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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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December 10, 1997

News ›› Indonesia ›› Human Rights & Justice
Reuters - December 10, 1997

Jakarta – Jailed Indonesian labour leader Muchtar Pakpahan is being well treated by local doctors for an undiagnosed lung illness, a visiting Canadian specialist said on Wednesday.

"Up to the present time, as far as we can see, he is receiving optimal treatment here," Professor Stephen Lam told a news conference at Jakarta's Cikini Hospital.

News ›› Indonesia ›› International Solidarity
Green Left Weekly - December 10, 1997

Vannessa Hearman, Melbourne – Following an address from representatives of Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor (ASIET), the Victorian Australian Services Union's Victorian branch council passed a resolution in support of the campaign to free Indonesia's political prisoners.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Economy & Investment
Sydney Morning Herald - December 10, 1997

Louise Williams, Jakarta – The Indonesian rupiah plunged more than 10 per cent yesterday amid growing concerns over President Soeharto's health and warnings of a loss of confidence in the Indonesian economy despite multi-billion dollar rescue loans by the International Monetary Fund.

News ›› Indonesia ›› PRD & Papernas
Green Left Weekly - December 10, 1997

James Balowski – According to People's Democratic Party (PRD) sources, Dita Indah Sari, chair of the PRD-affiliated Centre for Labour Struggle, was released from hospital on November 28. Dita had been in intensive care at the Syaiful Anwar hospital in Malang, East Java since November 18, suffering from typhoid.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Human Rights & Justice
Jakarta Post - December 10, 1997

Jakarta – The excessive use of force along with the neglect of civil and political rights remained a disturbing feature throughout the year, a leading rights group said in its year end assessment here yesterday.

News ›› Indonesia ›› International Solidarity
Green Left Weekly - December 10, 1997

Sarah Peart – During Indonesian President Suharto's recent visit to South Africa and Canada, he faced hundreds of activists protesting against the human rights abuses in both Indonesia and East Timor.

December 9, 1997

News ›› Indonesia ›› Human Rights & Justice
Institute for the Studies on Free Flow of Information (ISAI), Jakarta - December 9, 1997

Despite protests at the previous banning of "Marsinah Menggugat" (Marsinah Accuses) on 26 November 1997, the performance scheduled for 6 December at the Centre Culturel Francais (CCF) in Bandung was once again banned by authorities. The ban was reportedly carried out by the West Java police, the Bandung police and the Central Bandung police.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Political & Economic Crisis
Reuters - December 9, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesian officials denied on Tuesday that President Suharto was seriously ill after financial markets plunged on rumours the 76-year-old leader was ailing.

'Father is in good health. He is taking a rest. He is making use of his time to play with the grandchildren," Suharto's second son, businessman Bambang Trihatmodjo, told reporters.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Anti-Dictatorship Struggle
MateBEAN - December 9, 1997

Jakarta – Five members of the Indonesian People's Front (Front Rakyat Indonesia, FRI) began a hunger strike on the grounds of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation in Jakarta last Monday (8/12). They held the action as a protest against the Indonesian military invasion of East Timor 12 years ago, on December 8, 1975.

News ›› East Timor ›› Analysis & Opinion
MateBEAN - December 9, 1997 (posted by Tapol)

Vancouver – East Timor resistance spokesman Jose Ramos-Horta has a good sense of humanity. When Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas was hospitalized in the Medistra Hospital in Jakarta in 1994, Ramos-Horta managed to send a facsimile.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Economy & Investment
Tapol - December 9, 1997

The value of the rupiah fell sharply Monday to a new low of Rp 4,160 to the dollar. The fall appears to have been caused by news of Suharto's indisposition (he is said to be suffering from exhaustion) and the further weakening of other currencies in the region. Attempts by the Central Bank to intervene to prevent the fall were unsuccessful.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Anti-Dictatorship Struggle
Agence France Presse - December 9, 1997

Jakarta – A small pro-democracy group on Tuesday began the second day of a hunger strike to protest at Indonesia's invasion of the former Portuguese colony of East Timor in 1975.

