HL Deb 16 July 1992 vol 539 cc386-410

3.35 p.m.

Lord Rea rose to ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will make development aid and arms sales to Indonesia conditional on the ending of human rights abuses in East Timor to the satisfaction of an international commission of inquiry under the auspices of the United Nations.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I should first like to thank in advance all noble Lords who have put down their names to speak on this last item of business on the last day of term. I shall not have the opportunity to do so after the Minister's reply. I am looking forward with interest to the maiden speech of the noble Lord, Lord Finsberg, whose former constituency is close to my home and includes part of the territory of my medical practice.

Like all noble Lords, I am always disturbed by violations of human rights and particularly by the illegal occupation of territory by another nation using military force. I have always known that the Indonesian occupation of East Timor in December 1975 was followed by a fierce and brutal guerrilla conflict. I became particularly interested in the problem when I was fortunate enough to visit East Timor for all of 24 hours at the invitation of the Indonesian Government while I was a member of an outward delegation for the Inter-Parliamentary Union in March 1989. That visit was arranged to demonstrate the opening up of East Timor to visitors, both Indonesian and foreign.

But in 24 hours, as can be imagined, it was impossible to speak to East Timorese people without Indonesian guides being present—except on one occasion in a prison in Dili, the capital, where one detainee described to us his experience of torture while under interrogation before sentencing. We were not allowed to use the military helicopters, which, incidentally, were conspicuous by their presence, to visit areas such as Viqueque where 131 years after the invasion there had been recent fighting. In particular, we were not able to see or speak to Bishop Belo, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in East Timor, although he had been named on our original programme as a key person whom we would be allowed to interview. Much later, after our return to Britain, we heard that he had been totally unaware of our visit.

There is a twofold reason for raising the matter now. First, there is the killing of around 100— according to all independent witnesses it may be more—unarmed, mainly young civilians outside the Santa Cruz cemetery in Dili on 12th November last year. That event was witnessed by several observers from the outside world. It was filmed and subsequently obtained world-wide publicity. The second reason is that it has now become the stated policy of the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Community that development aid should be conditional upon recipient countries adopting acceptable human rights policies within their own borders. That was mentioned in the Queen's Speech with regard to aid policy: [The Government's] objectives will include promoting good government, sensible economic policies and respect for human rights". Initially, the policy of conditionality of aid was directed at countries of the Eastern bloc. But since the break-up of the Warsaw Pact and the establishment of multi-party democracy in the East, that policy has been applied to other countries as well; notably, in the case of Britain, to Burma, Kenya and Malawi. Also, until recently for many years we operated sanctions against South Africa.

After the Tiananmen episode in China there was a slowing of aid and trade to that country, but regrettably, because of the need to hold a dialogue with China about Hong Kong and because of the huge economic importance of trade with China, that policy has now been relaxed, despite the fact that human rights problems remain and China is still in illegal occupation of Tibet.

Before considering our aid and arms trade policy with Indonesia, I need to give a brief outline of the East Timor problem. We have frequently discussed the matter at Question Time but so far as I am aware a connected account of the East Timor story has not yet found its way into Hansard. I shall therefore now give what must be a grossly truncated account.

Timor is an island some 300 miles long and 60 miles wide. It lies 400 miles north-west of Darwin, Australia, in the Timor Sea. Its original inhabitants are ethnically different from the inner island Indonesians, having much in common with Melanesian people. In the 17th and 18th centuries it was colonised by the Dutch taking the western part and the Portuguese the eastern part of the island. When Indonesia was created from the former Dutch East Indies in 1949 West Timor automatically became part of Indonesia and East Timor continued under direct Portuguese rule for a further 27 years until 1974 when the old Portuguese colonial empire broke up.

Political events were then complex. However, in December 1975 Indonesia illegally invaded East Timor and occupied Dili and other major cities but not without resistance. The short-lived independent government of East Timor, dominated by the Fretilin Party which had declared independence, retreated to the forested mountainous interior and have been waging a guerrilla war against Indonesia ever since. Very few guerrillas are left now but they are still to be found under their leader and have never received outside assistance, obtaining their arms by ambushes and raids on the Indonesian forces.

Indonesia claims that its occupation was legiti-mised by a declaration by a Timorese People's Assembly hurriedly got together by the Indonesians in May 1976, six months after the invasion, while fighting was still continuing. The United Nations has never recognised the legitimacy of that assembly which it considers to have been an unrepresentative body acting under duress. The United Nations Assembly and Security Council resolutions from 1975 to 1982 repeatedly called for the Indonesians to withdraw and allow the East Timorese population to vote freely under international supervision in an act of self-determination regarding their future. That has never been allowed by the Indonesian Government.

Over the past 16 years the war in East Timor has been exceptionally brutal. Actual casualties will never be known accurately, but it is probable that 100,000 civilians have died directly as a result of the conflict and a further 100,000 have died as a result of starvation or disease, forced displacement and the disruption of agriculture, transport and basic services. That figure comes from a total population of 600,000.

During that period about 100,000 Indonesians, mainly from crowded Java, have been settled in the territory and Dili has become largely Indonesian in character. Since the invasion, nearly all East Timorese have at least formally adopted Roman Catholicism, the dominant faith during the Portuguese colonial period. Bishop Belo, whom the British IPU group was not allowed to meet, is a staunch upholder of the rights of the East Timorese people. Because of his prominent position and direct links with the Vatican, he has never been arrested but his residence is closely guarded. There is little doubt that the Catholic Church now forms a rallying point for the East Timorese resistance to Indonesian rule. That is now fully backed by Portugal, which in international law is still the administering power.

That resistance to Indonesian rule has been remarkably consistent even though in the mid-1980s Indonesia switched from direct repression to investment in infrastructure—schools, clinics and roads—in an effort to gain the loyalty of the Timorese. The resistance now appears to have taken on a more political character, relying less on guerrilla fighting, with the result that peaceful demonstrations now take place, in particular when international observers are present. The latest demonstration last November was brutally attacked by the Indonesian forces.

It is possible that greater patience and persuasion, rather than the use of direct military force in 1975, might have resulted in the population of East Timor coming round to the idea of incorporation into Indonesia. However, their treatment as inferior citizens, ruled by a military force carrying out a policy bordering on genocide for the past 16 years, has understandably hardened their resistance. The Santa Cruz massacre was visible but it was only an example of the style of rule that had existed during the previous 16 years.

It must be remembered that immediately after the Suharto regime came into being in 1965 it was responsible for the killing of what is reliably estimated to he 1 million people without trial. They were mainly from Java and merely suspected of being members of the PKI, which is the Indonesian communist party. Human rights abuses have during the years taken place in other parts of Indonesia; in Aceh, in North Sumatra, in the Moluccas and in West Irian, which is the western part of New Guinea. The abuses include disappearances, political killings, extra-judicial executions and unfair political trials. A number of prisoners of conscience are still held, according to Amnesty International.

