ISSN #1088-8136

Vol. 7, No. 1
Winter 2001


Victories in Washington and the Road Ahead

Indonesian Military- Resisting Reform

About East Timor and ETA N

Magno on Next Phase

ETAN Notes

Human Right Network

New Congress


Remembering Jafar

Briere Photos

Struggle for Justice

Estafeta Winter 2001

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ETAN Home Page


Indonesia Human Right Network Prepares For Launch

by Kurt Biddle

In May 1998, the Indonesian people successfully toppled a dictator who ruled for 32 years with backing from the world's largest powers. The Suharto regime allowed no dissent and often used imprisonment, kidnappings, torture and murder to suppress opposition. The United States, in particular, supported Suharto's violent rise to power in 1966 and his self-proclaimed "New Order" government. 

Although pro-democracy activists have made incredible progress since helping to push Suharto from office, the military and other New Order forces remain the dominant powers in Indonesia. The struggle for democracy in Indonesia is far from over, and the archipelago's grassroots activists need international support to continue campaigning for peace and justice.

The Indonesia Human Rights Network (IHRN) is a new activist organization dedicated to shifting U.S. foreign policy to support democracy and human rights in Indonesia. IHRN will help to break the power of the Indonesian military (TNI), which continues to violently repress dissidents across the archipelago.

In Aceh, military and police have killed hundreds in the past year, during what is supposed to be a cease-fire with Acehnese rebels fighting for an independent state. Military terror against West Papuans calling for self-determination has claimed dozens of lives in recent months. Although IHRN takes no position on self-determination for any given region, we demand Indonesian government and military compliance with all international standards of human rights.

The Indonesia Human Rights Network is grassroots-based and U.S. policy-focused, utilizing educational outreach, press work, protest and lobbying. Its advisory board includes such internationally recognized human rights activists as Carmel Budiardjo, Dr. George Aditjondro, Kerry Kennedy Cuomo and journalist Allan Nairn. A national kick-off conference on human rights in Indonesia will be held February 23 - 25, 2001 at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Educational and grassroots outreach and activism will be key to our success. Our website is in the works. IHRN will host exchanges with Indonesian NGOs, speaking tours with Indonesian activists and other programs. We hope to hire a National Coordinator and Field Organizer in early 2001. Let us know if you're interested in either position.

If you want to work for a democratic Indonesia, contact us at or 202-546-0044 to join the Indonesia Human Rights Network. Together we can stop Indonesian miltiary violence and help the Indonesian people achieve the freedom they need to make their own choices.

IHRN is building upon ETAN's congressional and foreign policy victories and will work to maintain the congressional ban on U.S. military ties with Indonesia. In addition to demilitarization of Indonesian society, IHRN supports: ------ 
  • Genuine democracy and rule of law
  • Genuine accountability for human rights violations
  • An end to Indonesian law enforcement and intelligence agency abuses
  • Investigations and exposure of all U.S. training of Indonesian military and police
  • Exposure of and campaigning against corporate exploitation of Indonesia's peoples, environment and natural resources
  • Monitoring and challenging the World Bank, IMF and international aid agencies
  • Opposition to institutional violence and discriminatory practices against minority racial, ethnic and religious groups, women and sexual minorities
  • Labor rights for Indonesian workers

ETAN heartily recommends the fine newsletter IndonesiaAlert!, a quarterly publication dedicated to "supporting the struggles for democracy in Indonesia and East Timor." The current issue covers some of the many ongoing land conflicts in Indonesia.

A sample copy is available for $2 postpaid, subscriptions are $15 per year (outside the U.S., add $6). Send checks payable to IndonesiaAlert! to: P.O. Box 267, Oakland, CA 94604-0267. See for more information.

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