Vol. 7, No. 1
Human Right Network
Indonesia Human Right Network Prepares For Launch
by Kurt Biddle
In May 1998, the Indonesian people successfully toppled a dictator who ruled for 32 years with backing from the world's largest powers. The Suharto regime allowed no dissent and often used imprisonment, kidnappings, torture and murder to suppress opposition. The United States, in particular, supported Suharto's violent rise to power in 1966 and his self-proclaimed "New Order" government.
Although pro-democracy activists have made incredible progress since helping to push Suharto from office, the military and other New Order forces remain the dominant powers in Indonesia. The struggle for democracy in Indonesia is far from over, and the archipelago's grassroots activists need international support to continue campaigning for peace and justice.
The Indonesia Human Rights Network (IHRN) is a new activist organization dedicated to shifting U.S. foreign policy to support democracy and human rights in Indonesia. IHRN will help to break the power of the Indonesian military (TNI), which continues to violently repress dissidents across the archipelago.
In Aceh, military and police have killed hundreds in the past year, during what is supposed to be a cease-fire with Acehnese rebels fighting for an independent state. Military terror against West Papuans calling for self-determination has claimed dozens of lives in recent months. Although IHRN takes no position on self-determination for any given region, we demand Indonesian government and military compliance with all international standards of human rights.
The Indonesia Human Rights Network is grassroots-based and U.S. policy-focused, utilizing educational outreach, press work, protest and lobbying. Its advisory board includes such internationally recognized human rights activists as Carmel Budiardjo, Dr. George Aditjondro, Kerry Kennedy Cuomo and journalist Allan Nairn. A national kick-off conference on human rights in Indonesia will be held February 23 - 25, 2001 at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Educational and grassroots outreach and activism will be key to our success. Our website is in the works. IHRN will host exchanges with Indonesian NGOs, speaking tours with Indonesian activists and other programs. We hope to hire a National Coordinator and Field Organizer in early 2001. Let us know if you're interested in either position.
If you want to work for a democratic Indonesia, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-546-0044 to join the Indonesia Human Rights Network. Together we can stop Indonesian miltiary violence and help the Indonesian people achieve the freedom they need to make their own choices.
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