News ›› East Timor ›› Fake News & Black Campaigns
Tapol - December 9, 1997

An Indonesian journalist named Joko Susilo from Jawa Pos has made a report from Oxford about people who were alleged to be the bodyguards of Jose Ramos-Horta in Oxford on 3 December. This is a complete distortion of what happened when Mr. Jose Ramos Horta gave his talk about East Timor in Oxford on 2 of December.

News ›› East Timor ›› Women's Rights & Gender
Inter Press Service - December 9, 1997

Sonny Inbaraj, Darwin – A number of East Timorese women have been covertly sterilised under Indonesia's national family programme as part of efforts to "undermine the survival" of its people as a distinct group, a new study says.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Economy & Investment
DIGEST No. 47 - December 9, 1997

'I think the speculators and the money mafia are a plot by American spies', says psychic Ki Gendeng Pamungkas. 'They want to undermine the government. I don't think the IMF can do much good – they will be met with lots of demonstrations'.

December 8, 1997

News ›› East Timor ›› Freedom of Assembly & Association
Tapol - December 8, 1997 (Based on a report posted in Bahasa Indonesia by Matabean)

The Movement for Reconciliation and Unity of the people of East Timor is being obstructed by the administration in the region of Lautem. The initiative to set up this movement was taken by Manuel Carrascalao, brother of the former governor, Mario, and Maria Quintao; both are former members of the local assembly.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Human Rights & Justice
Creators Syndicate - December 8, 1997

[A syndicated column circulated to a number of publications.]

Norman Solomon – One day in the spring of 1995, some policemen arrived and took Ahmad Taufik away. His crime? Independent journalism.

The Indonesian authorities condemned him for "sowing hatred against the government" – in other words, writing honestly about such matters as human rights.

News ›› East Timor ›› Occupation & Armed Resistance
Extracts from TIRAS - December 8, 1997

A new organisation called Movement for Reconciliation and Unity of the East Timorese People has come into being in East Timor, led by Manual Carrascalao as the chair and Francisco de Carvelho as secretary. Carrascalao who served as a member of the regional assembly for three terms is the brother of former East Timor government, Mario Carrascalao.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Deforestation & Forest Fires
DIGEST No.46 (Indonesian news with comment) - December 8, 1997

When established a decade ago, the Reforestation Fund promised to be medicine to heal the environmental wounds left by Indonesia's alarming rate of deforestation. Instead, the fund has become a convenient honey pot for anyone with the right connections, whether within the forest industry or outside it.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Anti-Dictatorship Struggle
Indonesian People's Front (FRI) - December 8, 1997

[The following is a translation of a report sent to ASIET by the National Committee for Democratic Struggle (Komite Nasional untuk Perjuangan Demokrasi, KNPD).]

Chronology of the hunger strike by FRI activist commemorating the invasion of East Timor and the Indonesian Legal Aid Offices (YLBHI), Jl. Diponegoro no. 74, Central Jakarta.

December 7, 1997

Statements ›› Indonesia ›› Anti-Dictatorship Struggle
PRD - December 7, 1997

[The following is a translation of a statement sent to ASIET (Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor) by the Central Leadership Committee of the People's Democratic Party (KPP-PRD) commemorating the invasion of East Timor, December 7, 1975 - ASIET.]

December 6, 1997

News ›› East Timor ›› Women's Rights & Gender
The Age - December 6, 1997

Timor's suffering women believe that a harsh program of 'ethnic dilution' is under way, writes Karen Kissane.

News ›› East Timor ›› Occupation & Armed Resistance
Sydney Morning Herald - December 6, 1997

Paul Cleary in Canberra and Louise Williams in Jakarta – When Indonesia invaded East Timor 22 years ago, the population stood at 688,000 and was growing by 2 per cent a year. Today, instead of reaching a potential 1.1 million, the number of indigenous East Timorese is still roughly the same.

December 5, 1997

News ›› Indonesia ›› Armed Forces & Military Operations
The Nation - December 5, 1997

The Indonesian military is serious about redeeming its tarnished image, a top general said. The Nation's Rita Patiyasevi reports.

News ›› East Timor ›› Arbitrary Arrest & Detention
Lusa - December 5, 1997

Macau – The Governor of East Timor, Abilio Osorio Soares, has ordered the police to arrest the leaders of the Movement for the Reunification and Unification of the People of East Timor (MRUPTL) recently created in Dili, the secretary-general of MRUPTL told Lusa on Thursday.

