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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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March 26, 1999

News ›› Indonesia ›› Social & Communal Conflicts
Indonesian Observer - March 26, 1999

Jakarta – Indonesia's current economic crisis has led to widespread malnutrition amongst many pregnant women and children, a study conducted by the Helen Keller Indonesia foundation concluded yesterday.

According to the non-governmental organization's report, the social conditions in Jakarta are twice as bad as conditions in Bangladesh.

March 25, 1999

News ›› Indonesia ›› Terrorism & Religious Extremism
South China Morning Post - March 25, 1999

Raissa Robles in Manila and Vaudine England in Jakarta – About 600 Indonesian rebels have just finished training at a Muslim separatist camp in the southern Philippines, the Philippine military claimed yesterday.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Social & Communal Conflicts
Far Eastern Economic Review - March 25, 1999

John McBeth in Jakarta and Dini Djalal in Ambon – Ambon has long been a tragedy waiting to happen. Ever since Indonesia became independent 50 years ago, a tradition of nonviolence, known as pela gandong, had kept a tenuous peace between Muslims and Christians.

News ›› Aceh ›› Independence & Self-Determination
Waspada - March 25, 1999 (summary)

Thousands of students from a number of universities took part in a demonstration outside the local assembly building in Banda Aceh denouncing President Habibie's visit to Aceh and calling for a referendum. They arrived at the assembly in convoys of vehicles.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Political Parties & Elections
Business Times - March 25, 1999

Vikram Khanna, Singapore – Indonesian political leader Abdurrahman Wahid yesterday said his party, the National Awakening Party (PKB), is open to forming a coalition with the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) led by Megawati Sukarnoputri, as well as with Muslim leader Amien Rais and other democratic parties, to form a government in Indonesia after the general elections in June.

March 24, 1999

News ›› Indonesia ›› Social & Communal Conflicts
Jakarta Post - March 24, 1999

Pontianak - Over 10,000 Madurese from Sambas regency have poured into this city and surrounding areas to escape the violence with local Malays and Dayaks. The exodus continued on Tuesday, while over 13,000 people in the Pemangkat coastal sub-district of Sambas were waiting to be evacuated.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Human Rights & Justice
Agence France Presse - March 24, 1999

Geneva – Chinese women raped during last year's disturbances in Indonesia have been threatened in order to shut them up, a United Nations investigator reported Wednesday.

Radhika Coomaraswamy, special reporter to the UN human rights commission, said she was convinced despite police denials that there were mass rapes including gang rapes during the riots.

News ›› East Timor ›› Occupation & Armed Resistance
Australian Associated Presse - March 24, 1999

Canberra – A cabinet minister from the Whitlam government today apologised to the people of East Timor for the Australia's inaction over the Indonesian invasion of the former Portuguese colony.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Social & Communal Conflicts
The Times (London) - March 24, 1999

David Watts, Singkawang – Indonesia has sent in 1,000 armed police officers to try to stamp out ethnic violence between Madurese migrants and locals yesterday before it spreads further in this province in Borneo.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Human Rights & Justice
Kompas - March 24, 1999 (abridged)

Jakarta - President B.J. Habibie has granted amnesty to 42 political prisoners accused of subversion. Two of them were involved in the Candi Borobudur bombing case, Hasbi Abdullah and Husein Ali Al Habsyi, and the other 40 people in subversion cases in Aceh.

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Timorese Democratic Union - March 24, 1999

Sydney – East Timorese independence leader, Xanana Gusmao, today called for urgent United Nations intervention to stop Indonesian army and militia atrocities against innocent East Timorese civilians, and to prevent an old guard clique at the highest levels of Indonesian government from undermining the UN-brokered self-determination deal for East Timor.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Political Parties & Elections
Reuters - March 24, 1999

Jakarta – Indonesia's election commission on Wednesday said it would bar government ministers from campaigning for June's parliamentary election, a day after the government announced that most of them could.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Human Rights & Justice
Agence France Presse - March 24, 1999

Jakarta – Indonesia will release 10 ageing political prisoners, including ex-Colonel Abdul Latief, all sentenced to death more than 30 years ago for alleged involvement in the 1965 coup, Justice Minister Muladi said Wednesday.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Suharto & New Order Regime
Agence France Presse - March 24, 1999

Jakarta – A son of former Indonesian president Suharto will stand trial next month for his suspected involvement in a multi-million dollar land scam, reports said Wednesday.

