|The following letter was sent to Budiono who is Chair of Bappenas -- National Planning
Agency, Bank's counterpart agency for SSNAL. The groups below represent over 400
environmental, consumer, urban poor, human rights, etc organizations. Feel free to
Jakarta, July 26, 1999
We continue to await the Indonesian Government?s steps to account for the abuse of the Social Safety Net (SSN) program in East Timor. Problems which have been identified include:
a) The Special Market Operation (Operasi Pasar Khusus-OPK) program which should cover 50% of the East Timorese population, with an allocation of an average 1,400-1,600 tons of rice per month (the value of US $385,000 per month) but has not achieved such coverage. There is no indication that about 70,000 to 80,000 families receive access to 20 kg of subsidized rice per month since the program was implemented. In the refugee camps, it has been reported that the government?s rice aid has been distributed to the refugees not by government officials, but rather by the armed militias who control the area.
b) Allocation of SSN funds for pro-integration campaigns on autonomy status (as opposed to the alternative option of national independence), like in Ambeno and Lautem districts, undermines the very purpose of the SSN program and violates the principle of a free and fair election for the East Timorese. Recent developments in East Timor indicate the strong possiblity of similar attempts to use SSN funds for political campaigns in the other districts of East Timor.
c) Allocation of SSN funds for groups who are, directly or indirectly, connected to the armed militias who have been responsible for terror and intimidation towards the population at large occurred in Manufahi. These funds were also allocated for financing gravesites for unidentified corpses which may very well be members of the militia or unknown victims of the militias.
d) In Ambeno, funds associated with an aid program for poor villagers, funded through the World Bank, was given only at the condition that the villagers attend an "autonomy" campaign event. Such campaigns is actually in violation of the ?popular consultation? procedures agreed to with the UN. It is reported that this occurred in full knowledge of members of the regional planning board (Bappeda) and with the participation of the district head (Bupati).
e) The Indonesian Government has been proven weak and soft on the abuse of the SSN program. Bappenas own response to the allocation of SSN funds for political interests associated with pro-integration in East Timor was limited to a temporary stop of funds disbursement. This apparently lasted only till July 12, 1999 and was not followed by any firm sanctions, either administrative or legal, to those who were responsible for the abuse. Inquiry into this case was conducted only through long-distance communication via telephone, without direct and objective investigation to the area.
We await the Indonesian Government's leadership, in this case Bappenas, to come up with a serious response to all forms of abuse of the SSN program in East Timor, most of which are connected to the pro-integration campaigns and the support of pro-integration militias who are proven actors of terror and intimidation towards the East Timorese population. These are untolerable violations of the East Timorese people?s rights. All forms of such abuse on the SSN program require firm sanctions against the prepertrators. We hope that donor countries demonstrate their commitment to the rights of the East Timorese people by making such sanctions a precondition for the next disbursement of the SSN funds. Without these measures, millions of dollars of SSN funds, its implementors and its donors, will be directly linked with the terrible violations of human rights in East Timor.
If the Indonesian Government has commitment and ownership over the mission of reformasi, the people should be given clear and detailed information on:
(1) steps which have been taken or will be taken for thorough and objective investigation of all forms of abuse against the SSN program, as well as the findings of such investigation; (2) administrative and legal sanctions which have been given or will be given against those who are proven responsible for the abuse, including government officials in leadership positions, and (3) concrete steps which have been taken or will be taken for improvement of the SSN program implementation.
More specifically, the people require information on investigation steps, findings of abuse, administrative and legal sanctions against the prepetrators, including government leaders themselves, and improvements in implemention, on:
a) the Special M rket Operation (OPK) program in all districts of East Timor;
b) the problematic allocation of SSN funds in Ambeno, Manufahi and Lautem;
c) the forced attendance in pro-integration 'autonomy' campaigns for villagers receiving World Bank-funded aid in Ambeno (included in the SSN loan conditionality).
Thank you for your consideration. We await the Indonesian Government's serious response, as the implementor and holder of responsibility over the SSN program. We continue to hope that the World Bank and the donor countries participating in the CGI process, as sources for these funds, will contribute to pushing for government accountability on these issues of concern.
Binny Buchori, INFID
CC: Mark Baird, RSI