At this moment the consultative group on Indonesia, consisting of countries which were former members of the intergovernmental group on Indonesia which discussed aid to Indonesia, is meeting in Paris to discuss future aid policies. In view of the record which I have outlined I hope that at that conference Her Majesty's Government will take a firm line on future aid. In a document published this week entitled Indonesia! East Timor: The Suppression of Dissent, Amnesty International gives an outline of the human rights situation to date throughout Indonesia. It makes grim reading.

With regard to arms sales we should take note of a recent vote in the United States House of Representatives to cut 2.3 million dollars from the US military aid budget to Indonesia. I know that this is a difficult area for the Government during a period of recession. Indonesia has been a valuable customer for our arms. When criticised the Government's usual response is that all countries are entitled to purchase arms for their legitimate defence. But Indonesia has no external enemies. Its armed forces exist solely to keep order within its own territories; in other words, to suppress its own people. On the previous occasion when Indonesia fought an external enemy it was Malaysia, which was a member of the Commonwealth, and British troops were involved.

I could go on for an hour giving more details of the case that I have outlined but other noble Lords need time to speak. Indeed, I am sure that they will develop the case more skilfully than I can. I regret having to condemn Indonesia. It is a beautiful country inhabited by friendly, generous and cultured people and it has a number of admirable institutions. However, in order to become a respected member of the international community its government must recognise that in 1992 they must put their house in order. They will not do so unless the rest of the world shows in actions as well as in words that it will not tolerate any further violation of internationally-accepted human rights standards.

Indonesia must conform to the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights. It should sign the international covenant on civil and political rights as well as the covenant on torture. It must permit the free and regular monitoring of human rights in Indonesia and East Timor by national and international human rights organisations. Those actions are sorely needed by the people of East Timor and the whole of Indonesia.

3.50 p.m.

Lord Finsberg

My Lords, I hope that I will be forgiven for making a maiden speech so soon after my introduction, although I am perhaps not alone in doing so. First, I wish to put the ordeal behind me and; secondly, the subject of East Timor is of great concern to me. I am sure that the Whole House is grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Rea, for raising the issue.

I should like to tell your Lordships as briefly as I can why I am particularly interested and why I believe the matter is of such importance. For the past five years or more I have had the privilege of leading the United Kingdom's delegations to both the Council of Europe and Western European Union. The subject of East Timor has arisen at both those parliamentary assemblies. Your Lordships may wonder why. In those famous words, Timor is a small country far away. However, as the noble Lord, Lord Rea, said, it was administered by Portugal and Portugal, as Britain's oldest ally, is a member of the Council of Europe and of Western European Union. Our colleagues in those assemblies asked us to debate the issue. It may interest your Lordships if I say a little about what has happened before I come to my final conclusion.

The noble Lord, Lord Rea, rightly pointed out that East Timor was annexed in 1976. Well over one-third of the population have already been murdered—well over one-third! The contrast between the world's immediate reaction to Iraq's annexation of Kuwait and what has happened to East Timor makes us wonder whether there are double standards when a nation is further away and out of the limelight.

The annexation of East Timor was condemned not only by the United Nations but also by the Conference of Non-Aligned Countries, of which Indonesia is a member, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the European Parliament and vast numbers of international parliamentary and religious organisations. The annexation of East Timor is a clear violation of international law and, more particularly, of people's rights to self-determination and independence. Portugal was taking East Timor—slowly, it is true—along the road to independence.

The human rights of the people of East Timor have been appallingly broken. They have not been allowed to decide their own political destiny or to preserve their cultural or linguistic identities. All in all, they have been treated in a way that can do no credit to a nation that wishes to be considered part of the civilised world.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe asked member states—the Ministers of the 27—to implement an arms embargo in respect of Indonesia until the injustices have been put right. The debate then switched to the Parliamentary Assembly of Western European Union. It so happened that I was presiding over that debate. From the speeches of the Portuguese representatives of all parties, ranging from the communists—who are still somewhat unreconstructed—to the rest, one could not tell their political views. The parliamentary assembly made two requests, in this case to the Ministers of the nine. They asked for an immediate embargo on arms and the suspension of military support for Indonesia.

I believe that the United Kingdom has to be vigilant in upholding human rights. Our record is exceptionally good. On the occasions when we have been taken before the European Court of Human Rights we have at once complied with judgments where they have been against us. As a nation and as individuals we must speak up wherever human rights are violated provided that we are satisfied as to the truth of the allegations. On East Timor no doubt can exist, as the deaths of so many bear witness.

I wish to ask my noble friend Lady Trumpington two questions. I conveyed to her the fact that I wanted to put them. What is the view of Her Majesty's Government as to what can be done practically? What response was given by the Council of Ministers of both the Council of Europe and Western European Union of which the British Ministers are part?

East Timor has been the subject of murder, rape and pillage for well over 15 years. Yugoslavia has been the subject of rape, murder and pillage for some 15 months. We could have saved 90 per cent. of those who have died in Yugoslavia had any one of our civilised Western nations been prepared to take action at once when Yugoslavia, and more particularly, Serbia, decided to do what she did. Let us at least do something for the people of East Timor who, as I know from conversations with them and with Portuguese, feel cut off and ignored by the civilised world. That is a charge which should lie heavily on our consciences.

3.57 p.m.

Lord Avebury

My Lords, when I say that the maiden speech of the noble Lord, Lord Finsberg, was a masterpiece I am not in any way exaggerating. He spoke concisely and with immense knowledge from his membership of the Council of Europe and the Western European Union. Above all, he spoke with great humanity, which is a quality that has always distinguished him throughout the whole of his illustrious career both in another place and in his great services to local government in which in a small way I can remember co-operating with him in the dim and distant past. He may recall that when he acted as the friend of the London taxi drivers in the early 1970s I believe that we shared a platform. We certainly worked together to see that the taxi service, which is one of the prides of London, was properly looked after. I believe that it was partly as a result of his work that we still have the excellent taxi service which we still enjoy.

Now we have seen another side of the noble Lord's work. His widespread knowledge of foreign affairs, and particularly his grasp of the iniquity of the Indonesian violation of human rights in East Timor, is something which must have struck your Lordships with great force. Not only do we forgive him for his promptness in making his maiden speech, but we would have found it hard to forgive if he had withheld from us the benefits of the views which he has just expressed.

The noble Lord, Lord Rea, said that he had visited East Timor for 24 hours, which is more than I can claim. I have in fact asked the Indonesian authorities on a number of occasions whether it would be possible to send a delegation of the Parliamentary Human Rights Group, of which I have the honour to be chairman, to investigate human rights in East Timor. On the first occasion they declined. The second time around, when I made the request in conjunction with Australian parliamentarians led by Tony Lamb, who was then the convener of the East Timor Forum in the Australian Parliament, Mr. Lamb received the answer that it was inappropriate for the Australians to go there at that time and I did not have the courtesy of an answer at all. That is how the Indonesians treat any person they know to be critical of their policies in East Timor. They will not even let people go there to see what is happening—and for obvious reasons.

