issue 318 - November 1999
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Say no to Suharto’s rich kids
Suharto’s family members, plus other Indonesians who got rich during his reign, quietly bought up real estate in Aotearoa/New Zealand. This was first exposed by the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa who aroused a public outcry against Lilybank Lodge – a luxury hotel and hunting retreat built on the banks of Lake Tekapo which was owned by Suharto’s son Tommy. Now the Campaign has discovered that Goldfield Heights, overlooking Queenstown’s icy Lake Wakatipu, has attracted a clutch of Indonesia’s élite to its shores, including Suharto’s middle daughter, Siti Hediati Prabowo (‘Titiek’) and her husband, the sacked armed forces commander General Prabowo Subianto.
The Campaign wants properties acquired by corrupt Indonesians to be seized. They also comment on the Suhartos: ‘This family of thieves presiding over a system of mass murder and institutionalized looting are the ones who should be in the dock, for crimes against the people of Indonesia and for crimes against humanity.’
Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa
PO Box 2258 Christchurch.
Tel/Fax: +64 3366 3988.
Amnesty New Zealand
PO Box 793 Wellington.
Tel: +64 4499 3349. Fax: +64 4499 3505.
Stop British-made slaughter
D SAULNIER / CAMERA PRESS
In May 1997 the new Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said: ‘We will not permit the sale of arms to regimes that might use them for internal repression or international aggression.’ It seemed reasonable to believe Cook – as early as 1978 he described the sale of British Hawk aircraft to Indonesia as ‘particularly disturbing’. But that same month, May 1997, the new government gave the go-ahead to the export of riot-control vehicles and water cannons which were used on unarmed pro-democracy demonstrators in Jakarta.
TV direct-action satirist Mark Thomas broadcast a conversation recorded with Paul Greenwood, director of CS-gas manufacturers Pains Wessex, who says: ‘The UK Government don’t care. I’ve had the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) down... and I’ve said can I take the order and get somebody else to make it and ship it (and they said) “Yeah that’s fine”. Just as long as we’re not shipping it in the UK they don’t give a toss.’ The Blair Government had approved 64 new arms contracts to the Indonesian Government by February this year and fewer than 1 per cent of the applications were turned down between August 1997 and August 1998. The Government sent three British Hawk aircraft to Indonesia in September this year. Campaign Against the Arms Trade are keeping up the pressure.
Down to Earth
Demand change in the tourism industry
Thousands of Australians travel to Bali each year. But most put their money into the pockets of Suharto’s cronies who own many of the luxury hotels or international corporations rather than helping the locals. Although millions of tourism dollars are poured into Bali, in the words of one Balinese; ‘The people here mainly think about how they are going to eat tomorrow.’ There are a number of groups working to promote more ethical tourism. Contact:
Responsible Tourism Network
PO Box 34, Rundle Mall SA 5000.
Tel: +61 8 8232 2727 or + 61 8 8232 2727.
Fax: +61 08 8232 2808 or +61 8 8232 2808.
The travel retailer Flight Centre has become the first to react to the tragedy in East Timor. Flight Centre – which sends around 100,000 travellers to Indonesia each year – wrote to Indonesian embassies around the world this year warning that it will encourage its clients not to holiday in Bali. Chief executive officer, Graham Turner, said in September: ‘We will also be advising people not to fly with Garuda, the [Indonesian] national carrier.’ Flight Centre’s business to Indonesia amounts to between $130 million and $150 million a year, or 10 per cent of their business out of Australia – a powerful pressure point. When booking a holiday ask your travel agent exactly where your money is going and use your purchasing power for change.
If you are interested in finding out more, Murdoch University offers an Asian Sustainable Development online study course. There is a special stream on Society, Culture and Ecology in South-East Asia, co-ordinated by Indonesia specialist, Dr Carol Warren. One of the major case studies offered is based on Carol’s fieldwork in Bali, looking at social change impacts of tourism.
Tel: +61 8 9360 2345.
