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SOLIDARITY LETTER in support of Indonesian Labor Activists

We, the undersigned, would like to express our gravest concern over the forcible dispersal of the Asia Pacific Solidarity Conference Against Neoliberalism in Jakarta, Indonesia, on the afternoon of June 8, 2001.
SOLIDARITY LETTER

We Protest the Arrest of Labor Rights Activists in Indonesia

We, the undersigned, would like to express our gravest concern over the forcible dispersal of the Asia Pacific Solidarity Conference Against Neoliberalism in Jakarta, Indonesia, on the afternoon of June 8, 2001.

The conference was organized by the Indonesian Center for Social Reform and Emancipation (INCREASE) and attended by participants from around the world. The conference was convened to discuss workers' rights and the impact of the Asia Pacific economic crisis.

On June 8, at 2 p.m. Jakarta time, 300 police surrounded the conference venue and 100 armed police stormed the venue and shut down the conference. The police took 40 participants, including conference organizers and 32 foreign attendees, by truck under arms to the Jakarta Regional Police Headquarters. Twenty-four hours later, 32 people representing 12 countries were still in police custody, including a four-year-old child.

Following the police's closure of the conference and removal of foreign guests, right-wing Islamic fundamentalist gangs, possibly from the Anti-Communist Alliance, attacked the remaining participants as they were leaving the conference site. Two conference attendees were injured and one was hospitalized as a result. His or her condition is currently unclear. The timing of this vicious attack raises the possibility of police collusion with the gangs, a re-emergence of the sort of alliance between right-wing terror groups and the military that we saw in the Indonesian army's support for the militias in East Timor.

We consider the detention of conferences attendees and the violent attacks on Indonesian participants to be unlawful and a clear attack on labor rights. We are committed to defending workers' rights wherever and whenever they are threatened. We therefore condemn the Indonesian government's closure of the conference and its suppression of democratic discussion.

We furthermore demand that the Indonesian government: 1) immediately and unconditionally release all Indonesian and foreign detainees arrested at the conference; 2) ensure the safety of Indonesian activists organizing for workers' democratic rights in the Republic of Indonesia; and 3) sanction no reprisals against Indonesian participants involved in these activities.*

Sincerely,

To sign on to this statement e-mail nodetention (at) hotmail.com

*NOTE: This will be faxed to the Indonesian Central Police Station, with a copy to the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta and Washington, D.C.
 
 

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