The noble Lord, Lord Rea, has asked whether the Government will make development aid and arms sales to Indonesia conditional on the ending of human rights abuses in East Timor. One should recognise, as he did, that it is not just in East Timor that the Indonesian armed forces are behaving in a brutal and sadistic manner towards the civilian population that they control. The noble Lord mentioned Acheh, where there are no television cameras or foreign reporters, and which the United Nations Rapporteur on Torture, Professor Kooijmans, was refused permission to enter last November even though he was allowed to go to East Timor at that time.

The noble Lord also mentioned Amnesty International's recent report, which was published on 13th July. It gives examples of extra-judicial killings and disappearances in Acheh which reinforce the many reports that have been published during the past two years by the American human rights organisation, Asia Watch, and by TAPOL, to which we all owe a great debt of gratitude for chronicling the events in East Timor and elsewhere in Indonesia and for enabling us to speak with greater authority than we could if we had to find our information solely in the western press, which so frequently ignores these matters.

We believe that in West Papua also violence against the civilian population is endemic. As the noble Lord, Lord Rea, reminded us, the Indonesian armed forces have a well-documented record of mass murders, torture and arbitrary detentions which extends throughout the whole breadth of the territory but particularly in areas where the Government rule without the consent of the local people, as in East Timor.

The noble Lord has provided us with a well-timed opportunity also to repeat the questions that were put to the Foreign Secretary in a letter signed by Members of both Houses. I should like to remind the noble Baroness, Lady Trumpington, of those questions in the hope that she may be able to give us some replies this afternoon. We asked whether Britain would issue a statement on the occasion of the Consultative Group on Indonesia's meeting in Paris today and tomorrow, emphasising our deep concern about the human rights violations in East Timor. We also asked whether the Government would make known our dissatisfaction with the commission of inquiry set up by Jakarta to inquire into the Santa Cruz massacre and the savage sentences that were meted out to the survivors who were charged with political offences.

We invoked the principle of conditionality, which the noble Lord, Lord Rea, also mentioned, and which has been stated repeatedly by the Foreign Secretary and by the noble Baroness, Lady Chalker. We asked that aid be suspended until those arrested and imprisoned in the wake of the massacre are released and until a genuine inquiry to pin the responsibility for the tragedy on the senior officers responsible is conducted. Finally, we asked for the immediate release of the report by the special representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, Dr. Amos Wako, who went to East Timor to inquire into the circumstances of the massacre.

Jose Ramos Horta, whom several of us saw when he was here in the middle of June, made the allegation, which was not denied, that the Foreign Office had been preventing the EC from issuing any statement on the Santa Cruz massacre and the measures taken to deal with the tragedy. Certainly it was a surprise to some of us that nothing was said on the occasion of the recent summit meeting in Lisbon, which I am quite sure the Portuguese would have liked if it had not been for the resistance of some of her partners.

I drew the attention of the Foreign Secretary to the eye-witness statements published in the Indonesian newspapers themselves but not taken by the commission of inquiry and to the commission's failure to seek evidence from any of the foreign observers, including the Yorkshire Television cameraman, Max Stahl, and several others from various parts of the world, including the United States, or even to ask for a copy of the films taken by Max Stahl of the massacre. Amnesty International described the inquiry as "fatally flawed". A statement was issued by the department on 28th January concerning the preliminary report of the commission of inquiry, but recently it said that it did not intend to make any further statement until the trials were ended. As I understand it, this means the indefinite postponement of any comment, because the Indonesians can string out the trials for as long as another year.

No comment had been made either on the appointment of Brigadier-General Theo Syafei, who took over the East Timor command from the previous officer who was moved as one of the steps taken by the Indonesian authorities in consequence of the massacre. Brigadier-General Syafei is a hard-liner and is worse than his predecessor. He took over command with the declaration that if such an incident were to occur while he was in command, the casualties would probably be far higher". That remark was actually reported in the Indonesian political weekly newspaper Editor of 14th March.

Sidney Jones, the Asia Watch director, in testimony before the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee following a visit she made in February, described the reign of terror imposed by General Syafei. A ban was imposed on the visits of foreign journalists to the territory, which has remained in force since, except for one BBC reporter who was allowed to cover the so-called June election. But there has been fairly extensive reporting in the semi-free Indonesian press of intense security clamp-downs in the territory, especially at the time of the visit by the Secretary-General's representative, Dr. Wako. Dr. Wako's report to the Secretary-General on the circumstances of the massacre has been withheld from member states of the UN no doubt as a consequence of Indonesian pressure. That statement must be published if donors are to evaluate the atrocity and Jakarta's response to it properly. In any case, we paid for the report. The taxpayers in this country and in other member states of the United Nations finance the work of Dr. Wako as they finance all the other work of the Secretary-General. We are entitled to know the contents of that report.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian authorities have tried and sentenced many of the survivors of the massacre, meting out sentences of up to life imprisonment. At the same time some junior armed forces personnel have been brought before the courts and charged with minor offences such as disobeying orders. Their sentences have ranged up to 17 months. At a recent seminar organised by the School of Oriental and African Studies Mr. Arizal Effendi, the head of the political section at the Indonesian Embassy, appeared to defend the Indonesian authorities. When I asked him whether senior officers would be charged with murder and conspiracy to murder, he gave an unequivocal "yes". But as your Lordships know, the senior commanders were merely transferred to other posts. Therefore the demand in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office statement of 28th January that a clear commitment be given to punishing those responsible at all levels has not been met. I should like to know what the Foreign Office is going to do about that.

Today and tomorrow, as the noble Lord, Lord Rea, reminded us, the Consultative Group on Indonesia meets in Paris to decide how much aid should be offered by donors to Indonesia next year. The Council of Ministers of the EC stated in the declaration of 28th November 1991 that: The Community and its Member states will explicitly introduce the consideration of human rights as an element of their relations with developing countries; human rights clauses will be inserted in future cooperation agreements. Regular discussions on human rights and democracy will be held, within the framework of developing cooperation, with the aim of seeking improvements". I should like to know how that declaration will be implemented at the discussions in Paris.

That statement followed the Foreign Secretary's initiative in which he urged the European Commission to cut aid to countries violating human rights. The noble Baroness, Lady Chalker (then Mrs. Chalker) spelled out that policy in detail in an article in the Sunday Times of 18th August 1991, and, as the noble Lord, Lord Rea, reminded us, it was reiterated in the Queen's Speech. One could hardly imagine circumstances more demanding of action under the policy than the situation in East Timor today. I sincerely hope that Britain will take the lead in calling for suspension of aid to Indonesia at the Paris meeting.

On the question of arms sales, the Government have so far declined appeals to suspend sales of arms and other military hardware pending an improvement in the human rights situation. They say that they will not sell weapons which could be used against the civilian population. But every sale of equipment for use by the Indonesian armed forces constitutes tacit exoneration of the crimes that they commit.

