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East Timor ACTION Network ALERT

U.S. Must Support Strong UN Mission in Timor-Leste 

Call, fax or write the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations today!

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In recent months, violence has wracked Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste (East Timor). Conflicts within the security forces have broadened to include gangs of unemployed young men. Dozens have been killed, houses have been burned or looted across the city, and most of Diliís population has fled to temporary shelters or rural areas. Sadly, Timor-Lesteís government has had to ask for foreign security force intervention, suspending their hard-won political independence. The current crisis stems from multiple complex causes, including grinding poverty, massive unemployment, and economic polarization. Other causes include inadequate international commitments to peace-building and economic justice; no accountability for major crimes committed during the 24-year Indonesian military occupation or for more recent crimes; political and ethnic divisions; and failures of national leadership.

The United Nations Security Council will soon debate the nature of the next UN mission for Timor-Leste. Although both ETAN and the Timorese government have consistently advocated for more effective UN activities, the U.S. government has repeatedly pushed the UN to rapidly reduce its presence since 2002. The international community must now support a robust UN mission to enable the new nation to achieve peace with justice and economic prosperity. Beyond its security component, the new mission must also make a priority of people-centered sustainable development, vigorous support for next yearís parliamentary and presidential elections, and a commitment to genuine justice. Women should play a central role in the mission, which must be given sufficient political and material resources. The international community must commit to a mission for as long as Timor-Leste requires, and not end it prematurely because of international political convenience or false economizing.

As people who care about Timorís future, we insist that the U.S. delegation to the United Nations support an adequate mandate and resources for any future UN mission to Timor-Leste.

What YOU can do:

Contact U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton. Tell him:

  • The U.S. Mission to the UN must support a robust UN mission for Timor-Leste.
  • The future UN mission must deal with Timor-Lesteís deep poverty through appropriate sustainable development and provide vigorous electoral support and a central role for women. The mission must also promote justice for crimes against humanity committed in 1999 and earlier, and have a strong focus on building Timorís domestic justice system and strengthening the rule of law.
  • The duration of the UN mission should be based on Timor-Lesteís needs, not on the U.S.ís or othersí convenience.

See below for a sample letter to Ambassador Bolton. Contact info: 212-415-4050 (tel), 212-415-4053 (fax),

You can also fax the U.S. mission to the UN from ETANís website. Go to:

Please let us know the results of your efforts at Your actions can help restore hope to Timor-Leste.

For additional background, please see

Write a letter to the editor, see samples at

Sample Letter to U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton


Dear Ambassador Bolton,

I urge you to support a robust UN mission for Timor-Leste. Speaking about that country recently, Secretary-General Kofi Annan stated, ďthere has been a sense that we tend to leave conflict areas too soon.Ē The current crisis shows this to be the case in Timor-Leste. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, the U.S. government is well-positioned to ensure that the UN does not repeat that error.

Any future UN mission in Timor-Leste must vigorously address deeply-rooted poverty and unemployment through appropriate sustainable development. The mission should strongly support next yearís crucial parliamentary and presidential elections. Justice for crimes against humanity committed during the Indonesian military occupation - including 1999 - must be central, and there should be a strong focus on building an effective domestic justice system and strengthening the rule of law.

Women must be integral to nation and peace-building in Timor-Leste. Any UN mission should follow the spirit and letter of Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.

The length of the UN mission should be based on East Timorís needs, not on political convenience or false economizing.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to your response.







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