Muninggar Sri Saraswati, Jakarta – Acehnese appealed once again for an end to lingering suspicion about their allegiance to the country as the House committee deliberating the bill on the province's governance made a weekend trip to Banda Aceh.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
March 13, 2006
Muninggar Sri Saraswati, Jakarta – House Speaker Agung Laksono denied reports Saturday that members of the House of Representatives would receive yet another pay hike.
"There will be no salary hike in 2006. We don't know yet if there will be any in 2007 or 2008. We last got a salary increase approved in 2005, but it has yet to be disbursed," he told reporters.
Tb. Arie Rukmantara, Jakarta – Indonesian environmentalists plan to discuss pollution and rights abuse by multinational companies during the upcoming UN Human Rights Commission meetings in Geneva.
March 12, 2006
The emergence of democracy in Indonesia has "thoroughly transformed" US relations with that country, the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, said in remarks made public yesterday.
Hyginus Hardoyo, Manokwari, West Irian Jaya – Eligible voters in West Irian Jaya crowded polling stations Saturday, ignoring threats of violence if the gubernatorial election in the disputed province went ahead.
Panca Nugraha, Mataram – About 300 people, mostly women, took to the streets Saturday in a loud protest against the antipornography bill, which they said degraded women, insulted many local cultures and threatened tourism.
Tom Hyland – Outside, the autumn sun glistens on the Yarra. Inside the swish restaurant at Federation Square there's the clink of cutlery as hundreds of Melbourne women lawyers listen to a lunchtime speech by the woman who is billed to speak on her life, "from Melbourne arts student to the first lady of East Timor".
Duncan Graham, Surabaya – Before sociologists and grief counselors got hold of the word, "closure" meant keeping the door shut. Now it refers to the absence of a corpse, unresolved disputes about cause of death, the mystery of a sudden fatality.
And the reason. And the perpetrator. Suciwati does not have closure. Maybe she never will.
Nethy Dharma Somba, Jayapura – Hundreds of residents angry with the results of the gubernatorial election in Papua on Friday attacked the General Elections Commission (KPUD) office in Puncak Jaya regency.
March 11, 2006
Mark Forbes and Karuni Rompies in Jakarta – Lilis Lindawati finished waitressing at 8pm and was waiting for a bus when the men in brown shirts came. Five jumped from the back of a ute and forced her into a nearby van.
Jakarta, Makassar – A bomb exploded at a Hindu temple in the conflict-scarred town of Poso, Central Sulawesi on Friday, a day after the government announced an extension of its security operation in the area for another three months.
Ubud – Emerald rice paddies once stretched for mile upon mile alongside the road that winds through scenic Ubud on Indonesia's Bali island, but today just glimpses remain as hotels, restaurants and shops have risen up to block the view.
Benget Simbolon Tnb., Jakarta – The government is yet to take serious action to protect migrant workers overseas despite recurring cases of their ill treatment by recruiters and employers, a seminar concluded Thursday.
Tony Hotland, Jakarta – Eight months ago, top officials were seen attending Cabinet meetings dressed simply. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono often wore smart, short-sleeved batik shirts and his Cabinet also sported casual attire.
Muninggar Sri Saraswati, Jakarta – The two largest factions in the House of Representatives are expected to push for major changes to the pornography bill currently being deliberated, as the controversy over the issue continues to grow.
The Golkar Party and the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) occupy 128 and 109 seats respectively in the 550-seat House.
March 10, 2006
Executive director of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Hadi Soesastro said East Timor has abundant natural resources.
Suherdjoko, Wonosobo – President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told protesting subdistrict heads Thursday that he would not heed their demands for longer terms of office, and added that such a move would be against the law.
Virginia Winder – East Timor needs fair trade to turn its economy around, says peace and environmental activist Ego Lemos.
The Timorese man arrived in Taranaki yesterday for the Parihaka International Peace Festival.
Muninggar Sri Saraswati, Jakarta – The government has extended its security operation in the conflict-scarred region of Poso, Central Sulawesi, by another three months because it says tensions remain high in the area.
H. E. Kofi Annan
Secretary-General United Nations
New York, NY 10017 USA
Fax: +1-212-963 48 79
Vienna, 10 March 2006
Richard Lloyd Parry – Five years after being liberated from Indonesian occupation, the tiny country of East Timor is in a downward spiral of poverty, poor health and illiteracy, according to a grim report by the United Nations.
East Timorese die on average 15 years younger than other East Asians and four out of ten of them survive on less than 30 pence a day.
Ambon, Maluku – A protest at the State Islamic Institute in Ambon escalated Thursday when 500 students told lecturers and staff to leave the campus. The protesting students have sealed off the campus since Monday, forcing 3,000 students to miss classes.
Charles Honoris, Tokyo – The proposed pornography bill has created a nationwide controversy. Several interpretations of the bill suggest that the article outlawing women from showing "sensual parts" could result in banning women from wearing swimsuits or bikinis – or even the kebaya. Even more difficult will be to define what constitutes an "erotic dance".
Tb. Arie Rukmantara, Jakarta – Munir's murder, the religiously motivated attacks on Ahmadiyah followers and forced church closures are some of issues local activist groups plan to raise at the upcoming session of the United Nation's Commission on Human Rights.
Banda Aceh – Dewi Haryanti was in a hurry. The 25-year-old was exchanging her hotel waitress uniform for street clothes for the trip to her second job at a boutique she owns with her sisters in the capital of Indonesia's tsunami-torn Aceh province.
