etmnlong.gif (2291 bytes) spacer

U.S. Congress Upholds Pressure for Human Rights for Indonesia, Timor

Law Will Restrict Military Assistance for Indonesia

For Immediate Release

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

November 3, 2005 - The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) today praised congressional conferees for agreeing to maintain some restrictions on U.S. military assistance to Indonesia in the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2006. The Conference Report was filed yesterday.

"The Indonesian military is still a long way off from constituting a professional institution respectful of human rights and fully accountable to civilian authority. We are very pleased that Congress recognizes this," said Karen Orenstein, National Coordinator of ETAN. "U.S. restrictions on military assistance provide key leverage to support justice for the people of East Timor and Indonesia and must be maintained."

The Senate-House of Representatives conference committee agreed to continue restrictions on Foreign Military Finance (FMF) and export of "lethal" military equipment to Indonesia until certain conditions, similar to those initially passed by the Senate, are met. These conditions include prosecution of those responsible for human rights violations and implementation of reforms to enhance civilian control of the military. The House version of the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill would have removed all restrictions on military assistance. The final bill makes an exception for the Indonesian navy, providing $1 million in FMF.

The legislation also requires a detailed report on U.S. and Indonesian efforts to bring to justice those responsible for the ambush and murder of two U.S. citizens and an Indonesian in West Papua on August 31, 2002. The Senate version of the bill would have withheld International Military Education and Training (IMET) until the report was issued.

The conferees further directed the Secretary of State to submit a report on troop deployments and humanitarian and human rights conditions in West Papua and Aceh, Indonesia's most repressed provinces. This reporting would include "the extent to which members of Indonesia's security forces support these [jihadist-oriented] militia," and "the extent to which international funding for reconstruction in Aceh is being contracted or subcontracted to firms controlled by or affiliated with the Indonesian military." The report was part of the Senate version of the bill.

"Unfortunately, any U.S. assistance will be viewed by the still unreformed and intensely corrupt Indonesian military as an endorsement of business-as-usual, not as a reward for very modest reforms. The navy, like the other elements of Indonesia's security forces, remains largely unaccountable for many human rights violations. It has a notably grisly record in West Papua," said Orenstein.

In September, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops called for placing human rights conditions on military assistance to Indonesia, as have many other religious leaders and members of Congress not participating in the conference committee. Representatives of 48 human rights, faith-based, arms control and peace groups also wrote to Congress urging continued restriction of military assistance.

“We especially thank Senator Leahy and Representative Lowey for resolutely ensuring that Congress continues to act as the government’s conscience in supporting peace and justice in Indonesia and East Timor,” Orenstein stated.

The bill earmarks $19 million in Economic Support Funds for East Timor and $5 million and $1.5 million, respectively, in police training for Indonesia and East Timor.

For more background see

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 continued restrictions on U.S. military assistance to Indonesia until there is genuine reform of its security forces.

H9499 November 2, 2005 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD—HOUSE H9499


(a) Of the funds appropriated under the heading ‘‘Foreign Military Financing Program’’, not less than the following amounts shall be made available to enhance security in Asia, consistent with democratic principles and the rule of law— (2) $1,000,000 for assistance for Indonesia; (c) Funds made available for assistance for Indonesia pursuant to subsection (a) may only be made available for the Indonesian Navy, notwithstanding section 599F of this Act: Provided, That such funds shall only be made available subject to the regular notification procedures of the Committees on Appropriations.

(a) Funds appropriated by this Act under the heading ‘‘Foreign Military Financing Program’’ may be made available for assistance for Indonesia, and licenses may be issued for the export of lethal defense articles for the Indonesian Armed Forces, only if the Secretary of State certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that—

(1) the Indonesian Government is prosecuting and punishing, in a manner proportional to the crime, members of the Armed Forces who have been credibly alleged to have committed gross violations of human rights;

(2) at the direction of the President of Indonesia, the Armed Forces are cooperating with civilian judicial authorities and with international efforts to resolve cases of gross violations of human rights in East Timor and elsewhere; and

(3) at the direction of the President of Indonesia, the Government of Indonesia is implementing reforms to improve civilian control of the military.

