetrated the massacre. They survived to become witnesses to the world of the tragedy of East Timor.”
Hall has been the leading Congressional proponent for the cause of East Timor since coming to Congress in 1979, as the author of resolutions and letters to officials of the Indonesian government, United Nations, and U.S. Government calling attention to the plight of the Timorese.
The bill Hall introduced would terminate all bilateral assistance and suspends the Generalized System of Preference (GSP) benefits for Indonesian products, and requires the U.S. Representative to the World Bank, to oppose any loan to Indonesia. Estimated FY 1992 military and economic aid for Indonesia is about $58 million; commercial arms deliveries are about $43 million, and Foreign Military Sales add another $10 million. Meanwhile, Indonesia has exported millions of dollars of duty-free products to the U.S. The U.S. trade deficit with Indonesia is currently $1.3 billion.
“The United States Government should not allow Indonesia to use proceeds from preferential trade with our Nation as a means to assist in the continued suppression of the people of East Timor,” added Downey, who serves on the Trade Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Under the Members’ legislation, the termination of aid would remain in effect until the President certifies that Indonesia has withdrawn its troops from East Timor, allowed a UN supervised referendum for Timorese self-determination, and international monitors have reported the cessation of human rights violations.
“It is insufficient to beg the Indonesians repeatedly to treat the Timorese with basic human decency,” Hall said. “This is like condoning slavery, but asking the slave driver to spare the whip. Attention must instead be focused on getting the Indonesians to withdraw from East Timor and allow the Timorese to participate in a referendum on self-determination.”
Sanctions Bill in U.S. House of Representatives (TEXT)
On May 14, a bill to cut U.S. aid and trade to Indonesia until the East Timor issue is settled was introduced by Representative Tony P. Hall (D-OH). The bill, H.R. 5176, is cosponsored by Thomas Downey (D-NY), Joseph Moakley (D-MA), Barney Frank (D-MA) and Ronald Machtley (R-RI).
It has been referred to the following subcommittees:
Foreign Operations Subcommittee of Appropriations Committee (David Obey, Chair)
Asia-Pacific Affairs Subcommittee of Foreign Affairs Committee (Stephen Solarz, Chair)
Trade Subcommittee of Ways and Means Committee (Sam Gibbons, Chair)
The East Timor Action Network/U.S. can provide more information, sample letters, subcommittee lists, and background materials. Representatives should be written and asked to cosponsor the bill. While those on the above subcommittees are particularly important, every Congressperson needs to hear from their constituents. Senators should be asked to sponsor a companion bill. The text of the bill follows.
102nd Congress, Second Session
H.R. 5176 in the House of Representatives, May 14 1992.
A Bill to Terminate United States Assistance to Indonesia.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
Section 1. Findings.
The Congress makes the following findings:
(1) In violation of international law, Indonesia invaded East Timor in December 1975, and forcefully annexed the territory in July 1976.
(2) Indonesian sovereignty over East Timor has never been recognized by the United Nations.
(3) The United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 3485 in 1975 and the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 384 in 1975 and Resolution 389 in 1976, each of which called upon the Government of Indonesia to withdraw without delay its armed forces from East Timor and which reiterated the right of the people of East Timor to self-determination in accordance with General Assembly Resolution 1514(XV).
(4) United Nations General Assembly Resolution 37/30 of November 1982 requested the Secretary-General to initiate consultations with all parties directly involved in the situation in East Timor in order to achieve a comprehensive settlement of the issue.
(5) Tens of thousands of East Timorese, out of a population of nearly 700,000, died in the fighting, famine, and disease that followed Indonesia’s invasion and occupation of East Timor.
(6) Throughout the years of Indonesia’s occupation of East Timor, international human rights organizations have reported evidence of human rights violations, including killings, torture, arbitrary arrest, and repression of freedom of expression.
(7) Indonesia’s forceful suppression of basic human rights in East Timor was brought to world attention on November 12, 1991, when Indonesian military forces opened fire on unarmed Timorese civilians, in Dili, killing 75 to 100 people and injuring many more.
(8) International human rights organizations report intense repression in East Timor in the period since the massacre of November 12, 1991.
(9) In section 359 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993, the Congress called for an end to all forms of human rights violations in East Timor and for an internationally acceptable solution which addresses the underlying causes of the conflict in East Timor.
(10) Indonesian military forces remain in East Timor in contravention of resolutions adopted by the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council, and the Government of Indonesia has failed to initiate an internationally recognized process for self-determination for East Timor.
Section 2. Termination of Foreign Assistance for Indonesia.
