For Immediate Release
Karen Orenstein, East Timor Action Network, 202-544-6911,
Kurt Biddle, Indonesia Human Rights Network, 510-559-7762,
House of Representatives Reinstates Restrictions on Military
Training for Indonesia
July 16, 2003 - The East Timor Action Network (ETAN) and
the Indonesia Human Rights Network (IHRN) today praised the U.S.
House of Representatives for reinstating a ban on military training
The amendment to the
Foreign Relations Authorizations Act FY
2004-2005 (H.R. 1950), which passed today,
would restrict International Military Education and Training (IMET)
for Indonesia until President Bush certifies that Indonesia is
"taking effective measures" to fully investigate and criminally
prosecute those responsible for the August 31, 2002 attack on ten
U.S. citizens, murdering two school teachers, in
Timika, Papua (see
below). Indonesian police and NGO investigations have strongly
implicated the Indonesian military (TNI) in the attack.
While praising the action, the two groups urged Congress to
expand the conditions on resumption of IMET.
“Indonesia must understand that Congress takes an attack on U.S.
citizens very seriously. Restrictions on U.S. military assistance
should also acknowledge escalating assaults on the rights of others
in the Indonesian archipelago,” said Kurt Biddle, Coordinator of
IHRN. "Instead of freeing political prisoners, another past
Congressional condition, Indonesia has slapped stiff prison
sentences on political activists such as Muhammad Nazar, who was
given five years earlier this month."
"Many past Congressional conditions, including accountability for
past rights violations in East Timor and Indonesia and transparency
in the military budget, have never been met," said Karen Orenstein,
Washington Coordinator of ETAN. “Now, a massive military assault is
being perpetrated against the people of Aceh - replete with
extra-judicial executions, torture, rape, and massive displacement -
utilizing U.S.-supplied weapons.”
Foreign Relations Committee passed a nearly identical provision
The House amendment originated from Rep. Joel Hefley (R-CO) and
was offered as part of an en bloc amendment by Chairman Henry Hyde
Language in the bill
also condemns Indonesia's failure to hold accountable members
of its security forces for crimes against humanity committed in East
Timor and "expresses concern that members of the Indonesian security
forces continue to commit many serious human rights violations,
particularly in areas of conflict," including Aceh and Papua (see
"The Bush administration has pushed for resumption of military
ties with Indonesia in the name of fighting the 'War on Terror,'"
said Kurt Biddle of IHRN. “Currently, it is the Indonesian military
terrorizing the people of Aceh and elsewhere.”
Senior Bush administration officials
reportedly have decided to release funds for IMET for Indonesia
for this fiscal year, but the administration must first “consult”
with Congress before obligating the money; these meetings have not
yet taken place.
http://etan.org/issues/miltie.htm for additional
ETAN advocates for democracy, sustainable development, justice
and human rights, including women's rights, for the people of East
Timor. ETAN calls for an international tribunal to prosecute crimes
against humanity that took place in East Timor since 1975.
IHRN is a U.S.-based grassroots organization working to educate
and activate the American public and influence U.S. foreign policy
and international economic interests to support democracy,
demilitarization, and justice through accountability and rule of law
in Indonesia. IHRN works with and advocates on behalf of people
throughout the Indonesian archipelago to strengthen civil society.
AMENDMENT TO H.R. 1950
BY MR. HEFLEY
CONDITION ON THE PROVISION OF CERTAIN FUNDS TO INDONESIA.
(a) CONDITION ON ASSISTANCE.—Subject to sub-section (c), no funds
made available under section 23 of
the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2763) or chapter
5 of part II of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22
U.S.C. 2347 et seq.) in fiscal year 2004, other than funds
made available for expanded military education and training under
such chapter, may be available for a program that involves the
Government of Indonesia or the Indonesian Armed Forces until the
President makes the certification described in subsection (b).