The dossier on Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra, Suharto's youngest son, was handed to the South Jakarta district court Tuesday by a public prosecutor, the state Antara news agency said.

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Australian Associated Presse - March 24, 1999 (abridged)

Karen Polglaze, Dili – East Timor's armed resistance force Falintil for the first time overnight engaged in a shoot-out with a pro-integration paramilitary force, a Catholic source said today.

The three hour shoot-out was the result of a surprise attack by the Halilintar paramilitary group on a secret meeting of Falintil guerrillas, the source said.

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Lusa - March 24, 1999

Lisbon – The chief international spokesman for the East Timorese resistance charged Tuesday that former Indonesian President Suharto, a military commander and the foreign ministry were secretly funding much of the recent violence in the territory.

March 23, 1999

News ›› Indonesia ›› Social & Communal Conflicts
Associated Press - March 23, 1999

Andi Jatmiko, Simpang Monterado – Indonesian soldiers fired shots in the air Tuesday to scare off fighters armed with spears, swords and homemade guns who tried to attack another ethnic group on Borneo island.

News ›› Indonesia ›› PRD & Papernas
Kompas - March 23, 1999

Palu – The People's Democratic Party (PRD) has said that for the PRD, the 1999 election campaign is not just about getting votes. What was more important for the PRD was to providing political education to the people to increase their political consciousness.

News ›› Aceh ›› GAM & Armed Conflict
Agence France Presse - March 23, 1999

Jakarta – Two Indonesian soldiers believed to have been abducted by separatists in the troubled province of Aceh have been found dead following the arrest of one of the alleged killers, a report said Tuesday.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Democracy & Civil Rights
Agence France Presse - March 23, 1999

Jakarta – Indonesian troops opened fire to disperse a crowd protesting the acquittal of an MP charged with embezzling 12 million dollars, injuring one student, reports said Tuesday.

Around 200 students outside the courthouse in Ujung Pandang on Monday pelted stones after Nurdin Halid, an MP for the ruling Golkar Party, was acquitted, the Jakarta Post said.

News ›› East Timor ›› Health & Education
Agence France Presse - March 23, 1999

Sydney – Indonesia has rejected Australia's offer of a surgical team for East Timor, despite evidence of a looming health crisis in the province, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said Tuesday.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Social & Communal Conflicts
Sydney Morning Herald - March 23, 1999

The escalating violence in Ambon and Sulawesi since the fall of Soeharto has led to communities torn apart, with neighbour killing neighbour. Louise Williams reports.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Economy & Investment
Wall Street Journal - March 23, 1999

Jakarta – Indonesia's struggling privatization program suffered another setback Monday, when the government said it won't complete three key sales this fiscal year.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Social & Communal Conflicts
Japan Economic Newswire - March 23, 1999,

Christine T. Tjandraningsih – The ongoing economic crisis that has plagued Indonesia since the middle of 1997 has left children hungry in the country, with at least 610 reported to have died in recent months from malnutrition, international organizations said Tuesday.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Democracy & Civil Rights
Agence France Presse - March 23, 1999

Jakarta – Hundreds of Indonesian bank employees who lost their jobs when the government shut down 38 banks this month staged a protest march through central Jakarta Tuesday demanding increased severance pay.

