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Congressional Signers Needed by August 28

Hello Friends,

Please note the congressional letter to Megawati below on East Timor and Indonesia being circulated by the office of Representative Patrick Kennedy's office. Please give your representatives a call to get them to sign on to this letter. To sign on, they should contact Kimber Colton in Kennedy's office at 202-225-4911. The deadline to sign on is August 28.

Some offices may tell you that they can't do anything now because it is congressional recess until Labor Day. Don't let that stop you. Almost all offices are in communication with representatives while the reps. spend time in their home districts, and the deadline falls before many reps will be back in DC.

If you have questions on this letter, please refer to Kurt Biddle of the Indonesia Human Rights Network, kurtbiddle@earthlink.net, 202-544-1211.

Thank you for all of the energy you put into this. The more signatures we get, the more impact we can have on Megawati as her future policies take shape now.

 

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August 13, 2001

Her Excellency Megawati Sukarnoputri 
President, Republic of Indonesia 
Presidential Palace 
Jakarta Istana Negara Indonesia

Dear President Megawati Sukarnoputri:

We are writing to welcome you as the new President of Indonesia. We wish to convey our hope that your Administration will be distinguished for its respect for human rights, genuine reform of the military, and accountability for past and present human rights violations by the military and police. A commitment to universal standards of human rights will only strengthen Indonesia’s democracy.

The U.S. Congress cares deeply about the future of East Timor, as well as that of Indonesia. We hope you continue the good relations established by your predecessor with the leadership and people of East Timor. We urge you to begin your presidency by addressing the worsening refugee crisis in West Timor. We trust that you will use your new authority to finally disarm and disband military-supported militia controlling East Timorese refugees and destabilizing East Timor. We would welcome renewed efforts to enable East Timorese refugees to choose repatriation to East Timor or resettlement in Indonesia in a safe, intimidation-free environment. This can only occur, however, if militia are disarmed, militia leaders arrested, and their campaign of intimidation and misinformation ended.

Nearly two years after East Timor’s referendum for independence, we deplore the ability of military officers and their militia proxies responsible for crimes against humanity in East and West Timor to reside with impunity in Indonesia. While encouraged by your recent decision to widen jurisdiction for an ad hoc human rights court on East Timor to cover April 1999, we note this still leaves out many crimes against humanity and planning which took place prior to April, between May and August 1999, after September 1999, and in areas other than Dili, Liquica, and Suai. As you are aware, no military officers have been held accountable for crimes against humanity committed in East Timor in 1999, although Indonesia’s human rights commission concluded in its January 2000 report that the military held ultimate responsibility for the atrocities. We will continue to monitor with great interest the efforts to bring those culpable to justice especially senior personnel. Additionally, while we encourage a fair Indonesian judicial process, we urge you to support an international tribunal on East Timor. We also encourage you to cooperate with the UN administration in East Timor and honor extradition requests, as agreed upon in the April 2000 memorandum. To assist the many internally displaced persons, we additionally hope that you ensure open and safe access to international humanitarian workers.

We remain deeply concerned about increased violence against civilians by military and militia forces throughout the archipelago. Military and militia forces continue to target human rights defenders and humanitarian workers. Since the beginning of 2001, more than 1,000 people have been killed in Aceh alone. We believe the only solution to the crisis in Aceh is a nonviolent one, involving dialogue and negotiations. We further encourage you to pursue a non-militaristic approach to the conflict in West Papua, where murder, torture, arbitrary detention, and intimidation by security forces are rampant.

With you as leader, we hope that Indonesia embarks on a path of rule-of-law, genuine democracy, substantial military reform, and peaceful solutions to regional conflicts. As Members of the United States Congress, our current and future support for Indonesia will depend largely on the responses of your administration to our expressed concerns. We hope to be able to work with you and others in civil society as partners to achieve these goals.

Thank you very much for your consideration. We eagerly anticipate your reply.


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