Subject: Tempo: Women Urge U.S. not to Support Indonesian Military

Women Rally at US Embassy: US President Urged not to Support Indonesian Military 29 Mar 2001 20:3:36 WIB

TEMPO Interaktif, Jakarta: About 30 women activists held rally at the US Embassy on Jl. Medan Merdeka Selatan here today (29/3). They asked President Bush not to support the Indonesian military (TNI) in any form, including supporting education program for TNI officers in the US. The demonstrators also asked the US government not to lift military embargo imposed since the East Timor referendum, until TNI is no longer involved in the power play.

The women held the rally for fear of the return of the military—with the support from the US government. According to them, violent politics practiced by military is a latent threat to Indonesia’s civil supremacy. During the New Order era, military were involved in murders, kidnappings, tortures and rapes of its own people.

US President is also asked not to give a chance to the military to return to power. Military should stick to its function to defense the country. Consequently, territorial command system should be abolished. According to the women, it is enough that Indonesia had to suffer under military rule for 32 years.

President Bush is expected to support Indonesia’s recovery from multi dimensional crises by giving trust to the civil government. US government should consistently support democracy and human rights around the world, including Indonesia. Democracy and human rights issue in Indonesia should be put above US economic and geo-strategic interests.

The Indonesian women involved in the rally came from a number of women organizations, including ‘Apik’ Legal Aid Institute, Indonesian Legal Aid Institute Foundation (YLBHI), Jakarta Legal Aid Institute, Commission for Missing Persons & Victims of Violence (Kontras), Indonesian Prosperous Labor Union (SBSI), Urban Poor Consortium, Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI), Bioforum, Solidarity Forum for Aceh and other NGOs.

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