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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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May 2, 1998

Sydney Morning Herald - May 2, 1998

Louise Williams, Jakarta – In a clear warning to Indonesia's growing opposition, President Soeharto has insisted there will be no political reform for at least five years and indicated his government will crack down on attempts to disrupt national stability.

Washington Post - May 2, 1998

Paul Blustein – The Clinton administration, worried that political upheaval in Indonesia could wreck the country's international economic rescue, is warning the government of President Suharto to show restraint in dealing with student demonstrations and other forms of dissent.

The Australian - May 2, 1998

Don Greenlees, Jakarta – On Sunday March 8, Haryanto Taslam joined the list of Indonesian political activists to go suddenly missing. Soon before he disappeared he received a telephone call at his home in East Jakarta and told his wife, Ani Agustina, he was going out.

May 1, 1998

PBS Special Report - May 1998

[The following is an interview with Allan Nairn, Journalist and Indonesian Specialist by Danny Schechter.]

Schechter: Suharto is out. What happens now in Indonesia?

Nairn: Suharto is out, but the army is still there. It's the army who runs the police state. Until people break their power through protest, there is really no real chance for democracy.

Jakarta Post - May 1, 1998

Jakarta – Waves of student protests critical of the government and demanding sweeping reforms were unrelenting yesterday, with clashes between students and security officers erupting on several campuses.

Kompas - May 1, 1998

Jakarta – A clash between the security apparatus and students staging actions of concern has now occurred at the Syarif hidayatullah Islamic Religion State Institute, Jakarta, on Thursday (30/4).

Straits Times - May 1, 1998

Jakarta – The Indonesian armed forces (ABRI) plans to sue Indonesian media, which suggested that the military was behind the disappearances of anti-Suharto activists, the official Antara news agency reported yesterday.

Kompas - May 1, 1998

Jakarta – The National Commission of Human Rights (Komnas HAM) has come to the conclusion after observations that the persons who were reported missing, were caught and led away by force. They did not disappear of their own choice. Abductions are a serious violation of human rights. Komnas HAM has drawn the conclusion that an organized group were responsible for the abductions.

New York Times - May 1, 1998 (slightly abridged)

By David E. Sanger and Nicholas D. Kristof

Washington – The United States is preparing to back a $1 billion payment in international emergency aid to Indonesia on Monday, despite evidence that President Suharto's family and friends are continuing to undermine efforts to break up the multi-billion dollar monopolies they control.

April 29, 1998

Reuters - April 29, 1998

Raju Gopalakrishnan, Medan – Indonesian students protesting against the rule of President Suharto battled security forces for more than six hours in Medan Wednesday, torching a police motorcycle and hurling stones at troops.

Amnesty International - April 29, 1998

There are fears that both Cut Sari and M Hasyim, who have recently "disappeared", are being held in secret military custody in Aceh province and that their safety could be at grave risk.

SiaR - April 29, 1998

Mystery contiunes to envelop kidnapers and the location at which pro-democracy activist, Pius Lustrilanang, was detained and tortured.

April 28, 1998

Reuters - April 28, 1998

Raju Gopalakrishnan, Medan – Indonesian authorities released 13 students Tuesday after detaining them over one of the most intense protests yet against President Suharto.

Sydney Morning Herald - April 28, 1998

Louise Williams, Jakarta – A secret interrogation centre where torture is used against political opponents of the Soeharto regime was revealed today to the Indonesian Human Rights Commission.

AFX-ASIA - April 28, 1998

Tokyo – US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said the lack of public participation in Indonesia's government aggravated the effect of the Asian financial crisis.

"We do not fully understand the causes of the financial crisis," Albright said.

Reuters - April 28, 1998

Jakarta - A leading US human rights group on Tuesday denounced a series of disappearances of student activists demanding that President Suharto quit.

Human Rights Watch said in a statement sent to Reuters that senior army and police officers may have lied when they denied knowledge of missing students who later turned out to have been in their custody.

Reuters - April 28, 1998

Washington – The United States said Tuesday the reported abduction and torture of an opposition activist in Indonesia was disturbing, and urged the Jakarta government to mount a full investigation.

"It's a disturbing story," State Department spokesman James Foley said of the case of Pius Lustrilanang, a 30-year-old student activist.

