Canberra – Australian Prime Minister John Howard said Saturday he had faith in Indonesian President B.J. Habibie implementing the reforms necessary to pull his country out of crisis.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
November 14, 1998
Jakarta – The following are excerpts of the 12 decrees adopted by the Special Session of the People's Consultative Assembly on Friday.
Jakarta – Fallen Indonesian president Suharto has criticized the government of his successor, B.J. Habibie, for failing to prevent the bloodshed here by talking to the students holding daily protests in recent days, a report said Saturday
Michael Dorgan, Jakarta – In the worst day of violence since riots brought down President Suharto in May, about a dozen people were killed Friday and hundreds more injured, many critically, as security forces attacked tens of thousands of student demonstrators.
Louise Williams, Jakarta – Five people were reportedly killed and scores injured after riot troops and tanks rammed student lines in at least three locations in Jakarta, but tens of thousands of protesters armed with rocks and sticks continued to ring the parliament in a tense stand-off late last night. An ABC TV crew was beaten with sticks by security forces.
Louise Williams – Inside Indonesia's imposing Parliament building the remnants of former President Soeharto's political elite were preparing to sign their own political death certificates as tens of thousands of protesting students outside bayed for their blood against lines of riot police.
Lisbon – A Portuguese former governor of East Timor said Saturday that the 1991 massacre by Indonesian troops at a Dili cemetery was followed days later with more bloodshed, with 50 people shot dead and 100 buried alive.
Bhimanto Suwastoyo, Jakarta – Opposition leaders and human rights groups pressured Indonesian President B.J. Habibie and military chief General Wiranto Saturday to account for the killing of unarmed demonstrators, with many calling on Wiranto to resign.
November 13, 1998
Keith B. Richburg, Jakarta – Troops opened fire with rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon here today to disperse thousands of chanting, flag-waving student demonstrators who were trying to take their demands for political reform to the barricaded gates of the country's parliament building.
Jenny Grant – In one of the ironies of Indonesia's tightly guarded National Assembly meeting, 150 local journalists staged a protest on the front steps of the parliament yesterday, angry over military violence against the press.
[The following is a summary of developments in Jakarta as of Friday, November 13, which was prepared by ASIET (Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor). Notes on news developments on November 14 are included at the end of this document.]
November 12, 1998
Jakarta – Troops in the troubled Indonesian territory of East Timor were hunting for rebels who killed three soldiers and were holding two hostage, reports said Thursday.
Lewa Pardomuan, Dili – East Timorese on Thursday marked the killings of scores of unarmed protesters on this day in 1991 with tears and renewed anti-Indonesia sentiment in the former Portuguese colony.
November 11, 1998
Jakarta – The management of an American-based oil company denied on Tuesday that it should share the blame for human rights abuses in Aceh, the country's northern-most province.
Jakarta – Indonesian opposition leaders yesterday issued a joint declaration calling for a presidential election in August next year, three months ahead of President B.J. Habibie's timetable.
November 10, 1998
Jakarta – One day before the MPR Special Session (SS) in Jakarta, Monday (9/11), the group of supporters and opponents of the SS are competing in mobilizing masses and frictions start between the two masses with different aspirations.
November 9, 1998
Jakarta – A violent battle between rival Jakarta neighborhood gangs ended with a huge fire in the early hours of Sunday.
November 8, 1998
Jakarta – The number of abortions in Indonesia had reached an estimated one million cases a year, most of them carried out on teenagers, an expert told a medical meeting yesterday.
Appointed secretary of the fact-finding team in July, she now says, following the publication of its report last week, that there is not enough evidence to conclude that the rapes were organised.
Jakarta – Indonesia's highest legislative body, the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), will hold a special session on November 10-13 to decide Indonesia's election timetable and ratify new, more democratic political laws.
A fact-finding team issued a report last week confirming that gang rapes did occur during the May riots in Jakarta and that the upheaval could be linked to senior military figures.
The investigation had to overcome cultural taboos, official denials and silence from its victims. Indonesia Correspondent Susan Sim, who spoke to two rape victims, reports.
Jakarta – The rupiah rose again to 8,450 against the US dollar on Friday and local stock prices inched down 0.4 percent on profit taking, currency dealers and stockbrokers said.
Jakarta – Thousands of students here and in several other cities staged peaceful rallies on Friday to demand the upcoming Special Session of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) arrange for the prosecution of Soeharto, expel the military from politics and prepare for a fair and honest general election.
November 7, 1998
As terrorised villagers turn to murder, the May riot findings have fuelled fears that disgraced Indonesian special forces are running death squads, reports Louise Williams.
November 6, 1998
Steven Greenhouse – The A.F.L.-C.I.O. and a large union of department store workers announced Thursday that they were rejecting an agreement that a group of apparel manufacturers and human rights groups had reached to curtail sweatshops.