News ›› East Timor ›› Foreign Affairs & Trade
South China Morning Post - March 23, 1999 (abridged)

Jenny Grant, Jakarta – In a sign that Indonesia does not want the international community tampering with its sovereignty over East Timor, Foreign Minister Ali Alatas said his Government refused to have any permanent United Nations presence in the territory until next month.

March 22, 1999

News ›› Indonesia ›› Political Parties & Elections
Agence France Presse - March 22, 1999

Jakarta – One man was killed and 15 injured in a clash between supporters of rival parties campaigning for the June elections in the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta, a report said Monday.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Democracy & Civil Rights
ASIET - March 22, 1999

[The following is a speech by Pramoedya Ananta Toer (1) on the occasion of his swearing in as a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) in Jakarta on March 21.]

News ›› Indonesia ›› Political Parties & Elections
Reuters - March 22, 1999

Amy Chew, Jakarta – Indonesia's spiralling violence, fuelled by a brutal economic recession and religious and ethnic tension, threatens to derail the country's first democratic election in more than 40 years.

News ›› Aceh ›› Independence & Self-Determination
Agence France Presse - March 22, 1999 (abridged)

Jakarta – Hundreds of Indonesian youth rallied outside the United Nations office in Jakarta on Monday demanding independence for the troubled Aceh province, witnesses said.

The noisy demonstration by 200 members of Student Solidarity for Aceh comes five days ahead of a visit to the separatist-plagued province by Indonesian President B.J. Habibie.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Indigenous & Minority Rights
Agence France Presse - March 22, 1999

Jakarta – Scores of Indonesians from 54 of the archipelago's different ethnic groups, many in native costume, rallied at the national parliament here Monday to demand more control of their lands and respect for their birthright.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Democracy & Civil Rights
Detikcom - March 22, 1999

Sigit Widodo, Jakarta - A third of Pramoedya Ananta Toer's life was spent in jail. But in jail his imagination as a writer did not die. Pram says he does not feel vengeful against the New Order regime, even though the former head of the People's Cultural Institute (Lekra) was jailed without trial for years on Buru island.

March 21, 1999

News ›› Indonesia ›› Social & Communal Conflicts
Asian Wall Street Journal - March 21, 1999

Jamie Mackie, Hong Kong – The ethnic violence that has flared up over the last two months on the island of Ambon, 2,000 kilometers east of Jakarta, has been horrifyingly brutal and intractable. The clashes have claimed the lives of around 200 people, and Indonesia's formidable security forces have been unable to stop the killing.

News ›› Indonesia ›› PRD & Papernas
ASIET - March 21, 1999

[The following is a speech written by jailed chairperson of the People's Democratic Party (PRD), Budiman Sudjatmiko which was read at the "Grand Launch" of the PRD on March 21 in Jakarta.]

Comrades in struggle, leaders and members of the PRD,

"I can see clearly, though not completely, so that the darkness will slowly but surely clear away" - Cornel Simanjuntak

News ›› Indonesia ›› PRD & Papernas
Detikcom - March 21, 1999 (slightly abridged)

Sigit Widodo, Jakarta – Although being campaigned against by the New Order regime for two years, the People's Democratic Party (PRD) is determined participate in the coming June elections. This was seen at the "Grand Launch" of the PRD at the Wisma Trisula Perwari Building in Menteng, Central Jakarta on Sunday.

March 20, 1999

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
CNRT press release - March 20, 1999

Jakarta – The office of CNRT President Xanana Gusmao received information today that a group of about 20 armed and masked men raided the Maliubu hamlet – "suco" of Ritabou, "posto" of Maliana – on the evening of Friday 19 March.

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Sydney Morning Herald - March 20, 1999

John Martinkus, Atambua – The ragged group of pro-Indonesian militia, armed with spears and knives, were clearly enjoying their task.