(b) CERTIFICATION.—The certification referred to in subsection
(a) is a certification submitted by the President
to the appropriate congressional committees that the
Government of Indonesia and the Indonesian Armed Forces are taking
effective measures, including cooperating with
the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation—
(1) to conduct a full investigation of the attack on United
States citizens in West Papua, Indonesia
on August 31, 2002; and
(2) to criminally prosecute the individuals responsible for such
(c) LIMITATION.—Nothing in this section shall prohibit the United
States Government from continuing to conduct programs or training
with the Indonesian Armed Forces, including counterterrorism
training, officer visits, port visits, or educational exchanges that
are being conducted on the date of the enactment of this Act.
SUBTITLE B--OTHER MATTERS
SEC. 721. SENSE OF CONGRESS RELATING TO EAST TIMOR, JUSTICE, AND
This provision expresses a the sense of Congress regarding the
ongoing need for justice related to crimes committed by the
Indonesian military and Indonesian supported militias in East Timor.
The Committee supports efforts by East Timor's Commission for
Reception, Truth and Reconciliation to consolidate peace and
reconciliation and encourages the President to expeditiously assist
in the provision of information requested in the January 24, 2003
letter from the Commission.
The Committee supports the extension of the mandate of the joint
UN-East Timor Serious Crimes Investigation Unit and the Special
Panel for Serious Crimes beyond May 2004 to pursue justice and avoid
a backlog of cases lacking investigation and trials.
The Committee encourages the UN and Indonesian authorities to
continue to resolve the situation of the approximately 28,000 East
Timorese remaining in Indonesia. In light of the recent resumption
of killings and other crimes in East Timor by militia members based
in Indonesia it is particularly urgent that the remnants of militia
organizations be quickly removed from the border area. It is also
important to provide decent humanitarian conditions and to ensure
freedom of choice in repatriation and resettlement, particularly for
those who may still be subject to intimidation by militia
SEC. 722. SENSE OF CONGRESS CONCERNING HUMAN RIGHTS AND JUSTICE
This section expresses concern that members of the Indonesian
security forces continue to commit many serious human rights
violations, particularly in areas of conflict such as Aceh, Papua,
the Moluccas, and Central Sulawesi. It also expresses other concerns
in the region.
The Committee urges every effort be made to salvage the Framework
Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities in Aceh (COHA). The
Administration should strongly urge the Indonesian Government and
military to halt the present build-up of troops and military
equipment in Aceh and to abandon plans for intensified military
operations in Aceh, and press the Indonesian Government and the Free
Aceh Movement (GAM) to resume talks within the framework of COHA, so
as to bring about a reduction in the level of armed conflict in
The Committee is deeply concerned by reports of an Indonesian
military campaign targeting civilians in the Central Highlands of
Papua, which reportedly includes the burning of villages and torture
and killing of detainees. The Committee notes the lack of justice in
the trial for the murder of Papuan civic leader Theys Eluay, which
was treated as an ordinary crime rather than a political killing,
and which has resulted only in very lenient sentences for
low-ranking Special Forces (Kopassus) officers.
The Committee also has concerns regarding the Presidential Decree
of January 2003, which, over objections from people within Papua,
would divide Papua into three provinces, in violation of the
government's own Special Autonomy Law for Papua.
The Committee expresses concern over assistance for the
Indonesian military, including the provision of International
Military Education and Training, because of human rights abuses
linked to the military and especially because the case involving the
killing of two U.S. citizens and one Indonesian citizen and the
wounding of others in the Timika area of Papua on August 31, 2002
The Committee contests that military assistance, if given, should
be contingent on a the release of a transparent budget audit of the
Indonesian military, an end of resistance to the principle of
civilian control, an improved record with respect to human rights
abuses carried out by the military as noted in the State
Department's Human Rights Report, and the ability of the government
to hold security forces accountable for crimes against humanity in
East Timor and serious crimes elsewhere in Indonesia.