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Subject: AETN Campaign letter to UN etc 2nd posting
Date: Mon, 09 Nov 1998 18:11:24 +0930
From: Rob Wesley-Smith <> Organization: Australians for a Free East Timor (AFFET) /Troppo Rural Consulting

[Activist friends Intro 9 Nov 98: The following letter was developed over the last 2 weeks of November and supported by most Australian ET support groups, and has been sent already by many. One wonders if the recent statement by the UN special envoy Jamsheed Marker in Lisbon last Thursday that "any solution to the territory's problems must satisfy the 'legitimate aspirations' of its people", and that "the UN would not 'impose' any solutions on East Timor" may be a reflection of the campaign letter.

Yet he rejected proposals to send UN monitors to East Timor to check Indonesian troops movements in the territory, indicating that UN officials were regularly visiting both East Timor and Indonesia. We know his last visit was for 3 hours at the Bacau airport, flown in and attended by Indonesian military. So this is still a pathetic response, no UN solution without UN 'peacekeepers' or 'monitors' can work, and also we must have a timetable for a referendum or takeover, unless perhaps he wants the Timorese now to throw the Indonesians out completely! (There's a thought!)

We Must Act Now. Keep the pressure on lest the politicians sell East Timor out. This is the second time the letter is posted. Please support this email campaign NOW. Rob Wesley-Smith for AETN]

Letter of Support for East Timorese Aspirations at UN talks

orig intro: [Resolution under UN auspices of the illegal Indonesian occupation of East Timor is not moving fast enough, and appears to be headed only towards the option of a partial autonomy under the brutal Indonesian military colonialist. This is unacceptable.

The AETN has developed a form of campaign letter(s), incorporating a short and much longer (incorporating the short) form, which we suggest be used primarily by email, (don't forget to sign), but also by fax and postal letter, to campaign to the UN, world leaders and press, to urge recognition of the truth about troops in East Timor, and to urge a just solution which allows for and supports the right to Independence for East Timor.

WE SEEK YOUR URGENT SUPPORT, and also if you wish your endorsement, of this campaign and document, or a similar document of your own. The campaign must be targetted intensively for 3 weeks only, by as many as possible, leading up to the new talks at the UN starting 19 Nov 1998. The letter(s) will be posted in a quicksend manner at USET Melbourne site Please advise me asap if you intend to officially endorse this letter, thankyou, Rob Wesley-Smith, AETN]

Please copy and send the following email message or similar to:

Mr Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary General,,

[eg Australia only) Mr Alexander Downer Mr Laurie Brereton Aust mission at UN: ]

and to all YOUR NETWORKS and Media domestically and internationally.

The Secretary General United Nations c/

Letter of Support for East Timorese Aspirations at UN talks

Dear Mr Kofi Annan,

We are deeply concerned about:

1. the large numbers of Indonesian troops that have entered East Timor in recent months, contradicting publicly-announced plans to reduce the number of soldiers in the territory and Habibie's personal assurance to East Timor's co-Nobel Laureate Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo, and causing further abuse of human rights and waste of money.

2. the direction of the 'tripartite negotiations', between Indonesia and Portugal under your UN auspices, but without the participation of the subject group the East Timorese which in itself is not fair. These negotiations seem to be dealing with and finalising one option only, that of the Indonesian proposal of a very limited autonomy for East Timor. This is NOT good enough, and far less than what applied to Ireland and the Middle East, for example. We note that the US Congress now appears to be far in advance of the current negotiations in insisting on the right to Independence.

The options of (a) Independence, and (b) Determining the opinion of the East Timorese themselves, must also be on the table.

It is urgent that UN peacekeepers/observers be present on the ground in East Timor as soon as possible to preserve current lives and human rights, and to make the process towards self-determination a feasible reality. Without the UN peacekeepers, the Indonesian army will not allow free and fair management or elections. The UN should exercise its existing mandate over East Timor now, and complete the overdue decolonisation process.

We therefore urge you to act on the following which reflect the wishes of almost the entire population of East Timor and ourselves:

a. that the UN impose military and financial sanctions against Indonesia until all its troops in East Timor are, in the immediate instance, withdrawn to barracks

b. that the UN secretary general withdraws support for a so-called autonomy for East Timor within the Indonesian state; but instead requires all Indonesian troops to leave now; UN peacekeepers must be deployed as soon as possible; an exercise of self-determination including the option of Independence must be freely exercised as soon as possible by the East Timorese people.

