Campaign Information     Get Involved Action Hub Stop ExxonMobil Alliance

Statement by Munawar Zainal, Secretary General, Acheh Center-USA
ExxonMobil Annual Meeting of Shareholders
Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen,

My name is Munawar Zainal, and I am Secretary General of the Acheh Center—USA. I have lived here in the United States for the past three years, ever since I was forced to flee my homeland of Acheh because of my activities as an advocate for human rights.
I think most of you now know something about Acheh – not only because ExxonMobil exploits massive natural gas operations there, but also because of the massive tsunami that devastated my homeland last December. I am here today to speak in favor of New York City’s resolution because I feel that it is so important for you all to understand that there are two disasters right now in Acheh. One of these is the natural disaster of the tsunami. This has received much publicity. But there is another, less-publicized man-made disaster that also has cost thousands of innocent lives. This is the brutal occupation of Acheh by the Indonesian military and the rampant violations of human dignity and human rights committed with impunity by those armed forces.

The Indonesian military has, for years, committed serious, systematic and widespread abuses of human rights in the area of ExxonMobil’s operations and other parts of Acheh which are well documented by the U.S. State Department and other sources.
Indeed, a crucial turning point in Acheh’s situation occurred in early 2001, when ExxonMobil suspended its operations citing security concerns. Though the company’s facilities were completely unharmed, the Indonesian military used ExxonMobil’s public statement of fear as an opening to pressure Indonesia’s civilian government to instate martial law throughout Acheh. This led to a massive military build-up and occupation that destroyed the fragile peace process between Achehnese and the Indonesian government and that has resulted in thousands of Achehense civilians being killed, tortured, involuntarily disappeared, arbitrarily arrested and detained by Indonesian forces.

I want to believe that a potential silver lining in the tsunami tragedy is that the eyes of the world are now focused on Acheh, offering an opportunity for successful peace negotiations there and for an end to the horrific human rights crimes that plague my Achehnese sisters and brothers.

I strongly believe that ExxonMobil can influence the prospects for peace and stability in my homeland. This will require a change in policy and action by the company’s management, which you, as shareholders, can encourage. Right now, Exxon Mobil’s ongoing financial and logistical collusion with the Indonesian armed forces provides those troops with opportunity and cover for their brutality.

The most recent reports I've received from Acheh suggest that as long as ExxonMobil continues to remain silent and make payments to the wholly unaccountable armed forces of Indonesia, human rights abuses will continue. You, as concerned shareholders, can take immediate steps today to safeguard your investments and to end the massive man-made devastation in Acheh by calling on ExxonMobil management to research and report to you about the current nature and extent of the company’s support for military operations in Acheh.

Please help to end the terrible violence in Acheh. I urge all of you who are shareholders to vote “YES” on the New York City Pension Funds’ resolution.

Thank you.

  ©Copyright 2002 Stop ExxonMobil Alliance. All Rights Reserved. Help    |    Contact Us    |    Privacy & Legal