IHRN/ETAN Urgent Action Alert
September 27, 2001
Stop the Bush Administration from renewing support for murderous militaries around the world!
Call your Senators and Representative — tell them the U.S. must NOT resume military training and arms sales to Indonesia or ANY militaries known for their human rights abuses.
Late last week the Bush Administration asked Congress for authority to lift all restrictions on U.S. military engagement with countries willing to support a U.S. response against terrorism. If this waiver were granted, President Bush could immediately resume ties with the Indonesian military, thereby empowering the force that has terrorized millions of Indonesian and East Timorese civilians and blocked attempts at democratic reform in Indonesia. Later this week, the Bush Administration limited the scope of the request to lift restrictions on India and Pakistan. It was only intense criticism from Congress and organizations like ours that forced President Bush to scale back his request. Congress needs to hear from you on this urgent matter.
In its drive to build an international coalition in response to the horrific September 11 attacks, the U.S. must NOT sacrifice the lives and safety of Indonesians, East Timorese, or countless others around the world.
Make Three Calls
Urge your Representative and Senators to:
Contact the Washington office of your Representative and Senators and ask to speak with the foreign policy staff person. All offices can be reached through the Congressional Switchboard at 202-224-3121. To find out who represents you visit http://www.congress.org.
On September 24, the Washington Post reported that President Bush asked Congress for authority to waive all existing restrictions on U.S. military assistance and weapons support for the next five years in an attempt to build an international coalition against terrorism. Although it seems that Bush has rescinded this extreme request for the moment, it could resurface. The Bush Administration has proven that it is clearly willing to destroy decades of work by human rights activists. The current restrictions on military assistance to Indonesia are the only real leverage the U.S. has on the Indonesian military. The Indonesian army continues to repress Indonesian civilians and remains immune from accountability for its crimes. Over 1,200 people have been killed in Aceh since the beginning of this year. There has been no justice for the decades of crimes against humanity committed during Indonesia’s occupation of East Timor, and one-tenth of the population remains in militia-controlled refugee camps in Indonesian West Timor.
Pro-democracy and human rights leaders in Indonesia and East Timor have repeatedly stressed the importance of the U.S. military embargo on Indonesia. If President Bush were to lift these restrictions, it would undeniably result in the use of U.S.-supplied weapons, training and other military assistance in the severe repression of Indonesian and East Timorese citizens.
Last week, after President Bush met with Indonesian President Megawati, the White House announced that it would lift the embargo on commercial sales of “non-lethal” defense articles. This can include spare parts such as ejection seats, without which fighter planes are grounded. He also committed to increase contact between the U.S. and Indonesian militaries and permit senior Indonesian officers to observe more multilateral military training exercises. These incremental changes reflect prior Bush administration policies, which are nonetheless disturbing because they come with no firm commitment from Megawati to address human rights abuses of the military and police. The Indonesian President’s record of close ties with the armed forces would suggest the opposite.
Thank you for your actions in support of human rights – it DOES make a difference!
Now is the time when it is essential for Congress to hear your voice for peace! Please let us know the results of your calls.
For more information contact:
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