News ›› East Timor ›› Freedom of Assembly & Association
MateBEAN - December 5, 1997

Dili – Lautem local government harassed the activity of the new East Timor Reconciliation Movement (GRPRTT). The movement itself was the initiative of ex-local parliament member, Manuel Carrascalao and Maria Quintao.

News ›› East Timor ›› Abductions & Extra-Judicial Killings
MateBEAN - December 5, 1997 (Posted by Tapol)

Dili – The identity of the four young men of Mau-bara, Liquisa is still a mystery. Witnesses interviewed by local journalists still can not gave assurance whether the killer was Fretilin Resistance group or ABRI soldiers disguising themselves as Fretilin.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Labour & Migrant Workers
Jakarta Post - December 5, 1997

Jakarta – Minister of Manpower Abdul Latief said yesterday that it was President Soeharto who ordered the use of state-owned social insurance company PT Jamsostek's funds to finance the deliberation of the manpower bill.

December 4, 1997

News ›› Indonesia ›› Banking & Finance
Jakarta Post - December 4, 1997

Jakarta – Bank Indonesia, the central bank, yesterday denied rumors that it would convert bank deposits into government bonds and freeze U.S. dollar accounts.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Deforestation & Forest Fires
Antara - December 4, 1997

Jakarta – The Indonesian government has announced that it will stop issuing new logging permits except for Irian Jaya and East Timor.

The Forestry Ministry secretary general, Oetomo, said Wednesday that there were enough Forestry Concession Right Holders (HPH) in the country already.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Economy & Investment
Far Eastern Economic Review - December 4, 1997

John McBeth, Jakarta – Last February, an Indonesian military intelligence team filmed American human-rights activist Danny Kennedy lifting samples from the silt-laden Aikwa River in the lowlands of southern Irian Jaya. Later, when Kennedy attempted to airfreight the vials of water to Australia, he was detained and quickly deported.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Economy & Investment
Sydney Morning Herald - December 4, 1997

Louise Williams, Jakarta – Indonesia's rupiah hit a record low yesterday, despite the massive International Monetary Fund (IMF) rescue package, following the Soeharto Government's announcement that it would stop attempting to prop up the currency by intervening in the money market.

News ›› East Timor ›› Abductions & Extra-Judicial Killings
Reuters - December 4, 1997

Jakarta – The bodies of four youths have been found in the troubled territory of East Timor and Indonesia's military has blamed their killings on rebels opposing Jakarta's rule, the official Antara news agency reported on Thursday.

East Timor army chief Colonel Slamat Sidabutar said the killing of four members of the Catholic youth group Mudika was a "terrorist" action.

December 3, 1997

News ›› Indonesia ››
Sydney Morning Herald - December 3, 1997

Louise Williams, Jakarta – Indonesia's Parliament is preparing to hand President Soeharto sweeping emergency powers that would allow security forces to take "preventive measures" against opponents of the regime in order to "secure national development".

News ›› East Timor ›› Abductions & Extra-Judicial Killings
Lusa - December 3, 1997

Jakarta – The chief police of Dili, Colonel Rismanto, said on Tuesday he did not know the whereabouts of three East Timorese students who have disappeared since the incident at the University of Dili on 14 November.

University sources said that police wearing civilian clothes had taken three youth following clashes between students and security forces at the university.

News ›› East Timor ›› Fake News & Black Campaigns
Jawa Pos - December 3, 1997 (Unabridged translation posted by Tapol)

Three of Horta's bodyguards were arrested yesterday by Oxford police and held in a cell in St Aldate police station after being caught beating up Ahmad Hanif, an Indonesian student, in the forecourt of St Anthony's College, Oxford University. One of them needed medical treatment because his finger was bitten by Hanif as he tried to defend himself.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Foreign Affairs & Trade
Green Left Weekly - December 3, 1997

Norm Dixon – Thirty-eight trade unionists protesting against the visit of Indonesian President Suharto to South Africa were arrested in Cape Town on November 20.

