Robin Cook, the foreign secretary, has been told by the prime minister to moderate his policy of blocking arms sale to countries accused of serious human rights violations.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
October 3, 1997
October 2, 1997
Adjidar Ascha, the father of imprisoned trade union activist, Diti Indah Sari, has lodged a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission regarding the treatment of his daughter who is jailed in Malang Prison, East Java.
Catherine Shepherd – Blue skies? Sunshine? Millions of people in Malaysia and Indonesia have a hard time remembering what that looks like. After months of persistent smog, the hospitals are full of patients with breathing problems, productivity is down and tourists are turning away in droves.
On 29 September, the Indonesian Ministry of the Interior announced that the PRD, the People's Democratic Party, and all its associated organisations, have been banned. This includes the PPBI, the Indonesian Workers Struggle Centre, and the STN, the Indonesian Peasants Association.
Margot Cohen in Jakarta and Murray Hiebert in Kuala Lumpur – President Suharto's unprecedented apology for the forest fires that are spewing smoke over neighbouring Malaysia and Singapore has drawn praise as a sign of Indonesia's readiness to tackle the annual "haze." In his September 16 speech to an Asean meeting, however, Suharto cited "obstacles that are not easy to overcome," pa
October 1, 1997
Jakarta – Indonesia's new national parliament, its members including 10 relatives of President Suharto and a number of his business associates, was sworn in for a new five-year term on Wednesday.
Jakarta – The government's decision to ban the Peoples' Democratic Party and all its affiliates will not affect the activities of the organisations. They will continue with their actions until their aims have been achieved, the PRD chairman, Budiman Sudjatmiko told Siar in Salemba Prison, Jakarta.
[The original source of this posting (other that the individual's e-mail address and period that the report covers) was not specified - JB]
George J. Aditjondro &150; The haze enveloping our northern neighbours should not be allowed to obscure a lesson for their ruling elites, who are largely to blame for the disaster.
[Based on reports in Kompas and Republika, 30 September 1997]
The government has at last (!) banned the People's Democratic Party (PRD) and all the organisations associated with it.
Friends of the Earth International today called for immediate and effective action by the Indonesian government to combat the continuing forest fire crisis.(1)
Kevin Dunion, Chair of Friends of the Earth International, said:
September 30, 1997
Jakarta – The government has officially banned the Peoples' Democratic Party (PRD) along with its affiliated organisations according to Department of Home Affairs decision No 210-221, dated September 29, 1997.
Bekasi – The trial of Romo Sandyawan Sumardi SJ and his older brother, Benny Sumardi, started yesterday (29/9) at the Bekasi State Court. Romo Sandy, as he is usually known, and Benny, are being tried for hiding the fugitives Budiman Sujatmiko, chair of the Peoples' Democratic Party (PRD) and Petrus Haryanto, the Secretary General of the PRD.
September 29, 1997
Mrs Wilhelmina Rennie, now of Ramsay, Isle of Man, flies to Australia on Friday October 10 to give evidence on the cover-up of her son's murder by Indonesian forces in Balibo, East Timor. Her only son, Malcolm, was a reporter for Australian Channel 9 TV. Killed with him on October 16 1975, were his cameraman, Brian Peters from Bristol and the 3-man crew from the rival Channel 7.
David Miller, Sumatra – Malaysian firefighters eager to get on with the job of fighting the forest and peat fires here have been forced to play a waiting game.
The Straits Times, which followed one team of firefighters over the weekend, found that it has only handled a handful of peat fires.
Eugene Moosa, Tokyo – Aviation experts discount the theory that zero visibility in dense smog could have caused the crash of an Indonesian Garuda airliner, but they have not ruled out another theory: engine failure caused by smog intake.
Derwin Pereira, Indonesia – has rejected blame for the haze blanketing large areas of South-east Asia, saying that one of the culprits is the El Nino climatic phenomenon that no one could have prevented.
In a new report, "Deteriorating Human Rights in East Timor," Human Rights Watch/Asia says the conflict in the disputed territory has intensified since a series of guerrilla attacks around the Indonesian parliamentary elections last May.
September 28, 1997
Azhar Basri, Jakarta – An Indonesian ministerial report has blamed 176 logging and plantation firms over the huge forest fires which had already choked most areas in southeast Asia, saying that those companies had conducted the dangerous slash-and-burn practice to clear their land.
[The following is a translation of an interview sent to ASIET by the underground Peoples Democratic Party (PRD)]
September 27, 1997
John Vidal – The scale of one of the world's greatest manmade environmental catastrophes was becoming clear last night as poisonous fog blanketed up to 70 million people in six south-east Asian countries and scientists warned of long-term climate disruption.
September 26, 1997
Yesterday morning, September 25, 30 activists from the National Committee for Democratic Struggle (Komite Nasional Perjuangan Demokrasi, KNPD) and workers from PT. Sindol and Mega Beta Pratama loged a complaint because of military mistreatment against them which occurred at an action on September 23.
Lewa Pardomuan, Jakarta – Forest fires in Indonesia have spread to rubber and palm oil plantations and are likely to hit output, officials and traders said on Friday.
Agriculture Minister Syarifuddin Baharsyah said 173 plantation areas were reported to be on fire, 73 of which had actually made reports to the ministry.
Ian MacKenzie, Jakarta – Burning forest peat, too hot and thick to be put out by fire-fighting equipment alone, is now the major cause of choking smog spreading across Southeast Asia, diplomatic sources said on Friday.
"Peat is causing the majority of the smoke problem. It is causing the vast majority of the smoke," a Western source in contact with forestry experts said.