The report in a daily newspaper of 25th June that a deal is likely to be signed for the sale of 40 British Aerospace Hawks to Indonesia came five days before the news that Mr. Gregorio da Cunha Saldanha, a 29 year-old paramedic, had been given a life sentence for so-called "subversion". What that consisted of was issuing leaflets calling for the withdrawal of the Indonesian occupation forces and organising the demonstration, mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Rea, that took place on the occasion of the visit by the US Ambassador to Jakarta. We certainly should suspend our own shipments of equipment intended for use by Indonesia's armed forces and work for an EC arms embargo.

Similarly, the training of Indonesian armed forces personnel in Britain, whether in Ministry of Defence establishments or by private companies such as British Aerospace in particular, is morally and politically wrong. Those officers are not in front-line posts where they are likely to be directly involved in human rights violations themselves, but their presence here at the expense of the British taxpayer means that we are turning a blind eye to the war crimes committed by their colleagues. We are encouraging other military regimes to believe that whatever they may do in the territories that they occupy in defiance of the United Nations Charter will be overlooked and forgotten by the rest of the world. We are also actively encouraging the process of military involvement in politics, as the remarks by the British embassy on the candidates who are now coming here for military training demonstrate: It has previously been agreed with CRD"— and I should like to know who CRD is; perhaps the noble Baroness can give us that information— that the position of Armed Forces in Indonesian society is such that its members are important decision makers and opinion formers and do, therefore, fall within the scope of FCO SAS"— which, I think, are scholarships and aid schemes— Up to 40% of the participants in Indonesia's political fora are drawn from the armed forces and they are a target for support under the FCO schemes in Indonesia". That is our policy.

Perhaps I may draw the noble Baroness's attention to the provision of the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Article 147 of the convention prohibits wilful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, unlawful deportation or transfer, wilfully depriving a protected person of the rights of a fair and regular trial and extensive destruction and appropriation of property. Article 146 requires us, as a party to the convention, to, search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, such grave breaches", and to bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before our own courts. What checks do we make of the backgrounds of personnel from the Indonesian armed forces seeking entry to the United Kingdom, including those invited to undergo training here, to see whether they should be brought before our courts and tried?

The tragedy of Santa Cruz happened because the armed forces of Indonesia continue to occupy East Timor in defiance of many resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council, all of which Britain supported. Legally, there is no difference between the cases of East Timor and Kuwait. Both are violations of Article 2, paragraph 4, of the Charter which provides that, states should … refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or national independence of any state or in any other manner inconsistent with the purpose of the United Nations". In a letter the noble Earl, Lord Caithness, candidly explained that, the United Nations at that time was not in a position with respect to east Timor to take the resolute action that it took over Kuwait 15 years later"; and in a further letter of 9th March 1992, he pointed out that action was taken over Kuwait under Chapter VII of the charter which deals with specific breaches of international peace and security which had been determined as such by the council. The two resolutions of the Security Council on East Timor (384 and 389) omit any reference to Chapter VII. as indeed they might, considering the United States, Australia and Britain had secretly given the green light to the invasion and thus made it unlikely that the conflict would spread.

The noble Earl added that Resolutions 384 and 389, constitute powerful points of reference for the Secretary-General as he continues his efforts to promote a solution". Those resolutions called for the withdrawal of the Indonesian armed forces, and that is indeed the only way of enabling the people of East Timor to express their views freely, in accordance with the Charter, with the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples and with the two covenants, of which unfortunately Indonesia is not a signatory. We have seen a letter jointly addressed to the Secretary-General by members of the US Congress and the Japanese Diet in which they reiterate the demand for concrete steps to enable the people of East Timor to exercise the right of self-determination by means of a referendum held under the auspices of the United Nations, and the Minister should know that Parliamentarians for East Timor, an organisation comprising several hundred Members of Parliament in some 15 countries, is working for the same objective.

Portugal has now proposed that talks be resumed, this time with participation by the East Timorese themselves. Resolution 37/30 of November 1982 required the Secretary-General to consult with, all the parties directly concerned", and Parliamentarians for East Timor has argued that the people themselves are the most directly concerned of all. Yet they have been excluded without a murmur of protest from governments, including our own, who insist on the virtues of democracy elsewhere. We know that the Foreign Office is scathing about "megaphone diplomacy", as it calls it, but total silence over the past nine years led to the tragedy of Santa Cruz. It may also have contributed to the occupation of Kuwait by Iraq; Saddam Hussein referred to East Timor when he claimed that in six months' time the international community would have forgotten about his invasion. If the EC would support Portugal and work towards a resolution of the General Assembly this autumn demanding the participation of the East Timorese at any future talks, the way might be opened towards a solution in accordance with the principles of self-determination and the unlawfulness of acquisition of territory by force. That way the martyrs of Santa Cruz will not have died in vain.

4.19 p.m.

The Lord Bishop of Worcester

My Lords, perhaps I, who have had little or no experience of foreign affairs, may nevertheless congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Finsberg, on his maiden speech in this House and thank him for deciding to make it on the occasion of an Unstarred Question.

It is well known in the House that bishops of the Church of England are in no way political animals. Despite that, throughout my ministry I have always believed, when people ask me to speak or do something on behalf of those who do not enjoy the host of freedoms under the law that we enjoy and do not have the freedom to go to and fro as we do, that I should respond in some way.

Although, having attended the General Synod last week and the House of Lords this week, I feel the green fields of the diocese of Worcester pulling me towards them, I could not go home without expressing my view on the Unstarred Question of the noble Lord, Lord Rea, for which we are grateful.

The massacre at Santa Cruz was the latest in a series of human rights atrocities committed by Indonesia in East Timor. I shall not repeat facts and figures already given by noble Lords. I know that since 1975 at least 150,000 people have died as a result of military campaigns and starvation induced by forced resettlement, extensive imprisonment without trial, extra-judicial killings, disappearances and widespread torture.

Bishop Carlos Belo, a most courageous bishop, must surely command our admiration. He has constantly said that the Indonesian army regards civilians as enemies. There is no confidence whatever in the new commander-in-chief of the army; indeed, he is a ruthless hardliner. Bishop Belo has said over and over again that self-determination for East Timor is a matter for the East Timorese. That goes without saying in the United Kingdom. The bishop says—I support him and put it to the noble Baroness that Her Majesty's Government should also do so—that what is required is determined intervention by the international community, fairly obviously through the United Nations, to ensure a well conducted referendum of the people. It must ensure that democratic and human rights are affirmed, for dissent is treated as treasonable. Those who took part in the demonstrations last November, as we have seen and know, have been picked off and imprisoned for up to 15 years and, in one case, for life. No army officer has been tried for ordering the massacre.

