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ETAN

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 29, 2006
7:39 PM

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

 
ETAN Denounces Plans to Sell Lethal Equipment to Indonesian Military
Expresses Alarm at Expanding Engagement
 

March 29 - The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) denounced today's formal notice that the Department of State will consider provision of lethal military equipment to Indonesia. ETAN called it a major step undermining military reform and justice for the people of Indonesia and East Timor.

The notice appeared in today's Federal Register stating "that requests for the export or retransfer of lethal defense articles to Indonesia (and defense services related to such lethal defense articles) pursuant to section 38 of the Arms Export Control Act will be considered on a case-by-case basis."

The Bush administration's imprudent rush to expand assistance to the Indonesian military (TNI) is extremely alarming and short-sighted," said Karen Orenstein, National Coordinator of ETAN.

As the cycle of impunity continues unabated in Indonesia, the State Department is set to resume lethal defense exports. The floodgates of assistance seem to be open," said Orenstein. "Where is the 'carefully calibrated' approach toward aiding the TNI that the State Department promised last November after it waived congressional restrictions? Was the State Department's professed commitment to human rights and justice reform in Indonesia in justifying the waiver simply hollow rhetoric?"

In February, the Bush administration proposed a six and a half fold increase in Foreign Military Financing for Indonesia. In early March, Admiral William F. Fallon, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, urged a "rapid, concerted infusion of assistance" to the Indonesian military.

"The U.S. needs a forward-looking policy toward Indonesia that promotes genuine accountability for human rights crimes and real reform of its corrupt military. Providing military assistance will undermine both," said Orenstein.

Last November, the Department of State issued a waiver removing all remaining congressional restrictions on U.S. military assistance to Indonesia. Congress had imposed various restrictions since 1992.

East Timor's Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation has called on countries to make military assistance to Indonesia "totally conditional on progress towards full democratization, 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 continued 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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