By tomorrow, 1 December 2012, the Indonesian people are due to pay the UK government £27 million. Of this, £20 million is for arms sales to past dictator General Suharto.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the UK government’s UK Export Finance backed loans to Suharto’s regime to buy British exports, including weapons such as Hawk aircraft and Scorpian tanks. £400 million is still ‘owed’ to the UK government on these loans, and the next instalment is due to be paid.
President's visit prompts fresh concerns about arms sales and training of anti-terror police
30 October 2012 – British-funded training of Indonesia’s anti-terror police, Special Detachment 88, should be reviewed in the light of serious concerns about the unit’s human rights record and its operations in Papua, says TAPOL ahead of a state visit to London by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono from 31 October to 2 November 2012.
As the UK prepares to receive the President of Indonesia for the first state visit in decades, UK groups prepare an alternative welcome for the President.
Civil society groups question UK-Indonesia ties
Fourteen years ago, the downfall of President Suharto in 1998 set Indonesia on a course of reform and democratic transition that has impressively transformed the country from a harshly repressive dictatorship to a chaotic yet functional democracy.
But many problems remain. The country’s overall record on human rights, the rule of law and religious freedoms, still falls far short of accepted international standards.
Partners in Repression: The Reality of British Aid to Indonesia
Today UK human rights campaigners called for an immediate ban on all arms sales to Indonesia, following Wednesday’s brutal rampage by Indonesian security forces in the troubled Papua region.
TAPOL, a UK group campaigning to improve human rights in Indonesia, today received a statement from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office defending UK arms sales to Indonesia as “promoting security and stability.” TAPOL also today received reports of military attacks in Wamena, Papua, with a number of civilians suffering gunshot and stab wounds.
Dear Mr Cameron,
TAPOL has been closely following your visit to Indonesia this week. We note that you praised Indonesia as a ‘Democracy (which) offers hope to the Muslim World’. You were also quoted as saying that you had decided ‘to relax controls of arms exports to Indonesia … as a sign of Indonesia’s democratic maturity’. Your delegation to Indonesia included representatives from several British arms manufacturers.
Two apparently unrelated events that together raise important questions about the West’s responsibility for conflicts in the world’s poorest countries are being held in London today.
The first British screening of the acclaimed film ‘Passabe: What is the price of peace?’ takes place at a centre for reconciliation and peace on the former site of St Ethelburga’s Church in Bishopsgate, destroyed by a massive IRA bomb in 1993.