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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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May 29, 2005

Statements ›› West Papua ›› Criminalisation & Attacks on Activism
Australia West Papua Association (Sydney) - May 29, 2005

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Presiden RI, Istana Merdeka Jakarta Pusat 10110 Indonesia

29 May 2005

Dear President Yudhoyono,

I am writing to you concerning the two West Papuan men, Philep Karma and Yusak Pakage who have just received jail terms of 15 and 10 years respectively, for so-called "treason against the state".

May 28, 2005

News ›› Indonesia ›› Human Rights & Justice
Sydney Morning Herald - May 28, 2005

Matthew Moore – A banana, some pawpaw, five slices of white bread and half bowl of vegetables is the daily ration that is supposed to sustain about 20 Westerners like Schapelle Corby serving time in Bali's Kerobokan jail.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Human Rights & Justice
Jakarta Post - May 28, 2005

Tiarma Siboro, Jakarta – The government-sanctioned fact-finding team (TPF) tasked with assisting police in probing the murder of human rights campaigner Munir is complaining that the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) remains uncooperative in the inquiry.

News ›› Aceh ›› Helsinki & Cessation of Hostilities
Agence France Presse - May 28, 2005

Separatists from the war-torn Indonesian province of Aceh said they will push for a ceasefire in their almost 30-year-old conflict with the Indonesian authorities, at peace talks in Finland.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Sexual & Domestic Violence
Jakarta Post - May 28, 2005

Hera Diani, Jakarta – After seven years, the reported rapes of more than 60 women, mostly Chinese-Indonesians, during the riots in May 1998 remain unresolved.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Governance & Public Policy
Jakarta Post - May 28, 2005

Hera Diani, Jakarta – In order to ensure regional autonomy, the government has been urged to amend the law on regional administrations, which still places governors, mayors and regents as subordinates of the central government.

May 27, 2005

News ›› Indonesia ›› Political Parties & Elections
Jakarta Post - May 27, 2005

Muninggar Sri Saraswati, Jakarta – Smita Notosusanto may be petite physically, but it seems she has not lost the energy to articulate the need for reform of the country's electoral system.

Maybe that is a reason why she has been branded a crusader for reform of the electoral system in Indonesia.

News ›› Aceh ›› Human Rights & Justice
Jakarta Post - May 27, 2005

Brad Adams, New York – On Dec. 25, 2004, eighteen people were reported killed in Aceh during clashes between the Indonesian military and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM). This brought the official number of fatalities since martial law and full scale military operations were declared in the province in May 2003 to 2,300.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Political Parties & Elections
Jakarta Post - May 27, 2005

Iman Dwianto Nugroho, Surabaya – A loud ring breaks the silence, and in a rush Budi S. quickly picks up his phone. As he reads the incoming short message, he quickly becomes worried.

One of the members of the campaign team for a candidate running in the upcoming elections of regional heads in Surabaya had just received what he claimed was veiled threat.

News ›› Aceh ›› Environment & Natural Disasters
Jakarta Post - May 27, 2005

Aguswandi, London – Post-tsunami reconstruction in Aceh is difficult work. It is not made any easier by the public being rendered illiterate by the process. Many local activists and local people I have spoken with say that many international groups and even the government seem to be more accountable to their donors and international bodies than to the Acehnese.

News ›› West Papua ›› Criminalisation & Attacks on Activism
Jakarta Post - May 27, 2005

Nethy Dharma Somba, Jayapura – A Papua district court sentenced Papuan separatist leaders Philep Karma and Yusak Pakage to 15 and 10 years in jail respectively on Thursday for "treason against the state".

News ›› Indonesia ›› Military Ties & Arms Trade
Agence France Presse - May 27, 2005

The United States has lifted a ban on the government sale of non-lethal defense equipment to Indonesia as part of a step-by-step process to restore full military ties frozen due to human rights abuses, the State Department announced.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Human Rights & Justice
Jakarta Post - May 27, 2005

It has been nine months since the murder of rights activist Munir in September and the government appointed fact-finding team is scheduled to end its investigation next month.