Further, a historic forum on the future of East Timor was held in Dili on Saturday 6th June, attended by over 2,000 people. We also reiterate the demands of that meeting :

1. release all political prisoners now, including the East Timorese leader XANANA GUSMAO 2. Indonesia and Portugal agree to an interim joint administration 3. the removal of ABRI from East Timor 4. the UN send in Peacekeeping troops 5. preparations be made for a Referendum

Yours sincerely,


On 7 December 1975 Indonesia brutally invaded East Timor, and formally annexed the territory the following July. The UN and nearly all world countries do not recognize this act, and the East Timorese have demonstrated their rejection by active and passive resistance which continues to this day. Over 250,000 people – one third of the population – have been killed by the Indonesian occupation forces either directly or by their war induced famine and disease.

The Dili Massacre on 12 Nov 1991 and following days, saw a recognised 271 peaceful demonstrators gunned down, but a total count more like 500 deaths. The initial images were captured for TV and generated world wide outrage and the formation of many active lobby groups. These support genuine self-determination and human rights for the people of East Timor, in accordance with the UN Charter and specific Resolutions (8 General Assembly and 2 Security Council).

Recent Indonesian troops movements:

Large numbers of Indonesian troops have entered East Timor in recent months, contradicting publicly announced plans to reduce the number of soldiers in the territory. The increase is generally considered to be 3,000 on top of an admitted existing 12,000, but more likely to be double that. The troop increase comes as Indonesia and Portugal prepare to negotiate the details of a limited autonomy for East Timor.

The build-up of Indonesian troops shows extreme bad faith as Indonesia sits down to UN-sponsored talks on the territory. Instead of threatening a military attack on the East Timorese, Indonesia should be negotiating with them to schedule an internationally-supervised referendum on self-determination. Further, Indonesia's President Habibie promised East Timorese Bishop and Nobel Laureate Carlos Ximenes Belo to reduce the number of troops in the region. And also instead of spending vast sums on further military operations in East Timor, Indonesia should be looking to feed its hungry population and keeping faith with the international bailout of its economy.

UN sponsored talks:

a. Talks on an Indonesian autonomy plan began on October 6 at United Nations headquarters and are scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. The next round of talks is scheduled for 19-21 November 98 in New York. East Timorese leaders, who are not direct participants, say they reject any plan that does not lead to a referendum on their political status. In spite of the military build-up, East Timorese in public meetings throughout the territory continue to express their desire for a referendum. Several recent observers claim that over 95% of East Timorese fervently want a referendum (code for 'independence').

Support for a referendum was specified in the US Congress HR 4328 Bill passed October 1998. From the FY 99 Foreign Ops Statement of the Managers is the following:

"East Timor The conferees continue to support a peaceful resolution of the situation in East Timor. The conferees remain convinced that human rights and democratic pluralism in Indonesia must be awarded greater respect and protection by the Indonesian government and every effort must be made by the Government to ensure that human rights abuses, torture, political intimidation and harassment are completely curtailed not only in East Timor, but throughout Indonesia. It is the conferees' view that the current economic and political changes in Indonesia offer a rare opportunity for the Government of Indonesia to take bold and innovative steps to deal with the East Timor issue. In this regard, the conferees support an internationally supported referendum to determine a comprehensive settlement of the political status of East Timor". Thankyou, Congress, now over to you, Mr UN Secretary General.

b. The Indonesian acting-President Habibie has said his government "might be willing to consider granting special status to East Timor as a way of resolving the international tussle over its status". But this was "conditional on Portugal and the UN recognising it as an integral part of Indonesia".

