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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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August 12, 1999

News ›› Indonesia ›› Economy & Investment
Far Eastern Economic Review - August 12, 1999

Hong Kong – The Review has obtained a confidential report prepared for the central bank by consulting firm McKinsey & Co. that shows Bank Indonesia bent its own rules to save seven institutions earlier this year. The most prominent is Bank Nusa Nasional, owned by the family of influential businessman Aburizal Bakrie, a member of Habibie's board of economic advisers.

August 10, 1999

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Deutsche Presse Agentur - August 10, 1999

Dili – Indonesian opposition leader and presidential front-runner Megawati Sukarnoputri on Tuesday appealed to supporters in East Timor to vote for autonomy rather than independence in the territory's August 30 referendum.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Money Politics & Elite Conflicts
Jakarta Post - August 10, 1999

Jakarta – Amien Rais praised Abdurrahman Wahid for the latter's willingness to be presidential candidate of the new political alliance that Amien forged, called "the axis force," and said the assent was a boost to democratization.

News ›› West Papua ›› Human Rights & Justice
Jakarta Post - August 10, 1999

Jayapura – Members of the National Commission on Human Rights concluded from their visit here saying that the Irianese lived in fear.

News ›› East Timor ›› UN Peacekeeping & Support Mission
Agence France Presse - August 10, 1999

Sydney – Foreign Minister Alexander Downer was accused Tuesday of deceit after being forced to admit he was wrong to deny that US officials had suggested Australian participation in a peacekeeping force for East Timor.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Money Politics & Elite Conflicts
Jakarta Post - August 10, 1999

Jakarta – A group of around 200 students rallied outside the General Elections Commission (KPU) on Monday, demanding the disbandment of its Team of 15, whose members have been suspected of abusing their authority in the selection of interest group representatives for the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR).

News ›› Aceh ›› Helsinki & Cessation of Hostilities
Straits Times - August 10, 1999

Susan Sim, Banda Aceh – Pressure is mounting on Jakarta to hold peace talks with a belligerent separatist group it is trying to crush and make a policy shift that could amount to an admission that it has lost political and moral authority in the country's westernmost province.

News ›› East Timor ›› UN Peacekeeping & Support Mission
The Age - August 10, 1999 [abridged]

Paul Daley, Canberra – American military officials told Australian defence strategists in June that the US would consider deploying up to 15,000 troops to East Timor, if bloodshed dramatically escalated in the troubled Indonesian province.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Social & Communal Conflicts
Associated Press - August 10, 1999

Ambon – Muslim and Christian mobs fought street battles in eastern Indonesia, killing at least 18 people and injuring about 120, police and hospital workers said today. Riot police shot and killed some people, witnesses said. Mobs stabbed or beat others.

News ›› East Timor ›› UN Peacekeeping & Support Mission
Reuters - August 10, 1999

Canberra – The United States denied a newspaper report Tuesday that it told Australian defense strategists in June it would consider deploying up to 15,000 troops to East Timor if bloodshed escalated there.

August 9, 1999

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Reuters - August 9, 1999 (abridged)

Manila – Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas on Monday called "a myth" statements by East Timor's resistance leaders that the territory would vote overwhelmingly for independence if this month's ballot on self-rule was free.

News ›› Aceh ›› GAM & Armed Conflict
Reuters - August 9, 1999 (slightly abridged)

Jakarta – At least 20 people have been killed in new unrest in Indonesia's bloodied Aceh province, including 14 civilians blasted to death by grenades, separatist rebels and human rights groups said Monday.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Environment & Natural Disasters
Jakarta Post - August 9, 1999

Jakarta – At least 10 hot spots, spread across five regencies, have been pinpointed in South Kalimantan since the end of July.

Madjedi, the head of the Environment Impact Management Body in South Kalimantan, told Antara on Sunday the sites were in Banjar Barat in Banjarmasin, Sungai Pinang in Banjar regency, Tabukan and Kuripan districts in Barito Kuala regency.

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Deutsche Presse Agentur - August 9, 1999

Dili – Representatives from East Timor's rival political factions on Monday agreed to commit themselves and their supporters to a peaceful referendum campaign in the lead-up to a self-determination ballot scheduled for August 30.

News ›› Aceh ›› Farming & Agriculture
Straits Times - August 9, 1999

Susan Sim, Pidie – Village chief Idris Yahya started packing when he heard the machine-gun fire early Friday morning. PPRM riot troops were in the vicinity and that meant one thing: It was no longer safe to stay in Keumala.

News ›› Aceh ›› Farming & Agriculture
Straits Times - August 9, 1999

Susan Sim, Banda Aceh – One year after the Indonesian military apologised for past abuses and pledged to withdraw troops, a humanitarian crisis is brewing in Aceh as a renewed crackdown on armed insurgents creates a growing refugee problem, social activists here warn.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Freedom of Religion & Worship
Reuters - August 9, 1999

Jakarta – Hundreds of Confucians gave orchids to Indonesian riot police, burnt incense and chanted prayers on Monday to demand the government officially recognise their religion.

