Additional orders for the German armaments industry from Indonesia

Berlin, 07 October 2012

Demonstration in front of the Federal Chancellery

 by Alex Flor, Watch Indonesia!

With artistically designed posters about 50 Indonesian and German armaments opponents held a protest action against German arms shipments to Indonesia and the secrecy of the Federal Government on 5 October 2012, the day of the Indonesian Armed Forces, at the Federal Chancellery in Berlin.


demonstration in front of the Chancellor’s Office

photo: Sven Hansen

With growing discontent armor opponents are currently pursuing the German-Indonesian businesses. The media coverage on the visit of Chancellor Merkel to Jakarta in early July this year was focussed on a topic that was officially declared a non-topic: the sale of 103 Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks from the Bundeswehr army’s surplus stocks. A similar request of Indonesia in the Netherlands had previously failed because of resistance of Parliament in The Hague. With reference to the ongoing poor human rights situation in Papua Dutch parliamentarians refused their approval to the arms deal.

The Federal Government has remained unaffected by such concerns behaves extremely secretive. Neither the public nor the German Parliament were informed about negotiations or trade agreements with Indonesia. In contrast, politicians and military in Indonesia report with pride about the increasingly long shopping list of arms from abroad: Spain, France, Russia, Poland, the USA, Brazil, South Korea and other countries currently sell arms to Indonesia.

German parliamentarians must learn from Indonesian media, on what they were only given evasive answers from the Federal Government to their enquiries. Piecemeal manner so the truth comes out: recently it was announced that in addition to the Leopard tanks and 50 armored tanks type Marder 1A3 should be delivered. A few days ago we said in the call for this demonstration: „There are indications that more arms deals are under negotiation.” This suspicion was confirmed just one day before the demonstration in a report published by Indonesia’s tvOne television: the aviation factory Grob in southern Germany received an order to produce 18 training aircrafts costing some U.S. $ 72; six of the machines are already in production, and three light frigates by Bremen Lürssen shipyard are still under negotiation. It can be expected that the negotiations are proceeding smoothly: CEO Friedrich Lürssen has been the Indonesian honorary consul in Bremen since many years..

„More education, no tanks“ on the other hand urged the Alliance of Indonesian Society Against Arms Trade. Together with representatives of some other Organizations such as ATTAC and Gossner Mission they braved the inclement autumn weather to make their disagreement known at the Berlin Chancellery.

Many Indonesians do not understand why there are spent hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on weaponry, while more than one hundred million people in Indonesia do not have access to adequate education or health care and live below the poverty line.

The protesters were concerned about the human rights situation in Papua and the rights of minorities. Many western countries like to see Indonesia as a country that converted to democracy after the fall of Suharto’s dictatorship in 1998, but this image is just an illusion. There were daily serious human rights abuses in Aceh until a disastrous Tsunami end of 2004 stopped the state of war finally in the province of Aceh. Human rights lawyer Munir died from arsenic poisoning on a flight to Amsterdam. People in Papua have been becoming victims of torture and illegal executions until today in this so called „democratic” country.

The alleged perpetrators are often to be found in the ranks of the military. None of the perpetrators has ever been convicted in a court of law.

The 5th October, the Armed Forces Day is a national holiday in Indonesia. Congratulations with a demonstration in front of the Chancellery in Berlin.

No arms sales to Indonesia!
End the secrecy of the Federal Government!
Education, health and prosperity for ALL citizens of Indonesia!
For the respect of human rights and the rule of law!

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