NGO joint statement to the CGI meeting, Jakarta, 7-8 Nov, 2001

By: INFID, IDe, Yayasan Lembaga Konsumen Sulawesi Selatan, Koalisi ORNOP untuk Hutan dan Utang, Wahana Informasi Masyarakat Medan

Mr Chairman,
Distinguished Delegates
Ladies and Gentlemen

First of all, we would like to thank you for the opportunity given to us to address the audience this morning. Allow us to use this opportunity to convey our views and concerns on the current economic and political situation under which the negotiation is taking place.

The multidimensional crisis that Indonesia faces is huge and complex. Almost in every front and sector, from macro economic issue to the area of judicial reform, promotion and protection of human rights, environmental management and poverty alleviation, there are immediate problems that need to be resolved and tackled almost immediately.

We are of the opinion that the response from the Government of Indonesia to these matters as conveyed in this meeting did not show a sense of crisis and urgency. Questions, suggestions and criticisms from CGI members to the Government of Indonesia were raised and addressed in a general manner, but it does not mean that they could be responded in a vague and almost non-committal way.

We would like to highlight these concerns in the following illustration:

On Macroeconomic:
We believe that one of the key issues for Indonesia's economic recovery is a solution to Indonesia's debt burden. While there is a consensus on the huge Indonesia's debt burden, there was no discussion to find an alternative solution to bring it down to sustainable level. We believe that, bearing in mind the insufficient existing mechanism for managing Indonesia's debt, it is important that the Government of Indonesia seeks debt relief through international consultation process.

There was a lot of emphasis on the need to speed up privatisation in Indonesia. We believe that privatisation should be slowed down until a political consensus is achieved among the Government of Indonesia, the Parliament and civil society on a process that takes into account its impacts on the poor and most vulnerable;

On governance, human rights and judicial reform: We are of the opinion there has been no seriousness from the part of Indonesia's Government to promote and protect human rights issues. We have not seen any progress of settling human rights violation that occurred in East Timor, Atambua, Aceh and Papua. While there is a plan to implement human rights court, but we are of the opinion that the court still contains impunity elements. This is seen from the absence of public participation in choosing the judge for the ad-hoc court. Especially for Papua and Aceh, there is no new approach in handling the issue, what we see is an increase of repression in the two areas.

While discussing human rights violation, it is unavoidable to talk about the involvement of military. To this end, it is imperative that military is transparent and accountable to the Indonesian public. A transparent military budget is a must and should be made a public record.

On Forestry:
Despite its commitment to tackle forestry comprehensively, the Government of Indonesia fails to show any significant progress. This is seen from the ongoing deforestation and lack of serious effort in attacking illegal logging. We believe that to handle the issue, a moratorium on large-scale commercial logging should be implemented and that a cross-sectoral mechanism under the President's Control to address forestry issue be established.

On Poverty:
Poverty remains a huge problem in Indonesia. It is very concerning that while there is commitment on mainstreaming poverty, we are seeing the Jakarta authority attack the poor people who actually work in the informal sector, eradicating them from the city. According to Urban Poor Consortium data the attack to the poor means a loss of job for around 50,000 people during the months of August-October 2001. This event is certainly concerning and we would like to remind the government that poverty alleviation should not become strike against the poor. If the government is committed to alleviate poverty, then it should at least provide a more generous budget for basic social spending. The Indonesian government should outline poverty reduction strategy in the framework of creating economic policies that would not deny the rights of the people.

To the international donor communities and creditors, we would like to convey that the current Indonesia's crisis cannot be born by the Government of Indonesia alone. There was a cosy relationship between donor communities and the previous Suharto's government, which resulted in the accumulation of debt burden, bad governance and corruption. In the context of Indonesia's economic crisis, we would like to convey here, that there should be a shared responsibility both by the donor communities and the Indonesian Government. To this end, we call that: <1> there should be an independent assessment of IMF program by independent expert; <2> that CGI members initiate an international consultation to serve as a fair forum to consider Indonesia's debt burden and solution; <3> that CGI members look for an alternative solution, including debt swap to poverty reduction, and debt cancellation based on the reality of corrupted loan of 30%, stated by Prof. Soemitro Djojohadikusumo; <4> that CGI members initiate comprehensive and independent assessment and audit of their past loans.

Jakarta, November 8, 2001

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