The Jakarta Post's Ati Nurbaiti talked to Munir's widow Suciwati, as she prepares to go abroad next month to speak about her husband's case. Below are excerpts of the interview:

News ›› Indonesia ›› Freedom of Information & The Press
Jakarta Post - May 27, 2005

Slamet Susanto, Yogyakarta – A senior police officer was sentenced to 20 months in prison on Thursday for destroying evidence in the murder case of journalist Muhammad Syarifudin, but justice still has not been done as the main perpetrators in the case have still not been identified.

News ›› Aceh ›› Martial Law & Civil Emergency
Jakarta Post - May 27, 2005

Nani Afrida, Banda Aceh – A week after the government lifted the state of civil emergency in Aceh, residents remain unsure exactly what, if anything, has changed.

May 26, 2005

News ›› East Timor ›› Balibo Five & 1975 Invasion
Melbourne Age - May 26, 2005

Stephen Senise – October 16 marks the 30th anniversary of the slaying of five Australian-based journalists during an Indonesian assault on the East Timorese border village of Balibo in 1975. They are the Balibo Five, and they have become part of the Australian mainstream consciousness.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Economy & Investment
Asia Times - May 26, 2005

Bill Guerin, Jakarta – A former aide to Indonesia's pro-business President Susilo Bambang Yudhyono took over the reins of Indonesia's powerful Investment Coordination Board (BKPM) last week, at a time when it was officially confirmed that investment approvals in Southeast Asia's largest economy had almost doubled in the first four months of this year.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Military Ties & Arms Trade
Washington Post - May 26, 2005

Michael A. Fletcher – President Bush said yesterday that it makes sense for the United States to maintain close military ties with Indonesia, despite the objections of human rights activists who say such coordination should be withheld until Indonesia does more to address human rights abuses by its military.

May 25, 2005

News ›› Indonesia ›› Human Rights & Justice
Jakarta Post - May 25, 2005

It has been seven years since Soeharto stepped down as president on May 21, 1998, after 32 years in office. The former president remains "untouchable" despite allegations of human rights abuses and corruption during his reign.

The Jakarta Post's Tony Hotland interviewed political scientist Mochtar Pabottingi about Soeharto. The following is an excerpt of that interview:

News ›› Aceh ›› Helsinki & Cessation of Hostilities
Reuters - May 25, 2005

Dean Yates, Jakarta – Indonesian negotiators and Acehnese rebels Will begin a fourth round of peace talks in Helsinki on Thursday, with the atmosphere badly strained by the government's rejection of a key separatist demand.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Economy & Investment
Jakarta Post - May 25, 2005

Jakarta – A persistently high unemployment rate and the problem of chronic graft in the bureaucracy leading to a high cost economy are overshadowing the current administration's successes in maintaining macroeconomic stability, a government report shows.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Labour & Migrant Workers
AFX News - May 25, 2005

Jakarta – More than 2,000 Indonesian workers have staged a strike in a garment factory that produces famous US designer brands to protest ill-treatment and unpaid overtime fees, a labor activist said.

At least 2,500 workers of Katexindo Citra Mandiri, have been on strike since May 14, said Dita Indah Sari of the National Front for Indonesian Workers Struggle group.

News ›› East Timor ›› Human Rights & Justice
Lusa - May 25, 2005

Washington – More than 50 international organizations have appealed to US President George Bush to use a White House meeting Wednesday with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to press for justice for victims of atrocities committed in formerly occupied East Timor.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Corruption & Abuse of Power
Agence France Presse - May 25, 2005

The World Bank exposed corruption in the implementation of a 203,000 dollar poverty-busting grant in Indonesia, saying it has blacklisted five individuals and two firms in the scandal.

"The Bank found evidence of misrepresentation of bona fides, bid collusion and kickbacks," it said in a statement.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Social & Communal Conflicts
Jakarta Post - May 25, 2005

M. Azis Tunny, Ambon – Fresh clashes have erupted in West Maluku Tenggara regency, Maluku on Friday, killing three people and injuring 51 others, police said on Monday.