Human Rights Watch News Release - April 28, 1998

It is clear that the abductors of the 'disappeared' political activists systematically and repeatedly violated Indonesian law. How can the government expect students or anyone else to respect the law or the authority of the state when state security forces themselves engage in such flagrant human rights violations?

April 27, 1998

Reuters - April 27, 1998

Jakarta – Unemployment in Indonesia jumped to 13.5 million on April 24 from 8.8 million in March, according to the latest figures from the Manpower Department, the Republika newspaper reported on Monday.

Jakarta Post - April 27, 1998

Jakarta – The amount of East Kalimantan ravaged by fires this year has increased to 442,800 hectares while timber revenue losses have reached Rp 8.27 trillion (US$1.06 billion), a news report said Saturday.

Reuters - April 27, 1998

Richard Waddington, Lisbon – East Timor's traditionally fractious resistance movements have united to elect jailed guerrilla chief Xanana Gusmao as leader of a new single front against Indonesian rule of the Pacific territory.

April 26, 1998

Kompas - April 26, 1998

Jakarta – Andi Arief (27), Chairman of the Indonesian Students Solidarity for Democracy stated his preparedness to relate to the Military Police, where he all this time had been until he finally "stranded" and was declared detainee at the Police HQ last 17 April.

Reuters - April 26, 1998 (abridged)

Medan – Five Indonesian students were taken away by what student leaders said were plain clothes security officials and two others were injured in escalating protests demanding President Suharto quit, witnesses said on Sunday.

April 25, 1998

Kompas - April 25, 1998

The National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM) will shortly ask the State Police Headquarters to clarify the matter of "missing" people, following the discovery of a "missing" activist being detained at the State Police Headquarters. The Komnas HAM will also urge the apparatus to investigate fully the "abductors" of the activists, and take them to court.

Reuters - April 25, 1998

Jakarta – Indonesian police detained about 40 students during an anti-government protest at a university in Jakarta on Saturday, local journalists reported.

The 40 were taken into custody when police blocked about 500 students from taking their protest outside the campus of the Ibnu Chaldun University in East Jakarta.

Associated Press - April 25, 1998

Irwan Firdaus, Jakarta – Police with clubs and riot shields battled rock-throwing student protesters on a campus in eastern Indonesia today. It was the second violent demonstration against President Suharto in as many days.

Kompas - April 25, 1998

Jakarta - During the last ten days, employees organized under the Indonesian Legal Aid Institutes Foundation (YLBHI) have experienced terror actions. Already four persons aiding YLBHI work have been terrorized, and one among them was even almost abducted. One incident of physical terrorization has been officially reported to the Menteng Sector Police.

Straits Times - April 25, 1998 (abridged)

Jakarta – Five Indonesian companies will go on trial next month for starting forest fires, the authorities announced yesterday, as a mounting haze and drought alert was sounded across South-east Asia.

The companies will be the first tried for starting fires in East Kalimantan province where nearly 400,000 hectares of forests have been destroyed in recent months.

Kompas - April 25, 1998

Jakarta – Twenty-six students of the Universitas Mercu Buana, West Jakarta, on Friday (24/4) around 10.00 local time, came to the State Secretariat Building on Jalan Majapahit, Jakarta. Wearing red jackets, they wanted to deliver a letter and orchids for President Soeharto through the State Secretariat.

April 24, 1998

Voice of America - April 24, 1998 (abridged)

In a demonstration Friday in the Indonesian city of Solo, a respected muslim preacher – Mohammad Komar – demanded that president Suharto step down. Jenny Grant reports from solo that demonstrators there are becoming increasingly militant.

Kompas - April 24, 1998

Jakarta – The whereabouts of the activist Andi Arief (27) who since 28 March 1998 was reported as missing in Lampung is presently known. This Chairman of the Indonesian Students Solidarity for Democracy was since 17 April 1998 "returned" by his kidnappers to the HQ of the RI Police.

Amnesty International - April 24, 1998

The United National Commission on Human Rights (UNHRC), the world's annual human rights meeting, has falied to deliver an effective response to the deteriorating situation of human rights in Indonesia, Amnesty International said today.

Voice of America - April 24, 1998 (abridged)

Indonesia has succeeded in getting the United Nations Human Rights Commission to drop a resolution condemning its human rights record in East Timor. Lisa Schlein reports from the commission meeting in Geneva that a deal was worked out whereby Indonesia received a milder form of rebuke.

