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Encouraging Words On West Papua
? On August 27 Keith Locke asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs in a supllementary oral question: “What initiatives will the Minister be encouraging the Pacific Islands Forum secretariat to take on West Papua in the light of the concern expressed in the final communiqué of the forum that the special autonomy for West Papua is not being fully implemented, and there is continuing human rights abuse and continuing violence, unfortunately illustrated in this morning’s Dominion Post, which reported the killing of three West Papuans?”
Phil Goff replied: ” The Forum did a number of things on West Papua. It reiterated the support for special autonomy as the most realistic way of getting a peaceful resolution of the situation there. The Forum urged Indonesia to promulgate the necessary regulations for that to happen, and to take other steps. Members expressed concern about the continuing violence and abuse of human rights, and called Indonesia to bring to justice the perpetrators of those human rights abuses. That message was translated directly by me in the post-forum dialogue to Hassan Wirajuda, the Indonesian Foreign Minister, who attended the post-forum dialogue talks.”
The Greens will keep checking to see if any of this happens when and as it should.
Citizen’s Weapons Inspections
have taken place in the US, UK, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and Turkey over the past few months. The inspection groups have decided to report their findings to the United Nations, national governments and other interested parties. They plan to present a first report on Citizens Inspections during the NGO presentations at the 2004 NPTPrepCom in New York.
An international ‘Citizens Inspection Working Group’ (CIWG) has been set up and aims to support citizens groups who inspect sites where WMD are being researched, produced, tested or deployed. CIWG will assist Citizens Inspectors to report their findings. This working group is part of Abolition 2000. The co-conveners of the CIWG are the
Los Alamos Study Group (USA)
For Mother Earth (Belgium)
If you want to be part of this global movement of citizens’ inspectors your options are:
the CIWG mailing list. To subscribe to this group, send an email to:
yahoogroups [dot] com
and spread the ”
Authorisation for Citizens Inspections
” which is gathering signatures to rally a broader support for the inspectors.
Resources on citizens’ inspections can be found on the
For Mother Earth site
The UN HQ Bombing in Baghdad
— why did it happen and what will it mean? Two short analyses of the bombing of the UN HQ in Baghdad are excerpted below, with URLs for finding the full article.
Ian Williams, August 27, 2003
”… As so often in diplomacy, ambiguity is very useful. Security Council Resolution 1500, which “welcomed” the Iraqi Governing Council, is a classic example. Most members saw it, correctly, as a step toward returning sovereignty to the Iraqis as soon as possible, while Washington hailed it as international validation of the U.S. invasion and occupation. In fact, the other members have noticed that the Iraqi Governing Council, which has been very eager to win UN validation and is straining to break out from American tutelage, and have certainly been very careful not to approve the actual invasion.
It is clear that the local administrators would rather work with the UN than with the occupation forces, who are increasingly overstaying their welcome and have left much to be desired in the way of service delivery. Both sane and cynical voices in Washington have noticed that the UN actually has considerable institutional experience in reconstruction, not to mention long contacts with Iraq itself.
Many in the progressive community say that since Washington cooked this particular hot potato, it should hold it, but that would be unfair to the long-suffering Iraqis. While the U.S. and British troops should not have gone in without Security Council mandate, the world now has to deal with the reality that was created. By removing the Ba’athists’ tight control of a country filled with lethal weaponry and huge grudges, the security situation on the ground is unstable at best.
But the U.S. troops should be taken off the streets as soon as possible. Their presence as occupiers as well as the casualties inflicted upon the Iraqi people (now estimated between 6-7,000) is far too costly for the Iraqi people. The price the U.S. has to pay for UN peacekeepers doing the job is a much more explicit role for the international community in the administration than the Pentagon has been prepared to allow so far.
It may be too much to expect from the White House to internationalize control of the military in Iraq but it would make a lot of sense to leave reconstruction and civil administration, including justice and policing, to a condominium of the Iraqi Governing Council and the United Nations. A sensible approach would be loosely modeled on Kosovo, where the military command structure was separate from the UN’s civilian and administrative side…’
Stephen Zunes, August 26, 2003
”…As a result, in order to provide badly needed humanitarian relief to a country that has suffered from a brutal dictatorship, three major wars, devastating sanctions, some of the heaviest bombing in history, a foreign invasion, and a total breakdown of law and order, the United Nations Security Council agreed to partly legitimize the U.S. occupation through a May 2003 resolution recognizing the U.S. and UK as “occupying powers.”
