Subject: ETISC: International monitors must be allowed into ETimor
Date: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 14:05:07 +0930
From: "East Timor International Support Center" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Organization: East Timor International Support Center
East Timor International Support Center PO Box 651, Nightcliff, Darwin NT0814 Australia
Media Release Mon, Nov 23, 1998
International monitor must be allowed into ETimor
ETISC demands that the Indonesian government immediately allow international human rights investigators into the troubled territory of East Timor to look into claims of a massacre in Alas and monitor Indonesian troop buildups there.
According to reports, over the weekend, between 9 and 19 November at least 50 people were killed by Indonesian soldiers in the subdistrict of Alas, about 200 km from the capital Dili.
The National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT), in Dili, confirmed that 11 were killed by Indonesian troops and among those dead were Vicente Xavier, the tribal chief of Tai Tudak. He was shot dead by Battalion 744 on November 13 at Aubariqui, Fatuberliu.
CNRT further reports that 20 people have been detained and 20 more are missing. It is believed that many have been killed at Taitudak, near Alas. However, the area at present is heavily cordoned off by the military and even the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been denied access.
According to witness reports, filtering through to Dili, the Indonesian army has burnt down 30 houses in Alas village. Between 100 and 150 youngsters have fled to the mountains because they are being hunted by the military. Many elderly people, children and women have found refuge in the Catholic Church in Alas. The authorities have also cut off water supplies.
These gross human rights violations were probably acts of retaliation for an attack by the Falintil resistance on November 9 on the Indonesian army headquarters in Alas. Falintil killed three Indonesian soldiers and took 13 hostage. Eleven were released later.
In the statement published in the Dili newspaper Saura Timor Timur on Friday, Colonel Tono Suratman, the East Timor commander, confirmed the death of the tribal chief and said that he was one of the masterminds of the attack. Colonel Suratman also said two battalions in the south of the province had been withdrawn after a major military operation against Falintil.
Without the presence of international monitors, it is impossible to verify Colonel Suratman's words as past experience has shown. The ICRC must be allowed into Taitudak to give urgent medical treatment to those wounded and verify the number dead.
In East Timor, it is not the aggressors, the oppressors, and the butchers of men, women and children who stand today in the courts of justice. Tragically it is the defenders of those principles. The Indonesian military must withdraw from East Timor and only then can there be a just and lasting settlement to this tragic war. 'EAST TIMOR ON THE NET' For the latest updates, news and views on East Timor and Indonesia Visit http://www.easttimor.com maintained by the East Timor International Support Center Hon Chairman: Jose Ramos-Horta Nobel Peace Laureate 1996