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Groups Urge Bush Not to Offer Military Assistance to
Indonesian President
 John M Miller
 Nov 17, 2006 15:22 PST 



Groups Urge Bush Not to Offer Military Assistance to Indonesian President

For Immediate Release

Contact: John M. Miller; 917-690-4391 (cell)

November 18 - A wide range of U.S. organizations have urged President
Bush "to refrain from promising any military assistance to
Indonesia's armed forces" on his upcoming visit to Indonesia.

President Bush will meet with Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono in Bogor on Monday.

In a letter to Bush, 53 human rights, labor, religious, peace and
other groups called "restrictions on U.S. assistance to the
Indonesian military are essential to promote concrete, demonstrable
progress in the areas of military reform, accountability, and respect
for human rights in Indonesia and Timor-Leste."

The groups urged the president "to maintain the best leverage the
U.S. has - withholding prestigious U.S. military assistance,
including foreign military financing and training such as IMET and
JCET - to demonstrate that the U.S. government's commitment to these
issues goes deeper than words to actual action."

The letter cites ongoing human rights violations, military
involvement in illegal businesses and militia, and the "territorial
command" system, through which the military operates a shadow
government, exerting undue influence.

"Indonesia's human rights courts have proven incapable of bringing
Indonesian military and police perpetrators of serious human rights
violations to justice...," The letter states. "No senior officials
have been convicted for the widespread crimes against humanity and
war crimes committed in Timor-Leste from 1975-1999."

"Past restrictions on assistance to the Indonesian military provided
vital leverage to bolster Indonesian reform efforts," the groups
wrote. They criticized last year's waiver by the administration of
congressional restrictions on military assistance.

The letter was organized by the East Timor and Indonesia Action
Network (ETAN). Among the signers are Amnesty International,
Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Torture Abolition and
Survivors Support Coalition International, United for Peace and
Justice, Peace Action, Pax Christi USA, School of the Americas
Watch, Veterans for Peace, Women's International League for Peace and
Freedom, and the West Papua Advocacy Team.

The full text of the letter and a complete list of signers can be
found at www.etan.org.

Background

In November 2005, <http://etan.org/news/2005/11conf.htm>Congress
agreed to continue restrictions on foreign military financing (FMF)
and export of "lethal" military equipment to Indonesia until human
rights and other conditions were met. Two days after the bill became
law, <http://etan.org/news/2005/11waiver.htm>the Department of State
issued a waiver removing these restrictions. Congress had imposed
various restrictions on military assistance for Indonesia since 1992.

When issuing the waiver, the State Department pledged that the Bush
administration would "carefully calibrate" any assistance to the
Indonesian military (TNI). Instead, the administration's actions have
demonstrated a policy of nearly unrestrained engagement with the TNI.

In its <http://etan.org/news/2006/cavr.htm>final report, East Timor's
Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation called on
countries to make military assistance to Indonesia "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..."

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 restrictions on U.S. military assistance to Indonesia until there
is genuine reform of its security forces. For additional background,
see www.etan.org.




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ETAN welcomes your financial support. For more info:
http://etan.org/etan/donate.htm

John M. Miller         Internet: fb-@igc.org
National Coordinator
ETAN
PO Box 21873, Brooklyn, NY 11202-1873 USA
Phone: (718)596-7668      Fax: (718)222-4097
Mobile phone: (917)690-4391 Skype: john.m.miller
Web site: http://www.etan.org

Send a blank e-mail message to in-@etan.org to find out
how to learn more about East Timor on the Internet

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