25 July 2002
Colin L. Powell
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520
Via facsimile: 202-261-8577
Dear Secretary Powell:
As you embark on your trip to Indonesia, we urge you to convey in the
strongest possible terms to President Megawati Sukarnoputri and other
senior officials that the Indonesian military (TNI) must immediately take
substantive steps toward genuine reform. In particular, the TNI must cease
its systematic violations of human rights and the government must hold
security forces personnel accountable for past violations, including
crimes against humanity.
As expected, the TNI has already taken the Senate Appropriations
Committee's recent vote to reinstate full IMET as signaling U.S. support
for its deadly tactics. The TNI is under no illusion, as some in Congress
and President Bush's Administration appear to be, that such training will
encourage reform, nor is it interested in such reform. Under Megawati's
rule, TNI has significantly increased its influence and power base, and
the consensus in Jakarta is that military reform is dead. Like many
Indonesian NGOs and human rights defenders, we fear that the
Administration's victory in the Senate will open the door to new excesses,
especially in Aceh and West Papua, deflate what little pressure there is
to ensure accountability, and encourage the TNI to assume an ever more
dominant position in government.
During your visit, we hope you express strong disapproval of the
Indonesian government's oft-used strategy of doing the minimum possible to
allay international pressure for accountability and improvement in the
TNI's human rights record, only to quickly backslide once the pressure
eases. The U.S. can help break this pattern by waiting until lasting steps
toward reform and accountability have taken place. Anything less will only
be interpreted as U.S. endorsement of the continued terrorization of the
Indonesian people by their own military.
The need for justice, military reform, demilitarization of conflict
zones, and respect for human rights must receive equal or greater priority
to the "war on terrorism." We therefore request that you convey
the following points to President Megawati and senior officials in no
- Despite the vote to restore IMET by the Senate Appropriations
Committee, President Megawati and the TNI must not take this as a
green light to continue business as usual or interpret wrongly that
the U.S. is satisfied with the pace of reform. Moreover, at this stage
of the legislative process, U.S. military assistance is not
- Jakarta should not intensify military operations in Aceh through
declaration of a state of emergency or martial law or by increasing
troop presence there. The number of civilian casualties, most victims
of security forces, is rising at a rate that could eclipse last year's
total. Further, Jakarta should rule out labeling GAM, the Aceh Freedom
Movement, a terrorist organization, a transparent tactic designed to
sanction increased crack-downs. Meaningful peace in Aceh will only
come through dialogue and negotiation, a process now obstructed by
Indonesia's security forces.
- The TNI must end its creation of and support for armed militia.
These groups, such as Laskar Jihad, terrorize civilians and promote
communal tensions. Jakarta should be mindful of the havoc such
TNI-backed groups wrought in East Timor and should disarm and disband
those now operating in West Papua, Aceh, Maluku, and elsewhere.
- Trials at the ad hoc human rights court on East Timor are
unacceptable and will not deliver justice. An international tribunal
is the only option remaining.
- If the TNI does indeed receive Pentagon training in FY03, Indonesia
must be required to commit that military and police personnel will not
employ skills learned to abuse the human rights of Indonesian citizens
or impede them from exercising their internationally recognized rights
of peaceful dissent and assembly and freedom of speech.
Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda has reportedly stated that your visit
to Indonesia indicates "progress" in the U.S. government's
attitude toward the country. Instead, we call your attention to the
attached document entitled, "Leahy Conditions
on Restrictions of Military Assistance for Indonesia Have Not Been Met,"
which examines the many shortcomings in Indonesia's compliance with the
seven legislated conditions. We also point you to the attached July
16 letter from 60 NGOs to members of the Congressional Appropriations
Committees on the need to maintain a complete ban on military training and
foreign military financing for Indonesia.
Thank you for your serious consideration of these most urgent matters.
We look forward to your response.
East Timor Action Network
Leahy's opening statement to Appropriations Committee, July 18, 2002
see also Legislative Action and
U.S.-Indonesia Military Ties