The speech on Thursday, 17 July, by Robin Cook in which he again stressed that human rights would be at the heart of Britain's foreign policy under the Labour Government was widely reported and commented on in all the media - radio, TV and in the print media on Friday.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
July 20, 1997
July 18, 1997
Jakarta – One East Timorese rebel resisting Indonesia's rule in the former Portuguese colony has been killed in an attack on the 21st anniversary of the territory's annexation, the official Antara news agency reported on Friday.
The government is expected to allow British Aerospace to complete the contentious sale of 16 Hawk fighter aircraft to Indonesia, following advice that there are "formidable obstacles" in the way of revoking the contract.
July 16, 1997
Patrick Walters, Jakarta – One of Indonesia's most experienced infantry officers with extensive combat experience in East Timor has been named socio-political chief of armed forces.
July 14, 1997
Concerns are held for Joaquim Moreira and up to 84 other East Timorese people who may still be in detention following their arrest in June 1997(see UA 17/97). The 85 detainees were arrested in Quelicai, Baucau district, between 5 and 16 June as part of an intensive military operation launched by members of Battalion 312 and Team Saka.
July 12, 1997
[The following is a translation of a statement sent to ASIET by the underground Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) and also includes a short report from the Surabaya Post]
July 11, 1997
Jose Ramos-Horta, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and representative of the East Timorese resistance, has welcomed the Foreign Secretary's commitment to use diplomatic pressure to bring about a peaceful settlement of the conflict in East Timor and to follow through on the Government's current review of arms exports to Indonesia.
Andreas Harsono, Jakarta – Rumors have started to circulate in Jakarta that President Suharto is hinting that Harmoko – like many Indonesians, he uses just ne name – the chairman of the Suharto's ruling party, Golkar, will not become the speaker of the Indonesian parliament when it convenes to elect a new president next year.
[The following is a translation of an interview between Mirah Mahardika. Coordinator, Central Leadership Committee, Peoples Democratic Party (KPP-PRD) and Pembebasan (Liberation)]
July 10, 1997
[This is an updated and revised version of sections of a paper presented at the Oslo University public seminar on East Timor, Monday, December 9, 1996]
Jakarta – Indonesian authorities will bring 33 people to court over protests in the capital of East Timor during the visit of a United Nations envoy to the troubled territory in March, a report said here Thursday.
Moscow – Russia intends to help Indonesia in developing that country's nuclear power industry, in particular in the construction of nuclear power plants, Russian Atomic Energy Minister Viktor Mikhailov told a news conference in Moscow Thursday.
According to an AFP report of 5 July, based on a report from Antara news agency of the same day, 'relatives of the slain East Timorese rebel David Alex are now satisfied that David Alex is dead and buried, after earlier questioning his death.
According to a report in Media Indonesia on 9 July, Harmoko, who was recently removed as Minister of Information is likely to be named as the next ambassador to London. Until now, it has been generally thought that Harmoko was being groomed to become the next head of Parliament and the MPR, the upper house.
The East Timor Human Rights Centre (ETHRC) holds grave fears for the safety of five East Timorese men still in military custody following their arrest in Caibada near Baucau on 25 June, 1997 (see UA 16/97). The five men were arrested together with David Alex, second in command of the armed East Timorese Resistance (Falintil), by members of Kopassus (Special Forces Command).
July 9, 1997
Moscow – Indonesia is analysing the combat characteristics of Russian military equipment and is considering the possibility of acquiring some, [Indonesian] Minister of State Bacharuddin J. Habibie said at a news conference in Moscow today.
July 8, 1997
Moscow – Indonesia and Russia on Monday agreed to expand cooperation in the field of aviation technology and electrical power, visiting Research and Technology Minister BJ Habibie said.
July 4, 1997
It is believed that the fifth man arrested in Kaibada, near Baucau in East Timor on 25 June, is Cesario da Costa. The five included David Alex, second-in-command of the East Timorese National Liberation Army, Falintil, who later died in custody.
Dili – Indonesian securities forces have killed one East Timorese guerilla member and captured 14 others during an operation on Wednesday in Curusa, 145 km of the capital Dili, a military spokesman has said.
It is well known that since 27th July, the day on which the Suharto regime in a most violent manner crushed the peaceful movement in Indonesia which demanded a restoration of democratic rights in the country, hundreds of Indonesians have been persecuted and locked up behind bars.
Lisbon – UN and Indonesian officials are to set up an inquiry into the death of the deputy leader of East Timorese rebels fighting Indonesian troops in the former Portuguese colony, Nobel Peace prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta announced Friday.
July 3, 1997
[This is an abridged translation of a chronology written by Coen Husein Pontoh, chair of the PRD affiliated National Peasants Union (STN), who along with Dita Indah Sari (Chairperson, Center for Labour Struggle, PPBI) and M Sholeh (Surabaya Branch of Students Solidarity for Indonesian Democracy, SMID) were interned together in the Madaeng prison in Surabaya, East Java.]
Indonesian police are to charge a Roman Catholic priest over harbouring three pro-democracy activists following serious riots in Jakarta last year.
The newspaper, the Jakarta Post, said the charges would be brought against Father Ignatius Sandyawan Sumardi for harbouring leaders of the People's Democratic Party who were accused of instigating the riots in July last year.
Jakarta – The Indonesian military commander in troubled East Timor Thursday dismissed reports that rebel leader David Alex was still alive but said he would not block an independent investigation.
July 2, 1997
'Extra-budgetary' financing has always placed a question mark over the meaning of the Indonesian state budget. A new law might change all that. But only if it enjoys enough backing to overturn decades of departmental do-it-yourself financing.
