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House of Representatives Signals Ongoing Concern About Human Rights in Indonesia and E Timor

Contact: John M. Miller, New York +1/917-690-4391; etan@etan.org
Ed McWilliams, +1-575-648-2078

July 10, 2009 - The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) and the West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) today praised continued congressional attention to issues of human rights in Indonesia and Timor-Leste (East Timor).

The State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2010 (HR 3081) as passed last night by the House of Representatives withholds $2 million in military assistance pending a State Department report on for human rights, accountability and military reform in Indonesia and justice for Timor-Leste, as well as access to West Papua.

"An honest report will find that military reform in Indonesia is stalled and accountability lacking for a range of atrocities committed in East Timor and Indonesia," said John M. Miller, National Coordinator of ETAN. "This bill draws attention to issues which should be central to U.S.-Indonesia relations," he added.

"With this legislation, Congress continues to reflect a deep concern about human rights in West Papua. Papuans continue to suffer repression at the hands of Indonesian security forces," said WPAT's Ed McWilliams, a former foreign service officer.

Continuing threats to Papuan civilians were recently underscored by a recent Human Rights Watch report, which documented beatings and torture of Papuan civilians by Kopassus, Indonesia's "special forces."

"Indonesia's security forces continue to enjoy impunity. They are shielded against international criticism by restrictions on access to West Papua by journalists, diplomats and others," McWilliams added.

"The recent Indonesian elections are not likely to end impunity or improve conditions in West Papua. The candidates list was populated by know human rights violators and others who have a history of allowing blocking genuine accountability for human rights crimes," said Miller.

"Indonesian security forces should be denied U.S. military assistance unless and until they end their abusive treatment of civilians, become accountable for their human rights and other crimes, and undertake serious genuine reform," added McWilliams.

"Unfortunately, the administration is seeking to increase military assistance to Indonesia without any apparent plan to hold Indonesia's security forces accountable for past or ongoing human rights violations." Miller added.

The administration and the House bill call for $20 million in Foreign Military Finance (FMF) funding, an increase of $4.3 million over last year's allocation. International Military Education and Training (IMET) funds would rise to $1.8 million.

The bill must also pass the U.S. Senate before becoming law. Similar provisions have been included by Congress in recent foreign aid appropriations.

Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), the chair of the State, Foreign Operations subcommittee ,has a long-standing concern for human rights in both Indonesia and Timor-Leste.

A joint statement by KontraS, a leading human rights group in Indonesia, and ETAN recently concluded that "The international community can greatly assist efforts for genuine accountability and military reform by restricting military assistance to Indonesia. Together Indonesia's government, its citizens, and the international community must push for human rights accountability no matter who assumes office."

ETAN was formed in 1991. The U.S.-based organization advocates for democracy, justice and human rights for Timor-Leste and Indonesia. ETAN recently won the John Rumbiak Human Rights Defenders Award. For more information, see ETAN's web site: http://www.etan.org. WPAT produces the monthly West Papua Report.

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Union Calendar No. 100

111th CONGRESS 1st Session

H. R. 3081 [Report No. 111-187]

Making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

June 26, 2009

Mrs. LOWEY, from the Committee on Appropriations, reported the following bill; which was committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

TITLE VII

GENERAL PROVISIONS

asia

(c) Indonesia-

(1) Of the funds appropriated by this Act under the heading `Foreign Military Financing Program', not to exceed $20,000,000 shall be made available for assistance for Indonesia, of which $2,000,000 shall be made available only after the Secretary of State submits to the Committees on Appropriations the report on Indonesia detailed under such heading in the report accompanying this Act. (2) Of the funds appropriated by this Act under the heading `Economic Support Fund' that are available for assistance for Indonesia, not less than $300,000 should be made available for grants for capacity building of Indonesian human rights organizations, including in Papua.

foreign military financing program

Provided further, That none of the funds appropriated under this heading may be made available for assistance for Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Philippines, Indonesia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Haiti, Guatemala, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo except pursuant to the regular notification procedures of the Committees on Appropriations:

The foreign operations subcommittee explained its action as follows:

The Committee recommendation includes $20,000,000 for FMF programs for Indonesia. Within that amount, section 7071(c) requires that $2,000,000 be withheld from obligation until the Secretary of State submits a report to the Committees on Appropriations pursuant to section 7071 (c) that contains the following information:

(1) Steps taken by the Government of Indonesia to revise the Code of Military Justice, Uniform Criminal Code and other relevant statutes, to permit trying of members of the military alleged to have committed human rights abuses in Timor-Leste and elsewhere in civilian courts and to deny promotion, suspend from active service, and/or pursue prosecution of military officers indicted for serious crimes and to modernize and professionalize the management of the Government of Indonesias defense forces, improve transparency and accountability in defense spending and operations respectively, refine further the mission of the Armed Forces and develop an appropriate national defense budget to execute that mission;

(2) Efforts by the Armed Forces to cooperate with civilian judicial authorities and with international efforts to resolve cases of gross violations of human rights;

(3) Efforts by the Government to implement reforms that increase the transparency and accountability of the Armed Forces operations and financial management and concrete steps taken to achieve divestment of all military businesses;

and

(4) Whether the Government of Indonesia is allowing public access to Papua, including for foreign diplomats, nongovernmental organizations, and journalists.

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