News Release

Interviews on Human Rights: Indonesia and Israel

KURT BIDDLE
Coordinator of the Indonesia Human Rights Network, Biddle said today: “The Indonesian military has declared martial law in the region of Aceh and just launched a full-scale military offensive…. Top-ranking Indonesian military officials have boasted that they will ‘crush’ the rebel Free Aceh Movement in six months. But the civilian population will be the hardest hit. The Indonesian government estimates that the number of refugees in Aceh will grow to 100,000 from the current 5,000. More than 12,000 people have been killed in the almost 27-year-old conflict.”

KAREN ORENSTEIN
Orenstein is the Washington, D.C., coordinator of the East Timor Action Network. East Timor was occupied by Indonesia for over two decades and became the newest nation one year ago today.
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AZMI BISHARA
Available for a limited number of interviews, Bishara is a Palestinian Arab member of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. He is receiving a human rights award and will be in the United States until Friday. Bishara has worked to democratize the State of Israel into a state for all its citizens regardless of their religion. Earlier this year, the Israeli High Court of Justice overturned a decision barring Bishara from participating in elections.
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CATHERINE COOK
Cook is media coordinator for the Middle East Research and Information Project and coauthored the recent report “A Road Map to the Oslo Cul-de-Sac,” available at the above web page. Cook has traveled frequently to the Middle East since 1996 and lived in Ramallah from 1999 to 2002. She said today: “A framework for peace already exists and that framework is international law. If Israelis and Palestinians are going to move towards a real peace process then international human rights and humanitarian law needs to be at the center. This would mean an end to Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians and an end to Israel’s occupation and the policies through which it has administered its control, such as restrictions on freedom of movement of person and goods, land confiscation, home demolitions, extrajudicial killings, mass arrests and the like. All action taken now must place equal emphasis on the rights of Palestinians and Israelis to live in security. This process is likely to fail unless it is backed up by the political will on the part of the international community to ensure that both parties live up to their obligations.”
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HANNY MEGALLY
Megally is the executive director of the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch, which recently released a briefing paper entitled “The Road Map: Repeating Oslo’s Human Rights Mistakes.” Megally said today: “Human rights and humanitarian law obligations, such as those relating to medical and humanitarian access, are potentially undermined by being presented in the road map as benchmarks to be achieved in a reciprocal process of trust-building. These are obligations, not bargaining chips.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167