Subject: Newcastle Chronicle & Journal: Twinning call to back plight of oppressed
Date: Sat, 27 Mar 1999 09:26:33 -0500
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

THE JOURNAL (Newcastle, UK)

March 24, 1999, Wednesday Edition 1

Twinning call to back plight of oppressed

HUMAN rights campaigners on Tyneside have called on the Mayor of Newcastle to twin the city with a town in the occupied state of East Timor.

The friendship request came when Coun Danny Marshall met Timorese exile Amorin Viera and anti-arms trade activists at a civic reception.

East Timor has been under Indonesian rule after being invaded 24 years ago, and since then 200,000 of the population has been killed.

Mr Viera, known to friends as "Xifa", 24, is from Los Palos in East Timor, and has been in exile since he was 17.

He fled first to Portugal and then to the UK.

He said: "I had to leave because of the military situation there. I am very pleased with the backing I have received since I visited the North-East."

Mr Viera has been on a talking tour of the North-East and has spoken at Newcastle's two universities and Catholic cathedral, as well as meeting Coun Marshall.

Yesterday he gave a talk at Sunderland University, and today will join a protest outside Department of Trade and Industry offices in Gallowgate, Newcastle, at 10.30am.

The DTI demonstration is to call on the Government not to renew British Aerospace's export licences to Indonesia, or those of any UK firms supplying weapons to Indonesia.

Tomorrow night Mr Viera will join the monthly vigil in Northumberland Street from 5pm to 6pm to protest at the continued occupation.

A spokesman for the Tyneside branch of Campaign Against the Arms Trade said: "We hope the council looks favourable on the request for twinning status, as it will help publicise the plight of the people in East Timor."

A Newcastle Council spokesman said the mayor had passed the twinning request on for council consideration.

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