Subject: AFP: UN team launches information campaign in troubled East Timor
Date: Sat, 12 Jun 1999 10:52:15 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <>

Received from Joyo Indonesian News:

UN team launches information campaign in troubled East Timor

DILI, East Timor, June 12 (AFP) - A UN mission on Saturday launched a campaign in East Timor to inform the population of the options available for the future of the territory ahead of a self-determination ballot in August.The UN Assessment Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) published a page of information in East Timor's main daily, "The Voice of East Timor."

The special page, in Indonesian, English, Portuguese and the native Tetum, will be published every day on the back page of newspapers until the August 8 poll.

"Welcome to meet us in the UNAMET page" a headline in the first edition said, announcing that through the page, the UN mission "will be explaining what the UNAMET is here to do."

The page, carrying no picture, will also provide information on Indonesia's offer of wide ranging autonomy as well as the option of an independent state, it added.

The UN-sanctioned autonomy package was agreed at the United Nations in New York between Indonesia and Portugal on May 5.

The package included a consultation in East Timor on whether people wanted autonomy under Indonesia or favored independence.

Indonesia, which invaded the former Portuguese colony in 1975 and annexed it the following year, said in January it would consider independence if the people reject autonomy.

Another headline in the first page edition declared that "UNAMET does not take sides."

In the article UNAMET underlined its impartial role in East Timor to ensure a successful and fair campaign starting July 20 and to guarantee a free and secret ballot on August 8, said the UNAMET page.

UNAMET chief Ian Martin, in the first issue of the information page, reminded Indonesian officials that they were not allowed to take part in the campaigns and that state facilities should not be used for the campaign.

The state Radio Republik Indonesia will Sunday begin broadcasting a similar program, UNAMET spokesman, David Wimhurst said.

An article in the frontpage of the daily said that publication of the page was the result of a cooperation between the daily and UNAMET.

It said it will attempt to inform the population about the special autonomy package, the process and procedure for the registration of voters and for the voting.

The page will also "explain the consequences of accepting or rejecting the autonomy proposal."

The UNAMET page was warmly greeted by the local population, with men and women seen on the side of the city's commercial streets reading the page alone or in groups.

Saturday was the first anniversary of a mass rally by East Timorese students outside the foreign ministry in Jakarta.

Some 50 students danced and sang patriotic songs outside the office of the East Timorese Students' Association to commemorate the event which had heard students protestors call for a referendum.

"And now referendum has come," a student leader, who identified himself only as Maukura, triumphantly said.

An official of the pro-independence National Resistance Council for East Timor (CNRT), Leandro Isaac, told the students that they could help find solutions to the East Timorese problems with their pens and books.

He said despite increased tension among the pro-Indonesian militia groups ever since Jakarta offered its proposal, the CNRT would not be provoked.

"There are a lot of provocation from the militias, the CNRT doesn't respond We forgive them, they are a victim of the strategy," he added.

The CNRT office was among the buildings attacked by armed pro-Indonesia militia rampaging unchecked in Dili in April. Pro-independence supporters were also targeted and Issac spent over one month under police protection at the local police headquarters.

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