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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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July 19, 1998

Jakarta Post - July 19, 1998

Jakarta – Abdurrahman Wahid, Megawati Soekarnoputri and Bishop Carlos Felipe Ximenes Belo, in a unique gathering, yesterday called on the government to form a coalition with reform leaders to lead the nation out of the economic crisis.

Jakarta Post - July 19, 1998

Jakarta – The Armed Forces (ABRI, warned yesterday it win crack down hard against looters amid growing signs of a breakdown of law and order in some parts of the country.

July 18, 1998

Suara Pembaruan - July 18, 1998 (Extracts, translated by Tapol)

Following a meeting in Jakarta between Indonesian opposition leaders Abdulrachman Wahid, leader of the mass-based Nadlatul Ulama, and Megawati Sukarnoputri, leader of the PDI, the two opposition leaders expressed support for Bishop Belo's position on the question of East Timor.

Sydney Morning Herald - July 18, 1998

Jennifer Hewett, Washington – The amount of poverty in Indonesia is likely to double during the next year, according to a new report from the World Bank which says that no country in history has suffered such a dramatic reversal of fortune.

Kompas - July 18, 1998

Jakarta – Some 80 women of the Indonesian Women's Coalition for Justice and Democracy (KPIKD), on Friday (17/7) staged a demonstration in front of the Department of Defense & Security on Jalan Merdeka Barat, Jakarta.

July 17, 1998

Kompas - July 17, 1998

Speaking at a seminar in Jakarta Thursday, Bishop Belo said the vast majority of East Timorese people want a referendeum to determine East Timor's future. He said that whether or not a referendum is held depends on the results of talks between Indonesia, Portugal and the UN. And if a referendum is held, he said, it should be supervised by an independent and authoritative body.

Reuters - July 17, 1998 (abridged)

Amy Chew, Jakarta – The 22nd anniversary of Indonesia's annexation of East Timor passed off peacefully in Dili on Friday as the territory's jailed guerrilla leader opened the way for direct diplomatic contact between Jakarta and Lisbon.

Wall Street Journal - July 17, 1998

Jay Solomon and Wayne Arnold, Solo – The economists and politicians trying to fathom how many billions of dollars will buy stability in Indonesia would do well to come read the signs here in the seat of the Javanese heartland.

July 16, 1998

Tapol statement - July 16, 1998 (abridged)

Major-General Syamsu Djalal announced earlier this week that seven officers of the army's elite corps, Kopassus, have been arrested in connection with the disappearance of a number of activists since mid-1997. He said that five lower and middle-ranking officers had already been charged and that two others, a colonel and an officer of higher rank, were still under investigation.

Reuters - July 16, 1998

Jakarta – An Indonesian minister said some political parties which have sprung up in recent months will not be legally recognised, the Jakarta Post reported on Thursday.

Wall Street Journal - July 16, 1998

Jay Solomon, Sleman – At high noon July 7, 700 Indonesian villagers descended upon this district's local legislature in a noisy convoy of motorcycles, red banners and clove cigarette smoke.

East Timor International Support Center - July 16, 1998 (slightly abridged)

Indonesia has based its claim that the East Timorese have already expressed their desire to integrate into Indonesia on two actions: Balibo Declaration (November 30, 1975) and the Act of Integration (May 31, 1976). Listed below are certain facts which show that these two actions cannot be regarded as justification for integration.

July 15, 1998

East Timor International Support Center - July 15, 1998

Jakarta – The East Timorese people will overlook the horrors of war for the past 23 years and consider the invasion of their country, by the Indonesians, a "mistake in history" if Jakarta is willing to allow them a stronger say in their own political future, jailed Resistance leader Xanana Gusmao told a seminar yesterday.

Workers World - July 15, 1998

Sharon Ayling – Under extreme duress, Indonesia agreed June 25 to accept terms dictated by the International Monetary Fund as a condition for receiving outstanding payments on a $43 billion loan.

Suara Pembaruan and Antara - July 15, 1998 (posted by Tapol)

Andi Arief, who heads SMID, the student wing of the People's Democratic Party, was released on Tuesday [July 14] and has now returned to his parents' home in Lampung, South Sumatra.

The Guardian - July 15, 1998

John Aglionby – Lisa's parents are amazed she is still alive. On June 18, a week after her ninth birthday, this Chinese-Indonesian girl who lives 20 miles outside the north Sumatran city of Medan chose to walk home from school rather than wait for her elder sister Martha.

July 14, 1998

Sydney Morning Herald - July 14, 1998

Louise Williams, Jakarta – Tensions are rising in East Timor ahead of a visit this week of the United Nations special envoy Mr Jamsheed Marker, and tens of thousands of non-Timorese residents are reported to have fled the contested province.

