(1 July – Dili) – “The Indonesian military raped women to subdue Timorese men, to reduce the commitment of combatants to the struggle for independence,” Ms Lita Sarmento shared at the international meeting held on 30 June to 1 July 2010 in UNMIT Obrigado Barracks in Dili. She said this after Ms Shadia Marhaban reported on the impact on women in Aceh of the 30-year conflict between the Indonesian Government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM). “In one village (in Aceh), 40 women were raped. It was a strategy of the Indonesian military to cripple the Movement,” Ms Marhaban elaborated.
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The Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID), a regional solidarity and advocacy institution which is the secretariat of Asia Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC), organized the Asian Joint Observers Solidarity Mission to Timor Leste with its regional partners, namely: the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) and World Forum for Democracy (WFDA). Observers, including parliamentarians and civil society leaders from ten different countries, including Timor-Leste, monitored the entire electoral process by attending campaign events, meeting with party leaders, observing the voting process and the counting of ballots.
As a whole, the idea of constructive engagement is a process not just in the level of government but one that comprehensively include business, politics and culture—people-to-people engagement inside the ASEAN. But what has happened is that the ASEAN could engage Burma only on topics or matters that the military regime agrees to be engaged on. Which is almost nil for that matter. The constructive engagement also calls for states not to interfere in the internal affairs of its member states. With this, the Burmese regime always tries to evade the issues of politics and human rights as core and relevant issues. Here lies precisely the absurdity and inadequacy of constructive engagement with Burma.
The Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) is a Philippines-based advocacy institution promoting human security, democratization and people-to-people solidarity.
IID conducts policy advocacy and campaign programs on Burma, Mindanao, Southern Thailand, West Papua, and East Timor.