Bloomberg News - April 24, 1998

Leah Harrison, Jakarta – Indonesia may be more deeply mired than any other country in Asia's debt and currency crisis, but it's not too early for vultures.

Investors are swooping down on the country of more than 13,700 islands strewn across the equator between Singapore and Australia to pluck bargains from the rubble.

Dow Jones News Service - April 24, 1998

Jakarta – Thousands of university students held peaceful protests against the government Friday, a day after a dozen students were injured in a clash with police on the tourist island of Bali.

Straits Times - April 24, 1998

Jakarta – Thousands of Indonesian students have shrugged off repeated warnings from the authorities to keep up protest rallies across the country as 13 more people were hurt in a clash in Java, reports said yesterday.

Their ranks are being swelled by others demanding urgent economic and political reforms since the rallies started in February.

Associated Press - April 24, 1998

Jakarta – Health workers in Indonesia's capital are running low on blood for transfusions in a dengue fever outbreak, blamed for at least 422 deaths nationwide this year.

Health Ministry officials fear the actual death toll may be much higher, The Indonesian Observer newspaper reported today. More than 16,000 people have been infected.

Jakarta Post - April 24, 1998

Jakarta – University students here and in many other cities plugged on with their demands for an end to the economic crisis and comprehensive reforms in more demonstrations yesterday.

April 23, 1998

Far Eastern Economic Review - April 23, 1998

By Margot Cohen in Tanjungbalai, north Sumatra, and Sigli, Aceh

April 20, 1998

Time - April 20, 1998

Terry Mccarthy, Jakarta – Pramoedya Ananta Toer was perhaps the only writer in Indonesia who got the joke. Last month the Jakarta Arts Council announced the results of a nationwide writing competition: the 94 entries were so uniformly bad that the judges had refused to award anyone the first prize.

Straits Times - April 20, 1998

Susan Sim, Jakarta – More than a third of Indonesia's 36-member Cabinet turned up for the marathon talks, but a third of their main dialogue partners – the student leaders who have been organising increasingly vociferous campus protests – declined to come.

Sydney Morning Herald - April 20, 1998

David Jenkins, Jakarta – A prominent Indonesian political activist who disappeared from a Jakarta hotel in suspicious circumstances nearly six week ago has turned up In Surabaya, 670 kilometres east of the capital, in equally mysterious circumstances.

Jakarta Post - April 20, 1998

Jakarta – Intellectuals are calling on students to continue with their struggle for political and economic reforms, lending greater weight to a youth movement that has grown into a formidable force over recent months.

Time - April 20, 1998

The progression in Indonesia has been inexorable: economic hard times, then social unrest, heightened political dissent and, finally, official repression. As impassioned student demonstrations have spread across the country's campuses, nearly 400 activists have been arrested since January.

Down To Earth - April 20, 1998

Huge areas of East Kalimantan have gone up in flames this year. This part of the island of Borneo was not badly affected by the fires last year. But, while there has been heavy rainfall in other parts of Kalimantan and in Sumatra earlier this year, the weather in East Kalimantan has been dry since early January.

April 19, 1998

Java Post - April 19, 1998

"You only live once and must take a stand". This was Andi Arief's motto, an activist who was reported to have "disappeared" several months ago. In his daily life, as a political science graduate from the Gajah Mada University in Yogyakarta, Central Java, he always took a stand.

Reuters - April 19, 1998

Jakarta – Forest fires raging in Indonesia's East Kalimantan province have killed substantial insect life, posing a problem to forest rehabilitation, the official Antara news agency reported on Sunday.

"The disappearance of insects poses a problem to the rehabilitation of burnt forests," the agency said quoting a study by Abubakar Lahji of Mulawarman University.

April 18, 1998

Sydney Morning Herald - April 18, 1998

The army is being wrongly blamed for the disappearance of opposition figures, a senior officer tells Asia Editor David Jenkins in Jakarta.

Reuters - April 18, 1998

Lewa Pardomuan, Jakarta – Indonesian students launched a full-blown attack on the government during a rare dialogue with cabinet ministers on Saturday, accusing President Suharto of failing to respect the people's desires.

Jakarta Post - April 18, 1998

Jakarta – Huge numbers of students in many cities were kept up their fervent protests for lower prices and sweeping reforms yesterday with housewives in one city helping to boost the rallies.