[The following is an abridged translation of a statement sent to ASIET (Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor) by the National Committee for Democratic Struggle (Kelompok Nasional Perjuangan Demokrasi).
News ›› East Timor ›› Occupation & Armed Resistance
Dili – East Timor's police chief, Indonesian Colonel Rismanto, accused on Tuesday the Timorese guerrilla of being the responsible for the death of a civilian and injuries to a policeman during two separate attacks.
December 16, 1997
News ›› Indonesia ›› Money Politics & Elite Conflicts
Ali Kotarumalos, Jakarta – A dissident group of former Cabinet ministers, ex-politicians and retired generals urged Indonesian lawmakers Tuesday not to re-elect Asia's oldest and longest reigning head of state.
Sander Thoenes – The warning calls of growing unemployment echo through the alleys and back streets of Indonesia's inner cities.
They are the cries and whistles, rattling of spoons and banging of pots of the self-employed men and women who peddle food, ice cream, plastic buckets and other odds and ends from dawn to late at night.
News ›› Indonesia ›› Political Parties & Elections
Jakarta – The Working Committee of the People's Consultative Assembly (BP MPR) has received eight names proposed as candidate for VP. While as candidate for president 1998-2003 only one name was proposed, namely that of President Soeharto.
News ›› East Timor ›› Freedom of Speech & Expression
Dili – East Timor Governor Abilio Jose Osorio Soares has confirmed that the Movement for the Reconciliation and Unity of the People of East Timor, which had been established by a group of sympathizers, was a proscribed movement because it could threaten the integrity of the unitary Republic of Indonesia.
Jakarta – World Bank country director for Indonesia Dennis de Tray urged the government and private sectors again yesterday to provide edible information to help store public confidence in the country's economy.
News ›› East Timor ›› Freedom of Speech & Expression
Salatiga – Military authorities in Salatiga banned "Seminar on the Prospects of Justice Movements, Peace and the Struggle for Human Rights in East Timor". The seminar itself was organised by the Communication Forum of Nahdlatul Ulama Students Movement (FKGMNU) last Monday 14 December 1997.
The South Jakarta district court has not yet fixed a date for the subversion trial of Sri-Bintang Pamungkas, the former MP who is currently serving a one-year sentence for insulting the head of state. But the chairman of the court confirmed that the trial will commence before the end of December.
December 15, 1997
News ›› Indonesia ›› Environment & Natural Disasters
Lewa Pardomuan, Jakarta – Famine triggered by a severe drought has spread to Indonesia's Moluccas region, threatening more than 80,000 people, while relief efforts continued in remote Irian Jaya, officials and the media reported on Monday.
Greg Earl, Jakarta – Indonesia is facing the first serious annual contraction in its economy since President Soeharto came to power amid fears that the country can no longer service its foreign debt because of the rupiah's dramatic plunge.
Villagers in Riau province who fenced themselves in on ancestral land to back a compensation claim against Riau Andalan Paper and Pulp Company were driven from the area when heavily-armed forces of Brimob (Mobile Brigade), the special forces of the Indonesian police, attacked them with smoke bombs and tear-gas.
News ›› East Timor ›› Criminalisation & Attacks on Activism
Two lawyers from the Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Institute, the PBHI, recently spent two days in Semarang in connection with several East Timorese who will shortly go on trial in connection with bomb-making. They were able to meet four of their clients who have been detained there since mid-September in connection with bomb-making at a house in Demak.
Seth Mydans, Tangerang – When economists worry about Indonesia's slump – its sinking currency, its ailing banks and its nearly $40 billion bailout package – they worry about people like Jumaluddin, a low-paid factory worker with a ready smile and a precarious future.
Nothing, until recently, has stood in the way of the sons and daughters of President Suharto, as they built up huge business empires through his 30-year reign. Democracy is controlled, the opposition neutered, the press harnessed. But at last something has happened to restrain them: Asia's economic crisis.
News ›› Indonesia ›› Armed Forces & Military Operations
Anthony Bevins – Oxfam yesterday accused the Government of being in breach of its own guidelines on arms sales. Eleven arms-export licences have been granted to Indonesia since 28 July, when Robin Cook, the Foreign Secretary, announced new regulations for arms sales overseas.
Dili – Two East Timorese human rights organisations said on Thursday that they had received during this year 339 complaints of human rights violations committed by the Indonesian security forces stationed in the territory.
News ›› East Timor ›› Freedom of Speech & Expression
Darwin – East Timor activist Vaughan Williams from the Darwin-based Australians for a Free East Timor is due to appear at the Northern Territory's Darwin Magistrates Court on Monday December 15 for publicly displaying pictures of East Timorese women being tortured by the Indonesian Armed Forces (Abri).
Dili – During the last eleven months, there were 339 reported human rights violations in East Timor. It was reported by the East Timor people to Comissa Iustiti Et Pax (Commission for Justice and Peace), a special organization appointed by the Dili Diocese and the Human Rights and Law Foundation (HAK). However, many believe the number of human rights abuse is higher than that.
Bekasi – The role of a paster is to help the "little" people, the poor and neglected. So it is natural for them to help those who are suffering. Thus said the presiding judge, Margono at the trial of Romo Sandyawan and his brother Benny Sumardi at the Bekasi state court, Monday (8/12).
News ›› East Timor ›› Criminal Justice & Legal System
On 11 December 1997, two East Timorese men were sentenced to death after being found guilty of participating in an ambush on a truck carrying members of the Indonesian security forces. This is the first time the death penalty has been handed down by the courts in East Timor since its occupation by Indonesia in 1975.
Louise Williams, Jakarta – Two Australian activists are in custody after being arrested by Indonesian security forces during a human rights demonstration on Wednesday in the central Javanese town of Semarang.
Louise Williams, Jakarta – In one of the sharpest criticisms to date of East Asian business practices, a World Bank executive has warned that monopolies linked to President Soeharto's inner circle of family and friends are blocking Indonesia's economic recovery.
Jakarta – The World Bank country director for Indonesia, Dennis de Tray, suggested yesterday that the government send signals to the market that it would undertake reform measures to restore public confidence.
De Tray said he was optimistic the country's monetary crisis would ease shortly provided the government stuck to its promised reform programs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
'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'.
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.
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.