Subject: RI Wants Full Revival of US Military Aid [+UN Rights Chief Tour; 2 Papua Reports]

also: JP: United Nations high commissioner for rights to tour RI; Papua students demonstrate at US embassy, call for referendum; and Papuan students in Yogyakarta reject special autonomy, call for dialogue

The Jakarta Post Tuesday, July 10, 2007

RI aims for full revival of U.S. military aid

Abdul Khalik, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Indonesian officials are lobbying U.S. politicians in an effort to persuade the U.S. Senate to raise Indonesia's military aid to US$15.7 million from the $8 million proposed earlier by Congress.

Indonesian Ambassador to the United States Sudjadnan Parnohadiningrat said that more senators were now acknowledging Indonesia's global and regional role as a U.S. partner in fighting terrorism and as a counterweight to rising Chinese influence in the Asia-Pacific region.

"We are trying to lobby the U.S. Senate so that it issues a resolution with a positive outlook on Indonesia. Many of them have agreed on such a resolution. We hope that it can be released in August," he told The Jakarta Post over the weekend.

With the positive resolution, Sudjadnan said, Indonesia hoped that the U.S. Congress would change a proposal in the 2008 budget bill that granted Indonesia $8 million in military aid and withhold $2 million until Indonesia can provide reports on progress in its investigations of gross human rights violations in Timor Leste and judicial process on several military officers.

The bill must be debated by the full House and the Senate to become a law in September.

"If the resolution on Indonesia comes out in August then there is no reason for the lawmakers to cut or impose conditions on the aid based on Indonesia's poor human rights situation in September," Sudjadnan said.

Earlier, the Bush administration announced that it intended to give Indonesia $15.7 million in military aid for the next fiscal year but the aid-cut proposal from Democratic Party Congresswoman Nita Lowey, the head of the powerful Appropriations Sub-committee, over alleged violations of human rights by Indonesian Military (TNI) officers, lowered it to only $8 million.

"We are confident that the aid can be restored back to $15.7 million," Sudjadnan said.

Observers said Lowey had traditionally held a hostile view of the Indonesian Military, influenced by human rights activists who linked aid to the issue.

Their main compliant is the lack of progress in prosecuting senior TNI officers, such as former military chief Gen. Wiranto for his alleged complicity in the violence that followed the 1999 independence referendum in East Timor (now Timor Leste).

Concerns were heightened after the murder of noted Indonesian human rights campaigner Munir last year and the recent incident in Pasuruan, East Java, in which Navy officers shot dead four civilians, as well as the latest human rights report on Papua province, in which police were accused of abusing native people.

On various occasions since the early 1990s, Washington has curtailed or completely cut off military training in Indonesia. Ties between the countries were scaled back further after the Timor Leste imbroglio, with the U.S. imposing a ban on weapons sales and aid to the TNI.

That ban was lifted in 2005 after intense lobbying by the Bush administration, which regarded Indonesia as a key ally in the war on terror.

The Bush administration has repeatedly called Indonesia an ally, with the president visiting Indonesia twice during his term and committing $1.2 billion of assistance through USAID to help the country's economic development, education, health, natural disaster relief and reconstruction, especially after the 2004 tsunami in Aceh, and democratization.

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The Jakarta Post Tuesday, July 10, 2007

United Nations high commissioner for rights to tour RI

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour began her five-day visit to Indonesia during which she is expected to visit Aceh and meet with the President.

A statement from the United Nations Office of the Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator in Indonesia made available to The Jakarta Post said the visit was aimed at encouraging the government's efforts to promote and protect human rights at the national, regional and international levels.

The five-day visit will be the first for Arbour after she received an invitation from the government.

During her visit, Arbour is expected to hold talks with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda, Justice and Human Rights Minister Andi Mattalatta and other officials as well as civil society patrons.

On the first day of her visit Arbour will open the 14th annual workshop on the framework of regional cooperation for the promotion and protection of human rights, in Bali.

The workshop, which runs from Tuesday until Thursday, was jointly organized by the Foreign Ministry and the UN high commissioner for human rights.

