Indonesian soldiers training in New Zealand should be sent home

SIX Indonesian soldiers training in New Zealand should be sent home and Indonesian participation planned for three Armed Forces courses in coming months cancelled, the Green Party says.

Green Party Foreign Affairs spokesman Keith Locke said an Indonesian officer was due to start an “Instruction and design course” with the Defence Force in Auckland tomorrow, September 6, and five other Indonesian officers were already attending three officer courses in New Zealand.

In addition, three navy and air force courses are planned for October and November with Indonesian military participation.

“All these officers should be told to pack their bags and go home. How can we pretend to be on the same side as the East Timorese people when we are training Indonesian soldiers here,” said Mr Locke.

“The events in East Timor have shown the Indonesian military to be a thoroughly anti-democratic and brutal institution, with little accountability to civilian authorities.”

He called on the Government to suspend all exchanges with the Indonesian military to protest its continuing treacherous role in East Timor.

“Words have failed to stop the Indonesian military fostering militia violence against the Timorese people,” said Mr Locke.

“Now is the time for action. One thing we must do is suspend our military links with Indonesia. New Zealand should announce its withdrawal from any planned exercises with Indonesia and the cancellation of all officer exchanges.”