News ›› Aceh ›› Helsinki & Cessation of Hostilities
Jakarta Post - May 25, 2005

Tony Hotland, Jakarta – Legislators and the government have agreed not to open the door for more talks with the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) should the next round fail to strike a deal to put an end to the armed conflict in the province.

News ›› Aceh ›› Martial Law & Civil Emergency
Green Left Weekly - May 25, 2005

James Balowski, Jakarta – At midnight on May 18, the Indonesian government declared an end to its two-year civil emergency in Indonesia's northern-most province of Aceh. But calls by the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and human rights groups for the troops to be withdrawn have been ignored.

News ›› Aceh ›› Humanitarian Aid & Reconstruction
Jakarta Post - May 25, 2005

Apriadi Gunawan, Medan – Hundreds of containers of humanitarian relief aid are still stranded in Belawan port in North Sumatra despite central government instructions that all of them be taken immediately to tsunami and earthquake victims in Aceh and Nias island.

News ›› West Papua ›› Melanesian & Pacific Solidarity
Radio New Zealand - May 25, 2005

Len Garae, Port Vila – Vanuatu's Prime Minister has blamed "foreign elements" for an incident last week where the Indonesian flag on the vehicle of Jakarta's ambassador to Port Vila was replaced with the Papuan independence flag.

May 24, 2005

News ›› Aceh ›› Helsinki & Cessation of Hostilities
Media Indonesia - May 24, 2005

Astrini D Anindita, Jakarta – The People's Representative Assembly (DPR) is calling on the government to end negotiations with Free Aceh Movement (GAM) leaders in Helsinki because they believe that it does not benefit the Indonesian government.

News ›› East Timor ›› Independence & Reconstruction
Sydney Morning Herald Editorial - May 24, 2005

The Australian-led military intervention in East Timor is considered one of the most successful peacekeeping missions in history. From the rubble of 1999 a mostly stable democratic nation has emerged. When the last of the United Nations peacekeepers pulled out over the weekend, there was good reason to celebrate.

Statements ›› East Timor ›› Human Rights & Justice
JSMP Press Release - May 24, 2005

The UN-sponsored Special Panels for Serious Crimes (SPSC) ceased operations on 20 May 2005, after trying fewer than one quarter of those indicted for serious human rights violations committed in Timor Leste in 1999.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Health & Education
Associated Press - May 24, 2005

Margie Mason – Big tears stream down Siti Fauziah's cheeks as she snuggles her doll and buries her face into her mother's shoulder. She's lost her balance and fallen again, as the 4 1/2-year-old learns what it means to live with polio.

May 23, 2005

News ›› Indonesia ›› Military Ties & Arms Trade
Straits Times - May 23, 2005

Salim Osman, Jakarta – Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono hopes to persuade United States legislators to end a ban on selling military equipment to Indonesia on his first trip to Washington this week.

The embargo was imposed in 1991 because of the country's 'poor human rights record'.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Economy & Investment
Jakarta Post - May 23, 2005

Jakarta – About two-thirds of the nation's wood-based industry has collapsed, with a "high cost economy" and aging machinery making them uncompetitive against more efficient economies such as China and Malaysia, said Indonesian Forestry Society (MPI).

News ›› Indonesia ›› Human Rights & Justice
Jakarta Post - May 23, 2005

Jakarta – "History speaks for itself." This was the response a mother of a victim killed during the 1998 Trisakti shooting in West Jakarta gave when asked about the zero law enforcement against the killers.

Statements ›› Aceh ›› Human Rights & Justice
International Labor Rights Fund Press Release - May 23, 2005

New York City Pension System Calls on Oil Company To Report on Risks to Investors from its Payments to Brutal Indonesian Military

News ›› Indonesia ›› 1998 Fall of Suharto & Reformasi
Agence France Presse - May 23, 2005

Dozens of Indonesian students have burned a picture of ex-dictator Suharto in a rally to mark the seventh anniversary of his fall after 32 years of iron-fisted rule.