In the face of this, it is to be hoped that the words of the Foreign Secretary to the European Commission that we should cut aid to countries which violate human rights will be heeded in the matter of Indonesia, always considering that humanitarian aid comes into a different category. Can we not have a statement on that? Let us hope that one will be made at the Paris aid consortium.

I also wish to ask Her Majesty's Government for an embargo on all arms sales to Indonesia, although I know that that is difficult at a time of recession. Can we justify the sale of 40 Hawk aircraft at this time and the invitation to three Indonesian army officers to study in the United Kingdom? Can we cancel the sale of the Green Rover to the Indonesian navy?

Those would be clear signals that we cannot condone the present ugly regime in East Timor. It would be the best way to indicate and communicate to Indonesia that it cannot claim—as has already been said in this House—a place in a civilised world community if it continues to behave in its present fashion.

4.25 p.m.

Lord Hatch of Lusby

My Lords, I shall not detain the House many minutes for the good reason that the noble Lord, Lord Finsberg, in an outstanding maiden speech, said everything that I should like to say about the situation in East Timor. However, as is known in this House, I have pursued this matter for some years now.

I shall therefore confine myself to asking the Government to tell us clearly where they stand not just on the issue of East Timor itself, but also as regards any other similar issues which may arise. I am glad to know that the noble Lord, Lord Finsberg, sees a double standard being used by the Government as regards their attitude towards East Timor and as regards their attitude towards Iraq. Ministers have been angry—I have made this comparison before—about this situation.

Will the Minister say how she can justify the attitude taken by the Government to the invasion of East Timor by Indonesia, particularly in view of the condemnation by the United Nations of the aggression shown by Indonesia during that invasion in 1975? If the Government believe that as a member of the United Nations they must accept the leadership of that organisation when it states categorically that aggression has been perpetrated, surely it is not for them to pick and choose as to which aggression they will act on according to some somewhat suspicious forms of so-called national interest. I hope the noble Baroness will tell the House quite clearly—this matter has been debated before and it is not a new issue—whether the British Government consider the invasion of East Timor by Indonesia to be an act of aggression as stated by the United Nations, and if so what action the British Government intend to take to back up that declaration of aggression. That is the first issue that I wish the Government to comment upon.

Secondly, will the noble Baroness tell us the actual amount of armaments that have been sold to Indonesia by Britain? According to one estimate by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (with which I have been connected for many years) between 1986 and 1990 the United Kingdom provided major weapons systems to Indonesia to the value of 522 million dollars. Can the noble Baroness tell the House whether that is accurate, or is it inaccurate? If it is inaccurate, what was the amount of arms provided by Britain to that regime which has been condemned by the United Nations as an aggressor? Is it the case that the British Government are still providing facilities for the training of Indonesian army officers in this country?

This all comes down to the original question which I asked and which this House, this Parliament and this Government have to face. Twelve months ago we saw what happens when aggression is allowed to take place, and indeed encouraged to take place, before the actual movement of troops. We saw what tragedy it brings. In Indonesia there is a more long term tragedy. It has been condemned by the United Nations. Where do the British Government, as a member of the United Nations, stand when the United Nations condemns another state for aggression? How do the British Government act?

It is no good saying that every country has a right to self defence. That is not the point here. The point is how the British Government acts when the United Nations has declared another state to be an aggressor. Do the British Government continue to supply that country with arms and training facilities? Do they continue to supply that country with aid, despite the fact that the British Government have laid down, as they did in the gracious Speech, that in future aid will depend on good governance? Do the British Government consider that the Indonesian Government is an example of good governance?

Let them come clean now and let us hear from the Government where they stand now on the issue of aggression and good governance so that we know what we can expect in terms of the actions of the British Government in the future.

4.32 p.m.

Lord Haden-Guest

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Rea, for bringing this urgent Question so compellingly to the attention of your Lordships' House. He covered a wide spectrum, as did the noble Lord, Lord Finsberg, in his most impressive maiden speech, and other noble Lords who for years have been active on this question. I shall therefore be brief.

The gross and continuing violation of human rights in East Timor by the Government of Indonesia, in particular by its military and security forces, blatantly contravening as it does the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and numerous United Nations resolutions, is not a new development. It began in 1975 with the illegal annexation of East Timor by Indonesia following a brutal invasion in which it has been estimated at least 60,000 East Timorese died while hundreds of thousands of others were uprooted from their homes and forced to flee to other far distant places. Much worse was to follow in succeeding years.

The situation in East Timor has now been on the agenda of the United Nations and considered independently by numerous governments and by a number of political bodies for some 17 years. I have to say that throughout that time there has been a striking and indeed a shameful lack of political will to act decisively and with one voice on the matter. In fact, a number of the most influential members of the United Nations, among them the United States and the United Kingdom, have supported the status quo while continuing to develop their substantial economic interests in Indonesia, no small part of which involves the provision of large quantities of arms to the military forces of that country. It is precisely because of this constant and increasing flow of arms that united action by the international community must be taken without delay.

Nevertheless, there are at long last heartening signs of change in international opinion and political direction. In this country a growing public awareness of what is going on in East Timor has come with the recent publication of well-informed articles in the serious press, notably the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph. In addition, active political entities such as the Parliamentary Human Rights Group, which is well known to your Lordships, the British Coalition for East Timor, the Indonesian Human Rights Campaign and others have made a significant contribution to the knowledge of the public. In many countries, including Australia and Japan, citizens have banded together to oppose the Indonesian repression, and publicised statements by respected organisations such as Amnesty International have been extremely helpful in informing the public of what is really going on.

There have been significant developments on the political front. In the United States the House of Representatives has voted to stop funding the Indonesian military and a bill has been sponsored to suspend military and economic aid and trade preferences for Indonesia until that country with-draws from East Timor and allows a United Nations—supervised plebiscite to take place. On 25th June this year the House of Representatives adopted that bill by a large majority and an amended appropriation bill has been sent to the Senate where it will be taken up later in the year. The powerful Conference of United States Mayors has urged the President of the United States and Congress to support the immediate introduction of a resolution in the General Assembly instructing the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to appoint a special rapporteur for East Timor to assist in the resolution of the conflict, providing for self-determination of the East Timorese people. It says that the President should request the Government of Indonesia to permit an investigation by the United Nations special rapporteur on summary and arbitrary executions in East Timor and elsewhere in Indonesia.

Given the circumstances described, is it not time for all governments involved in the area, including that of the United Kingdom, to join ranks and, by withholding arms to Indonesia, bring to an end the appalling state of affairs in East Timor and prepare the ground under international auspices for a dialogue between Indonesia and East Timor which in the course of time could lead to a just and peaceful political solution acceptable to both parties in the area?

4.38 p.m.

Lord Judd

My Lords, I am sure we are all deeply grateful to my noble friend Lord Rea for having introduced this debate this afternoon. It seems to me that one of the characteristics of this House at its best is a deep commitment to humanitarian concerns and justice. This debate is about that. I think it is very telling and appropriate that we should be having a debate of this kind just before the Long Recess. It shows that we are not prepared to go away leaving God knows how many hundreds or thousands suffering uncared for in a country about which we know more than we sometimes like to admit.

