Thursday, March 29, 2012
Groups Urge U.S. Not to Sell Attack Helicopters to Indonesia
Ninety organizations today urged the U.S. government and Congress not to provide deadly attack helicopters to Indonesia. Indonesia has announced that it plans to buy eight AH-64 Apache attack helicopters from the United States.
The groups warned that the helicopters will escalate conflicts in Indonesia, especially in the rebellious region of West Papua: "Providing these helicopters would pose a direct threat to Papuan civilians."
The Indonesian military (TNI) regularly conducts "sweep operations," involving attacks on villages where innocent villagers are forced from their homes. The groups write that "Papuan civilians either flee the attacks to neighboring villages or into the surrounding forests where many die or face starvation, cut off from access to their gardens, shelter, and medical care." Sweep operations are now underway in the Central Highlands region of West Papua.
The letter was organized by the U.S.-based East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) and the West Papua Advocacy Team and signed by human rights, religious, indigenous rights, disarmament and other organizations based in 14 countries.
see full media release and letter with complete list of signers here: http://www.etan.org/news/2012/03helicop.htm