etmnlong.gif (2291 bytes) spacer full bill passed by House of Representatives on June 9, 2006. see relevant Timor and Indonesia excerpts below

Rights Group Calls for Restrictions on Military Assistance to Indonesia to Promote Reform and Accountability

House Committee Would Turn a Blind Eye to Rights Violations, Impunity

For Immediate Release Contact: John M. Miller (718) 596-7668; (917) 690-4391 (cell)
Karen Orenstein (202) 544-6911

May 25, 2006 - The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) today urged Congress to restore restrictions on military assistance for Indonesia in the FY 2007 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. Over the objection of the Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member, Nita Lowey (D-NY), Chairperson Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) insisted on funding weapons sales and military training for Indonesia.

"The committee's failure under Mr. Kolbeís leadership to impose any conditions on assistance to the Indonesian military will only setback reform and accountability. The committee has turned a blind eye to the ongoing violations, impunity, and horrific record of the Indonesian military (TNI), a record acknowledged in report language accompanying the bill," said Karen Orenstein, National Coordinator for ETAN.

"The TNI pays attention to Congressís action, not its rhetoric," added Orenstein.

"In the past, Congress has consistently imposed limits on assistance to Indonesia to promote human rights and reform," said Orenstein. "We urge Congress to continue in that tradition, by restoring restrictions without a waiver before passing the bill."

Highlights of the Bill (H. R. 5522)

The committee recommended $4,500,000 Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program for Indonesia, $3,510,000 more than this year, but $2 million less than the administration's request. The committee expressed "continuing concern about the professionalism of the Indonesian military" and stated that providing additional assistance in "no way signals decreased concern about the poor human rights record of the Indonesian military forces."

The TNI's record in Timor-Leste (also known as East Timor) was most recently documented in the report of its Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation. The committee welcomed this report and urged ďthe Governments of Indonesia, East Timor, and other interested nations to examine, consider and respond to recommendations made in the report." It also urged "the Government of Indonesia to work to implement" the recommendations of the UN Secretary General's Commission of Experts, which last year evaluated accountability for serious crimes committed in East Timor in 1999.

The committee further directed the Department of State "to report on the current climate for human rights defenders in Indonesia." The committee highlighted the September 2004 poisoning death of human rights lawyer Munir Said Thalib, noting that Indonesia's president had yet to release the report of the his own fact-finding teamís investigation into the assassination and emphasized "the need to fully investigate any past or present senior government or military officials implicated by that report."

Background

Last November, Congress agreed to continue restrictions on FMF and export of "lethal" military equipment to Indonesia until human rights and other conditions were met. Two days after the bill became law, the Department of State issued a waiver removing these restrictions. Congress had imposed various restrictions on military assistance for Indonesia since 1992.

When issuing the waiver, the State Department pledged to "carefully calibrate" any assistance to the TNI. Instead, the administration's actions have demonstrated a policy of unrestrained engagement with the TNI.

Last week, 15 human rights, religious and other organizations urged the House Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee to reinstate restrictions on U.S. military assistance to Indonesia as the best way "to influence positive change in Indonesia and to encourage justice for the people of Timor-Leste." They called legislated restrictions on FMF and lethal defense exports, without a national security waiver, "the most important leverage the U.S. Congress can exercise."

Earlier in May, the administration announced it would provide up to $19 million for the Indonesian military through a new Pentagon program "to build foreign military force capacity." The groups in their letter wrote, "This amount dwarfs recent assistance levels," and that "this appropriation further invalidates any justification to provide FMF for Indonesia for FY07...."

In addition to assistance through the new Pentagon program, recent administration moves have included the participation of the commander of Kopassus, the Indonesian military's notorious special forces unit, in the Pentagon's annual Pacific Area Special Operation Conference (PASOC) in April. This month, the Indonesian military for the first time is participating in the Cobra Gold regional military exercise with the United States and other countries.

In its final report, Timor-Leste's Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation called on countries to make military assistance to Indonesia "totally conditional on progress towards full democratisation, the subordination of the military to the rule of law and civilian government, and strict adherence with international human rights..."

In March, the Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command stated in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee that he endorsed "a rapid, concerted infusion of assistance" for the TNI.

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 restrictions on U.S. military assistance to Indonesia until there is genuine reform of its security forces. For additional background, see www.etan.org.


Excerpts from the bill as passed by the House of Representatives

109th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 5522


AN ACT

Making appropriations for foreign operations, export financing, and related programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2007, and for other purposes.

Other Bilateral Economic Assistance

Economic Support Fund

(INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

Provided further, That of the funds appropriated under this heading that are available for assistance for the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, up to $1,000,000 may be available for administrative expenses of the United States Agency for International Development:

 

REPORT LANGUAGE

2d Session

109-486

--FOREIGN OPERATIONS, EXPORT FINANCING, AND RELATED PROGRAMS APPROPRIATIONS BILL, 2007

June 5, 2006- Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

Mr. KOLBE, from the Committee on Appropriations, submitted the following

R E P O R T

together with

ADDITIONAL VIEWS

[To accompany H.R. 5522]

The Committee on Appropriations submits the following report in explanation of the accompanying bill making appropriations for Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs, and for sundry independent agencies and corporations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2007, and for other purposes.

INDONESIA

The Committee recommends $70,000,000 for ESF programs in Indonesia, a decrease of $10,000,000 from the request and the same as the 2006 enacted level. This reduction is taken without prejudice.