Wall Street Journal - July 14, 1998

Marcus W. Brauchli, Jakarta – For a generation, the World Bank considered this sprawling archipelago's rise from poverty its great triumph. Now Indonesia's unraveling is raising questions about the World Bank's long forbearance of the regime of former President Suharto.

South China Morning Post - July 14, 1998 (abridged)

Jakarta – Coffee beans are travelling under armed guard in Indonesia amid growing looting, traders said yesterday.

July 13, 1998

Jakarta Post - July 13, 1998

Jakarta – Observers have blasted Golkar's huge executive lineup, saying it was comprised of people affiliated to the government and that it was too big thus making it too cumbersome to meet with the swift challenges of the future. "Just look at the lineup, it is still government-oriented," social observer Mochtar Buchori told The Jakarta Post yesterday.

Time Magazine - July 13, 1998

For the past six years, East Timorese independence fighter Xanana Gusmco has languished inside Jakarta's Cipinang prison, accused of plotting against the state and illegal possession of weapons. Leader of the revolutionary group fretilin, Gusmco, 52, recently began secret talks with Indonesian officials over East Timor's future.

East Timor International Support Center - July 13, 1998

The East Timor International Support Center is deeply disturbed by reports from East Timor's capital, Dili, that shoot on sight warnings have been issued by the Indonesian Armed Forces (ABRI) to East Timorese planning pro-independence protests this week.

July 11, 1998

Agence France Presse - July 11, 1998

Jakarta – Indonesia's ruling Golkar party on Saturday elected the country's State Secretary Akbar Tanjung as its new leader and officially snapped its last links with discredited former president Suharto. The result of the leadership vote was greeted with cheers and hailed as a victory for the party, which many had predicted could not survive in the post-Suharto era.

July 10, 1998

Siar - July 10, 1998

Jakarta – Following the retaking of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) headquarters by pro-Megawati Sukarnoputri PDI supporters the day before in Jakarta and Sumut [North Sumatra], on Friday afternoon, July 10, thousands of pro-Megawati PDI supporters simultaneously attacked and retook five branch offices in Jakarta.

Jakarta Post - July 10, 1998

Jakarta – The National Commission on Human Rights put the blame squarely on the government yesterday for the rampant rapes and sexual assaults during riots in Jakarta and other cities in May, denouncing its attitude toward the victims as "insensitive".

East Timor Human Rights Centre - July 10, 1998 (abridged)

The East Timor Human Rights Centre (ETHRC) has received further information involving the extra-judicial execution of Maria da Costa (previously reported as Maria Freitas).

Wall Street Journal - July 10, 1998 (abridged)

Jay Solomon, Sumber Wungu – Unbowed by his poverty, the village elder is more than happy to display his menu for the day: processed cassava root, perhaps some corn – and grasshopper.

The Age - July 10, 1998

Louise Williams – "These are primitive people," said the Indonesian military officer of the tribespeople of the pristine forests and coastal mangrove swamps of the remote province of Irian Jaya.

Sydney Morning Herald - July 10, 1998

Louise Williams, Jakarta – The Australian Foreign Minister, Mr Downer, has strongly defended Canberra's military links with Indonesia as useful channels for urging restraint, despite revelations that Indonesian troops were involved in kidnapping and torturing democracy activists.

July 9, 1998

Reuters - July 9, 1998

Jakarta – More than 10,000 workers from 14 companies in the Jakarta area have gone on strike to demand an increase in the minimum wage, today's Jakarta Post quoted a labor activist as saying.

Jakarta Post - July 9, 1998

Jakarta – Chairman of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Harmoko swore in 27 new members yesterday, 24 of whom represent the dominant political group Golkar. Some of the new appointments are politicians and public figures known to be close to President B.J. Habibie, including his aide, political scientist Dewi Fortuna Anwar, and cabinet ministers Theo L.

July 8, 1998

Reuters - July 8, 1998 (abridged)

Jim Della-Giacoma, Jakarta – Indonesia's food situation has worsened in recent months and it is likely the key August harvest of rice, the country's staple, will fall below target, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said.

Jakarta Post - July 8, 1998

Jakarta – Prosecutors at the military tribunal investigating the Trisakti shooting incident demanded prison sentences for two police officers who ordered their men to shoot into the crowd of demonstrators. They requested a 10 month jail term for First Lt. Agus Tri Heryanto and a seven month sentence for Second Lt. Pariyo.

