East Timor ACTION ALERT
Mark two years of broken promises for East Timor
MAKE TWO CALLS
End The Refugee Crisis!
Create an International Tribunal for East Timor
Maintain The Suspension On U.S.-Indonesia Military Ties!
also call Congress for justice for East Timor
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Please make two calls this month - the 2nd anniversary of the UN
agreement on East Timor’s vote on its political status. Help put an end
to broken promises!
- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, phone 703-692-7100, fax
703-697-9080, or send comments by internet at http://www.defenselink.mil/faq/comment.html
- Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific James
Kelly, phone 202-647-9596
Tell Secretary Rumsfeld and Assistant Secretary Kelly:
- The U.S. must increase pressure on the Indonesia government and
military to disarm and disband militia intimidating and assaulting
East Timorese refugees. The U.S. must also press for significant
international oversight and participation in any refugee registration
process so that refugees can freely and safely choose whether to
repatriate to East Timor.
- The U.S. must actively support the formation of an international
tribunal for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in East
Timor. A tribunal can bring justice for East Timorese people and also
pressure Indonesia to hold its military accountable for gross human
rights violations, while deterring further military abuses.
- All military ties between the U.S. and Indonesia must be suspended
until the refugee crisis is resolved, and the Indonesian government
asserts full control over its military, holding its members
accountable for human rights violations committed in East Timor and
elsewhere. Any weapons sales, training exercises or exchanges before
these conditions are met would seriously compromise East Timor's
security and hinder democratic reform in Indonesia.
Your efforts do make a difference. Thanks to people like you, we
maintained the suspension on U.S. military training and weapons sales to
the Indonesian military last year and ensured U.S. financial assistance
for East Timor’s reconstruction in 2001.
Please let us know the results of your contacts. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In May 1999, the Indonesian and Portuguese governments signed an
agreement with the United Nations, which finally allowed a vote on East
Timor’s political status.The agreement charged Indonesia with providing
security for the August 1999 referendum in East Timor.Instead, when the
East Timorese voted overwhelmingly for independence and an end to end a 24
year-long brutal military occupation on August 30, 1999, the Indonesian
security forces and their militias retaliated by nearly destroying East
Timor, killing hundreds and forcing hundreds of thousands from their
homes.Today, some 100,000 East Timorese remain in Indonesian military and
militia-controlled refugee camps, where humanitarian organizations report
up to five deaths per day from disease and malnutrition.
No Indonesian military and few militia leaders have been held
responsible for crimes against humanity committed in East Timor, although
a United Nations investigation has called for an international tribunal,
and a confidential
UN report recently published on the internet by ETAN states 1999's
violence was "an operation planned and carried out by the TNI
[Indonesian military]." Some members of the Bush administration want
the U.S. to re-engage with the Indonesian military, despite continuing
gross human rights violations by the armed forces throughout Indonesia.
Over 18 months after the vote for independence, up to 100,000 East
Timorese people continue to languish in militia-controlled refugee camps
in Indonesian West Timor. Humanitarian organizations report as many as
five deaths per day in the camps, with conditions worsening. "The
refugees in the camps are suffering great hunger. They have had no support
from local aid groups since January and from international agencies since
September," Jesuit Refugee Services, the only international
organization regularly in the West Timor camps, recently reported. Other
international agencies evacuated West Timor last September after militia
members murdered three UN workers.
Conditions in the West Timor refugee camps are similar to those in East
Timor during the Indonesian military occupation. Within the camps, reports
of rape, sexual enslavement, and other forms of violence against women are
widespread. Up to 1000 East Timorese children were forcibly separated from
their parents by militias and sent to orphanages and other institutions
throughout Indonesia, in a desperate bid to raise a new generation of
pro-Indonesia activists. Though many parents have asked for their children
to be returned, their captors refuse to release them.
The continued presence of armed, hostile militia backed by the
Indonesian military in West Timor pose a serious threat to East Timor's
security, peace, and integrity. Militias have recently stepped-up their
aggressive tactics, firing machine guns and throwing grenades at UN
peacekeepers and East Timorese along the border. One young East Timorese
woman was killed in a recent attack. The people of West Timor also suffer
from increased militarization and violence, loss of land and other vital
The Indonesian government wants to hold a rapid registration of East
Timorese refugees and wash its hands of the matter. However, this plan
precludes the significant international involvement needed to make sure
refugees can freely choose between repatriation to East Timor and
resettlement in Indonesia. Under current conditions of militia
intimidation and misinformation about conditions in East Timor, a credible
registration process is impossible.
No Indonesian military or police personnel have been held accountable
for extensive human rights violations committed in East Timor. On the
contrary, many Indonesian officers responsible for crimes in East Timor
have been promoted. East Timor's own justice system remains flawed,
under-resourced, and unable to try or even question any Indonesian
military or police officers responsible for heinous crimes. The few
militia leaders brought to trial in Indonesia have only been charged for
minor crimes committed in West Timor. The Indonesian court system has
repeatedly and consistently failed to punish human right violators. Cases
heard in Indonesian courts would likely fail to provide justice: Many East
Timorese witnesses will be afraid to travel to Indonesia to testify and
Indonesia’s powerful military is refusing to cooperate with most
investigations making any convictions highly unlikely.
Indonesian President Wahid recently decreed a decree creating a human
rights court for East Timor. However, the court’s jurisdiction is
limited to crimes committed following the August 1999 referendum,
preventing prosecution of pre-ballot crimes, such as two of the worst
massacres of 1999: the April attacks on refugees at the Liquica church and
on refugees and family members at Manuel Carrascalao’s house in Dili.
East Timorese leader and 1996 Nobel laureate Bishop Belo recently
commented, "We have no faith in the investigations being conducted in
Jakarta. Those who authorized the crimes in East Timor will not face
justice there." Only an international tribunal can provide justice
for the East Timorese people.
In the fall of 1999, the U.S. Congress cut off most military training
and weapons transfers to Indonesia until certain conditions are met. These
include allowing refugees to leave the West Timor camps and bringing to
justice military and militia members responsible for human rights
atrocities. Current U.S. law also stipulates that Indonesia must prevent
militia incursions into East Timor and cooperate fully with the UN
administration in East Timor. The legislation containing this language --
the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act -- must be renewed every year.
Work has already begun on this year's bill. The current conditions are far
from being met, and others relating to civilian control of the Indonesian
military should be added. However, some in the State Department and the
Pentagon are pressing for U.S. re-engagement with the Indonesian military.
Strong action is needed NOW to prevent the renewal of U.S.-Indonesia
Violence against civilians by Indonesian security forces is escalating
throughout the Indonesian archipelago, especially in Aceh and West Papua.
Until the West Timor refugee crisis is resolved, the Indonesian government
asserts full control over its military and holds it accountable for human
rights violations committed in East Timor and Indonesia, the current
suspension of all military ties between the U.S. and Indonesia must be
East Timor Action Network
PO Box 1182 White Plains, NY 10602
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