I should also like to join with those who have congratulated the noble Lord, Lord Finsberg, on an outstanding maiden speech. He has characterised his individual commitment to those principles about which I have just been speaking. I am sure all of us look forward to a powerful future in this House as a guardian of everything that British democracy likes to say it is about.

As we have been reminded in this debate, Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975, after the East Timorese, taking advantage of the collapse of the Portuguese dictatorship, had declared their independence. We must remember that the United Nations still recognises Portugal as the legitimate authority in East Timor, which it categorises as the world's last non-autonomous region. Following the invasion, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolutions 384 and 389, which confirm East Timor's right to self-determination and call on the Indonesians to end their illegal occupation, an occupation every bit as serious a violation of the international rule of law as the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

The United Nations also acknowledges the Revolutionary Front for the Independence of East Timor as the legitimate representatives of the East Timorese. The front has conducted guerrilla operations against the Indonesian forces of occupation, but those forces, sustained by sophisticated equipment, much of which is British, have exacted heavy casualties on the East Timorese. As my noble friend Lord Rea reminded us, in over 17 years of fighting, exacerbated by famine, an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 people have been killed out of a total population of 600,000.

The Indonesian Army has conducted a cruel and brutal occupation. Its most recent outrage, as we heard in this debate, was on 12th December last. That was the Santa Cruz massacre in which between 100 and 200 people who had been attending a funeral were killed by the Indonesian Army. That massacre, which took place despite the presence of the United Nations special rapporteur on torture and human rights, Professor Kooijman, was condemned by the United Nations and the European Community. In the report of his visit to East Timor, Professor Kooijman concluded that the torture of detainees in East Timor by the Indonesian occupying forces was routine. That is apparently the first time that the United Nations in an official document has unequivocally confirmed that torture occurs in Indonesia.

The Indonesian Government have attempted to dismiss the massacre as an isolated incident. But, as we have just heard, organisations such as Amnesty International have documented gross and systematic human rights violations not only in East Timor but throughout Indonesia for the past 20 years. In the aftermath of the Santa Cruz massacre, the international outcry forced the Indonesian Government to take the unprecedented step of launching an inquiry. By June 1992 a number of officers had been dismissed or transferred from their posts, and 10 officers were convicted by military courts. However. none of the accused officers was charged with murder or even with unlawful killing. Indeed, only one was charged with ill treatment and all were sentenced to only short terms of imprisonment. By contrast, a number of the surviving massacre victims were sentenced to long gaol sentences.

The noble Lord, Lord Avebury, referred to an interview published recently in Editor, an Indonesian magazine. In the same periodical, Major-General Mantiri, Commander of the IXth Udayana Regional Military Command, which covers East Timor, has been reported as describing the army's shooting of peaceful demonstrators as "proper" saying that the army had no regrets. Perhaps I may crave the indulgence of the House to quote from the article concerned, because it reveals what we are up against. The question was asked: As Commander of the Dili Incident, it's your responsibility to eliminate the bad image which resulted from that incident. Does this make things heavier for you? The answer was: If you say heavier, it's relative. A good image as seen from where? As seen from abroad, that's true. People from abroad indeed said: 'My goodness! ' But from our vantage-point that is not the case. We don't regret anything. What happened was quite proper … As military, this is so. They were opposing us, demonstrating, even yelling things against the government. To me that is identical with rebellion, so that is why we took firm action. From our perspective there is no question of a bad image. People abroad are yapping away, magnifying things. But things were not as bad as they claim The question was asked: Proper? —to which the answer was— If people demonstrate around the idea of opposing the government, we take action. For me that is proper". The Indonesian Government have consistently attempted to obstruct the outside world's access to East Timor and the news blackout has intensified since the massacre. In effect, East Timor has been closed to human rights investigators despite a February 1992 appeal by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to allow human rights and humanitarian organisations access.

Despite the Indonesian occupying forces' long history of repression and human rights abuse, the British Government have undertaken extensive arms sales to Indonesia. Indeed, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, between 1986 and 1990 the UK was second only to the United States in the supply of weapons systems to Indonesia my noble friend Lord Hatch has referred to that, and certainly the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute suggests that during this period UK exports were worth 522 million US dollars compared with 538 million US dollars-worth by the United States,455 million US dollars-worth by the Netherlands and 112 million US dollars-worth by the Federal German Republic.

Significantly, over the same period Indonesia seems to have been the third largest recipient of UK weapons systems. The most recent sales took place in June 1991, when British Aerospace announced a major collaborative deal with the Indonesian Government for the production of Hawk aircraft. Since September 1991, following the visit of the then Secretary of State for Defence to Jakarta, the deal was confirmed.

The Government have also sold a naval support ship, the "Green Rover", to the Indonesians and extended training to the Indonesian armed forces. I understand that since 1979 British arms sales to Indonesia have included three Tribal Class frigates, three contracts for the Rapier Air Defence system, Sea Wolf missile launchers, advanced computers for military use and an unknown number of armoured personnel carriers refurbished by a British company for anti-guerrilla operations in mountainous terrain. The Government have also provided extensive training, as we have heard in the debate, and information transfer facilities to the Indonesian armed forces.

The Government themselves have consistently refused to reveal the value of British arms sales to Indonesia, a position which I suggest is totally at odds with their support for a United Nations arms register, so much favoured in theory by the Prime Minister. The British Government justify those sales on the ground that every country has a legitimate right under the United Nations Charter to secure its defence, a point made by the noble Earl, Lord Caithness, in answer to a Starred Question on 25th November of last year. However, disingenuously, that Answer overlooked the fact that Indonesia has an appalling human rights record, is illegally occupying East Timor and is using for offensive rather than defensive purposes the weapons supplied to it.

The Government also justify the sales on the ground that there is no evidence to suggest that the equipment sold has been used in East Timor to prolong Indonesia's illegal occupation of that country. The House is entitled to know whether that is still the Government's view in the light of the recent massacre and the admission by the noble Lord, Lord Cavendish of Furness, in answer to a Starred Question on the Santa Cruz massacre, that British Land Rovers were indeed used by troops responsible for the outrage.

Subsequently, also in answer to a Starred Question on the Santa Cruz massacre, the noble Earl, Lord Caithness, said that Land Rovers were used, but added: I believe that the House will agree with me that these are not arms".-[Official Report,30/1/92; col.1417.] Arms or not, they obviously played a crucial part in the atrocity.

Frankly, the Government's policy appears to have been one of selling huge quantities of arms to Indonesia while making the odd protest when the Indonesians used those and other weapons to butcher the people of East Timor. Reflecting that, giving a recent oral Answer in the other place, Mr. Douglas Hogg said that the Government would continue to make their concern about human rights abuses in East Timor crystal clear to the Indonesian Government. Selling the latter large quantities of arms regardless of the use made of such weapons is hardly a convincing way to express that concern, however.