Derwin Pereira, Jakarta – More than 10,000 Muslims yesterday gathered here to rally in support of next week's special session of Indonesia's highest legislative body which will set a date for the general election.
Jose Manuel Tesoro, Jakarta – As the sun sets in the towns and villages of East Java, men hurry home quicker than usual from their evening prayers. In some areas, a bell tolls to empty the streets of women and children. Windows will be shut and doors bolted till the next morning. In the darkness, wary men with swords or sickles patrol deserted roads.
Jakarta – Students in several Indonesian cities held protests to reject an upcoming special session of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) and its plan to assure parliamentary seats for the military, reports said Friday.
Jakarta – More than a third of Indonesia's key electronics, machinery, chemical and metal-based industries have been forced into temporary closure by the economic crisis, a report said here Friday.
Beijing – Both China and the United States yesterday urged the Indonesian government to pursue follow-up investigations as proposed in a fact-finding team's report on the May riots.
Jenny Grant, Jakarta – The revelation that a member of the fact-finding team probing the May riots attended a controversial meeting in the middle of the crisis undermined the team's report, it was claimed yesterday.
Jakarta – Thousands of people stormed an Indonesian police station in a West Java town where officers refused to hand over four suspected "ninja" killers, press reports said yesterday. Twelve policemen were injured in Kuningan as they fought off attackers with tear gas and rubber bullets in the disturbances on Wednesday.
November 5, 1998
Jakarta – The Armed Forces (ABRI) has threatened to take stern action against anyone attempting to disrupt the Nov. 10 through Nov. 13 Special Session of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) as it believes the event is the "only gateway" to a democratic Indonesia.
Louise Williams, Jakarta – Indonesia's military may reject the findings of an official investigation into May's devastating riots, which has found that some officers provoked violence so the then Soeharto government could activate extraordinary security powers to maintain political control.
Jakarta – A group of 50 retired military officials, former prosecutors and businessmen yesterday joined the popular faction of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) led by Megawati Soekarnoputri.
November 4, 1998
Jeremy Wagstaff and Puspa Madani, Jakarta – A government-appointed team of generals, activists and officials has concluded its three-month investigation into riots that swept Indonesia in May, saying more than 60 women were raped and suggesting the unrest was stoked by a power struggle within the government.
Andreas Harsono – While Indonesians await the People's Consultative Assembly convention next month, State Secretary Akbar Tanjung is maneuvering within the ruling party. Andreas Harsono writes.
Jakarta – The government line is that the Banyuwangi killing spree in East Java, which began in August and has since spread to Central and West Java, is a purely criminal case.
November 3, 1998
[The following is a translation of press release issued on October 10, 1998, by a number of Indonesian NGOS with regard to Mobil oil's activities in Aceh. For reasons of space, the full list of signatories was not included - James Balowski.]
Bandung – Army Chief of Staff Gen. Subagyo Hadisiswoyo vigorously defended on Monday the Armed Forces' business ventures, contending that all profits went to improve military personnel's welfare.
Michael Thurston, Austria – UN-sponsored talks between East Timorese leaders broke down Tuesday without agreement on their demands for the future of the former Portuguese colony, delegates said.
Agencies in Dili and Jakarta – East Timorese resistance leader Jose Ramos Horta claims Indonesian troops have launched a major offensive against separatist rebels in the province.
November 2, 1998
Jakarta – In a sudden about-face, Indonesia's ruling Golkar party Monday proposed that students and opposition politicians be included in a controversial parliamentary session next week, the first since the fall of Suharto.
Jakarta – Indonesian inflation surged to almost 80 percent in October from a year ago, but dipped slightly from the previous month, official data showed Monday.
Sonny Inbaraj, Darwin – The disclosure of Indonesian army documents revealing higher than stated troop levels in East Timor grossly undermines Jakarta's credibility, amid sensitive talks over the territory's future.
Jakarta – Villagers in the Indonesian island of Madura have lynched three policemen to death believing them to be part of a wave of "ninja" murders in East Java, a press report said Monday.
November 1, 1998
Dili – Masked assassins killed an Indonesian policeman in the former Portuguese colony of East Timor Saturday a day after the stabbing murders of three other officials, reports said Sunday. Second Sergeant Josep Florindo Pereira was shot dead by five men believed to be pro-independence fighters at his home, the Antara state news agency and witnesses reported.
The government has produced a new document on transmigration which describes the "achievements" of the past twenty five years and outlines the priorities for the future programme.
A World Bank report on the government's project to convert a million hectares of peat swamp forests into rice-lands reveals how appalling the situation on the ground is.
Derwin Pereira, Jakarta – Fifty organisations not represented in the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) are planning to stage massive protests here during the assembly's special plenary session next week.