Subject: CNRT Statement: REFERENDUM ON SELF-DETERMINATION
Date: Tue, 21 Jul 1998 18:40:24 +0100
From: "Gab. Dr. Ramos Horta" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
REFERENDUM ON SELF-DETERMINATION CENTRAL TO A SOLUTION TO THE EAST TIMOR CONFLICT
The National Political Commission of the C.N.R.T. has followed with concern the recent developments regarding the conflict in East Timor and the future of the territory. In this regard the National Political Commission states the following:
On the status of East Timor there should be no ambiguity or misunderstandings that the Non-Self Governing Territory of East Timor was invaded and occupied by the Armed Forces of the Republic of Indonesia in 1975 in violation of International Law and the UN Charter;
The right of the People of East Timor to self-determination and independence has been internationally recognised through numerous UN Security Council and General Assembly Resolutions.
No lasting solution to the 23-year-old conflict of East Timor can be achieved without these central principles and facts being taken into account. No solution will ever be valid and workable if it is not based on the consent of the people of East Timor expressed through an internationally supervised referendum on self-determination. It is not enough for a solution to be "internationally acceptable". First and foremost it has to be accepted by the people of East Timor.
Doomsday scenarios of 'civil war' serve to justify Indonesia's refusal to accept a UN supervised referendum. If Indonesia does fear 'civil war' in East Timor there are two easy solutions:
Disarm all groups; withdraw all weapons in the hands of the paramilitary groups in exchange for cash or other incentives;
Station a UN Police force in East Timor; withdrawal of all Indonesian troops.
Both Bishop D. Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, spiritual leader in East Timor, and President Xanana Gusmão, Resistance leader, have suggested paths towards a solution of the conflict in East Timor. Bishop Belo, quoted by the Indonesian daily, Suara Pembaruan (July 18, 1998) stated that the only way for a solution to be reached was a referendum to be held and added that "the vast majority of East Timorese are in favour of self-determination". President Xanana Gusmão, quoted by Antara (July 18,1998), Indonesia's information agency, called for a withdrawal of Indonesian troops and the stationing of a UN force in East Timor as a major contribution towards creating as atmosphere of mutual trust.
The National Political Commission will resist any attempt by any party to impose a "fait accompli" on the people of East Timor that does not respect the right of the East Timorese people to self-determination and independence.
The people of East Timor and its leadership have shown for the past 23 years that no amount of terror, brute force and international conspiracy will succeed in defeating their collective will to be free. The events of the last few weeks, the street demonstrations in East Timor as well as in Indonesia, have been marked by non-violence.
As the Economist noted, the "East Timorese protest peacefully and with admirable discipline". Unlike Indonesia's violence against ethnic Chinese in Java and Sumatra, the East Timorese who have been humiliated and seen their land, homes and jobs taken over by the Indonesian migrants, have opted for restraint towards these migrants.
However, in the last few weeks, the Indonesian military have fanned panic amongst Indonesian migrants in East Timor in a deliberate attempt to create a sense of vulnerability and insecurity and to put the blame on the East Timorese for the exodus of Indonesians migrants.
It has been reported that tens of thousands of Indonesian settlers fearing retribution by the East Timorese have fled the country in the last two weeks.
In the last 23 years not a single Indonesian migrant has been harassed or attacked by the Resistance forces. Though there were a few instances in the past of communal violence involving East Timorese and Indonesian merchants, these incidents were sparked by provocation and offensive behaviour towards the religious beliefs of the East Timorese.
The East Timorese Resistance has repeatedly appealed for calm in East Timor. President Xanana Gusmão renewed this appeal two days ago. And so far, the East Timorese people have responded in an admirable way. However, the response by the Indonesian security forces, including by its puppet, unpopular and corrupt 'Governor', Abilio Osorio Soares, have been irresponsible and can indeed create a situation where the East Timorese would take to the streets by the tens of thousands.
Indonesia's refusal to allow UN Secretary General Personal Envoy, Ambassador Jamsheed Marker, to travel freely to and in East Timor under the pretext that his visit could spark violence is hypocritical to say the least. There has never been one single occasion in the past when East Timorese demonstrators, children, teenagers, women and men, engage in violence. Violence always came from the barrel of the guns held by the occupation forces. Indonesian military, often frustrated by the peaceful nature of these demonstrations use hooligans to provoke counter-demonstrations.
On the economic viability of East Timor, Indonesia and some of its remaining supporters abroad continue to argue that an independent East Timor is not a viable proposition because of the lack of resources. However, the news about the oil beginning to flow this week from the Timor Gap area, belittle this argument and expose the hypocrisy and the patronising attitude of those who dismiss East Timor's right to be free and independent on the basis of economic viability.
It would be amusing if it were not too tragic that a bankrupt Indonesia, reduced from its once 'tiger economy' status to being a basket case at the mercy of international donors, wants to continue to colonise East Timor.
Why should the East Timorese have to go through Jakarta to seek international assistance? The East Timorese Resistance has developed in the last 20 years one of the most impressive networks of friends around the world ranging from private and public development agencies,