US Reps Oppose U.S. Assistance to "Corrupt" Indonesian Military

Submitted by Editor on Wed, 13/10/2004 - 00:23

October 12, 2004 - Citing "grave concerns over the prospects for real military reforms," 45 members of the U.S. Congress called possible State Department plans to provide foreign military financing (FMF) for Indonesia in 2006 "premature, unwarranted, and unwise."

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John M Miller
fbp@igc.org
john@etan.org
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October 12, 2004

For Immediate Release

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

In a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell, the members of Congress wrote that "impunity remains firmly entrenched" and justice has not been served for past human rights violations in East Timor and elsewhere.

"The rights record of the TNI (Indonesian military) continues to be unacceptable. Crackdowns against civilians have escalated in West Papua. The end of martial law in Aceh has not led to improvements on the ground," they wrote.

They called the Indonesian military "a massively corrupt institution," much of whose income "comes from illegal and semi-legal activities, including prostitution, drug-dealing, environmentally destructive logging, and trafficking in people."

The Representatives wrote, "Restricting FMF sends a critical message to the TNI and should not be dispensed until there is genuine reform and justice for rights violations."

In a briefing this week, departing U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia Ralph Boyce told foreign press that he was disappointed that U.S.-Indonesia military relations remain restricted due to Jakarta's failure to prove that it had improved its human rights record. Boyce stated, "we don't have the material with which to seriously go to Congress and do that."

FMF provides grants and loans for weapons and other military equipment and training. Congress has restricted FMF since 2000 and is set to renew the restriction for the 2005 fiscal year.

Representatives Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Lane Evans (D-IL), and James McGovern (D-MA) organized the letter. A copy of the letter and a complete list of signers can be found at
http://www.etan.org/news/2004/10housefmf.htm.
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John M. Miller
Internet: fbp@igc.org

Media & Outreach Coordinator
East Timor Action Network: 12 Years for Self-Determination & Justice

48 Duffield St., Brooklyn, NY 11201 USA
Phone: (718)596-7668
Fax: (718)222-4097
Mobile phone: (917)690-4391
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