To make matters worse, the Government's willingness to sell arms to Indonesia despite that country's illegal and repressive occupation of East Timor has been translated into a consistent series of abstentions in the United Nations on resolutions condemning the Indonesian Government. Perhaps even more sinister is the fact that that is almost certainly what lay behind the repeated, cynical manoeuvres by the British Government to frustrate humanitarian initiatives on Indonesia by the EC under the leadership of the Portuguese during their presidency of the Community.

Indonesia is the biggest recipient of UK aid in the Far East. The annual average of the UK's bilateral aid to Indonesia between 1988 and 1990 was £20.27 million. In 1990 Indonesia received substantially more aid than Malaysia, a comparable country which is a loyal member of the Commonwealth, and much more aid than the countries in the region which are in most need of aid. Reflecting that issue, it is interesting to note that in the same year Britain gave Indonesia 206 times as much aid as it gave to Cambodia.

The expansion of UK aid to Indonesia contradicts certain key factors which normally determine the allocation of aid. For example, Indonesia is neither one of' the poorest countries in the region nor is it a member of the Commonwealth. Moreover, its poor human rights record and illegal occupation of East Timor raise fundamental questions about its suitability for such aid.

In the light of those factors, we on these Benches fear that the United Kingdom's allocation to aid to Indonesia can now be attributed only to the identification of Indonesia as a key market where British exporters can compete well against foreign competitors. However, I recognise that in the past another factor was probably the perception by the US and UK Governments of Indonesia as a bulwark against communism.

In support of the points made in this brief but vital debate I want to conclude by putting several specific questions to the noble Baroness. They are questions of which I thought it wise to give her office prior notice. First, given that the Indonesians have been illegally occupying East Timor since 1975, and that the Santa Cruz massacre in November was just the latest in a long line of outrages committed by the Indonesian forces of occupation, does the Minister not agree that the time for a negotiated settlement on the basis of UN Resolutions 384 and 389 is long overdue? Can the Minister confirm whether the British Government will use the presidency of the European Community actively to promote such a settlement?

Secondly, can the noble Baroness advise the House of the size of the British aid programme to Indonesia in 1991–92, and what it is to be in 1992–93? Thirdly, can the noble Baroness advise the House of the number of East Timorese arrested after the Santa Cruz massacre who are still being held by the Indonesian forces of occupation? Of those, can she indicate the number charged with offences and the number sentenced? What do the Government know of their treatment in detention? Have the Government any firm information on the blood-chilling numbers of those who disappeared altogether at the time of the massacre?

Given the Government's frequent assertion that, despite Britain being one of Indonesia's main arms suppliers, British arms sales play no part in sustaining Indonesia's illegal occupation of East Timor, can the Minister advise the House as to who is supplying the weapons being used against the East Timorese? Can the noble Baroness confirm whether or not the Indonesian Government are still ignoring the appeal of the United Nations Commission for Human Rights to allow humanitarian and human rights organisa-tions access to East Timor in order to monitor human rights violations? Can she confirm whether the British Government have yet obtained copies of the United Nations report on the massacre and whether they will place them in the Libraries of both Houses?

In view of both the Prime Minister's and the Foreign Secretary's repeated commitment to upholding human rights—including their determination to ensure that British aid is tied to the human rights record of recipients—and in the light of the European Community declaration on 28th November last on human rights and relations with developing countries, can the noble Baroness explain to the House why Britain continues to sell arms to Indonesia despite its illegal occupation of East Timor and the brutality of its forces of occupation within East Timor?

Can the noble Baroness advise the House of the specific action-orientated recommendations that, in the light of the recent Santa Cruz massacre and Indonesia's continuing abuse of human rights in East Timor, the Government will be making at the meeting of the World Bank's consultative group on Indonesia taking place in Paris this very day and tomorrow regarding aid to the country?

Finally, above all, will the Government as a whole stop the smooth diplomatic double talk and hypocrisy of their approach on Indonesia? It consists of protesting decent intentions but doing virtually nothing when it matters to take the action to secure the ends that they proclaim. It must be an acute embarrassment to the Minister. It is high time for the Government to emulate their determination on Kuwait and vigorously to use their presidency of the European Community to ensure that in the Community and at the United Nations effective pressure is at last brought to bear upon the cruel tyrants of Jakarta.

4.58 p.m.

Baroness Trumpington

My Lords, the Question of the noble Lord, Lord Rea, has exposed the deep feelings held by the House on this matter. It also enables me to set out the Government's case on the question of human rights in East Timor.

The debate has produced an authoritative and moving maiden speech from my noble friend Lord Finsberg. As an ex-constituent of his I expected no less. At the same time it gives me special pleasure to congratulate someone who was so helpful to me when I was a junior Minister. I know that his contributions to this House will always be worthwhile and I wish him great happiness at this end of the Palace of Westminster.

We were all horrified by what happened in Dili last November. It intensified our concerns about human rights abuses in Indonesia and East Timor. But this time the Indonesians responded in an unprecedented way, taking real action themselves rather than simply in response to international criticism, to find out what went wrong. The Indonesian president insisted on follow-up action against those responsible, including courts martial. Importantly, the Indonesians also allowed a visit by the UN Secretary General's special representative, Mr. Amos Wako.

I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Judd, for the advance warning he gave of his questions. He asked whether I could confirm that HMG have the UN report on the Santa Cruz massacre. The answer is that Her Majesty's Government do not have that report because the United Nations Secretary General has decided not to release it. The next question raised by the noble Lord, Lord Judd, was whether I could—

Lord Avebury

My Lords, before the noble Baroness leaves the question of Mr. Amos Wako's report—

Baroness Trumpington

My Lords, order! I am very conscious that noble Lords may have many questions to ask. I am sorry, but this is not the time to get me off my feet. I will write letters to anyone, but I am going to proceed with my speech.

Lord Avebury

My Lords, I simply wanted to ask about the report—

Noble Lords


Baroness Trumpington

The noble Lord, Lord Judd, asked me to clarify whether the Indonesians are still ignoring the plea of the UN Commission for Human Rights to allow human rights' observers into East Timor. We continue to look to the Indonesians to pursue follow-up action in accordance with the UNCHR chairman's statement of 4th March. The ICRC is at present in the territory. We have made it very clear to the Indonesians, in statements by the Government and the European Community, and in direct bilateral representations to the Indonesians, the serious view which we took of the killings of civilians in Dili. We made direct representations to the Indonesians on 30th June on behalf of the Community and acting for the Portuguese presidency about the trials and the discrepancies in sentences of those charged in connection with the events in Dili. We continue to monitor developments on the issue very closely.