Indonesia's Foreign Minister Ali Alatas has repeatedly said that Indonesia will not accept a referendum. "The problem requires a compromise acceptable to all parties. The Indonesian autonomy plan is the best option" he said.

c. Portugal has said it will not compromise on the principle of self-determination. "Conditioning any accord on integration with Indonesia is not a negotiating position", a Portuguese government spokesman said. "Such a step would contravene both international law and the form in which the problem of Timor was perceived by the United Nations". However they continue to participate in UN talks on only the Indonesian Autonomy proposal, we wonder why? Will they ultimately insist on a UN supervised referendum conducted in an East Timor managed by the UN with no Indonesian soldiers in the Territory?

d. East Timor leader Jose Ramos-Horta, the co-winner of the 1996 Nobel peace prize, rejected Habibie's offer as ambiguous and arrogant after 24 years of annexation and human rights abuse. "I don't think it will satisfy the people of East Timor. Our demand, which is very basic, is that the people of East Timor be given the right, the opportunity, to express their views about their own future through a referendum under U.N. supervision".

The UN role:

a. On 30 June 1998 the UN Secretary General issued a statement on violence in East Timor, where he is "concerned by recent violent incidents which have resulted in the death of innocent civilians. While he welcomed the atmosphere of greater openness that has created wider possibilities for a discussion of the future of East Timor, he urged all sides to exercise maximum restraint and to ensure that such discourse is carried out in a peaceful manner, with full respect for basic human rights and tolerance for differing views".

The Secretary-General "called on the Indonesian authorities, as well as the political, religious and community leaders in East Timor, to exercise their responsibility and influence in easing tensions and encouraging peaceful and orderly conduct as people exercise their right to free expression".

Such calls equates East Timorese, who have been expressly denied their right to free expression by 23 years of illegal military occupation by Indonesia, as being equally responsible with the brutal military occupiers. Is that even handed, fair, pro-active and concerned for a just settlement?

b. On Thurs 2 July 1998 the UN deplored a breach of diplomatic confidentiality over the leaking in Jakarta of apparent Autonomy proposals by UN special envoy Mr Jamsheed Marker.

The letter contained an annexure marked "Strictly Confidential", which was designed to "provide material for discussion and brainstorming at the May 1998 round of the senior officials' meeting between Indonesia and Portugal under the auspices of the Secretary-General on the question of East Timor".

The Personal Representative "registered his strong protest at the leak, and reiterated that there have been no proposals, formal or informal, made by the United Nations on the issue of East Timor, and that the Secretary-General's efforts continue in the direction of facilitating the search for a just, comprehensive and internationally acceptable solution to the question of East Timor".

Is that adequate? Has the UN special representative ever strongly protested about the killings of East Timorese which have continued since his appointment? Is an alleged breach of protocol more important than the ongoing abuses of East Timorese in their own country by an illegal occupying force? Is the search for a "just, comprehensive and internationally acceptable solution to the question of East Timor" in fact the UN's diplomatic code for the sell-out of the principle of self-determination, replaced by a shabby proposal of limited Autonomy under the jackboot of Indonesia?

c. On 22 July 1998 Reuters reported that U.N. special envoy Jamsheed Marker said that day that some Indonesian troops should be withdrawn from East Timor to build confidence there, but added a certain number would be necessary to maintain peace in the troubled territory.

"I think that the withdrawal of some troops will serve as a very important confidence building measure", he told an airport news conference at the end of a six-day visit to Indonesia.

But he said it was obvious arrangements had to be made to made to maintain security and peace in the former Portuguese colony annexed by Indonesia in 1976. "For that purpose, a certain number of troops will be necessary. This is something that has to be worked out, but clearly all the troops cannot be withdrawn", he said.

Marker said he had made that point in discussions with various groups during a brief visit on Sunday to East Timor. He said it was evident there was "quite a lot of tension ... and it's important that this should be reduced". But he added he did not get the impression that there was a desire to continue armed conflict in East Timor. end quote

Well, is that fair and reasonable? There is no desire to continue the fighting, after 23 years of genocidal war, but keep the perpetrators in place ... There is a double standard here. Did the UN allow some Iraqi troops to stay in Kuwait to maintain law and order and protect 'their' oil? Of course not.

d. On 9 Oct 1998 after a round of talks by officials of Indonesia and Portugal under UN auspices, Mr Marker was asked about both the troop build-up, and Alatas's comments about no self-determination and stalemating the talks. He ignored both questions.

This does not seem even handed and fair. The talks dealt with protocol and one proposal only, for Indonesian granted autonomy, and a massive Indonesian troop buildup and reported clashes happen at that time and Mr Marker ignores this. We have a right to feel very uneasy about the directions the UN process is taking the unrepresented East Timorese nation.

e. Mr Marker shows why he should be disqualified from being the UN intermediary, as he shows a clear bias towards Indonesia. He should be aware of the UN resolutions (2 Security Council) which demand Indonesia withdraws its troops, and acting on that, not against it.

