Dutch ordnance used in human rights violations in Atjeh

5 February 2004

Dutch ordnance used in human rights violations in Atjeh

The SP wants clarification concerning the role of the Indonesian Navy in attacks on own citizens. Member of Parliament’s Lower House Krista van Velzen has put questions in the chamber to clarify the role of the Indonesian Navy in the war in the rebellious province of Atjeh. On the basis of their own research, the SP has reached the conclusion that the Indonesian Navy is really used against its own population, contrary to what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs put forth in its recent letter replying to earlier questions.

Krista van VelzenVan Velzen sought definite clarity concerning events at the small island of Nasi off Atjeh’s coast. Nasi was bombarded by a flotilla of five Indonesian Navy ships on 22 May 2003. Certainly two of those five ships, the Todak and the Lemabang are fitted with Dutch radar guidance equipment from Thales. On the basis of this data, the SP concludes that the former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, has misled the chamber. In reply to Krista van Velzen’s questions, he answered in the summer of 2003 that the Todak was "presently in the region in order to lead patrols in Atjeh’s coastal waters preventing [both] the infiltration and exfiltration of rebels and a high regional incidence of smuggling and piracy".

In reply to a still earlier request by Krista van Velzen, the House of Commons received a letter denying that the Indonesian Navy is involved in, or responsible for, human rights violations. Yet from the Socialist Party’s investigation come two conspicuous incidents from which it appeared that the indonesian Navy has effectively been used against citizens among the population of Atjeh. The SP urgently seeks clarification concerning the Indonesian Navy’s role in human rights violations. Next Wednesday, 11 February, the Chamber is to debate the sale of Dutch corvettes to the indonesian Navy. Van Velzen: "On the basis of current indicators, an arms embargo on Indonesia seems the only correct response for the Dutch government to make".

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