UNISON joins forces to lobby for the cancellation
of Indonesia's arms debt and for ethical overseas investment
The branch joined with Jubilee Scotland and Christian Aid on Saturday
27th Sept 2008 to lobby Malcolm Bruce MP to urge the UK government
to cancel the arms debt owed by Indonesia for loans made to the
Suharto government in the 1980s >>>>more
Lift the lid on bad loans - Cancel Indonesia's
UNISON is affiliated to Jubilee Scotland who campaign for the cancellation
of debt owed by the developing world to the developed world. Many
of the world's poorest people are still paying rich countries back
for the bad loans we made to war-criminals and dictators.
Their latest campaign is aimed at persuading the UK government
to cancel the £500 million arms debt it is owed by Indonesians for
loans made to the collapsed Suharto dictatorship.
At a well attended public meeting in the West Church in Inverurie
on 26th May, Jubilee Scotland called for support for its campaign
to press the UK Government to cancel Indonesia's arms debt of £1
meeting heard from Kusfiardi, Co-ordinator of the Anti-Debt Coalition
who described how overall debt has mounted in Indonesia and the
desperate plight of many of Indonesia's citizens as a result.
"This debt is left over from the 1980s and 90s, when Britain's
Thatcher Government sold weapons to General Suharto's New Order
regime, one of the most oppressive on earth," said Kate Ramsden,
UNISON Branch Chair, who attended the meeting.
"Not only was this ethically and morally reprehensible, but the
weapons were sold on credit, which means that the debt is still
being repaid. Citizens today, who were repressed under Suharto,
are paying it back."
Suharto came to power in 1967 in a coup in which at least half
a million people were killed, including trade unionists, communists
and those with left wing views. The coup was supported by the USA
and Britain. With Suharto's backing, the West used Indonesia to
kick start globalisation. They poured money into Indonesia but much
of it ended up in the pockets of Suharto and his family. When Suharto
resigned (on the condition that he could keep all his wealth) Indonesia
was left with massive debts which today are around $130 billion.
"The effects on Indonesia's people and economy are catastrophic.
Today, half of all Indonesians live on less food each day than could
be bought for £1 in Scotland. one in three Indonesian children under
5 are malnourished and one in three Indonesian children do not complete
primary school. Indonesia spends over three times as much on servicing
debt as it does on social services," added Kate.
"Although Britain is not Indonesia's largest creditor, the fact
that the debt was for weapons used to suppress human rights and
to invade East Timor means that this debt is "odious." It is wrong
that the people should pay for the weapons used to oppress them.
By cancelling it, Britain would show that it values global justice
Indonesia now has a democratically elected government. Politicians
and citizens are calling for debts to be cancelled and for the money
saved to be used to fight poverty.
So what can we in Scotland do to support the campaign?
Write to your MP
Ask them to take a stand on Indonesia's debt and push the Government
to cancel it. Encourage your friends to do the same.
Sign the postcard petition
You can order postcards from Jubilee
Scotland and hand them in to your MP
The recent history of Indonesia reveals grim truths about how the
world works and the evils of globalisation. Get more information;
arm yourself with the facts; discuss the issues with friends and
For more information go to Jubilee