December 2, 1997

News ›› East Timor ›› Police & Military
Lusa - December 2, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesia announced on Monday that it had appointed new chiefs for the police and army in Dili, capital of East Timor.

Lieutenant-Colonel Setyananto, police chief in Baucau for the past six months, was appointed to head the police in Dili, and Lieutenant-Colonel Endar Priyanto was chosen to lead the army forces in the East Timorese capital.

December 1, 1997

News ›› Indonesia ›› Human Rights & Justice
Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) - December 1, 1997

Today, we, a number of artists of the Jakarta Artists Solidarity Group visited the offices of the Indonesian National Committee for Human Rights (Komnas HAM) to protest against the banning of the play 'Marsinah Menggugat' (Marsinah Accuses) by the East Java regional police force.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Social & Communal Conflicts
Human Rights Watch/Asia - December 1997

The following are excerpts from a Human Rights Watch Asia Report: Communal Violence in West Kalimantan (40 pages), released in December 1997, compiled by Jayo.]

News ›› Indonesia ›› Social & Communal Conflicts
Reuters - December 1, 1997

Jim Della-Giacoma, Jakarta – A U.S. based human rights group called on Monday for an independent investigation into violence in Indonesia earlier this year during which it said 500 people were killed, some beheaded and some the victims of cannibalism.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Anti-Dictatorship Struggle
Pro-democracy Weekly (MBR) - No 7, Week III, December 1997

[The following is a translation of the text of a leaflet sent to ASIET by the Mega-Bintang-Rakyat Democratic Coalition. The leaflet was distributed widely in urban kampungs in a number of Indonesia cities.]

Suharto gravely ill, the Rupiah falls even further, Suharto's renomination opposed

News ›› East Timor ›› Arbitrary Arrest & Detention
East Timor Human Rights Centre - December 1, 1997

Grave fears are held for the safety of Bobby Xavier, Boaventura, Cristiano Conjaka and Gaspar da Silva who are currently in detention at POLDA (the local police) station in Dili.

November 30, 1997

News ›› Indonesia ›› Foreign Affairs & Trade
Vancouver Sun - November 30, 1997

David Hogben – Two Indonesian security officers were arrested while installing electronics equipment in a secure zone at the Hotel Vancouver during this week's APEC conference.

The prime minister's office and the foreign affairs department confirmed Friday they were aware of the arrests earlier this week, but said they could give no details.

November 29, 1997

News ›› East Timor ›› Arbitrary Arrest & Detention
Agence France Presse - November 29, 1997

Jakarta – A student attacked a university lecturer in East Timor for trying to teach dispite a student boycott, a report here said Saturday.

Students at Universitas Timor Timor, in Dili, have called for a boycott to demand the release of students arrested during violence there last week.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Human Rights & Justice
Reuters - November 29, 1997

Jakarta – An Indonesian man accused of the high-profile murder of an investigative journalist has been acquitted by a Central Java court, the Jakarta Post newspaper reported on Saturday.

November 27, 1997

News ›› East Timor ›› Arbitrary Arrest & Detention
East Timor Human Rights Centre - November 27, 1997

Concerns are still held for the safety of Bernandino Simao, Domingos da Silva, Francisco de Deus, Juvinal dos Santos and Silverio Baptista who remain in custody at POLDA (the local police station) in Dili, following their arrest on 14 November.

News ›› East Timor ›› Criminalisation & Attacks on Activism
Lusa - November 27, 1997

Jakarta – Six East Timorese will be on trial accused of committing violent acts during recent incidents between students and security forces at the University of Dili on 14 November.

November 26, 1997

News ›› East Timor ›› Arbitrary Arrest & Detention
Lusa - November 26, 1997

Jakarta – The Indonesian authorities arrested on Tuesday a Timorese who they accused of murdering a policeman in Dili on 24 December 1996.

According to the authorities, Bobby Xavier, 27, allegedly attacked and killed policeman Alfredo Siga on the day Bishop D. Ximenes Belo returned to Dili after receiving the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize.

News ›› East Timor ›› International Solidarity
Green Left Weekly - November 26, 1997

Stuart Munckton and Arun Pradhan, Perth – On November 12, East Timorese and their supporters attended a protest at Parliament House to commemorate the 1991 Dili massacre.