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Subject: RT: AI Says Indonesia Losing Sight Of Human Rights
Date: Sun, 06 Dec 1998 13:06:28 -0500
From: "John M. Miller" <>

Amnesty Says Indonesia Losing Sight Of Human Rights Dec 05, 1998

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Amnesty International said Saturday the Indonesian government was failing to live up to its pledges on human rights and democracy and was resorting to repressive measures used by former President Suharto's regime.

``The government's response to recent demonstrations and riots shows a striking similarity to the repressive methods employed by the former Suharto regime,'' the London-based human rights group said in a report issued in Australia.

Amnesty said President B.J. Habibie had come to power in May 1998 with a high- profile agenda for political and human rights reform which had delivered early positive results.

These included the release of 120 political prisoners and the opening up of Indonesia and the province of East Timor, annexed by Indonesia in 1976, to United Nations officials.

``Six months later, the Indonesian government appears to have lost sight of its commitments to respect human rights and for greater transparency and political participation,'' it said.

``In particular, excessive and lethal force has been used against demonstrators and rioters and individuals are being threatened with criminal charges for their peaceful political activities,'' it said.

Indonesia, facing an acute social, political and economic upheaval, Thursday said it would hold general elections in June 1998.

It also promised to speed up an investigation into Suharto's wealth, the focus of mounting student protests amid estimates the former president's family amassed a fortune of up to $40 billion during his reign.

Friday, a senior government official said Suharto could be placed under house arrest during a probe into his wealth.

Amnesty said Indonesia should bring to justice those responsible for the deaths in May 1998 in Jakarta of four Trisakti University students, which sparked riots that brought an end to the 32-year Suharto rule. At least 1,200 people during the riots.

It said Suharto's son-in-law, Lieutenant-General Prabowo Subianto had been dismissed from the military over the disappearance of nine political activists but noted that Prabowo and two fellow senior officers had not been brought to trial.

``In both cases, the investigations have been only partial and those responsible for the violations have not yet been brought to justice,'' it said.

``Moreover, 13 other political activists who 'disappeared' between April 1997 and May 1998 are still missing and the investigation into their 'disappearance' appears to have halted,'' it said.

Amnesty said it was concerned about continued killings and other human rights abuses against independence activists in East Timor and other the troubled provinces of Irian Jaya, on New Guinea island, and Aceh, in northern Sumatra.

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