After the workshop, Arbour is scheduled to conduct a field trip to Aceh, where she will collect first-hand data on the development of the peace process there and examine post-tsunami recovery efforts.

She will be involved in discussions with Yudhoyono during the last days of her visit.

Arbour is the second UN official to visit the country this year to inquire about the country's human rights condition.

Early in June, Hina Jilani, the special representative of the UN secretary general on human rights defenders traveled to Indonesia.

During her visit, Jilani met with Indonesian human rights activists and officials to hear reports on the country's progress in improving its human rights protection. Jilani also raised concerns about the unsolved murder of prominent rights campaigner Munir Said Thalib.

Jilani is expected to report the results of her visit at a 2008 UN Human Rights Council meeting.

She said that Indonesia had made improvements in human rights as indicated by the establishment of democratic institutions.

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Detik.com July 5, 2007

Papua students demonstrate at US embassy, call for referendum

Dikhy Sasra, Jakarta -- Around 100 people who said they were students originating from West Papua demonstrated in front of the United States Embassy on Jl. Medan Merdeka Selatan in Central Jakarta on Thursday July 5. Some of the demonstrators wore traditional clothing and T-shirts with pictures of the Morning Star.

As of 12.24pm the action was still continuing with protesters giving speeches calling for justice saying that they felt colonised by Indonesia. "We ask for justice, we are colonised", they shouted.

A number of banners were also unfurled with messages such as "Stop killing the Papuan people". They also brought posters and photographs of military operations in Papua and voiced their demands for a referendum.

Interestingly, three of the protesters appeared wearing T-shirts with the picture of the Morning Star. The symbol of the Morning Star is often referred to as the symbol of the Free Papua Organisation. However it is also used as a traditional West Papuan symbol.

Although the action did not disrupt the flow of traffic it was closely guarded by police. (asy/nrl)

Police sweep

In a separate article on the same day Detik.com, reported that following the display of the Morning Star in West Papua, Tanah Abang sectoral police launched a sweep for native Papuans living at the Papua Mess on Jl. Jl KH Mas Mansyur in Central Jakarta. The sweep of some 40 households began at 12noon but not one Morning Star flag or other types Free Papua Organisation paraphernalia were found. Tanah Abang sectoral police chief Joni Iskandar confirmed that police were conducting a sweep of the area. "We found absolutely nothing, so we didn't arrest any residents", said Iskandar when contacted by Detik.com.

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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Detik.com July 4, 2007

Papuan students in Yogyakarta reject special autonomy, call for dialogue

Bagus Kurniawan, Yogyakarta -- Accompanied by the beat of drums, West Papuan students danced and sang following a protest in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta on Wednesday July 4 in which they rejected special autonomy saying it had failed.

Before disbanding, students were seen arguing with security personnel who were asking them to reopen a road they had blockaded. "Please open the road, at least one half", pleaded Police Commissioner Junaedi.

The protesters however strongly objected and two of the students even became angered by the request. "We have the right to use this road. Leave us to demonstrate here", one of the students said angrily while pointing his finger in the direction of security personnel.

"I also have rights. This is a public road. So give others a chance to pass. You can't just do whatever you like", answered Junaedi. The students however continued giving speeches.

Towards the end of the action they read out a statement rejecting six years of special autonomy saying it had failed, rejecting the splitting of Papua into two provinces and calling on the government to open a national dialogue.

Satisfied after giving speeches and reading out the statement, one by one the students returned to their dormitory after which the front gate was closed. Inside, the students who were wearing headbands with the symbol of the Morning Star, danced and sang accompanied by the sound of small drums. A banner that had been put up with the Morning Star symbol was also left in place.

Security personnel meanwhile carried the tables and chairs that the students had earlier used to blockade the road back onto the sidewalk in front of the dormitory. After which the flow of traffic returned to normal. After some fifteen minutes the hundreds of police that had been guarding the action turned to the right. Dis... miss! (aan/sss)

[Translated by James Balowski.]

------------------------------------------ Joyo Indonesia News Service


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