The Committee recognizes the tremendous accomplishments of the Government of Indonesia in its drive toward democracy. In 2004, Indonesia held a successful series of elections that culminated in the direct democratic election of a new president. These elections and further government reforms that are being implemented, give the Committee confidence that Indonesia is an emerging success story in South East Asia.

EAST TIMOR

The Committee recommends $13,500,000 for programs in East Timor, as requested, to support income producing projects and other reconstruction activities.

The Committee welcomes the report of East Timor's Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation and urges the Government of Indonesia, East Timor and other interested nations to examine, consider, and respond to recommendations made in the report. The Committee also welcomes the report of the U.N. Secretary General's Commission of Experts to evaluate judicial processes for serious crimes committed in East Timor in 1999 and urges the Government of Indonesia to work to implement the report's recommendations.

INDONESIA HUMAN RIGHTS

The Committee remains concerned about the climate for human rights advocates and activists in Indonesia. While the Committee welcomes the conviction of one of those responsible for the poisoning death of human rights lawyer Munir Said Thalib in September 2004, the Committee notes that President Yudhoyono has failed to release the report of the Presidential fact-finding team investigating the assassination and emphasizes the need to fully investigate any past or present senior government or military officials implicated by that report. The Committee directs the Department of State, no later than 90 days after enactment of this Act, to report on the current climate for human rights defenders in Indonesia, including conditions of general safety, levels of threat and intimidation, and success in prosecution and punishment of serious crimes committed against human rights defenders.

RULE OF LAW

The Committee views efforts to promote the rule of law worldwide as a critical component of United States foreign policy. The Committee strongly supports the public service projects initiated by the American Bar Association (ABA) to strengthen democracy through programs that promote the rule of law in transitional countries. These effective programs rely predominantly on the volunteer efforts of American lawyers and have achieved sustainable results. The Committee recommends continued funding through cooperative agreements for the ABA's programs at a level comparable to the fiscal year 2006 level, taking into account the overall reduction in this account. The Committee notes that ABA should not rely upon United States funding to renovate or build facilities, but should instead use private financing as agreed in 2003.

The ABA has expanded its legal reform efforts into Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East, with programs in Jordan, Bahrain, Morocco, Iraq, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Kenya, Liberia, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Mexico. The Committee recommends support for such programs from the appropriate accounts. The Committee continues to support the use of cooperative agreements for funding such programs.

INDONESIA

The fiscal year 2007 budget request includes $1,285,000 for IMET programs for Indonesia, an increase of $493,000 over the fiscal year 2006 current estimate.

The Committee notes that the increased funding request is not accompanied by an increase in the anticipated number of students. Therefore, the Committee does not recommend the increase in funding as requested.

EAST TIMOR

The fiscal year 2007 budget request includes $320,000 for IMET programs for East Timor, an increase of $23,000 over the fiscal year 2006 current estimate.

The Committee is very concerned about the recent violence between the police and the military in Dili, the capital of East Timor. Therefore, the Committee recommendation does not include the $23,000 increase in funding for the IMET programs in East Timor.

The Committee believes the Department of State and the Department of Defense should review these concerns before further implementing the fiscal year 2006 and the 2007 IMET programs for East Timor.

INDONESIA

The Committee recommends a total FMF program for Indonesia of $4,500,000, a reduction of $2,000,000 from the fiscal year 2007 request and $3,510,000 over the fiscal year 2006 enacted level.

The Committee makes this recommendation mindful of continuing concern about the professionalism of the Indonesian military and strongly supports the efforts of the civilian authorities in Indonesia to promote the rule of law, including efforts to exert control over the Indonesian military forces (TNI). This $3,510,000 recommended increase over the 2006 enacted level, in no way signals decreased concern about the poor human rights record of the Indonesian military forces and is intended only as a sign of measured support for the continuing efforts of the civilian Government of Indonesia.

The government of Indonesia is a strategic ally of the United States, especially in the continuing Global War on Terrorism and these funds will be used to purchase such things as spare parts and communications equipment.

Included in the 2007 request is $500,000 for Defense Structure Reform Review and within the $4,500,000 appropriation recommended by the Committee, no less than $500,000 shall be provided for this Review. The Committee is encouraged and supportive of the efforts of United States military representatives of the U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) to work with the Indonesian military to transform its structure into a modern, professional and efficient military force.

CHANGES IN THE APPLICATION OF EXISTING LAW

Pursuant to clause 3(f), rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the following statements are submitted describing the effects of provisions in the accompanying bill which directly or indirectly change the application of existing law. Most of the language has been provided in previous measures including supplementals for the departments and agencies carried in the accompanying bill.

12. Under `Economic Support Fund', not less than $120,000,000 is made available only for Israel and is required to be disbursed as a cash grant within 30 days of enactment of this Act; and not less than $455,000,000 is made available only for Egypt of which not less than $135,000,000 shall be for project assistance, of which $50,000,000 is for democracy programs and not less than $50,000,000 is for education; $135,000,000 is available only for Colombia; $250,500,000 should be made available only for assistance for Jordan; not less than $35,500,000 should be available for Lebanon of which not less than $6,000,000 should be available for American educational institutions for scholarships and other programs; $1,000,000 is available for administrative expenses from funds available for Timor-Leste; funds may be spent for programs and activities for the Central Highlands of Vietnam; and not less than $15,000,000 should be available for Cyprus; prohibits any funding for West Bank and Gaza.


See also:

U.S.-Indonesia Military Assistance page


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