[Please note Secretary Rice has postponed her trip at the last
minute. It has yet to be rescheduled.]
Rights Group Urges
Secretary of State to Promote Justice and Rights, Not Military
Might, During Upcoming Trip to Indonesia
For Immediate Release
Contact: John M. Miller (718) 596-7668; (917) 690-4391 (cell)
Karen Orenstein (202) 544-6911
January 6 - The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network
(ETAN) today urged Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to support
justice, peace and human rights - rather than military assistance
and impunity - when she visits Indonesia this weekend.
"If Secretary Rice wishes to promote a forward-looking agenda,
she can start by making clear that military assistance remains
contingent on accountability and real reform," said John M. Miller,
National Coordinator of ETAN. “Secretary Rice’s message to senior
Indonesian officials will be a test of whether the U.S.’s support
for democracy in Indonesia consists of more than rhetoric.”
restrictions on U.S. military assistance to Indonesia late last
year, Secretary Rice has abandoned the best available leverage to
press for genuine reform," continued Miller. “If she is unwilling to
withdraw the waiver, Secretary Rice should at a minimum delineate
clear benchmarks that must be met before the U.S. provides any
foreign military financing and lethal equipment. Otherwise, the
unreformed, corrupt Indonesian military will continue to perceive
any U.S. assistance as an endorsement of business-as-usual."
"One benchmark should be Indonesia’s acceptance of the
UN Commission of
Experts’ recommendations that it cooperate with international
efforts to prosecute senior figures for massive human rights
violations in East Timor. A pledge to broadly circulate and discuss
the findings of the
East Timor truth commission’s recent report upon its release
should be another marker," said Miller. "Such a call would have
added credibility if the U.S. government made a similar commitment."
"We hope media reports that Rice will seek a formal agreement
from Indonesia not to extradite U.S. citizens to the International
Criminal Court (ICC) are inaccurate. If true, such a request would
make a mockery of any calls for justice and accountability," he
Papua has been long-neglected by the international community.
Secretary Rice should use her visit to highlight ongoing human
rights violations and question the military build-up there. The
Secretary of State should press Jakarta to heed calls from West
Papua for demilitarization, a fair share of the income from its
resources and respect for fundamental rights. Finally, she should
demand that Indonesia fully open West Papua to the outside world,”
said Karen Orenstein, National Coordinator of ETAN.
recent publication of details of extensive cooperation between
the Indonesian military and the mining corporation Freeport-McMoRan
highlights the level of intimate U.S. involvement in West Papua.
Secretary Rice should make clear that U.S. corporate collusion with
the Indonesian military is unacceptable," Orenstein added.
"Secretary Rice should also warn that plans to deploy thousands
of troops to Aceh, supposedly to help with tsunami reconstruction,
risk undermining the peace accord that ended the conflict,” said
Last November, the Department of State issued a waiver removing
all remaining congressional restrictions on U.S. military assistance
to Indonesia. Congress had imposed various restrictions on military
training for Indonesia since 1992 and banned most types of weapons
sales following the 1999 destruction of East Timor by Indonesian
security forces and their militia proxies.
The U.S. government, as part of its campaign to undermine the ICC,
has negotiated bilateral impunity agreements with about 100
countries. These agreements exempt U.S. citizens from extradition to
the international court. Like the U.S., Indonesia has not joined the
ETAN advocates for democracy, justice and human rights for East
Timor and Indonesia. ETAN calls for an international tribunal to
prosecute crimes against humanity committed in East Timor from 1975
to 1999 and for continued restrictions on U.S. military assistance
to Indonesia until there is genuine reform of its security forces.
For additional background, see www.etan.org.