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Indonesia said guilty of serious abuses

Reuters - January 30, 1997

Washington – Indonesia continued to commit serious human rights abuses in 1996, including in East Timor, the United States said on Thursday.

Authorities maintained a tight grip on the political process, legal protections against torture were inadequate and security forces continued to torture and mistreat detainees in region such as Irian Jaya and East Timor, the State Department said in its annual human rights report.

"The (Indonesian) government continued to commit serious human rights abuses," the report said.

In East Timor, "there were further instances of killings, disappearances, torture and excessive use of force by the military and insurgents," it said.

"Respected observers noted a decrease in serious incidents but 1996 Nobel Peace Prize co-laureate Bishop Belo said that it would be a mistake to conclude that the human rights environment in East Timor was improving," the report said.

The report also faulted the government for continuing "to impose severe limitations on freedom of assembly and association" and said that "in anticipation of the 1997 parliamentary elections, the government took a number of actions to intimidate political opponents."