The announcement in New York yesterday by Foreign Secretary Robin Cook that the Foreign Office has blocked the sale of military equipment to Indonesia is being taken as a sign that the Labour Government is beginning to implement its ethical policy regarding arms sales to repressive regimes.
September 25, 1997
Sydney – More than 10,000 Australians have said to be ready to provide shelter to East Timorese refugees facing deportation, despite risking two-year jail terms.
September 24, 1997
Jakarta – Bureaucratic problems are blocking the departure of six East Timorese who have sought sanctuary in the Austrian embassy in Jakarta and asked to leave to Portugal.
The Austrian ambassador said on Tuesday the "biggest problem is setting the exact identity of those people", stressing the administrative procedures were "complex and long".
Jakarta – Indonesian Footwear Manufacturers' Association (Aprisindo) contested yesterday U.S. shoe giant Nike Inc's reason behind the termination of contracts with its four Indonesian partners.
The twenty two year old conflict in East Timor can come to an end if the two main parties engaged in armed violence in the territory are inspired by the higher interest of peace and the well being of the people.
The International Secretariat of OMCT has received new information on the detention and trial of Mr Mochtar Pakpahan in Indonesia.
Jakarta – More than 1,300 workers at two shoe factories in North Jakarta went on strike yesterday and demonstrated at the House of Representatives, demanding welfare improvements. The strikers, mostly female employees of PT Sindoll Pratama and its subsidiary PI Mega Beta Pertiwi, both located on J1. Kapuk Muara arrived at the House at about 9 a.m.
September 23, 1997
[The following is an abridged translation of a leaflet sent to ASIET by the National Committee for Democratic Struggle (KNPD) which was distributed during the strike actions by workers from PT. Sindol and PT. Beta Mega Pertiwi.]
Geoff Spencer, Jakarta – A drought that has destroyed crops across the Indonesian archipelago and other Pacific islands could force villagers to begin eating a famine diet of insects, banana tree roots and leaves, an aid official said Tuesday.
Jakarta – The Environment Minister has released a list of 176 timber companies which are considered to be "at fault" in [causing] the fires in Sumatra and Kalamantan. Many of those listed are by conglomerates owned by people such as Lim Sioe Liong, Bob Hasan, Eka Tjipta Wijaya, and Prayogo Pangestu.
Jakarta – The wife of Dwi Sumaji, alias Iwik, the defendant on the murder of Bernas daily's reporter Udin, said that her husband was at home in the night it happened.
Sunarti, Iwik's wife, yesterday was present in Bantul district court, Yogyakarta, as a witness to unveil Iwik's alibi.
8.45 am - 1.800 workers from several factories (each from different organisations), from the JABOTEK industrial area [outside Jakarta] together with students mostly from the National Committee of Supporters of Democracy (KNPD) gathered at the entrance gate to the national parliament.
Jakarta – The Indonesian military has accused East Timorese rebels of killing five soldiers and seven civilians in the troubled territory, it was reported yesterday.
Jakarta – Indonesian police have officially closed their investigation into the 1993 slaying of female labor activist Marsinah, which had sparked a controversy in the country and abroad after they failed to prove the latest evidence, an English-language newspaper said Tuesday.
September 22, 1997
Lisbon – An East Timorese couple has been killed by Indonesia's intelligence service, Intel, the Timorese Socialist Association (AST) has said.
Quoting clandestine sources, the resistance movement said in a statement on Friday that the two had been killed last Wednesday night inside their house.
Martin Wolk, Portland – Nike Inc. said Monday it severed ties with four Indonesian-based factories because they failed to adhere to the company's requirements for wages and working conditions.
September 21, 1997
Derwin Pereira, Jakarta – Pressure is mounting on the Indonesian government from various groups in the country to strike hard against firms responsible for the forest and land fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan.
Jakarta – Indonesia has arrested nearly 600 people for alleged involvement in ethnic riots in South Sulawesi province, the official Antara news agency reported on Sunday.
Kuala Lumpur – Malaysian non-governmental organisations staged a rare demonstration on Sunday demanding immediate and serious action from authorities to combat a smoky haze blanketing parts of Southeast Asia.
September 20, 1997
The health of millions of Indonesians - and of people in neighbouring countries - is threatened by the smoke from blazing forests. As Louise Williams reports, Jakarta not only has to cope with the crisis, but stop it happening again.
September 19, 1997
Jakarta – Police Friday detained two Australian trade unionists and at least nine Indonesian activists after ordering the closure of the annual meeting of a local union, witnesses said.
But the police released two Jakarta-based Dutch journalists they had taken in at the same time.
Jakarta – Six East Timorese, including a couple with two children, broke into the Austrian embassy in Jakarta on Friday and demanded political asylum, police sources said.
The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the six entered the embassy at about 10 a.m. (0300 GMT) and were still inside. Embassy officials were not immediately available for comment.
September 18, 1997
Up to 13 East Timorese men have been arrested in Dili, the capital of East Timor, and near the town of Semarang on the Indonesian island of Java. It is not clear if the detainees have been granted access to independent legal assistance, raising fears that they may be at risk of torture or ill-treatment if still held incommunicado for interrogation.
Naomi Lee, Jakarta – Anti-Chinese riots in Ujung Pandang, which continued for a third day yesterday, have claimed three lives, police said, as victims of the violence - including Hong Kong businessmen - told of their terror at the hands of rampaging mobs.
The riots were sparked when an apparently mentally disturbed Chinese man stabbed two Muslim girls on Monday night.
Louise Williams, Pringluan, Central Java – More than three months ago the wells dried up and the villagers began to gather to pray for rain, the elders murmuring fearfully about the last great drought of 1962 when they ate boiled bark and rats.