etmnlong.gif (2291 bytes) spacer Note: Thanks to your efforts, the U.S. did publicly suspend military ties with Indonesia. (see ETAN's media release.) Calls and letters are still needed to insure the suspension remains in effect.

East Timor ACTION ALERT

TAKE ACTION FOR EAST TIMOR

STOP THE VIOLENCE NOW 
Murderous Militias Rampage Through West Timor
U.S. Must Publicly Suspend All Contact With Indonesian Security Forces

ON SEPTEMBER 6, militias hacked to death three international UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) workers; an unknown number of as yet unidentified local refugees and citizens in Atambua, West Timor were also killed. Militia groups have launched repeated raids in East Timor over the last several months. More than 100 militia members are said to be operating inside East Timor, causing many villagers to flee in fear. The Indonesian military (TNI) created, armed, and trained these militias. 

Overwhelming evidence links the TNI, particularly the notorious elite special forces unit Kopassus, to recent militia attacks. The U.S. government must stop equivocating about Indonesian military support and suspend all further relations at this time. The U.S. should immediately sever all ties with the TNI publicly, including military visits and the sale of any spare parts, until the military is verifiably under civilian control and military-sponsored atrocities have ceased.

* * *

We regret to inform those of you who haven't yet heard that our friend Jafar Siddiq Hamzah was identified this week among five mutilated bodies located outside of Medan, Indonesia Jafar was a gentle and tireless advocate for peace and human rights for Aceh. His death is a loss to the world. The U.S. and Indonesian governments must ensure full and transparent investigations into his murder, and bring those responsible for his death to justice. See below for more information.

What YOU Can Do

Contact: 

* Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific Stanley Roth, 202-647-9596; 647-7350 (fax); 2201 C St., NW, Washington, DC 20520; E-mail: Secretary of State Albright at secretary@state.gov;

* Secretary of Defense William Cohen, 703-692-7100; 697-9080 (fax). 1000 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1000. Web form to send comments: http://www.defenselink.mil/faq/comment.html.

Secretary Cohen will be visiting Indonesia on September 17.

Tell Them:

The U.S. must publicly suspend all assistance to the Indonesian military and police, including all visits and the sale of any spare parts, until Indonesia meets critical conditions, including verified:

* disarming and disbanding militia groups, and the arrest and extradition of known militia leaders;

* safe repatriation of East Timorese refugees;

* protection of international and local humanitarian workers in West Timor;

* genuine accountability for all those responsible for atrocities committed in East and West Timor, which requires unreserved support for an international tribunal;

* full and transparent investigations into the death of Jafar Siddiq Hamzah and others in Aceh who have lost their lives to military and militia violence, and accountability for those responsible.

Please also continue to make calls to your Representative and Senators with the same message. The congressional switchboard number is 202-224-3121, or consult www.congress.gov for fax or email information. To find out who your members of Congress are, contact your local League of Women Voters.

Thank you! Your calls do make a big difference.

BACKGROUND

After months of escalating violence, TNI-supported militias rampaged through Atambua, West Timor, following the murder of a well-known militia leader who had earlier in the week been named by the Indonesian attorney general's office on a list of 19 suspects for crimes committed in East Timor. His murder was suspiciously similar to others killed by the notorious Kopassus special forces. As Indonesian military and police looked on, militias attacked the UNHCR office and went door-to-door searching for international aid workers. They hacked to death and then burned the bodies of three UNHCR workers, and murdered an unknown number of East Timorese refugees and West Timorese citizens. The violence is believed to have spread to Kupang, the capital of West Timor, and to Betun, both areas that hold many refugees. Because of the near complete evacuation of international personnel, the exact death toll and full extent of current violence is unknown. But we do know that vulnerable East Timorese refugees and residents of West Timor are now without protection from homicidal militias. Without humanitarian assistance in the camps, food and medical supplies for the refugees are dangerously low.

Last week's deadly attack is the worst of more than one hundred assaults on aid workers and refugees reported by UNHCR in West Timor refugee camps since September 1999, and the worst attack ever on UN civilian workers, according to UN sources. Most international personnel have since been evacuated from West Timor, but local human rights activists, NGO workers, and East Timorese refugees remain at the mercy of homicidal militias.

Militias have also launched repeated border raids over the last several months. More than 100 militia members are said to be operating inside independent East Timor, causing many to flee their villages in fear, grimly reminiscent of last year's referendum period operations. Since late July, militias have killed two UN peacekeepers, injured several others, and engaged in several gun battles along the East Timor border.

The Indonesian military (TNI) created, armed, and trained these militias. Overwhelming evidence links the TNI, particularly Kopassus, to recent militia attacks. The U.S. government must stop equivocating about Indonesian military support and suspend all further relations at this time. The U.S. should immediately sever all ties with the TNI publicly, including military visits and the sale of any spare parts, until the military is verifiably under civilian control and military-sponsored atrocities have ceased.

The U.S. government must demand that military-supported violence in East Timor and throughout Indonesia stop now! If Indonesian authorities cannot or will not control their own troops and the militias they support, international assistance should be allowed in.

* * * 

Acehnese human rights lawyer Jafar Siddiq Hamzah, a permanent U.S. resident, founded and chaired the International Forum on Aceh (IFA), a non-governmental organization campaigning for peace and human rights in Aceh. Jafar worked to alert the world of military crackdowns in his homeland. ETAN often worked with Jafar to address human rights issues and military violence in East Timor and Indonesia. Serious human rights violations are routine in Aceh, where over 300 Acehnese have been killed and many others disappeared this year, many by Indonesian security forces. Jafar had been missing for one month when his body was found with four others, so unrecognizable that identification had to be made by autopsy.

Indonesian human rights advocates suspect TNI involvement in Jafar's murder. Jafar's case merits the formation of a high-level civilian investigative team that includes the Indonesian attorney general's office and Komnas HAM, Indonesia's National Commission on Human Rights, as well as international observers, to ensure transparency and accountability over police investigations.

Contact Karen Orenstein at ETAN's Washington office, karen@etan.org, or John M. Miller.

September 11, 2000


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