ETAN Urges U.S. Congress to Support Justice for East Timor and
by John M. Miller
For the twelfth year in a row, ETAN organized several dozen people
to come to Washington, DC, in early June to educate the U.S.
Congress on issues related to East Timor and Indonesia. ETAN
activists met with over 140 Congressional offices. The group ws
joined by two East Timorese who are studying in the U.S. This year's
ETAN Advocacy Days focused on justice for past human rights
violations in East Timor and continued restrictions on U.S. military
engagement with Indonesia.
ETAN's advocates updated Congress on the situations in Aceh and West
Papua and the slow pace of military reform in Indonesia. They urged
Congress to continue the ban on sales of lethal military equipment
to Indonesia and to restore restrictions on military training.
|ETANers on Capitol
Hill during Advocacy Days.
On justice, they urged Congress to support the report of the UN
Commission of Experts and to view the issue of accountability for
serious crimes in East Timor as an international responsibility and
an extension of past Congressional efforts to end these abuses
Activists highlighted the fact that many of the officers responsible
for crimes against humanity in East Timor are directing atrocities
in West Papua and Aceh. In tsunami-stricken Aceh, ongoing military
action is affecting reconstruction and sabotaging peace efforts.
During the week, ETAN organized a demonstration at the Indonesian
Embassy. Its theme was justice: Justice for East Timor and for the
many victims of Indonesian security force violence in Aceh, West
Papua and elsewhere. Some signs said "Justice Builds Friendship";
others called for "Justice for Genocide" and "Peace in Aceh." A
special call was made to identify, arrest and credibly bring to
trial those responsible for last year's murder of Munir, Indonesia's
best-known human rights advocate.
Since its founding as the East Timor Action Network in late
1991, ETAN has urged Congress to act in defense of human rights and
justice. As a result, Congress has often taken the lead on
restricting military training and weapons sales to Indonesia and in
supporting self-determination for East Timor. The executive branch
(especially the Clinton administration) then followed, supporting
the referendum in 1999 and imposing a total suspension of all
military assistance as Indonesian forces devastated East Timor after
Since then, some military assistance has been restored. However,
ETAN, recently renamed the East Timor and Indonesia Action
Network, has urged the U.S. government to maintain restrictions as
the best way to support democracy, military reform and human rights
in Indonesia and justice for the victims of crimes against humanity
in East Timor and Indonesia.
Since the referendum, ETAN has also worked to build Congressional
support for a just settlement to East Timor's boundary dispute with
More information on ETAN can be found at
www.etan.org or write
ETANers demonstrate for justice at
Indonesian embassy in DC.
demonstrate for justice for East Timor at Indonesian embassy