Subject: RT: Pope urges justice for refugees

Pope urges respect for rights in Indonesia.

VATICAN CITY, June 12 (Reuters) - Pope John Paul urged Indonesia on Monday to respect human rights, condemned attacks by Moslems against Christians in the Molucccas, and called for a just solution to the problems of refugees from East Timor.

The Pope made his comments in a welcoming address to Jakarta's new ambassador to the Vatican.

"I am hopeful that your country's commitment to democracy and greater accountability in the organs of government and administration will contribute to the progress of the nation and the fostering of social harmony and reconciliation," the Pope said.

"Authentic democracy is based on recognition of the inalienable dignity of every human person, from which human rights and duties flow. Failure to respect this dignity leads to the various and often tragic forms of discrimination, exploitation, social unrest and national and international conflict...," he said.

The Pope deplored the rise of religious tensions in Indonesia and the "atrocities, massacres and destruction" in the Moluccas, where violence flared again last month with scores killed in attacks on mostly Christian villages on the remote island of Halmahera.

"The international community looks to Indonesia to adopt the necessary measures to defuse tensions, to ensure that all citizens are treated as equals before the law and to bring an immediate end to the violence," he said.

Speaking of East Timor , the former Portuguese colony which is preparing for independence from Indonesia, he called for measures to relieve the plight of refugees in camps in West Timor.

More than 200,000 people from a population of 850,000 fled or were forced out of East Timor to the western part of the island by army-organised militia protesting against an overwhelming vote in favour of independence last August.

"A just solution which respects the freedom of the refugees themselves and which guarantees the availability of humanitarian assistance calls for increased cooperation between the parties involved," the Pope said.

The United Nations has called on Indonesia to break up armed gangs who still hold sway over at least 90,000 East Timorese refugees nearly nine months after they were herded into camps in West Timor.


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