Göttingen, 04. Juli 2012
The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) protests against the planned sale of 100 "Leopard" battle tanks to Indonesia. "Germany should not help to build up an army that is known for massive human rights violations," said the STP's Asia consultant, Ulrich Delius, in Göttingen on Wednesday. On Monday, the Indonesian army had decided to buy 100 decommissioned and reconditioned "Leopard" battle tanks from Germany. According to army information, the first 15 tanks of the type 2A6 are supposed to be delivered in October 2012 already.
The STP also argues vehemently against the funding of arms sales with German export credits. On Monday, the Indonesian Deputy Minister of Defense, General Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin, had announced that the deal would be financed with loans from abroad. The controversial transaction is worth about 280 million US-dollars. Despite criticism by human rights activists, the German arms exports to Indonesia were also secured by export credit guarantees by the German Federal Government in the past.
Indonesia prefers Germany to the Netherlands, which had also been involved in negotiations about the sale of 80 "Leopard" tanks. However, there had been massive protests against the arms delivery in the Dutch parliament, because of human rights violations in Indonesia. In a heated parliamentary debate on June 21, 2012, a clear majority of delegates had opposed of the controversial deal. "We have been waiting in vain for such a clear signal from the German Parliament," said Delius. The arms deal would be a serious setback on efforts to harmonize arms exports within the European Union."
"An upgrade of the Indonesian army would be irresponsible, because it systematically violates Indonesian law and international law and is responsible for severe human rights violations in the province of Papua in the west of the island of New Guinea," said Delius. There is also a climate of fear and terror under the democratically elected President Susilo Bambang Yudhyono. Arbitrary arrests, torture, intimidation of journalists and human rights activists, executions and long prison sentences for dissident Papua natives have increased even further in 2011.
Ulrich Delius can be reached under +49 (0)551 - 499 06 27.
Translated by Robert Kurth