Subject: IO: UNHCR visits East Timor
Date: Sat, 29 May 1999 11:34:40 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

Indonesian Observer

24th May 1999 Nation UNHCR visits East Timor

JAKARTA (IO) — The United Nations High Commission on Human Rights (UNHCR) yesterday held a dialog with Chairman of the East Timor Justice, Human Rights and Law Foundation, Aniceto Guterres Lopes, in the province’s capital of Dili.

The group, lead by Soli Jahangir Sorabjee, has been visiting the province since last Friday, aimed at sharing information on human rights issues in East Timor.

"We talked about human rights conditions in East Timor during the last 23 years," Lopes was quoted by Antara as saying.

He said the group wants to boost a peaceful settlement in the region, which is scheduled to conduct a direct ballot on August 7.

On law enforcement, Lopes explained to his guests that there is yet to be full and consistent implementation in the region.

"There are still a lot of people involved in destructive actions who have not yet been processed by the law," he said, noting that those who broke the law are not only security officers but also people in general.

He said the government should be more consistent in implementing law enforcement, because de facto, East Timor is an integral part of the country.

On the UN’s faith that the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) and Police will be able to secure the upcoming direct ballot, Lopes said the security officials should not waste it.

"The United Nations has put East Timor’s security under TNI and Indonesian Police’s control. We hoped they can continue to maintain the faith," he said.

Lopes said the East Timorese will not be able to participate in the direct vote properly if there is not a conducive atmosphere in which people are free to decide whether they accept or refuse the special autonomy package.

The direct ballot is an effort to find a peaceful solution to the long-standing East Timor question, he added.

Besides having a meeting with local human rights activists, the UN High Commission on Human Rights also held discussions with Dili bishop Ximenes Belo, as well as local military chiefs.

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