Statement by Munawar Zainal, Secretary General,
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 CenterвЂ”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 вЂ“ 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 CityвЂ™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 ExxonMobilвЂ™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 AchehвЂ™s situation occurred
in early 2001, when ExxonMobil suspended its operations citing
security concerns. Though the companyвЂ™s facilities were completely
unharmed, the Indonesian military used ExxonMobilвЂ™s public statement
of fear as an opening to pressure IndonesiaвЂ™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 companyвЂ™s management,
which you, as shareholders, can encourage. Right now, Exxon MobilвЂ™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 companyвЂ™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 вЂњYESвЂќ on the New
York City Pension FundsвЂ™ resolution.