The 200 ethnic Chinese protesters gathered outside the office of Indonesia's General Election Commission to demand parliamentary seats to represent their community.

August 8, 1999

News ›› Aceh ›› GAM & Armed Conflict
Reuters - August 8, 1999 (abridged)

Jakarta – Separatist rebels in Indonesia's Aceh province on Monday denied charges by human rights watchdog Amnesty International that they were executing military informers.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Deforestation & Forest Fires
Straits Times - August 8, 1999

Jakarta – About 3,000 civilians have been roped in to help put out forest fires in the Indonesian province of Riau which have caused pollution to hit hazardous levels and the authorities to close kindergartens and put clinics on 24-hour standby.

August 7, 1999

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Reuters - August 7, 1999 (abridged)

Prapan Chankaew, Dili – Indonesian ministers insisted during a visit to East Timor on Saturday that Jakarta could ensure security despite attacks on UN staff and fears of chaos after an August 30 independence ballot.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Social & Communal Conflicts
Agence France Presse - August 7, 1999

Jakarta – An Indonesian rights watchdog group has said 82 people were killed, four were missing and 141 injured in recent days of Moslem-Christian violence in riot-torn Ambon, a report said Saturday.

News ›› East Timor ›› UN Peacekeeping & Support Mission
Sydney Morning Herald - August 7, 1999

Mark Riley, New York – The United Nations plans to withdraw completely from East Timor if the territory threatens to dissolve into civil war after this month's autonomy ballot.

This would leave the Indonesian Army in control of the region, irrespective of whether the people vote for independence or to become an autonomous state within Indonesia.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Democracy & Civil Rights
Reuters - August 7, 1999 (abridged)

Jakarta – Indonesian police on Saturday baton-charged hundreds of students protesting during President B.J. Habibie's visit to West Java and injured seven, witnesses said.

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Irish Times - August 7, 1999

David Shanks – The Indonesian military is "openly and clearly distributing guns in the eastern towns of Baucau, Laga and other places. They are turning Timorese against Timorese. It is like hell," the Nobel laureate, Bishop Carlos Ximines Belo, said yesterday.

August 6, 1999

News ›› Aceh ›› Independence & Self-Determination
Agence France Presse - August 6, 1999 (abridged)

Jakarta – Indonesian police early Friday removed nine Acehnese protesters from the grounds of the Netherlands embassy here, where they had been camped for more than 36 hours, one of the protestors said.

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
South China Morning Post - August 6, 1999

Vaudine England, Dili – Pressure to increase the number of UN civilian police officers is increasing in the wake of persistent reports of pro-integration militias preparing for conflict.

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
East Timor International Support Center - August 6, 1999

A meeting of top military, police, pro-autonomy and paramilitary leaders, in East Timor, has planned a guerrilla war if the autonomy plan is rejected at the vote on the territory's future on Aug 30. Also the miltias have been instructed to use violent means to disrupt voting, with the help of the Indonesian military (TNI) and the police.

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Agence France Presse - August 6, 1999 (slightly abridged)

Jakarta – Pro-Indonesia East Timorese militia on Friday attacked a group of students in a church in the township of Same, injuring one of them seriously, a foreign observer group said.

News ›› East Timor ›› Immigration & Border Security
Sydney Morning Herald - August 6, 1999 (abridged)

Lindsay Murdoch in Dili and Malcolm Brown – An American doctor credited with saving the lives of scores of East Timorese attacked by pro-Jakarta militias in Dili has been refused entry to Indonesia and put on a flight to Darwin.

August 5, 1999

News ›› Aceh ›› GAM & Armed Conflict
Associated Press - August 5, 1999

Banda Aceh – Separatist rebels in Aceh threatened Thursday to blow up a valuable natural gas refinery if Indonesia didn't withdraw troops from the strife-torn province.

News ›› Aceh ›› Independence & Self-Determination
Straits Times - August 5, 1999

Jakarta – Aceh is to Indonesia what Georgia is to the United States – an integral part of the country. East Timor, by comparison, is like what Puerto Rico is to America, a territory.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Money Politics & Elite Conflicts
Agence France Presse - August 5, 1999

Jakarta – Some 42,300 troops and 11,000 civilian auxiliaries will be deployed to guard the first session of Indonesia's new national assembly in October, reports said Thursday.

The new People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), the country's highest lawmaking body, reconstituted by the June 7 elections, will meet on October 1 and then elect a president in November.

News ›› Aceh ›› Independence & Self-Determination
Agence France Presse - August 5, 1999

Jakarta – A general strike to protest military violence entered a second day Thursday in Indonesia's troubled Aceh province, leaving cities and towns deserted, residents said.

