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Subject: RELIGIOUS LEADERS call for Xanana Gusmao's freedom
Date: Mon, 20 Jul 1998 23:45:52 +1000
From: East Timor Relief Association <etra@pactok.net>

The following statement was read outside the Indonesian Embassy by Bishop Patrick Power, Catholic Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn. More than 200 people (Timorese and supporters) attended a rally yesterday to protest against integration day.

DECLARATION BY RELIGIOUS LEADERS CALLING FOR FREEDOM FOR XANANA GUSMAO AND EAST TIMOR

Witnessing the historic events unfolding in Indonesia which illustrates the burning aspiration for peace and freedo arising in the hearts of every nation and every generation, we remain particularly aware of the situation in EAst Timor and the voices of the East Timorese people which have been raised again in recent days.

We share the escalating world-wide concern for a just and peaceful settlement of the EAst Timor questions and we join the ever-increasing number of nations and people who are calling on the Government of Indonesia to purse the following course of action:

1. Undertake an immediate, significant and validated reduction in the Indonesian military presence in East Timor. 2. Free Xanana Gusmao immediately and uncontionally. 3. Allow a referendum in East Timor, under the auspices of the United Nations, to ascertain the freely expressed aspirations of the East Timorese people.

Such actions comply with international conventions which respect the inherent dignity of each person and promote the inalienable rights of allmembers of the human family to participate in the establishment of freedom, justice and peace.

We strongly urge the Australian Government to use its good offices with Indonesia and the international community to press for the speedy implementation of these measures. We believe these steps aer essential to peace, human rights and reconciliation in EAst Timor.

We remember with particular appreciation the allegiance given to Australian soldiers by the EAst Timorese during World War 2 for which thousands of their people died. We invite all Australians now to acknowledge our debt of gratitute to them by joining our voices to the growing call for peace and freedom in East Timor.

Supported by: Rev Antonio Alves - Chaplin East Timorese Community Sydney Archbishop Peter Carney - Acting Primate Anglican Church of Australia Sister Margaret Cassidy CSB - Presidente Australian Conference Leaders of Religious Institutes Bishop David Cremin - Cathlolic Archdiocese of Sydney Bishop Andrew Curnow - Vicar General Anglican Diocese of Melbourne Ms Diana Shfeinman - President of Australian Jewry Rev John Mavor - President Uniting Church Assembly of Australia Bishop Patrick Power - Catholic Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn

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