Furthermore, this authority places full responsibility for security on the occupying powers. It does not grant the UN any authority for security, even for its own personnel. The U.S. refused to allow any UN peacekeeping or security troops into Iraq.
While most Iraqis celebrated the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime, there is growing outrage at the military occupation. The UN should never have agreed to participate under the authority of the occupation force. The unfortunate result of that participation is that anyone working in Iraq while the U.S. is occupying the country is now a military target…”
The Hotel Bombing in Jakarta
. In the following comment on the recent bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, Max Lane, a Visiting Fellow at the Asia Research Centre, Murdoch University, Australia, reiterates the position that more democracy and less militarism will protect Indonesia from terrorism better than a return to Soeharto style dictatorship, and also criticises the Australian government’s support for military-dominated governments in Indonesia.
Aligning with Soehartoism won’t end bombings, terror
The Jakarta Post, August 27, 2003:
” Indonesia is in a process of transition out of the period of dictatorship instituted during the presidency of Gen. (ret) Soeharto. This process of transition is occurring in the midst of a severe and continuing economic crisis, often seen to be linked to globalization. The transition has already been marked by political volatility: A president has been ousted in a virtually unconstitutional manner; a war has been declared in Aceh; there are armed conflicts in Maluku and Papua; support for the president and all the major parties is declining; there are protests from all sectors of society every day. There has been two serious bombings of public places in a period of 11 months. It is unlikely that the transition out of volatility will be over within a decade. The Howard government has renewed military cooperation with Jakarta, including with the army’s special forces. This policy is an extension of the Australian government’s statement of support for president Megawati Soekarnoputri’s military solution to Aceh’s political situation. In this way, Howard has decided to stand with Megawati and the hangers-on from the Soeharto order against all those voices of the newly emerging Indonesia who want the military to withdraw and who are striving for an end to state violence and coercion in politics. The transition out of dictatorship – a dictatorship which all Australian governments supported and lauded – has not been and is not some kind of automatic sociological process. It has been and still is the result of a political struggle by Soeharto, the groups around him and the groups that still think like him against a new generation of Indonesians wanting a different, democratic future.
Soeharto did not bow out voluntarily he was forced to go by hundreds of thousands of people demonstrating on the street. But Soeharto’s going did not end this struggle. The Megawati government represents an essential continuity with the Soeharto mentality constrained only by a stronger pro-democratic public. In the Politics and Security Committee of her Cabinet are herself; the Vice President Hamzah Haz, head of the conservative Islamic party forged by Soeharto during the dictatorship; the national police chief and several Soeharto Generals: Hendripriyono, Hari Sabarno, and Bambang Yudhoyono. It is not surprising then that Megawati is implementing a military solution to the political problem of self-determination in Aceh; that there are more political prisoners in gaol now than in the last years of Soeharto; that almost no military have been convicted for human right violations under Soeharto and that no human rights charges have been brought against Soeharto himself.
But democratic sentiment in opposition to the government remains strong. This is most obvious around issues of state and military violence. Over the last few weeks more and more Indonesians from the democratic camp have criticized the military operations in Aceh. These include the prominent writers WS Rendra, Ratna Sarumapet, Pramoedya Ananta Toer and Goenawan Mohamad. The Aceh Commission of the National Human Rights Commission has been increasingly critical. Prominent labor and political leaders like Dita Indah Sari have called for an end to the war. There have been peace vigils, and even a peace concert involving pop groups and jazz singers echoing this sentiment. Journalists have often been at the forefront of these criticisms also. These are the voices of change that represent the next Indonesia. All public opinion polls also show rejection of the old elites and a longing for something new. The Megawati government, encouraged by the Howard government, continues to rely on violent coercion, that is terror, in Aceh, in Papua and often against farmers and poor workers. Can anybody expect that there will not be some people, often driven to inhuman irrationality by desperation, hopelessness, or alienation generated by the deep poverty and humiliation of an economy in crisis, who decide to reply in kind? The current policies, which depend on violence and coercion, will bring no end to bombing incidents.”
JustPeace was produced by Christine Dann, Tim Hannah and Keith Locke, MP
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