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Salatiga security authorities banned East Timor seminar

MateBEAN - December 16, 1997

Salatiga – Military authorities in Salatiga banned "Seminar on the Prospects of Justice Movements, Peace and the Struggle for Human Rights in East Timor". The seminar itself was organised by the Communication Forum of Nahdlatul Ulama Students Movement (FKGMNU) last Monday 14 December 1997.

An FKGMNU staff told MateBEAN that the military had been harassing the State College of Islamic Religion (STAIN) campus since Saturday 13 December 1997. Trucks of army soldiers drove by in front of the campus building back and forth. Meanwhile, Ahmad Dimyati, the chairman of the organising committee called by the Military District Command for questioning. "But I do not know what kind of questions had been asked by the military," said the young student.

Since early in the morning, the campus was packed by plain clothesmen (popularly known among the activists as "intels") from the Military District Command and Police Precinct's investigation department agents. Then the seminar room was locked-tight by the campus warden. "A security officer asked a College Staff to lock the room without giving reason why the room must be locked," said one STAIN student.

Around 50 persons sat near the place, waiting for the speakers to come. The organising Committee tried to use another room but security officers dispersed them.

"It was impossible to organise the seminar in the Campus building. We decided to move to Geni Foundation office and held a warm discussion with the speakers," explained one member of the OC. "At least we can lessen our anger." Clementino dos Reis Amaral expressed his anger by commenting harshly: "What is this!? Why they ban a seminar in a campus?" To ease disappointment, three key-note speakers were brought to Geni Foundation Office and invited to a discussion there. The speakers were Clementino Dos Reis Amaral from the National Commission of Human Rights, Ida Ayu Yanti from FKGMNU and Aderito de Jesus Soares from ELSAM (a human rights advocacy group).

The aim of the seminar is to arouse concerns on East Timor problems. By doing so, the organising committee hoped the seminar would motivate people to join forces in a broad solidarity movement for justice and peace in East Timor. "We invite religious community, especially the young generation, to play significant role in the process of a peaceful and just East Timor problem solving," said one organising committee member. The seminar will present religious leaders such as Father YB Mangunwijaya (Catholic), TH Sumartana (Protestant), AS Hikam (Moslem). Three key speakers, Clementino Dos Reis Amaral from the Nat-ional Commission of Human Rights, Ida Ayu Yanti from FKGMNU and Aderito de Jesus Soares from ELSAM (a human rights advocacy group) were invited by the organising committee to a discussion in Geni Foundation office. Also invited, East Timor experts like Clementino dos Reis Amaral, Aderito de Jesus Soares, and Ida Ayu Yanti as the representative of the National Board of FKGMNU.