|Subject: HAK : Press Release, July 22, 1999
Date: Sun, 01 Aug 1999 11:15:32 -0400
From: FORTILOS <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Committee for A Free and Fair Ballot Yayasan HAK (Hukum, Hak Asasi dan Keadilan) Jln. Gov. Serpa Rosa T-095, Dili, Timor Timur Telp: (0390) 313323/Fax. (0390) 313324
In accordance with the May 5 agreement, the registration process for the popular consultation inside and outside East Timor has been going on for the past one week (16-22 July 1999). There are only 13 days left for the East Timorese to register in order to participate in the popular consultation which is planned to be held in August.
Security matters remain a serious obstacle for all phases of the popular consultation including the registration process. For example, long before the registration began there were acts of intimidation and terror in several places. On June 10, 1999, in Bobonaro district, a member of Kodim 1636 and Dadurus Merah Putih militia forced the population to register to them. They visited people's houses in Oeleu village, Maliana sub-district.
On the same day, a similar incident happened in Ainaro district. Mahidi militia under the leadership of Cancio Carvalho also forced the population to register in Beikala and Leolima villages, Hatu-Odo sub-district. People were forced to register as the supporters of the wide-ranging autonomy plan. Meanwhile, in Dili on June 27-28, the village head of Comoro, West Dili sub-district, gave registration forms to the head of neighborhood (RT) and of the kampung (RK) to register the people in that village.
The following are violations recorded by Yayasan HAK during the 7 days of registration:
1) On July 18, 1999 the population of Cassa village, Ainaro sub-district, Ainaro district was forbidden to go to the registration center by Mahidi militia under the order of Cancio Lopes de Carvalho. The militia objected to the fact that UNAMET required people who wished to register to bring their IDs and a baptism certificate.
2) The head of Bobonaro district Guilherme dos Santos, ordered the head of Balibo sub-district, the Commander of the Koramil [Military command at the sub-district level], the Chief of Police, and the militia to force the population of Balibo sub-district to register only with their IDs. People were asked not to bring and show other documents, such as birth certificates from the church or Cedula. If the UNAMET officials refused to register them, the people were forbidden to register.
3) There have been a series of acts of intimidation and terror in the city of Same, Manufahi district, from the first day of registration until now. The militia group ABLAI (I'm Fighting to Preserve the Message of Integration) led by Nazario Vital forbade and prevented people from going to the registration center in the city of Same.This type of intimidation was done by mobilizing the militia to guard every corner of the city. This action was also done to threaten people who wanted to register.
4) In several districts such as Ermera and Liquica similar incidents occurred. The Indonesian military and the militias continue to terrorize and intimidate the population. People are terrorized to choose autonomy.
5) Militia groups in Dili have attempted to intimidate the people, in such neighborhoods as Fatuhada and Masau, Bidau Santa Ana, East Dili sub-district. On July 21 when the registration in Masau was in process, two Hino trucks and one jeep full of police came to the registration place around 12:00 am. It was said that the police came because there was a rumor that Aitarak militia would attack the registration place. The arrival of the police created fear among the people in the village. In the village of Manleuna, East Dili sub-district, a member of Aitarak militia roamed around carrying a weapon around the registration center. In the village of Metiaut, East Dili sub-district, members of Aitarak militia also roamed around the registration place carrying weapons to intimidate the people who wanted to register.
Besides the acts of intimidation and terror mentioned above, there are also other problems which remain obstacles to the registration process, such as:
1. There is no mechanism to cope with the problems of refugees, including a mechanism to ennable them to register.
2. There is no mechanism for registering the East Timorese prisoners who amount to about 300 people.
3. Many people are finding it difficult to obtain the documents needed to fulfill the requirements to register.
Considering the above problems, the Committee for A Free and Fair Ballot, Yayasan HAK needs to express the following position:
The police (POLRI), given the authority to maintain security under the May 5 Agreement and existing Indonesian law, has to immediately take action against the armed militias who intimidate and terrorize unarmed civilians.
UNAMET has to contact relevant bodies in order to arrange a registration process for the East Timorese prisoners (political and non-political ones) who are inside East Timor and outside the territory so that they will be able to participate in the ballot.
Urge the authority to release documents demanded for the registration process, as it is mentioned in May 5 Agreement, in order to facilitiate the process of registration for the people who need them.
Government authority (civilian and military) must not to intimidate and terrorize.
Released in Dili. 22 July 1999
Aderito de Jesus Soares, Spokesperson of the Committee