News ›› West Papua ›› Regional Autonomy & Separatism
Agence France Presse - August 5, 1999 (slightly abridged)

Jakarta – Thousands of indigenous villagers in the Irian Jaya town of Timika on Thursday protested against Indonesia's plans to carve the remote province into three parts, resident sources said. Police, however, put the number of protesters at about 100.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Money Politics & Elite Conflicts
Reuters - August 5, 1999

Amy Chew, Jakarta – Indonesia's two main opposition parties have agreed to join forces in local-level politics, cementing an alliance that opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri hopes will carry her to the presidency in November.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Social & Communal Conflicts
Jakarta Post - August 5, 1999

Jakarta – The government says an estimated 470,000 refugees are now sheltering in the South Sulawesi capital of Ujungpandang after fleeing unrest in the troubled provinces of Maluku, East Timor, Aceh and Irian Jaya.

News ›› Aceh ›› Human Rights & Justice
Jakarta Post - August 5, 1999

Jakarta – Amnesty International on Wednesday accused the Indonesian Military (TNI) of rampant violence in Aceh and said that deploying more troops in the province would only worsen the situation.

News ›› Aceh ›› GAM & Armed Conflict
Financial Times - August 5, 1999

Sander Thoenes, Jakarta – Police launched a crack-down on separatist rebels in the Indonesian province of Aceh yesterday, just as a general strike there highlighted growing support for secession.

August 4, 1999

News ›› Indonesia ›› Deforestation & Forest Fires
Agence France Presse - August 4, 1999

Jakarta – The Indonesian government needs to act soon to stop forest fires spiralling out of control in a repeat of the widespread disaster in 1997, the country's leading environmental watchdog WALHI warned Wednesday.

August 3, 1999

News ›› East Timor ›› Military Ties & Arms Trade
Tapol - August 3, 1999

[The following Memo was prepared by Tapol to reveal how the British Government continues to trot out totally misleading statements about the use of Hawk aircraft in East Timor.]

News ›› Indonesia ›› Money Politics & Elite Conflicts
Agence France Presse - August 3, 1999

Washington – The United States on Tuesday called for the quick selection of a new Indonesian president following the validation of last month's election results which show the opposition party of Megawati Sukarnoputri beating the ruling party of current President B.J. Habibie.

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Reuters - August 3, 1999 (slightly abridged)

Dili – The Indonesian military continues to support militias that are harassing and intimidating East Timorese ahead of an independence vote, an agency headed by former US President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday.

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Australian Associated Press - August 3, 1999

John Martinkus, East Timor – They came in a snaking line across the high mountain pass. Exhausted but laughing, relieved to be at the end of a harrowing 20 kilometre walk.

August 2, 1999

News ›› East Timor ›› Foreign Affairs & Trade
Financial Times (London) - August 2, 1999 (abridged)

Gwen Robinson, Sydney – The Australian government has stepped up its diplomatic involvement in the politically troubled regions of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, following visits by top officials to East Timor and PNG in the past few days.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Money Politics & Elite Conflicts
South China Morning Post - August 2, 1999

Vaudine England, Jakarta – Comments by armed forces chief and Defence Minister General Wiranto since opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri's dramatic political speech suggest he is a vital kingmaker in the months of politicking ahead – but one whose loyalty remains to the armed forces.

News ›› Aceh ›› Refugees & Asylum Seekers
Jakarta Post - August 2, 1999

Jakarta – Officials in Banda Aceh have raised concerns over the deteriorating conditions among refugees which have reached some 140,000 people in Pidie, North Aceh and East Aceh. Aceh's secretary to the governor, Sofyan Muchtar, told Antara on Saturday, "Their health is getting worse due to inadequate sanitary facilities and lack of clean water."

News ›› East Timor ›› 1999 Referendum & Pro-Integration Militia
Reuters - August 2, 1999

Dili – The United Nations Monday declared the registration process for East Timor's August 30 ballot on independence a success, saying it had already registered almost all the expected voters.

News ›› West Papua ›› Protests & Popular Resistance
Agence France Presse - August 2, 1999

Jakarta – Some 5,000 people in the remote Indonesian province of Irian Jaya held a peaceful rally Monday to call for an independent Melanesian state, witnesses said.

The protestors, many holding bibles, marched through the town of Timika singing hymns and later headed to the office of the Mimika regent to convey their demands, one witness said by phone.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Deforestation & Forest Fires
The Guardian (UK) - August 2, 1999

John Aglionby, Medan – Dozens of uncontrolled forest fires are breaking out every day across western Indonesia, blanketing much of south-east Asia in a polluted haze and raising fears that there could be a repeat of the smog crisis of two years ago.

News ›› East Timor ›› Refugees & Asylum Seekers
The Irish Times - August 2, 1999

Tjitschke Linksma looks at the plight of East Timor refugees after travelling with a UN convoy which brought one group their first consignment of aid in weeks.