NGOs in lively protest over expulsion of Sydney Jones

Source – June 3, 2004
South-East Asia IGC Director Sydney Jones (SPP)
South-East Asia IGC Director Sydney Jones (SPP)

Suwarjono, Jakarta – Protests are continuing in response to the deportation of the director of the South-East Asia International Crisis Group (IGC), Sydney Jones.

The Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI), the People’s Democratic Party (PRD) and the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) have venomously condemned Jones’ expulsion from Indonesia.

PRD general chairperson Yusuf Lakaseng said that the expulsion of Jones indicates that President Megawati Sukarnoputri’s government is militaristic and its approach is characterised by repression and terror.

“These methods are exactly the same as were shown by the New Order government [of former President Suharto] in the past. Actions of terror are again being demonstrated with BIN [the State Intelligence Agency] carrying out repressive actions. This will further damage Indonesia’s image in the international community”, said Lakaseng to on Thursday June 3.

Similar criticisms were made by the chairperson of PBHI, Hendardi, who said that PHBI considers it stupid and strongly condemns the expulsion of Jones. “The expulsion of Sydney Jones will only reap condemnation and chagrin from other world nations. The government will be seen as a reincarnation of the authoritarian regime of the New Order”, said Hendardi.

SEAPA meanwhile believes the expulsion of Jones represents a threat against the climate of openness and the process of democracy in Indonesia. “BIN has tried to direct [public] opinion [to the view] that critical figures and non-government organisations are a threat to security. This is a New Order practice which it is no longer appropriate”, said SEAPA director Lukas Suwarso. (jon)

[Translated by James Balowski.]