July 1, 1997
The guerrilla leader David Alex who has died aged 50 after being captured by Indonesian forces, had fought in the mountains of East Timor since the Indonesian army landed in the former Portuguese colony in 1975. He was fourth in the resistance's military hierarchy and was feared by Indonesian officers for his daring raids. He had been hunted for many years.
Peter Montagnon, Hong Kong – Britain would lose its lucrative arms trade with Indonesia if the Labour Government insists on a broad link between human rights and equipment sales, Mr Ali Alatas, Indonesia's foreign minister, warned yesterday.
In a table headed, 'Kings, Queens and Dictators', Forbes lists the world's richest rulers, identifying the country, estimated worth, source of wealth and the year they came to power.
Derwin Pereira, Jakarta – Indonesia's intelligence chief has predicted that more violence could hit the country in the run-up to next year's presidential election, warning that the recent riots have yet to reach a climax.
June 30, 1997
Interview by Greg Sheridan – The Indonesian political system does not reflect the wishes of the people and this has led to much of the recent violence in the country, according to Marzuki Darusman, vice-chairman of the Indonesian Commission on Human Rights.
June 28, 1997
By Miranda Sissons, International Relations Program, Yale University. Summary of a forthcoming publication of the East Timor Human Rights Centre
June 27, 1997
Jakarta – The Indonesian airforce is considering fighter planes from France, Sweden and Russia as possible alternatives for the US F-16 fighting Falcons that Jakarta has refused to buy, a report said Friday.
A Reuter report on 27 June quoted an army lieutenant as saying by phone from Dili: 'David Alex was buried in a public cemetery in Dili on Thursday afternoon and the burial was attended by his relatives.'
The ETHRC has received an urgent appeal from Baucau, East Timor, where 85 East Timorese people were arrested between 5 June and 16 June 1997. One ETHRC source has reported that the 85 are still in detention at Kodim headquarters in Baucau, however this is still unconfirmed and it is not known how many of the 85 are still detained.
[The following is a translation of a statement sent to Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor (ASIET) by the underground Peoples Democratic Party (PRD)]
June 26, 1997
We have good reason to believe that the Baucau commander of the East Timor armed Resistance, David Alex, is still alive contrary to claims by the Indonesian armed forces (Abri) that he was killed in a battle.
Louise Williams, Jakarta – One of Indonesia's most influential economists has criticised the slowdown in deregulation and warned the Soeharto Government that it must address "collusion" in business to boost the competitiveness of Indonesia's exports.
Surabaya – Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) activists Coen Husein Pontoh and Mohammad Soleh, suffered injuries as a result of torture after the riot by inmates at the Medaeng prison, Didoarjo, Surabaya, on June 11. The reason was that they were accused of being be brains and the leaders of the riot.
We are deeply concerned over the safety of five East Timorese arrested together with the Baucau commander of the East Timor armed Resistance, David Alex. Indonesian authorities refuse to disclose their whereabouts and our sources indicate they might be detained in the Rumah Merah Indonesian military torture installation in Baucau.
On June 16, 1997, the Indonesian Government will introduce the Manpower Bill to parliament and force its passage into law, thereby consolidating its repression of the labour movement.
June 25, 1997
Richard Lloyd Parry – Weeks after it announced a new "ethical dimension" to foreign policy, and Robin Cook the Foreign Secretary promised to "put human rights at the heart of foreign policy", the Government has invited three senior officers of the notorious Indonesian Armed Forces (Abri) to a sales exhibition of British arms equipment.
June 24, 1997
Jakarta – An Indonesian journalist has died in hospital, two days after being admitted following a severe beating which left him in a coma.
Mohammad Sayuti, 43, worked for the Pos Makasar newspaper based in Ujungpandang, the capital of southern Sulawesi.
He was found unconscious and bleeding from the mouth on Monday in Palopo, the daily's editor, Harun Rasyid, said.
Ed Aspinall – General elections during the 30 years of President Suharto's New Order government were never times to make important decisions about the nation's future. After all, Golkar victories are never in doubt.
June 23, 1997
Indonesia has formally annouced the results of last month's general election, with the ruling Golkar party winning 325 seats in the 500-member parliament.
The National Election Institute says the Muslim-based United Development Party or P-P-P, won 89 seats, while the Christian-Nationalist Indonesian Democratic Party or P-D-I, won eleven.
There is currently a climate of fear in East Timor with the launch of a sweep-up operation, called Gerakan Tuntas (Annihilation Campaign) , by the Indonesian armed forces (Abri). We have received numerous phone calls, from the territory, with the callers telling us of heavy movements of Indonesian troops in the towns of Liquica and Baucau and the capital Dili.
The Indonesian government has cancelled a controversial plan to hold a seminar to reassess the role of founding president, Sukarno, in a failed coup in 1965.
The Youth and Sports Minister, Haryono Isman, said that after hearing the views of various leaders it was proposed to President Suharto that there was no need to hold the seminar.
June 22, 1997
Jakarta – Indonesia's Religious Affairs Minister Tarmizi Taher faced further criticism yesterday for having said it was halal (permissible under Islamic law) to take the lives of rioters.
Susan Sim, Jakarta – Opposition leader Megawati Soekarnoputri marks the first anniversary of her ouster by a government-backed faction today, cheered by reports that she has been nominated for this year's Nobel Peace Prize.
Keith Loveard, Jakarta – Indonesia's ruling group, Golkar, has always been in a no-lose situation. Under the country's electoral system, only three political parties are allowed to contest parliamentary polls, and all candidates must be vetted by the authorities. Golkar is the oldest and best-organized, and the one with most government support.
An official of the opposition Indonesia Democracy Party or P-D-I has accused the government of tampering with election results.
In a press statement, an M-P of the P-D-I, Sukowaluyo Mintoraharjo, says the people at the National Election Institute who have tampered with the votes have committed a political crime.