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Sample Letters to the Editor on Current Crisis in East Timor

Please adapt the following letters to your own words. Let us know if your letter is published. Send copies to etan@etan.org.

Letters to the editor are often the most widely-read section of newspapers. Be sure to include your full name, address, and telephone number. Keep your letter to about 200 words. If possible, include a local angle or respond to an article or opinion published in the paper. Timeliness is best, so the sooner you submit your letter, the better. Contact John M. Miller, etan@etan.org or 718-596-7668, if you'd like some help with your letter. For additional background see Statement by the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) on the Current Violence in Timor-Leste, or http://www.etan.org/et2006/may/crisis.htm.
 
Mix and match the letters; adapt to your own words. Please adapt the following letters to your own words. Let us know if your letter is published. Send copies to etan@etan.org.

 
Letter #1
 
For Publication
 
To the Editor,
 
The current crisis in East Timor is an unfortunate setback for the new nation. One important cause is the premature down-sizing of UN operations. As it considers its next steps, the UN must design a mission that provides appropriate assistance to help the new nation become peaceful and prosperous.
 
Speaking about East Timor recently, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that ?there has been a sense that we tend to leave conflict areas too soon.? As a member of the Security Council, the U.S. should actively support a mission that reflects East Timor?s needs, not an artificial timetable. Given the breakdown of the police, East Timor will require assistance in this area.
 
But security is only one piece of the puzzle. The international community must help the country overcome its widespread poverty, one of the fundamental causes of the recent violence. East Timor will also need strong support to conduct next year?s crucial presidential and parliamentary elections. The pursuit of justice for the brutal crimes committed during the Indonesian military occupation must be central, and there should be a strong focus on building a credible domestic justice system. The UN mission, as required by previous Security Council resolutions, must facilitate a major role for East Timor?s women in rebuilding their county.
 
 
Sincerely
 
NAME
ADDRESS
DAYTIME PHONE

Letter #2
 
For Publication
 
To the Editor,
 
The current violence in East Timor highlights the need for the international community, especially the UN, to increase involvement in East Timor and provide the help needed to complete the nation-building and development tasks to which they have already committed.
 
Another area requiring strong international support is the pursuit of justice for East Timorese victims of Indonesia's brutal military occupation. Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 with U.S. backing. According to East Timor?s truth commission, more than 100,000 were killed and unknown numbers tortured, raped and driven from their homes. Although a number were indicted, not a single Indonesian official has been brought to justice for the scorched-earth campaign in East Timor during the1999 independence referendum period.
 
This failure to hold the Indonesian military accountable has contributed to East Timor's current crisis by leading some in the new nation to believe that their own use of violence for political ends will be met with similar impunity.
 
The U.S. and the United Nations must step in and actively pursue justice for East Timor by creating an international tribunal to try those responsible for the crimes against humanity committed by Indonesia. In the long run, this will contribute to stability in the new nation and democracy in Indonesia.
 
Sincerely
 
NAME
ADDRESS
DAYTIME PHONE
 
see also joint Australian letter on justice and the current crisis - Without Justice There Will Be No Peace


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Check ETAN's Urgent Action section for additional actions you can take. If you want to host a speaker or organize an event contact John Miller (718-596-7668, etan@etan.org).

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