Aceh repression

Submitted by AWL on 22 July, 2003 - 11:14

Stop arms sales to Indonesia

By Harry Glass

Alarmed at Indonesia's bloody war in Aceh, its military campaign in West Papua and the brutality of its armed forces, human rights organisations, peace groups, and anti-arms trade campaigners are calling for an international military embargo on Indonesia.

A statement signed by 100 organisations from Europe, America, Asia and Australasia urges governments to embargo the supply of military, security and police equipment to Indonesia. It also calls for an immediate end to the military operations in Aceh and West Papua.

The Indonesian military gets Hawk jets and Scorpion tanks from the UK, OV-10 Bronco counter-insurgency planes and F-16 fighters from the US, warships from Germany, and French and Russian-made armoured vehicles.

The Hawk jets have already been used in bombing raids on villages in Aceh. In June, UK Foreign Office Minister, Mike O'Brien visited Jakarta to discuss the war and the use of UK-made equipment with the Indonesian government. O'Brien says there is an agreement not to use the Hawks for such operations, but this has been rebuffed by the Indonesian military.

In June, Scorpion tanks were deployed to Aceh. The senior military spokesman in Aceh said the tanks will be used offensively as "a key part of our campaign to finish off the separatists"-a fact backed by photos published in the Observer.

At the beginning of July the UK government published its annual report on strategic exports for 2002. The value of licences to Indonesia increased from £2 million in 2000 to £15.5 million in 2001 to £41 million in 2002.

Items covered by the 2002 licences include aircraft cannons, components for missile launching equipment, components for combat aircraft, combat helicopters, tanks and armoured vehicles.

The text of the statement is available on the TAPOL website at http://tapol.gn.apc.org/
Signatories so far include TAPOL, the Indonesia Human Rights Campaign (UK), the Campaign Against Arms Trade (UK), Oxford West Papua Support Group (UK) and Action in Solidarity with Asia and the Pacific (Australia).

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