(a) Termination of Foreign Assistance for Indonesia. — United States assistance to Indonesia shall be suspended on the date of the enactment of this Act until the President determines and certifies to the Congress that —
(1) Indonesia is permitting immediate and unrestricted access to East Timor for international human rights organizations and international organizations;
(2) International human rights organizations report that Indonesian government forces or other military or paramilitary forces under the control of the Government of Indonesia have ended all forms of inhuman treatment, including torture;
(3) Indonesia is in compliance with United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3485 and United Nations Security Council Resolutions 384 and 389, and
(4) Indonesia allows a United Nations supervised referendum on self-determination for the people of East Timor.
(b) Definition. —
(1) For the purposes of this section, the term “United States assistance” means assistance of any kind which is provided by grant, sale, loan, lease, credit, guaranty, or insurance, or by any other means, by any agency or instrumentality of the United States Government.
(2) Such term includes —
(A) assistance under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (including programs under title IV of chapter 2 of part I of such Act);
(B) assistance under the Arms Export Control Act;
(C) sales under title I or title III and donations under title II of the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954 of nonfood commodities;
(D) other financing programs of the Commodity Credit Corporation for export sales of nonfood commodities;
(E) financing under the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945; and
(F) assistance provided by the Central Intelligence Agency or assistance provided by any other entity or component of the United States Government if such assistance is carried out in connection with, or for purposes of conducting, intelligence or intelligence-related activities except that this shall not include activities undertaken solely to collect necessary intelligence.
(3) Such term does not include —
(A) assistance which involves the donation of food or medicine;
(B) disaster relief assistance (including any assistance under chapter 9 of part I of the Foreign Assistance act of 1961);
(C) assistance for refugees; and
(D) assistance made available for termination costs arising from the requirements of this section.
Section 3. Suspension of Multilateral Assistance.
Until the President makes the determination and certification pursuant to section 2(a), the Secretary of the Treasury shall instruct the United States executive directors of the International Monetary Fund, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the International Development Association to oppose any loan or other utilization of the funds of their respective institutions to or for Indonesia.
Section 4. Denial of Trade Preferences.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, until the President makes the determination and certification pursuant to section 2(a), the provisions of title V of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2461 et seq.) shall not apply with respect to the products of Indonesia.
Try Dismisses Aid Cutoff Bill
Reuter, Jakarta, May 18 - Indonesian military commander Try Sutrisno dismissed on Monday a U.S. House of Representatives bill accusing his government of violating human rights in East Timor.
“That is their right. But we have our own views on human rights. There is no violation of (human rights),” General Try told reporters in Indonesia’s first comment on the bill.
The legislation that would end U.S. aid to Jakarta was introduced last Thursday by Democratic Congressman Tony Hall of Ohio who said it was a long overdue “response to Indonesia’s aggression, repression and terror” in the former Portuguese colony of East Timor.
Indonesia provoked an international outcry when its soldiers shot into a crowd of mourners in East Timor last November, killing up to 180 people.
It has long been criticised for its human rights record in East Timor, which it invaded in 1975 and later annexed, as well as in other provinces where small rebel groups are battling Jakarta’s rule.
Try said developing Indonesia and upholding the dignity of Indonesians were a priority for Jakarta.
He warned donors against any attempt to twin aid with human rights that would be considered interference in domestic affairs.
Kyodo, Jakarta, May 19 - Indonesian military chief Try Sutrisno on Monday decried a U.S. congressional bill to halt all U.S. bilateral assistance in protest of alleged human rights violations in East Timor.
“Only a few proposed that. They are paid for that and it is their right to submit the bill to U.S. Congress,” Sutrisno told reporters.
Four U.S. congressmen have introduced legislation proposing the U.S. aid and preferential tariff benefits would be terminated until Indonesia withdraws its troops from East Timor.
“A strong response is long overdue to Indonesia’s aggression, repression and terror in East Timor,” said Congressman Tony Hall in a statement accompanying the bill’s introduction Thursday at the U.S. House of Representatives.
The legislation also demands Indonesia to allow a U.N. supervised referendum for self determination in the former Portuguese colony and ceases human rights violations.
“We have our own measures of human rights and they cannot view these with their glasses,” Sutrisno said.
Sutrisno said the U.S. must look to the directions of Europe and the Asia-Pacific.
International outcries have mounted following an Indonesian army killing of civilians in East Timor last November in which the government put the death toll at 50, but independent sources said more than 100 were gunned down.
Last month Indonesia rejected a request of two U.S. senators, Claiborne Pell, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and David Boren, chairman of Senate Committee on Intelligence, to enter the troubled East Timor.
Sutrisno said people who are blocked (from entering East Timor) are those seen wanting to besmirch.
Jakarta has rejected all development assistance from the Dutch after its criticisms over the East Timor killings.
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