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July 22, 2010
5:09 PM

CONTACT: Amnesty International - USA

AIUSA media office, 202-509-8194

Amnesty International Disappointed by U.S. Government Decision to Train Suspected Human Rights Violators in Indonesian Military

Urges President Obama to Meet the Families of those Killed by the Kopassus during Upcoming Visit

WASHINGTON - July 22 - Amnesty International today expressed disappointment in the announcement from the Department of Defense that the United States will provide training to the Indonesian Special Forces unit, Kopassus, which is known for grave human rights violations. The following statement can be attributed to T. Kumar, AIUSA's director for international advocacy.    

"Amnesty International is disappointed by the decision that U.S. forces will train the Kopassus unit. It sends the wrong message in a country where mass and severe human rights violations have taken place in an atmosphere of impunity. U.S. support to this unit undercuts the recent efforts advocating reform within the Indonesian military.  Amnesty International calls upon the U.S. administration to make public what commitments they received from the Indonesian authorities about bringing Kopassus military leaders to justice and also calls upon President Obama, in his upcoming visit to Indonesia, to speak publicly about human rights abuses in Indonesia and to meet the families of those killed by the Kopassus.

The Kopassus unit has been linked to serious human rights violations in Indonesia including killings and torture in East Timor, Papua, Aceh and elsewhere. Amnesty International calls for all crimes allegedly perpetrated by Kopassus members and others in the Indonesian military to be brought to court in proceedings that meet fair trail standards and victims should receive reparations.

While the Secretary of Defense offered assurances that all training will be conducted within the confines of U.S. law and that the collaboration does not weaken U.S. support of human rights, Amnesty International recommends that background screenings be conducted prior to any Indonesian military official suspected of involvement in human rights abuses, before receiving  U.S.-backed training."

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers who campaign for universal human rights from more than 150 countries. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.


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