etmnlong.gif (2291 bytes) spacer [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.”

"By recklessly waiving 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 added.

"West 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.

"The 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 Orenstein.

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 ICC.

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


see also




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