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
CNRT Press Release - March 20, 1999

Jakarta – The office of CNRT President Xanana Gusmao received information today that a group of about 20 armed and masked men raided the Maliubu hamlet – "suco" of Ritabou, "posto" of Maliana – on the evening of Friday 19 March.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Democracy & Civil Rights
Agence France Presse - March 20, 1999

Jakarta – Indonesian police fired warning shots to disperse a mob of hundreds of villagers in North Sumatra demanding the closure of a pulp and rayon mill they charge is polluting their land and a nearby resort lake, reports said Saturday.

March 19, 1999

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Lusa - March 19, 1999

Dili – The commander of a pro-Indonesia paramilitary force in East Timor, Joao Tavares, said Thursday that autonomy within Indonesia was the only course that would avoid a new civil war in the territory.

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Australian Financial Review - March 19, 1999

Rowan Callick, Hong Kong – The East Timorese independence movement is prepared to see the United Nations-supervised referendum, scheduled for later this year, postponed if militias in the territory are not disarmed, and if the 20,000-strong Indonesian military deployment is not substantially reduced.

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Reuters - March 19, 1999 (abridged)

Lewa Pardomuan, Jakarta – East Timor guerrilla leader Xanana Gusmao on Friday rejected an invitation to attend a reconciliation meeting organised by pro-Indonesia Timorese.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Economy & Investment
Agence France Presse - March 19, 1999

Jakarta – Indonesian's privatisation of state firms in the year to March 31 is likely to raise less that half the targetted one billion dollars, reports said here Friday.

The privatisation scheme is expected to raise just 380 million dollars, the Jakarta Post daily quoted an unnamed official as saying.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Democracy & Civil Rights
Reuters - March 19, 1999

Jakarta – Around 100 people protested in Jakarta on Friday calling for top economics minister Ginandjar Kartasasmita to resign over Indonesia's economic crisis.

A group calling themselves Economic Solidarity with the Indonesian People gathered in the afternoon outside the National Planning Board building, where Ginandjar has his office.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Social & Communal Conflicts
Agence France Presse - March 19, 1999

Jakarta – Four days of ethnic violence in the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan has left 51 dead and thousands evacuated, a report said Friday.

The heaviest toll in the daily carnage came Thursday when 33 died, the Kompas daily said, adding 1,900 troops and police had been sent to the Sambas district to prevent the violence from spreading further.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Suharto & New Order Regime
Jakarta Post - March 19, 1999

Jakarta – Attorney General Andi M. Ghalib played down on Wednesday media reports on the planned sales of three luxurious mansions in London owned by relatives of Soeharto, saying it was irrelevant to the government's investigation into the wealth of the former president.

March 18, 1999

News ›› Indonesia ›› Land & Agrarian Conflicts
Agence France Presse - March 18, 1999

Jakarta – An attack on a village in Sumatra left one man dead and 25 houses burned down, police and reports said Thursday, amid conflicting reports of who was responsible.

Truckloads of migrants arrived at the village of Dalu-Dalu, in Riau province, early Thursday following a row over unused land on a private plantation where they had settled, the Antara news agency said.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Human Rights & Justice
Reuters - March 18, 1999

Sydney – Amnesty International said on Thursday that torture, disappearances and unlawful killings continued in Indonesia despite President B.J. Habibie's human rights reforms since coming to power in May 1998.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Social & Political Crisis
Far Eastern Economic Review - March 18, 1999

Gerry van Klinken – Is Indonesia's social fabric disintegrating? Or are the peasants simply in revolt? It's time to take a serious look at the accepted wisdom on what lies behind the epidemic of social unrest in this vast archipelago. Those outside Indonesia have seen their TV screens filled with images of smoke-blackened shops and Indonesian parents weeping over dead children.

News ›› East Timor ›› Political Prisoners & Wrongful Imprisonment
Sydney Morning Herald - March 18, 1999

Karen Polglaze, Jakarta – An East Timorese political party called yesterday on Indonesia's peak human rights body to help release resistance leader Jose Xanana Gusmao just as people rallying outside the house where he is being detained demanded he be hanged.