ACFOA Human Rights office
Refuse to support repression
While the Canadian Government claims to support human rights, it has a deeply complicit set of economic relationships with the Indonesian Government and military. This was dramatically demonstrated when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police violently suppressed human-rights demonstrations at the 1997 APEC summit meeting held in Vancouver, in order to spare President Suharto embarrassment. The National East Timor Action Network demands the Canadian Government stop all ties to the Indonesian military including both new and old export permits for military hardware and any training or future military sales; and suspend all official economic aid to the Indonesian Government, instead transferring humanitarian aid through accountable non-governmental organizations.
Canada-Asia Working Group
Canadians Concerned About Ethnic Violence in Indonesia
119 Spadina Ave, Suite 605
Toronto, ON M5V 2L1.
Tel: +1 416 977 9871.
Fax: +1 416 977 1630.
End war in Aceh
Whether we like it or not, the US has the political power to bring warring parties to the negotiating table. Human Rights Watch has been consistently putting pressure on Indonesia and the nations that support it to halt human-rights abuses. They say the US can act on Aceh: ‘First, it can continue to press both President Habibie and General Wiranto for prosecutions of officers responsible for grave abuses during DOM (the period of military control). Habibie formally apologized to the people of Aceh for the abuses earlier this year, but such apologies carry no weight unless some form of redress, including prosecution in court, takes place. Second, it can urge the Indonesian Government to reduce troop strength in Aceh. Such a reduction would be a huge confidence-building measure by the Indonesian Government toward the Acehnese. True, the conflict is escalating, but in the past, more troops have just meant more massacres, and that pattern appears to be continuing. Moreover, fewer troops might force the Government to explore non-military solutions. The Acehnese we interviewed also want a third party to mediate the conflict. The Government thus far has rejected this out of hand; it does not want to give legitimacy to Aceh Merdeka.’ Human Rights Watch, 34th Floor, 350 Fifth Avenue, New York NY 10118-3299. Tel: +1 212 290 4700. Fax: +1 212 736-1300. E-mail: email@example.com
Yellow Ribbon Campaign
(Human rights equality for Indonesian Chinese)
Suite 700, 456 Montgomery Street
San Francisco CA 94104-1240.
Amnesty USA Campaigns Department
600 Pennsylvania Ave SE Washington DC 20003.
Tel: +1 202 544 0200.
Fax: +1 202 546 7142.
Worth reading on... INDONESIA
The Mute’s Soliloquy – A Memoir by Pramoedya Ananta Toer (Hyperion, 1999; ISBN: 0-7868-6416-8). A great writer and political prisoner shares his memories. Inside Out East Timor with photography by Ross Bird and text by Xanana Gusmao, José Ramos Horta and Bishop Carlos Belo (Herman Press, 1999; ISBN: 0-9577180-3-9). Stunning photos and captions illustrate the beauty of East Timor and its people. Reformasi – Crisis and Change in Indonesia edited by Arief Budiman, Barbara Hatley and Damien Kingsbury (Monash Asia Institute, 1999; ISBN: 0-7326-1179-2). A great selection of Indonesian and other writers explaining Indonesia’s political change. The Rough Guide to Indonesia by Stephen Backshall, David Leffman, Lesley Reader, Henry Stedman (Rough Guides, 1999; ISBN:1-8582-8429-5). The best and most recent travel and country guide. Inside Indonesia magazine. A monthly magazine on Indonesian issues. To subscribe, visit their website www.insideindonesia.org/ or contact:
PO Box 1326, Collingwood, Vic 3066, Australia.
Tel: +61 3 9419 4504. Fax: +61 3 9419 4774.
Amnesty International campaigns for all Indonesians whose human rights have been violated. See contact details for your country and check out the Indonesia page of their general website: www.amnesty.org/ailib/countries/indx321.htm
The World Wide Web Virtual Library on Indonesia has links to just about every organization on Indonesia under the sun: http://coombs.anu.edu.au/WWWVLPages/IndonPages/WWWVL-Indonesia.html
The INCORE Guide to Internet Sources on Conflict and Ethnicity in Indonesia is good for background information on the country: www.incore.ulst.ac.uk/cds/countries/indonesia.html#topsource
Indonesia Online – the National Library of Australia site has comprehensive information and links, especially useful for Australian surfers. www.nla.gov.au/asian/indo/indoline.html
SaveOrDelete – the Greenpeace site for uncovering ancient forest crime - carries an investigation of the links between The UK and Indonesia's Timber Barons. www.saveordelete.com
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