My noble friend Lord Finsberg asked about the response to the Council of Europe. The British Government support the declaration of the Committee of Ministers of 26th November last which followed the parliamentary assembly's resolution of 28th June on East Timor. Another question from the noble Lord, Lord Judd, concerned the number of East Timorese arrested after the incident; the number of those still detained by the Indonesians; and those charged and sentenced. The numbers, as known to the FCO on 15th July are: arrested after the incident,56; still detained,20; charged,21; and sentenced,19.

I am sure that your Lordships can agree that our aim should be to influence the Indonesians in whatever ways are most appropriate and effective. That brings me to the two specific elements in the Motion of the noble Lord, Lord Rea. Indonesia is a poor country with a GNP per capita of 570 US dollars that is regarded by the donor community as having managed its economy very effectively over the past decade.

Our development assistance to Indonesia is focused on programmes and projects which promote economic and social development. It includes help for primary education, training in management research and conservation of tropical forests, English language teaching, public administration and the promotion of energy efficiency. We also provide concessional finance for major development projects involving the provision of UK goods and services which exist. This helps British firms to establish themselves in the expanding Indonesian market.

The noble Lord, Lord Rea, asked about the link between aid and human rights. It is the policy of Her Majesty's Government to take full account of human rights issues in determining their aid policy to individual countries. The form that takes reflects the circumstances of each country and the nature of the human rights problem. As regards Indonesia, we believe that its poverty and its record of sound economic policy justify a continuation of aid. But that needs to be combined with a continuing dialogue on our human rights anxieties in association with other donors.

The noble Lord, Lord Judd, asked a further question about the size of the United Kingdom's aid programme for Indonesia in 1991–92 and what is proposed for 1992–93. For 1991–92, it was £21.4 million, plus debt relief of £2.27 million. We expect spending in 1992–93 to be at about the same level. In making decisions about aid policy, your Lordships will be aware that we and other major aid donors take human rights very much into account. Where improvements are needed, we have made this very clear to the countries involved. But the nature of human rights problems differs from country to country, and our response must be graduated accordingly.

The noble Lord, Lord Judd, referred to the meeting of donors which is taking place today in Paris, at which an Indonesian minister is present. In preparing for this meeting, we have, as EC President, consulted closely with our European partners. The noble Lord also asked whether I could advise the House as to the recommendations that Her Majesty's Government will make to the consultative group on Indonesia in Paris this week in respect of aid in the light of the Santa Cruz massacre and human rights abuses. Our representative conveyed our views and those of our Community partners to the Indonesian minister in Paris this morning, making clear our continued anxiety over human rights. I understand that the World Bank will be issuing a statement.

As I said earlier, in the follow-up to the Dili incident, the Indonesians have already taken some unprecedented steps. We believe that the kind of exchanges that are taking place in Paris today have an effect. The steps that have been taken are unprecedented, but they are not enough. We want to see further progress. The point is that we do not believe that the suspension of aid would improve the human rights situation in East Timor, and to deny Indonesia the assistance that I have previously mentioned would be a retrogressive step.

My farmer friends would laugh about the part in the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Judd, about Land-Rovers and to think that they were driving around in offensive weapons. I cannot agree either with the noble Lord, Lord Hatch, or with the noble Lord, Lord Judd, with regard to the export of defence equipment. The Government's policy is based on respect for the right of other countries, as sovereign states, to protect their independence. This is a right that we claim for ourselves. It would be inconsistent and discriminatory to deny it to others. Proposed defence sales from Britain, including those to Indonesia, are nevertheless subject to strict export controls.

The noble Lords, Lord Hatch, and Lord Avebury, and, I think, the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Worcester, asked me about military students and their training. Educating and training Indonesians in all fields is a positive way of bringing about improvements in their performance. A number of Indonesians attend further education courses in the United Kingdom, funded under our development assistance and technical co-operation programmes and other schemes, such as the FCO scholarship and award scheme and the UK military training assistance scheme. Training for members of the Indonesian armed forces is intended to improve their competence and discipline; and by introducing them also to our principles, methods and values, it increases their awareness of the importance of good government, democracy and respect for human rights.

The noble Lord, Lord Judd, asked why, in view of the strong stance on human rights taken by the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State and the need to take into account the human rights record when allocating aid, Britain is still selling arms to Indonesia despite its occupation of and brutality in East Timor. We very carefully scrutinise all applications for exports of military equipment to Indonesia, as we do with other countries. We reject those for equipment likely to be used for repression of the population. To cease to supply the equipment which Indonesia legitimately needs for defence purposes would not in our view be an appropriate or effective way of influencing the Indonesians. We do not believe that British military equipment sold in the past to Indonesia has been used against the East Timorese.

In view of the Government's continued arms sales to Indonesia but their insistence that they are not being used to suppress the East Timorese, who is supplying the arms? In answer to the noble Lord, Lord Judd, other countries' arms sales policies are entirely a matter for them. The noble Lord, Lord Hatch, asked what amount of arms had been sold to Indonesia. I am sorry that I cannot give the noble Lord the figures he seeks today. We are taking every opportunity to promote restraint and responsibility in the arms trade That is why the Prime Minister proposed a UN register of arms transfers to increase transparency in this field and to alert the international community to excessive and destabilising accumulations of arms. That is why we are participating in international discussions in the UN, the conference on disarmament and the EC aimed at curbing irresponsible arms transfers.

Our position on defence sales to Indonesia is consistent with this broad international approach. Human rights are already a criterion. The Government have made it clear that they will not authorise the sale of arms for repressive use against the civilian population. In answer to the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Worcester, we see no reason to cancel the sale of the former Royal Fleet Auxiliary support ship "Green Rover". It is unlikely to be used for repressive purposes. Recent sales to Indonesia and prospective sales, such as the Hawk aircraft deal which is currently being negotiated, are subject to such government scrutiny and approval.

The noble Lord, Lord Rea, and my noble friend Lord Finsberg were concerned about the status of East Timor. The United Kingdom voted in favour of UN resolutions condemning the Indonesian killings in East Timor. The United Kingdom has not recognised annexation of East Timor; nor has the Community. The United States, Canada and Australia have recognised it. We firmly believe that East Timor's future is best addressed through bilateral contacts between those directly involved—Portugal and Indonesia. The UN Secretary General's efforts to bring them together with a view to reaching a settlement deserve and receive our support. The Government support the UN Secretary General in those ways in a process of reconciliation and a search for a diplomatic solution.

In all our dealings with Indonesia, we shall continue to make clear the importance we attach to full respect for human rights. But we believe that the improvements we hope to see will be best achieved by continuing to put our views to the Indonesians in a frank and substantive dialogue.

Perhaps I may finish by answering the question of my noble friend Lord Finsberg. It was a point which underlay the speeches of the noble Lords, Lord Avebury and Lord Haden-Guest, and all noble Lords who have spoken. My noble friend asked me what Her Majesty's Government can practically do. I believe that the answer lies in a continuing dialogue among the European Community, other concerned countries and the Indonesian authorities. I do not believe that facile gestures, such as a cutting off of aid, are the answer.

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