Washington – Australia's top diplomat in the US has delivered a rousing speech in support of Indonesia and criticised the motives of fighters for the independence of Papua.
Ambassador Dennis Richardson's address yesterday to a US/Indonesia advocacy group in Washington was so supportive Indonesia's ambassador joked that he may soon be out of a job.
March 9, 2006
Jakarta – Women's groups took to the nation's streets Wednesday to voice their opposition to sharia law and the controversial pornography bill, both which they said unfairly criminalized women's sexuality and behavior.
Multa Fidrus, Tangerang – Some 1,500 people representing various groups staged a rally Monday at the Tangerang administration office on Jl. Satria, to show support for a bylaw that regards the performance of sex work as a criminal offense.
Abdul Khalik, Jakarta – The government's campaign against graft seems to be coming unstuck at the prosecutor's office, with a mountain of cases still to be tried. A paltry two of about 2,000 corruption cases have been processed in the past six years, head of the Jakarta Prosecutor's Office Rusdi Taher said Wednesday.
Mark Forbes, Jakarta – An Australian aid agency is among those to have lied about their lacklustre efforts in Aceh's $7 billion tsunami reconstruction program, the program's director says.
John Pilger – In 1993, I and four others travelled clandestinely across East Timor to gather evidence of the genocide committed by the Indonesian dictatorship.
Rob Taylor, Jakarta – East Timor is at a tipping point and must use billions of dollars from the carve-up of undersea oil and gas reserves wisely or continue its downward spiral into poverty, a new report has warned.
A US State Department report alleging torture and intimidation by Indonesian security forces against Papuan separatists may add weight to the case of 43 Papuan boat people seeking asylum in Australia.
Tb.Arie Rukmantara, Jakarta – A technical snafu Wednesday meant legislators were unable to scrutinize the government's controversial US$30 million out-of-court settlement with PT Newmont Minahasa Raya over a pollution case.
On March 8, no less than 400 mostly women activists from Perempuan Mahardhika, which is made up of urban poor, worker and student organisations along with other women's groups, marched to demand government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono stop paying the foreign debt and use the budget to improve welfare for the poor.
ID Nugroho, Surabaya – Eighteen underage prostitutes were recently held at Surabaya Police Headquarters for several days after being picked up by officers during a raid on the city's Dolly red-light district.
Cara Jenkin – In Adelaide, Kirsty Sword Gusmao can see that women, young and old, enjoy equal opportunities. At her home in East Timor, they still struggle for even basic gains.
In her position as First Lady of East Timor, Ms Sword Gusmao was guest speaker at the UNIFEM Adelaide Breakfast at the Adelaide Convention Centre yesterday.
Jakarta, Kompas – Commemorating International Women's Day on March 8, women in Jakarta, Banda Aceh, Yogyakarta and Makassar held peaceful actions demanding that the government and the House of Representatives (DPR) resolve the nation's major problems.
Jakarta – About 3,000 workers took to the streets outside Merdeka Palace on Wednesday to show their opposition to a plan by the government and the Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) to revise the 2003 Labor Law.
Muninggar Sri Saraswati, Jakarta – Poor coordination among government agencies, a lack of security features and systemic corruption makes it all too easy for criminals to get hold of multiple identity cards, a Home Ministry official says.
March 8, 2006
Dozens of employees of Klub Golf Senayan in Central Jakarta demonstrate on Tuesday outside the management's office.
The gardeners, housekeepers, waitresses and security guards demanded a transportation and a meals allowance on top of their basic salary.
Craig Skehan – Entrenched poverty could destabilise East Timor unless earnings from oil and gas are fairly distributed, a United Nations report has found.
Half the estimated population of 1 million lacks safe drinking water and 60 in every 1000 infants die before their first birthday. Life expectancy is only 55, while the average yearly income of $500 has been falling.
Muninggar Sri Saraswati, Jakarta – Legislation protecting state secrets should be passed before the freedom of information bill is made law, or there could be complications, the government says.
Jakarta – Around 100 women activists from the Women's Anti-Poverty Movement (GPAK) held a peaceful action at the State Palace in Jakarta on Wednesday March 8 to commemorate International Women's Day.
Zoe Kenny – On February 25, the five-day blockade by several hundred West Papuan villagers of the sole access road to Freeport's Grasberg mine was called off. The villagers achieved their modest goal of retaining the right (although formally illegal) to fossick among the mine's tailings to collect copper and gold remnants.
Radzie, Banda Aceh – Acehnese women are asking to be involved in the process of public policy making in Aceh. In addition to this they are also calling for the enforcement of Islamic law not just be for women but for crimes such as corruption.
Zaky Almubarok, Jakarta – The government is targeting to send 700,000 Indonesian overseas contract workers this year, an increase of 225,900 compared to last year's total of 474.310.
"They will be placed in Japan, Korea, Australia, and other countries," said the Minister of Manpower & Transmigration, Erman Suparno, in Jakarta yesterday (8/3).
P.O. Box 15774, Washington, DC 20003
8 March 2006
Assistant Secretary Christopher R. Hill
Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
US Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520
Via Facsimile 202-647-7350
Dear Mr. Assistant Secretary:
Bill Guerin, Jakarta – In a closely watched, highly contentious court case, a German bank is in the dock in an ongoing legal battle against a Singapore-registered company over ownership of Indonesian assets that are now partly owned by the Singaporean government.