ETAN To Obama Administration: U.S. Military Assistance Will Harm Reform And Set Back Human Rights
Contact: John M. Miller, East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN),
+1-718-596-7668; 917-690-4391, firstname.lastname@example.org
February 27 - The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) today urged the Obama administration not to offer increased military assistance to Indonesia.
"U.S. military assistance harms reform and sets back human rights accountability in Indonesia," said John M. Miller, National Coordinator of ETAN.
Testifying before a U.S. Senate committee this week (video), Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton talked about expanded cooperation with the Indonesian military, including in the area of counter-terrorism. The Obama administration is currently considering offering resumed cooperation with Indonesia's Kopassus notorious special forces when the President visits the country next month.
The best way to prevent future violations is to hold accountable those responsible for the multitude of human rights crimes committed by the Indonesian military in East Timor (Timor-Leste), West Papua, and elsewhere. Many of these crimes occurred while the U.S. was most deeply engaged with the Indonesian military providing the bulk of its weapons and training.
Clinton said while seeking to expand security cooperation "We are looking at ensuring... there is no resumption of any human rights abuses or other kinds of behavior that we deplore."
"Clinton's remarks imply that Indonesian military human rights violations are a thing of the past. They aren't," said Miller.
"The best way to prevent future violations is to hold accountable those responsible for the multitude of human rights crimes committed by the Indonesian military in East Timor (Timor-Leste), West Papua, and elsewhere. Many of these crimes occurred while the U.S. was most deeply engaged with the Indonesian military providing the bulk of its weapons and training," he added.
"While Indonesia has made progress in many areas since the fall of Suharto, reform of the military has stalled. The shedding of military businesses has become a farce. And the military continues to resist efforts to bring soldiers and former soldiers into court for rights violations," said Miller
"Restrictions on military assistance provide important leverage to encourage accountability and reform," he added.
"Working with the military on counter-terrorism means working with Kopassus," said Miller.
|Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton with the Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Jakarta in 2009.|
At a recent UN Security Council meeting on Timor-Leste, the U.S. representative said that "We are, however, concerned about the need to address impunity.... We also encourage Timor-Leste to support the recommendations of the Commission for Truth and Reconciliation." One recommendation ofCommission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor (CAVR) calls on States [to] regulate military sales and cooperation with Indonesia more effectively and make such support totally conditional on progress towards full democratisation, the subordination of the military to the rule of law and civilian government, and strict adherence with international human rights, including respect for the right of self-determination.
ETAN was formed in 1991 to advocate for self-determination for occupied East Timor. The U.S.-based organization continues to advocate for democracy, justice and human rights for Timor-Leste and Indonesia. For more information, see ETAN's web site: http://www.etan.org.
- U.S.-Indonesia Military Assistance
- U.S. Groups Oppose Training of Indonesia's Notorious Kopassus Special Forces
- Background on Kopassus and Brimob
- Inside Indonesia - Obama’s Indonesia question: Will the US president continue unrestricted aid to Indonesia’s military
- Indonesia Policy: Avoiding Past Mistakes - Ed McWilliams
- Groups Write Secretary of State Clinton on Eve of Her Visit to Indonesia (also Bahasa Indonesia)
- ETAN: Guide to U.S. Security Assistance to Indonesia and East Timor