The Age - July 8, 1998 (abridged)

Louise Williams – Thousands of protesting tribespeople in the remote Baliem Valley raised an independence flag early this morning, as pro-independence demonstrations in Irian Jaya widened despite a bloody police crackdown at a similar ceremony on the island of Biak yesterday.

Jakarta Post - July 8, 1998

Jakarta – About 2000 becak (pedicab) drivers pedaled their three-wheeled vehicles to Jakarta City Hall yesterday morning to urge the authorities to allow them to operate in the city's alleys and narrow streets.

July 7, 1998

Agence France Presse - July 7, 1998 (abridged)

Jakarta – Indonesian troops may have killed as many as five people and wounded 141 when they opened fire on a crowd which raised a separatist flag in Irian Jaya province, church and human rights sources said Tuesday.

Jakarta Post - July 7, 1998

Stevie Emilia, Jakarta – More pollution. That's the first thing that comes to mind after learning that the city plans to suspend its environmental programs due to its limited budget.

MateBEAN - July 7, 1998

Dili – At the moment in East Timor underground leaflets are being distributed which smack of playing people off against each other [ie anti-and pro-integration supporters - JB] and threats which are upsetting society. The leaflets threaten to finish-off East Timorese people who are anti-integration and anti-Habibie.

July 6, 1998

Reuters - July 6, 1998 (abridged)

Kate Beddall, Jakarta, – Indonesian security forces fired rubber bullets to disperse around 700 pro-independence demonstrators in the remote province of Irian Jaya on Monday, wounding 24 people, the official Antara news agency said.

Down To Earth - July 6, 1998

[Message received from NGO in North Sulawesi dated July 1 - translated.]

More than 300 young Minahasans (one of the peoples of N. Sulawesi) protested about the presence of PT Newmont Minahasa Raya – the largest gold mine in North Sulawesi located at the village of Ratatotok. A group of "reformists" occupied part of the mine for more than 7 hours.

Agence France Presse - July 6, 1998 (Extracts)

Jakarta – Students prevented police entering a campus in Irian Jaya Monday to investigate a shooting at a pro-independence rally amid fears over the honesty of the probe, witnesses said. More than 80 students stood guard at the Cendrawasih (UNCEN) University campus where law student Steven Suripatty was shot and seriously wounded Friday during a rally.

East Timor International Support Center - July 6, 1998

Dili, (Yayasan Hak, Rights Foundation) – On June 24, at 1:00 pm a secret meeting was held in the Korem 164 WD military district in East Timor between top Indonesian military (ABRI) officers and the Jakarta-controlled pro-integration party, APODETE. The following were agreed upon between APODETE and ABRI:

Tapol - July 6, 1998

[This is a slightly summarised translation of an account of events in Sorong, West Papua on 2 July by IHRSTAD, the Jayapura-based Institute for Human Rights Studies and Advocacy - Tapol.]

July 5, 1998

Reuters - July 5, 1998 (abridged)

Amy Chew, Jakarta – Social pressures are building in Indonesia, where nearly half the population is forecast to be living below the poverty line by the end of the year as jobs dry up and prices soar.

Kompas - July 5, 1998

Jakarta – A Coalition of the Democratic Movement (Koalisi Garakan Demokrasi), which will gather together political [opposition] figures outside of the government, will soon form a pressure group and "moral force" to push for total reform.

July 4, 1998

Sydney Morning Herald - July 4, 1998

Louise Williams, Jakarta – On the first day the strike seemed pretty ordinary: hundreds of steel workers milling outside the factory gates on the industrial fringe of Jakarta demanding better food, time off to pray and better wages to cope with rocketing prices.

Agence France Presse - July 4, 1998

Jakarta - The Indonesian military has apologized for shooting at and wounding students during a pro-independence demonstration in the remote province of Irian Jaya, witnesses and press reports said Saturday. Local military commander Colonel Samuel Josef made a public apology Friday in the provincial capital of Jayapura, where the shooting took place, the Kompas daily said.

July 3, 1998

Agence France Presse - July 3, 1998

United Nations – The United Nations said Thursday it has made no formal proposals to settle the issue of the status of the former Portuguese colony of East Timor, annexed in 1976 by Indonesia.

Jakarta Post - July 3, 1998

Jakarta – Leading human rights campaigners have dismissed a bill on street protests as the government's bid to restrict citizens' rights to freely express ideas rather than a serious effort to respect freedom of expression.

SiaR - July 3, 1998

Jakarta – Since Monday June 29, thousands of traders in the village of Kerang Tengah, in the sub-district of Ciledung, Tangerang, have occupied nine hectors of land owned by PT Bogasari. The same thing was done by thousands of traders from North Jakarta on land owned by PT Subentra in the village of Harjamukti Cimanggis in Bogor, West Java.