Subject: Solidarity network seeks international support for Timor Leste
also Dili conference calls for end to impunity for killers in Papua
see Klibur Solidaridade Timor-Leste / Timor-Leste Solidarity Group: Conference
Declaration /Deklarasaun husi Konferensia
August 28, 2009
East Timor: Solidarity Activists Press for Justice
DILI (IPS) - After three years behind bars as a political prisoner in
Indonesia, British human rights campaigner Carmel Budiardjo saw
firsthand the viciousness of former President Suharto's military
dictatorship. Expelled from the country in 1971, Budiardjo knew there
would be suffering when the Indonesian military invaded East Timor in
In this capital for an international solidarity conference being held
Aug. 27-29, Budiardjo told IPS that justice must be served for crimes
committed during the Indonesian military's savage 24-year occupation
that cost up to 200,000 East Timorese lives.
"Justice is really a question of accountability," said Budiardjo, who
founded TAPOL (which means 'political prisoner' in Indonesian), or the
Indonesian Human Rights Campaign, in 1973 with a group of activists in
London to campaign for the release of political prisoners in Indonesia.
"When my organization began to campaign very hard about East Timor, this
became (our focus) along with the political prisoners, to alert people
about the situation," she added.
Budiardjo's late husband, an Indonesian, spent 12 years in prison
without trial. At 84, Budiardjo's hearing may have diminished over time,
but she is still as sharp as a tack.
"I was very acutely aware of the capacity of the military for
brutality," she said.
On Aug. 30, 1999, the people of East Timor voted almost 80 percent in
favour of independence, but rather than leaving quietly, the Indonesian
military left its mark by destroying much of the nation's infrastructure
and killing about 1,400 people.
After a transitional period overseen by the United Nations (UN), East
Timor became independent on May 20, 2002.
Last year, East Timor relied on Indonesia for 42 percent of all its
imports. The close ties between the two nations have been getting in the
way of justice.
"If you want to make people accountable, they will certainly be
Indonesians, the Indonesian military, (but) there are some people in the
East Timorese government who don't want to upset the Indonesians," she
said. "The grassroots people don't agree with that."
"One of the important things is to make sure the Indonesian people know
what happened in East Timor. We from outside can make complaints about
the Indonesian government, but it's much more important if the
Indonesian people, civil society in Indonesia, understand what
happened," she added.
American John M Miller, national coordinator of the East Timor and
Indonesia Action Network, a non-profit organisation promoting human
rights, also made the trip to Dili to join solidarity activists from 17
"In many ways, the campaign for justice has proven more difficult than
the campaign for self-determination and independence," he said. "To
succeed in that, we again need to have that partnership between the
people of East Timor and the international solidarity movement."
There has been little in the way of justice for the people of East
Timor. Most of those responsible for human rights violations during the
Indonesian military's occupation have got off scot-free, despite the
UN's Serious Crimes Unit indicting 391 people.
The unit investigated the crimes committed in the wake of violence that
marred East Timor's 1999 independence vote.
Eighty-seven of those people were brought to trial in East Timor,
resulting in 84 convictions, although only one remains in prison after
President Jose Ramos-Horta used his presidential power to cut many of
the sentences and grant clemency.
National Union Party leader Fernanda Borges, whose push for an
international tribunal is opposed by Ramos-Horta, thinks enough is
"These are international crimes that we should prosecute due to our
international obligations and our need to end impunity in this country,"
she said in a recent speech.
Amnesty International has weighed in on the debate with a report titled,
"We Cry for Justice: Impunity Persists 10 Years on in Timor-Leste,"
calling for the UN to set up an international tribunal.
According to the report, released Thursday, people in East Timor told
the human rights group that the government's favouring of reconciliation
over justice was "very difficult to comprehend and demoralizing for
The Indonesian government immediately hit back, saying it will not
prosecute alleged perpetrators of human rights abuses in East Timor, the
Jakarta Post English daily reported.
On Apr. 17, victims and families gathered at late independence leader
Manuel Carrascalao's house, where 10 years earlier, an Indonesian
militia group murdered 12 people. Some 150 individuals had sought refuge
at the house after fleeing violence in East Timor's districts.
This year, those victims and families called for an international
tribunal, as well as for perpetrators of crimes against humanity to be
held accountable for what they did.
These concerns and more are the hot topics at this week's solidarity
East Timorese solidarity activist Lita Sarmento said, "We see that it is
relevant to conduct this conference because 10 years after the
referendum, we recognize that there are issues we need to take forward
after independence as part of the unfinished struggle of the solidarity
movement of the past."
Speaking on the opening panel of the solidarity conference, Irishman Tom
Hyland, an East Timor activist, closed his speech by saying, "We have a
saying in Ireland: justice delayed is justice denied." (END)
Posted at 23:38 on 31 August, 2009 UTC
Radio New Zealand International
Dili conference calls for end to impunity for killers in Papua
A conference in Dili to mark the tenth anniversary of East Timor's
independence from Indonesia has demanded an end to impunity for the
perpetrators of the killings of Papuan political leaders and human
More than 200 people from solidarity groups in 18 countries gathered at
the weekend to discuss the continuing need for justice and
accountability in East Timor, as well as developing proposals to address
current issues such as West Papua.
The conference highlighted the need for security forces involved in the
killings of Papuan
leaders and activists - including Arnold Ap, Opinus Tabuni and Theys
Eluay - to be held accountable.
The participants urged a peaceful dialogue between the government of
Indonesia and representatives of the people of Papua.
They urged Jakarta to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the
implementation of Special Autonomy in Papua region and open its results
The conference also demanded the release of all Papuan political
The Jakarta Post [web site]
August 26, 2009
Solidarity network seeks international support for Timor
by Yemris Fointuna
A solidarity network for Timor Leste will hold a conference
in Dili from Aug. 27-29 to rally international support for
poverty alleviation and programs to fight injustice in the tiny
Solidarity activist Lita Sarmento said Wednesday that members
of the network from at least 17 countries had confirmed their
participation in the conference, which will coincide with the
10th anniversary of the self-determination referendum that led
to Timor Leste’s independence from Indonesia.
Sarmento said representatives from Australia, Canada, France,
Finland, Britain, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, the
Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Portugal, Scotland,
Sri Lanka, Timor Leste and the US were expected to give
recommendations on programs to help Timor Leste prosper.
John Miller of the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network
(ETAN) said the conference would formulate efforts to propel
development programs and protect human rights and justice in
Dili is peaceful ahead of anniversary celebrations. Outside
the presidential office, the flags of UN member countries were
A number of people marked the day with a visit to victims of
past human rights violations.
Back to August Menu
World Leaders Contact List
Main Postings Menu