Fwd: Protest the Arrest of Labor Rights Activists in Indonesia

Einde O'Callaghan einde.ocallaghan at planet-interkom.de
Sun Jun 10 13:53:51 MDT 2001


Dear friend,

Below please find

1. A New Letter of Support for activists detained this weekend in
Indonesia.

Please circulate this statement widely and sign on at
nodetention at hotmail.com

2. A Press Release about the detentions that can be sent to local media.

3. A solidarity letter from this weekend's rally in South Carolina
signed by a number of prominent labor activists. Please also circulate
this widely.


1.

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.

2.

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release:

Indonesian Police Raid Academic Conference
International Solidarity Campaign Underway
Protests called in U.S. and Australia

U.S. Contacts: Ahmed Shawki, director of Center for Economic Research
and Social Change and editor of the International Socialist Review:
(773) 583-7884 or (847) 921-1917 and Lee Sustar:(773) 425-6684. Both are
members
of the National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981).

JAKARTA, June 9--Police in Jakarta raided the Asia Pacific Solidarity
Conference Against Neoliberalism on June 8 and forcibly detained 32
foreign
participants for 24 hours while unknown assailants beat at least two
Indonesian attendees who were later hospitalized.

"Maybe 50 or 60 police stormed into the meeting room with guns,
including rifles held in an offensive stance," said Max Lane, an
Australian attending the conference.

"This is a brutal and anti-democratic assault on human rights that
threatens democracy everywhere," said Paul D'Amato, an American
participant, by phone.

Foreign attendees were stripped of their passports and charged with
violating the terms of their visas, but lawyers aiding them deny any
violations occurred.

Indonesian officials have ordered the foreign nationals to report to
police on Monday, June 11, at 10 a.m. where, according to an Australian
news agency, they could be further interrogated and re-arrested,
released, or deported.

Several participants who had been released were re-imprisoned eight
hours after their release, including a four-year-old child accompanying
the national coordinator of Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East
Timor, Pip Hinman.

One of those arrested was Budiman Soedjatmiko, chair of the People's
Democratic Party (PRD). The party has played an important role in the
Indonesian labor movement, and Budiman has received death threats from
an anti-communist group. His parent's home was recently firebombed.

International labor and human rights groups are heeding the PRD's call
for
solidarity and organizing to prevent violence and any further human
rights
violations against Indonesian activists and foreigners.

In the U.S., solidarity rallies will be held outside consulates at 8
a.m.
local time, Monday, June 11, in New York City, Chicago, Boston, San
Francisco, and Washington, D.C.



3.

STATEMENT FROM SOUTH CAROLINA RALLY

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 convened to discuss workers' rights and social issues
in
Asia. According to Associated Press reports, subsequently confirmed by
other
media sources, some 40 participants at this conference were detained by
the
Jakarta police. They have been held at the Jakarta central police
station crisis center for alleged visa violations -- the authorities
claim
conference participants entered the country as visitors, not to attend a
conference.

We consider this act to be unlawful and a clear attack on labor rights.
As supporters of the campaign to defend the Charleston Five -- South
Carolina
union dockworkers facing felony riot charges for defending their union
-- we
are committed to defending workers rights wherever and whenever they are
threatened.

We therefore demand the immediate and unconditional release of the
Indonesian and foreign detainees arrested at the conference.*

Sincerely,

John Poulsen, Dockers Freeport, Copenhagen, Denmark

Linda Chavez Thompson, Executive Vice President, AFL-CIO

Cecil Roberts, President, United Mine Workers of America (UMWA)

Yu Kwang Jun, Director of the Policy Planning Department, Daewoo Auto
Workers Union, Korean Metal Workers' Federation, Korean Confederation of
Trade Unions (KCTU)

Kenneth Riley, President, International Longshoremen's Association,
(ILA), Local 1422, Charleston, South Carolina

James Spinosa, President, International Longshore and Warehouse Union
(ILWU)

Juan Velez, President, International Longshoremen's Association, (ILA),
Local 1575, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Donna DeWitt, President, South Carolina AFL-CIO

Dr. Anne-Marie Johnson, National Chair of the EEOC of the Screen Actors
Guild (SAG)

Thom Crenshaw, President, Charleston Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO,
Charleston, South Carolina

Tony Mazzocchi, National Organizer, Labor Party

Cecilia McCall, Secretary Progressive Staff Congress, City University of
New York (CUNY), New York, New York

Bob Ashton, President, International Longshore and Warehouse Union
(ILWU), Local 500, Vancouver, British Columbia

Don Simpson, Executive Board, International Longshore and Warehouse
Union (ILWU). Local 500, Vancouver, British Columbia

Roger Toussaint, President, Transport Workers' Union (TWU) Local 100,
New York, New York

Tim Schermerhorn, Vice President, Transport Workers' Union of America,
(TWU) Local 100, New York, New York

Richard L. Heiterer, Recording Secretary, International Longshoremen's
Association, (ILA) Local 1771, Charleston, South Carolina

Larry Adams, President, Laborers International Union, Local 300
(National Postal Mail Handlers Union), New York, New York

Ashaki Binta, Black Radical Congress, Atlanta, Georgia

Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, President Emeritus, Southern Christian Leadership
Conference (SCLC)

ORGANIZATIONS FOR IDENTIFICATION PURPOSES ONLY.

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

Feel free to use to fax to Indonesian and other appropriate consulates.

For more information please call Lee Sustar at 773-583-7884 (work) or
773-425-6684 (cell phone) or Ahmed Shawki 773-583-7884 (work)
847-921-1917 (cell phone).

For copies of the original signed petitions please fax a request to
773-583-6144, Attn: Lee or Ahmed.




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