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Subject: ETISC: ETimor governor threatens to revoke scholarships
Date: Mon, 26 Oct 1998 16:36:51 +1200
From: East Timor International Support Center <> Organization: ETISC

East Timor International Support Center PO Box 651, Nightcliff, Darwin, NT 0814, Australia

MEDIA RELEASE Monday, Oct 26, 1998

East Timor governor threatens to revoke students' scholarships

The East Timor International Support Center (ETISC) is alarmed by recent reports from Malang, West Java, that East Timorese students studying in Indonesian universities risked losing their scholarships if they decided to support a referendum for East Timor. The warning, according to the students, was issued by the governor of East Timor, Abilio Soares.

According to student leaders in Malang, a provincial government delegation from the governor's office met with them two weeks ago and made it known that Abilio Soares wanted every East Timorese student studying on Indonesian government scholarships to sign a document declaring their support for the Jakarta-model of autonomy for East Timor.

The delegation made it clear that those who did not want to sign the declaration would lose their scholarships immediately.

ETISC deplores these fear tactics used by the Jakarta-installed governor to coerce support for autonomy in the troubled territory.

Hasn't the East Timor governor learnt recently that the people will continue opposing him and his patrons in Jakarta if he tries to flex his muscles too often? The events in East Timor between Oct 10-11 should serve as a lesson. During that weekend over 15,000 East Timorese came out on the streets of East Timor's capital Dili to protest against Abilio Soares' announcement to seek the resignation of all civil servants who support a referendum to determine the territory's future. There are 30,000 civil servants in East Timor, 75 per cent of whom are of East Timorese origin.

The governor fled his residence, a day before the protests, and sought refuge in Bali.

Abilio Soares has been invited by the United Nations to take part in the fourth All Inclusive Intra East Timorese Dialogue in Austria between October 31 -- November 2.

We urge UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to castigate the East Timor governor for his use of threats against East Timorese supporting a referendum. Abilio Soares is clearly a threat to the security of East Timor and the sooner the international community realises this, the better.

For further information please contact Maria Ceu Federer at +61-8-89484458/ +61-8-89855678 (after hours) OR Sonny Inbaraj at +61-8-89484458

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