But the rally by students from the state University of Indonesia was a far cry from the tens of thousands of students who stormed the parliament complex seven years ago to celebrate Suharto's resignation.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Local & Community Issues
Jakarta Post - May 23, 2005

Ambon – Residents from the Batumerah subdistrict blocked a main street in Ambon city from Friday night to Saturday morning to protest police detentions of several locals.

News ›› West Papua ›› Criminalisation & Attacks on Activism
Sinar Harapan - May 23, 2005

Jayapura – The court hearing at the Jayapura State Court on Monday May 23 in the case of Filep Karma and Yusack Pakage who are charged with raising of the Morning Star Flag was marred when defense lawyers refused to speak then walked out of the court room.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Human Rights & Justice
Detik.com - May 23, 2005

Fedhly Averouss Bey, Jakarta – Whoever it was who took Munir's life has yet to be uncovered and police are still investigating it. In order that the case gets more serious attention, it will be taken to the 75th session of the United Nations Working Group.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Jakarta & Urban Life
Jakarta Post - May 23, 2005

Damar Harsanto, Jakarta – The Jakarta administration's plan to build more toll roads connecting busy areas might be seen as a good idea to some people, but transportation experts believe they could cause greater congestion.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Cultural & Religious Events
Xinhua News - May 23, 2005

Jakarta – Thousands of Indonesian Muslims staged rally outside the US embassy in Jakarta on Sunday, condemning the alleged desecration of the Muslim holy book Koran by American soldiers at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Analysis & Opinion
Jakarta Post - May 23, 2005

Wimar Witoelar, Jakarta – Time stood still for a moment on the morning of May 21, 1998. Millions of hearts skipped a beat upon hearing the announcement on television. President Soeharto was stepping down from power. Disbelief was followed by amazement as pictures appeared of a hastily conducted ceremony at Merdeka Palace.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Corruption & Abuse of Power
Jakarta Post - May 23, 2005

Rendi A. Witular, Jakarta – Recently disclosed alleged irregularities at 16 state enterprises may have caused more than Rp 2.7 trillion (about US$287 million) in state losses, a report from the Office of the State Minister for State Enterprises says.

May 22, 2005

News ›› East Timor ›› Immigration & Border Security
Asia Intelligence Wire - May 22, 2005

[Excerpt from report by Emmy F FROM Detik.com web site on 22 May.]

Atambua – Smuggling of fuel and various basic commodities across the Indonesia-East Timor border has become rife again. There have been at least 100 cases of smuggling in the past four months via Belu district, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT).

News ›› Indonesia ›› Human Rights & Justice
Associated Press - May 22, 2005

Michael Casey, Jakarta – Thousands of protesters across Indonesia marked the seventh anniversary of the fall of former dictator Suharto yesterday by burning his portrait and demanding his prosecution on corruption charges. During his 32 years in power, Suharto muzzled the media, rigged elections and reportedly stole $600 million from state coffers.

May 21, 2005

News ›› Indonesia ›› Analysis & Opinion
Straits Times - May 21, 2005

Anthony Paul – At first glance, the latest news from Aceh seems promising: On Wednesday, Jakarta lifted the state of emergency declared a year ago, when the army stepped up its campaign against militant separatists. Peace talks between the government and GAM, the separatist movement, will continue.

News ›› East Timor ›› Timor Sea Dispute
Melbourne Age - May 21, 2005

Lindsay Murdoch, Dili – Jose Ramos-Horta sips Cuban rum and listens to classical music in the thatched-roof house he has built on a hill overlooking Dili harbour.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Environment & Natural Disasters
Xinhua News - May 21, 2005

Indonesian State Minister for Research and Technology Kusmayanto Kadiman said on Friday that the government would develop nuclear technology by 2017 for various peaceful purposes, including power generation. Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world.