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Indonesia Human Rights Before Military Assistance Act

Dear President Clinton:

I write to you today asking that you send a forceful and proper communiqué to the newly appointed President of Indonesia, B. J. Habibie, requesting that he observe the human rights of the protesting students and protest participants exercising their displeasure at the transition of government that took place yesterday.

It has been brought to my attention that the anti-government student protesters and pro-democracy activists, joined by Indonesian citizens, have taken the Parliament building in Jakarta and have refused to leave until their demands have been met. Mr. President, this form of freedom of democratic expression should not surprise you; it mirrors the era of the 20th Century that we all look upon now as the most influential American decade, forever giving shape and complexion to democracy the world overóThe Civil Rights Movement.

Unfortunately, at this time the military has been called on the students and a standoff is underway. In addition, it has been reported that following the appointment of Habibie, long-time activist, head of the pro-democracy movement and the Independent Labor Party, Muchtar Pak Pahan, has been forcibly removed from his military prison bed, where he has been held for years, diagnosed with Tuberculosis and Cancer, and placed in an undisclosed location.

Yesterday I introduced the Indonesian Human Rights Before Military Assistance Act, which not only calls for the freeze of military equipment in the pipeline going to Indonesia, but requires that you certify to Congress that whatever Indonesian government comes to exist, enforces human rights improvements, especially civilian control of the military and a complete cessation of torture and other military violence before the freeze is lifted.


Cynthia McKinney
Member of Congress

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