House of Representatives Signals Ongoing Concern
About Human Rights in Indonesia and E Timor
Contact: John M. Miller, New York +1/917-690-4391; firstname.lastname@example.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
a recent Human Rights Watch report, which documented beatings
and torture of Papuan civilians by Kopassus, Indonesia's "special
"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
"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
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.
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
(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
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
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;
(4) Whether the Government of Indonesia is allowing public access
to Papua, including for foreign diplomats, nongovernmental
organizations, and journalists.