First the United States began pressuring Pakistan. Then it was the Philippines. Now it is Indonesia. According torecent articles in various newspapers, the US is trying to press Indonesia into closer cooperation with its so-calledwar on terror. In exchange, the Pentagon is pressing to end the embargo on military weapons sales to Indonesia. Thatembargo was achieved by human rights groups working throughout Indonesia to end the years of violence by the militaryregime.
Meanwhile, as the Whitehouse pressures Jakarta to clamp down on so-called terrorist groups, a delegation ofIndonesian human rights activists has arrived in New York to urge the UN to help end the Indonesian occupation ofWest Papua New Guinea. West Papua was taken over by Indonesia in 1963; in 1969, it was formally annexed in afraudulent vote organized by the Suharto regime. The “referendum” was supported by the US and later ratified by theUnited Nations. Now Indonesian rights groups are asking the UN to reverse its acceptance of that vote.
- Carmel Budiardjo, Director of TAPOL, The Indonesia Human Rights Campaign. She is a former politicalprisoner in Indonesia and has worked for human rights there for more than 30 years. A few years ago she won theRight Livelihood Award, the alternative Nobel Peace Prize, for her activism.