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Recently, in part due to grassroots pressure, Senate Resolution 237 passed UNANIMOUSLY!!! Congratulations to everyone!!!
On December 7, 1975 Indonesias military brutally invaded East Timor. By the early 1980s, the subsequent occupation had killed 200,000 East Timorese people. For over two decades the United States has supported this horrific war on the East Timorese.
Last May, Indonesian pro-democracy movement accomplished the impossible: it forced President Suharto to resign in disgrace. But Suhartos replacement, B.J. Habibie, is not much of an improvement. A close associate of Suharto, he is famous primarily for his corruption, and came to power as a figurehead for the army. He will not end military domination of Indonesia, or accept self-determination for East Timor, without international pressure.
The U.S. must support the democratic aspirations of the Indonesians who occupied the Parliament building in Jakarta in May and the East Timorese who have been demonstrating in record numbers in Jakarta and East Timor. As oppression continues, action is even more urgent.
On July 10, the U.S. Senate passed Senate Resolution 237 calling on President Clinton to "work actively to support an internationally supervised referendum on self-determination." It also urges the President to "encourage the new political leadership in Indonesia to institute genuine democratic and economic reforms, including the establishment of an independent judiciary, civilian control of the military, and the release of political prisoners." President Clinton must now act on this resolution.
On July 15, the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Foreign Operations passed strong report language supporting human rights and a referendum in East Timor, in addition to binding bill language extending the ban on the International Military Exchange Training (IMET) program and calling for an investigation of U.S. military training programs, including the Joint Combined Exchange Training Program to Indonesia (JCET). These and other relevant provisions in the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill will move to full Appropriations Committee consideration and a House vote in September.
On July 21, the Senate Appropriations Committee renewed last years bill language prohibiting the use of U.S. weapons in East Timor, but did not continue the ban on IMET in the Senate version of the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. It is now very important to maintain strong support for the House ban on IMET when the two bills reach the joint conference committee to be reconciled for final passage.
* Urge your Representative to support East Timor's right to self-determination by co-sponsoring House Concurrent Resolution (H.Con.Res.) 258. Introduced by Representative Lowey (D-NY), Porter (R-IL), Lantos (D-CA) and Christopher Smith (R-NJ) on April 1, this resolution now has 48 co-sponsors.
You can check here to see if your representative has sponsored any of these bills.
* Urge your Representative and Senators to freeze the transfer of ALL U.S. weapons, spare parts and ammunition for Indonesias military until a popularly elected government emerges in Indonesia and until substantial human rights improvements in Indonesia and East Timor can be demonstrated. Your Representative should co-sponsor Rep. Cynthia McKinneys (D-GA) Indonesia Human Rights Before Military Assistance Act (H.R. 3918).
* Urge your Representative and Senators to ban all U.S. military training and exercises with Indonesia. Recently, the Pentagon suspended the Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) program to Indonesia. This is a victory, but bans on both JCET and the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program must be made law! Last weeks attempt to attach an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill never came to a vote, but a ban on IMET and other training can be included in the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill (scheduled tentatively for the second week of June) and the Defense Appropriations Bill. Urge your Representative to co-sponsor Rep. Nita Lowey's (D-NY) International Military Training Accountability Act (H.R. 3802), introduced with 22 initial co-sponsors on May 13.
To reach your Senators and Representative in Washington, call the congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121. Their local offices should be in your phone book. Write to Senator _________, US Senate, Washington, DC 20510 or Rep. _________, US House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515.
Send a copy of your letter/fax to: President Clinton, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, DC 20500; 202-456-1414; Email email@example.com and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, US State Dept, 2201 C St., NW, Washington, DC 20520, fax: 1-202-647-6434.
For a current list of Congressional e-mail addresses, phone and fax numbers, try http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/
Please forward the results of your contacts to ETANs Washington office. Contact us if you have questions.