|Subject: June 9 DC demo at Washington D.C.
Indonesian embassy opposes Aceh war supports East Timor
|Street theater portrays justice
Photo by Tristan Vazquez.
On June 9, 2003 about 60 activists and human rights supporters gathered
at the Washington, D.C. Indonesian Embassy to protest the Indonesian
military (TNI) war on Aceh. Indonesian, Acehnese, East Timorese and North
American protestors also demanded justice for TNI crimes committed during
the 24 year occupation of East Timor, leafletting passersby and holding
signs reading Stop the Killing in Aceh and Justice for East Timor for late
afternoon traffic. Drivers responded by honking and extending clenched
fists in solidarity, showing that widespread U.S. coverage of Indonesian
military atrocities, including killings of Acehnese children, has had an
impact in Washington.
Organizers of the event presented a street theater satire of the recent
Indonesian Ad Hoc Human Rights Court for East Timor. The court, which has
been characterized by an intimidating courtroom atmosphere and poorly
drawn indictments, has acquitted 12 and delivered 5 light sentences. The
final verdict is due July 1st, yet the prosecution has already announced
it would request an acquittal of Major General Adam Damiri, the
highest-ranking officer prosecuted. The court has allowed General Adam
Damiri to absent himself from testifying to oversee scorched earth
operations in Aceh much like the ones he is charged with responsibility
for in East Timor.
Many of those protesting were in Washington to educate Congressional
offices about the ongoing lack of accountability for Indonesian military
crimes committed in Aceh and East Timor. Though spirited and lively in
their chanting, those participating were also notable for their spiffy
attire, most wearing suits and ties.
The demonstration was sponsored by the East Timor Action Network (www.etan.org)
and the Indonesia Human Rights Network (www.indonesianetwork.org).
Demonstration to Call for an End to Military Assault on Aceh and for
Justice for East Timor
June 9, 2003
Contact: John M. Miller, 917-690-4391
Kurt Biddle, 510-375-2114
Today, Monday, June 9, at 5:30 p.m. demonstrators will gather at the
Indonesian Embassy to protest the Indonesian military assault on Aceh and
the Indonesian military's ongoing impunity for crimes committed in East
Timor. The embassy is located at 2020 Massachusetts Ave., NW.
In a street theatre performance, activists from around the country will
recreate the Indonesian Ad Hoc Human Rights Court for East Timor with an
interpretation that gives voice to the East Timorese victims of past
"We stand in solidarity with the people of Aceh and East Timor.
The world must not watch silently as the Indonesian military slaughters
the people of Aceh. Nor will we be silent while the demands of the East
Timorese people for genuine justice are mocked," said Stefanie
Collins of Texas. Collins and dozens of others are in Washington to
educate members of Congress about recent developments in Indonesia and
The Indonesian military (TNI) launched a massive military offensive in
Aceh on May 19 using U.S.-supplied weapons, obliterating an
internationally-supported ceasefire agreement. The government has imposed
martial law and restricted media access. Civilian casualties, including
children, are mounting rapidly. Human rights monitors and nonviolent
advocates have been targeted.
The Indonesian military has thus far successfully evaded accountability
for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in East Timor. Poorly
drawn indictments, an intimidating courtroom atmosphere and distortions of
events that took place in 1999 have characterized Indonesia's Ad Hoc Human
Rights Court for East Timor. To date, the court has acquitted 12 and
convicted five delivering light sentences. The final verdict is due July
1st, yet the prosecution has already announced it would request an
acquittal of Major General Adam Damiri, the highest-ranking officer
prosecuted. Damiri has missed several court appearances because he is
involved in the military assault on Aceh.
"The U.S. government must not allow U.S.-supplied weapons to harm
civilians in Aceh," said Ben Terrall of California. "The Bush
administration and Congress must support an international tribunal for
East Timor. Only a tribunal can provide meaningful justice for the
much-wronged people of the world's newest nation."
The demonstration is sponsored by the East Timor Action Network
(www.etan.org) and the Indonesia Human Rights Network (www.indonesianetwork.org).
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