The troops needed to maintain peace and to reestablish conditions of freedom MUST be UN peacekeepers. This is obvious and basic, and has been called for many times by many people, and importantly at the first big open meeting in Dili after Suharto resigned, see first part.

Perhaps the elderly Mr Marker is trying to stitch up a deal, any deal, that gets him and the UN 'off the hook' soon. The important need is for a fair and honourable deal, acceptable to the East Timorese people, and we do not seem to be heading that way. This is a very dangerous time for East Timor - from the above evidence, an officially sanctioned sellout could be looming.

* We call upon the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to immediately provide a younger personal representative on this case, to play a more active and urgent role more clearly supporting the human rights and legal rights of the East Timorese people.

[Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas also has too much face to lose after arguing, obfuscating and lying about East Timor for so long, and should not be recognised as a suitable leader at UN negotiations].

Is the UN achieving anything at all for East Timor?:

Perhaps the UN should lift its game - surely there comes a point where diplomatic language and mores are self-defeating. Or perhaps the UN should act on its 10 Resolutions?

The US Senate Resolution passed 10 July 1998 was a great step forward, and Congress members and ETAN etc lobbyists should be congratulated, yet nothing is improved on the ground. However meanwhile 2,000 peace monitors are going into Kosovo, Serbian forces have been forced to withdraw, and NATO planes are authorised to strike.

We, and over 95% of the East Timorese people, want all Indonesian troops out of East Timor, and 2,000 UN peacekeepers in their place, immediately!

"But it is always the case that in the end the desire for personal liberty and the desire for political freedom eventually overwhelms those forces that are working against it, and that is a lesson that history has taught us for time immemorial". Yes, this was said by Australian PM John Howard in early May 1998, speaking about Indonesia, NOT East Timor. Apart from his sheer hypocrisy, given that he and his party have never accepted the above applies to the East Timorese people, we call on him and Australia and the UN to stand up and be counted to support them at last.


The Indonesian Government/Military has no good will at present towards freedoms in East Timor. The Indonesian Military controls East Timor, not the Habibie Government. It is their training ground, their killing fields, the sites and evidence of their darkest deeds, and also their special income base.

There is the expectant gleam of black gold, East Timor's oil. The CNRT announced a policy under Independence to honour existing contracts in the Timor Gap. The UN must not betray it's own values, as in Resolution 111 of the 3rd UN Conference on the Law of the Sea, by allowing Indonesia to benefit from the Timor Gap oil reserves acquired illegally through military force, and denying the revenue essential for a future independent East Timor.

In summary, NO genuine freedoms can be established in East Timor whilst the Indonesian military is present on the ground.

Genuine autonomy is not possible with Indonesian troops present, let alone the autonomy offered by Habibie/Alatas with Indonesia controlling the finances, 'security' and foreign policy! This autonomy proposal, being considered under UN and tripartite auspices, leaves the Indonesian military in place in East Timor.

Yet the Indonesian military will NOT get out without pressure from the UN and the USA, and other international groups such as by IMF and World Bank; and whilst there are no UN Peacekeepers to be sent in.

The UN special envoy even says some Indonesian troops are needed to keep the peace. Thus he and thus the UN at present are arguing AGAINST meaningful freedoms and rights to self-determination for the people of East Timor, and against the UN mandate and Resolutions, let alone its Charter. Thus he should be retired from his special envoy position - no further sell out!

The East Timorese, and we, must be satisfied with nothing less than full self-determination now, leading inevitably to INDEPENDENCE for East Timor, because there is no other meaningful alternative, and it is their legal, moral and historical right. We must get UN peacekeepers/observers present on the ground in East Timor as soon as possible to preserve current lives and human rights, and to make Independence feasible.

We therefore reiterate the demands in the early part of this letter to the UN Secretary General and others, which is endorsed by the signatory(s) as a matter of urgency, and encouraged by news that 40 Indonesian groups have combined to support freedom for East Timor, we hope that our demands will assist to break the bonds currently encapsulating the East Timorese in military and diplomatic oppression.

Yours sincerely,

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