Hundreds of people have been killed following recent ethnic unrest in West Kalimantan, according to reports from Indonesia. Bloody clashes between the indigenous Dayak people, migrants from Madura and the military have been going on since early January, but little news has reached the outside world as the whole area has been sealed off by the Indonesian military. The present violence is merely a symptom of discontent which has built up over many years. Land rights are at the heart of this issue. Dayak communities have become dispossessed as their traditional forest lands are appropriated by outsiders in government-supported resettlement, development and large-scale commercial enterprise schemes.
As the UK-based NGO which campaigns for ecological justice in Indonesia, Down to Earth asks for your support to put pressure on the Indonesian authorities to allow Indonesian journalists, the international press and international human rights monitors to carry out independent investigations and report openly on the recent events in West Kalimantan. Of equal importance is that the Indonesian government should address the underlying long-term causes of the tension between the indigenous people and settlers, rather than deploying a knee-jerk military response to what it portrays as an isolated conflict along religious or ethnic lines.
· Write to the following people:
The President of the Republic of Indonesia, President Suharto, Istana Merdeka, Jakarta 10110, Indonesia
The Governor of West Kalimantan Province, H. A. Aswin, Jl. A. Yani, Pontinanak, West Kalimantan, Indonesia Tel 0062 561 36000
The Minister for Political and Security Affairs, Soesilo Soedarman, Jl. Merdeka Barat No. 15, Jakarta 10110 Fax 0062 21 3450918
· Pass this information to other organisations concerned with human rights, the rights of indigenous peoples and sustainable development so they can take action.
· Use your contacts with the press to raise international concern.
· The British peer, Lord Avebury has written to UK Foreign Secretary, Malcolm Rifkin and UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Killings, Bacre Wali Ndiaye, to press the Indonesian government for an international review. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
· Amnesty International are issuing an Action Alert. Contact: email@example.com
· Look for further actions and information on apc.act.indonesia or apc.reg.indonesia
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Last updated: 26 December, 2001