Fwd: Support Indonesian Workers

Les Schaffer schaffer at SPAMoptonline.net
Tue Jun 12 10:35:42 MDT 2001


[from ["Keith M. Rosenthal" <krosenth at zoo.uvm.edu>]]

----- Forwarded message from Ashley Smith <ashley05401 at yahoo.com> -----
Date: Sat, 9 Jun 2001 16:31:56 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ashley Smith <ashley05401 at yahoo.com>
Reply-To: Ashley Smith <ashley05401 at yahoo.com>
Subject: Support Indonesian Workers
To: keith.rosenthal at uvm.edu

Keith,

        Send this out to individuals of importance that you
know. I've blanketed the list serves. But send it to
people like your Dad and his friends. Think big! Check
out the list of signatories so far!

--ashley

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.

----- End forwarded message -----






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