Vol. 8, No. 2
Indonesia Network Update
by Kurt Biddle
As a relatively new organization with no government or corporate support, the Indonesia Human Rights Network (IHRN) has faced many challenges in the past year. Because of financial difficulties, IHRN was forced to lay off field organizer Megan Walsh in January, and Washington coordinator Kurt Biddle took a leave of absence at the end of May to return to San Francisco. Thanks to a generous donor, Kurt is now coordinating IHRN work from the Bay Area, where the organization recently held an Executive Board retreat.
IHRN is building its grassroots, working toward Washington Lobby Days in the spring. In the meantime, developing chapters are organizing regional speaking tours. IHRN remains committed to its mission of opposing U.S.-Indonesia military ties and will continue working with ETAN on that front.
On October 19, the Stop ExxonMobil Alliance, a coalition of rights groups including Greenpeace, Amnesty International, Students for a Free Tibet, IHRN and others, held demonstrations across the country at ExxonMobil gas stations and corporate offices. ExxonMobil employs the Indonesian military (TNI) for security at their huge gas operations in Aceh, where the TNI rapes, tortures, kidnaps and kills people who live near the facility. Mass graves have been dug using ExxonMobil equipment and torture sessions have taken place on the oil giantís property. The company currently faces a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for their complicity in the TNIís crimes. IHRN is working with other groups to again file a shareholderís resolution to force the company to support human rights.
IHRN also recently launched a campaign to free Joy Lee Sadler, an American nurse, and Lesley McCulloch, a British academic and IHRN Advisory Board member. Both women were arrested on September 10 in Aceh for violating their tourist visas and have endured beatings, marathon interrogation sessions and sexual harassment at the hands of the Indonesian military. Sadler was providing health care to Acehnese refugees; McCulloch was gathering research on TNI atrocities. At the time of this writing, the two women are still in detention; Joy, who is HIV positive, is on a life-threatening hunger strike. To send a free fax to Indonesiaís ambassador to Washington demanding the womenís release, go to www.IndonesiaNetwork.org.
Contact IHRN at
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