(b) The Secretary of State may waive subsection (a) if the Secretary determines and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that to do so is in the national security interests of the United States.

Not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations that describes— (1) the status of the investigation of the murders of two United States citizens and one Indonesian citizen that occurred on August 31, 2002 in Timika, Indonesia, the status of any individuals indicted within the United States or Indonesia for crimes relating to those murders, and the status of judicial proceedings relating to those murders; (2) the efforts by the Government of Indonesia to arrest individuals indicted for crimes relating to those murders and any other actions taken by the Government of Indonesia, including the Indonesian judiciary, police and Armed Forces, to bring the individuals responsible for those murders to justice; and (3) the cooperation provided by the Government of Indonesia, including the Indonesian judiciary, police and Armed Forces, to requests related to those murders made by the Secretary of State or the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

ECONOMIC SUPPORT FUND [Budget authority in thousands of dollars]

East Asia and the Pacific:
East Timor ..................... 19,000
Indonesia ........................ 70,000

The conference agreement does not include a proposal by the Senate that $2,000,000 be made available for economic development programs conducted by Indonesian universities. However, the conferees expect funding to be provided for this purpose.

Conference agreement
Indonesia ..................................... 5,000
Timor-Leste ................................. 1,500

FOREIGN MILITARY FINANCING PROGRAM [Budget authority in thousands of dollars]
Conference agreement
Indonesia ..................................... 1,000

Sec. 591. Security in Asia The conference agreement includes a provision similar to that proposed by the Senate (section 6084) which (1) specifies military assistance for a number of countries in Asia; (2) makes funds available for the Philippines to address critical deficiencies identified in the Joint Defense Assessment of 2003; (3) permits funding for the Indonesian Navy, subject to the notification of the Committees on Appropriations;

Sec. 599F. Indonesia
The conferees include a provision, similar to that proposed by the Senate (section 6072), which conditions the availability of military assistance for Indonesia on a certification by the Secretary of State that certain conditions have been met. The conferees are grateful for Indonesia’s contributions to the global war on terrorism, and recognize the important progress evinced by the government of Indonesia in advancing civilian control of the military. The conferees remain concerned with human rights in Indonesia, including the role of some Indonesian military officers in organizing and supplying militia groups during 1999 attacks in East Timor, and urge the Indonesian Government to bring those responsible to justice. The House did not address this issue.

Sec. 599G. Report on Indonesian Cooperation
The conferees include a provision, similar to that proposed by the Senate (section 6108), which requires a report by the Secretary of State on progress being made into the investigation and prosecution of the murders of two United States citizens and one Indonesian citizen in 2002.


The conference agreement does not include a provision proposed by the Senate (section 6109) regarding a ‘‘West Papua Report’’ requiring the Secretary of State to submit a report regarding Indonesian troops, and current humanitarian and human rights conditions, in the Papua region of Indonesia. The House did not address this matter. The conferees direct the Secretary of State to submit, within 90 days of enactment of the Act, the report required by the Senate provision. [ETAN note: The report also calls for certain information regarding Aceh. The original Senate language can be found here.

Provided further, That of the funds appropriated under this heading, not less than $19,000,000 shall be made available for assistance for the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, of which up to $1,000,000 may be available for administrative expenses of the United States Agency for International Development:

The conferees note that democracy remains fragile in Timor-Leste. The UNOTIL is scheduled to end in May 2006 and some essential government functions remain dependent on international assistance. The conference agreement includes language directing not less than $19,000,000 in ESF assistance for Timor-Leste, and $1,500,000 in INCLE assistance for on-the-ground training of police.



ETAN Cause on Facebook
ETAN Group on Facebook

ETAN Blog ETAN's Blog

ETAN listservs

Subscribe to ETAN's e-mail Listservs




make a pledge via credit card here

Bookmark and Share

Background | Take Action | News | Links | What You Can Do | Resources  | Contact

ETAN Store | Estafeta | ImagesHome | Timor Postings | Search | Site Index |