Activists say military cooperation okay if human rights dealt with first

Kompas – March 19, 2010
Barack Obama shakes hands with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (Liputan)
Barack Obama shakes hands with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (Liputan)

Jakarta – The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) is calling on the United States not to cooperate with or provide military assistance to the Indonesian government. Military cooperation would only be acceptable if the Indonesian government seriously deals with and resolves cases of human rights violations.

This was conveyed by Kontras coordinator Usman Hamid at a meeting with victims of human rights violations in Jakarta on Thursday March 18.

“We are asking President Obama not to cooperate with [the Indonesian] military, including providing military assistance, if the Indonesian government is not serious about dealing with cases of human rights violations”, he said.

During the meeting, the families of the victims of human rights violations also made plans for a peaceful action to coincide with the visit by US President Barack Obama. The families also asked the US president not to cooperate with the Indonesian military.

“We want to point out that to this day the government has failed to seriously tackle cases of human rights violations,” said Sumarsih, the mother of Wawan, a student who was shot in front of the Atma Jaya University in Jakarta in November 1998. (DWA/FER)

[Abridged translation by James Balowski. The second section of the article dealt with comments by Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro on US-Indonesia ties and the possibility of the US restoring military assistance to the Army’s special forces Kopassus.]