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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 19, 2002
3:40 PM
CONTACT:  East Timor Action Network
John M. Miller, 718-596-7668, 917-690-4391

Statement by the East Timor Action Network on Restoration of IMET Military Training by Senate Appropriations Committee
 
WASHINGTON  - July 19 - "Yesterday's action by the Senate Appropriations Committee restoring full International Military Education and Training (IMET) for Indonesia sets back the pursuit of justice for East Timor, as well as military reform and democracy in Indonesia. It gives a green light for the Indonesian military (TNI) to continue its escalating use of brutal tactics against civilians, especially in Aceh and West Papua.

"The Indonesian military (TNI) undoubtedly will take the restoration of prestigious U.S. military training as an endorsement of business as usual and as U.S. support for continued abuse of human rights. The Senators who voted to restore full IMET have effectively given U.S. backing to continued gross violations of human rights.

"In the name of the 'war on terrorism,' the Senate committee will only promote the continued terrorization of the Indonesian people by its military.

"We strongly urge the House of Representatives and the full Senate to restore the IMET ban before the final version of the foreign operations appropriations legislation passes.

"We thank Senator Leahy and others on the committee who supported the continued restriction of IMET."

Background:

On July 19, 2002, the Senate Committee on Appropriations accepted an amendment by Senators Inouye (D-HI) and Stevens (R-AK) to lift restrictions on International Military Education and Training (IMET) for Indonesia in the Fiscal Year 2003 Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill. Before becoming law, the legislation must pass the full Senate, as well as the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee and the full House. Then any differences between the two bills must be reconciled before the legislation is sent to the President.

Congress first voted to restrict IMET for Indonesia, which brings foreign military officers to the U.S. for training, in response to the November 12, 1991 Santa Cruz massacre of more than 270 civilians in East Timor. All military ties were severed in September 1999 as the Indonesian military and its militia proxies razed East Timor following its pro-independence vote. Congress first passed the "Leahy conditions" in late 1999 and strengthened them last November. The FY00 through FY02 foreign operations appropriations laws required president to certify that Indonesia had met these conditions before regular IMET and Foreign Military Finance (FMF) weapons sales were restored for Indonesia. Last year, Congress allowed civilians from Indonesia's defense ministry to participate in the Expanded IMET program, which involves course work in such areas as civilian control of the military and human rights. The current Senate bill continues to restrict FMF for Indonesia and places conditions on its restoration.

see also "Leahy Conditions on Restrictions of Military Assistance for Indonesia Have Not Been Met": http://www.etan.org/news/2002a/07leahy.htm.

"NGOs Urge Congress to Renew Restrictions on Military Training and Weapons Sales to Indonesia": http://www.etan.org/news/2002a/07letter.htm.

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