Subject: Canadian delegation statement - more info
Date: Mon, 16 Aug 1999 16:36:38 -0400
From: kerryp@jungle.ottawa.on.ca (Kerry Pither)

Dear friends,

Here is the statement issued by the Canadian solidarity delegation to East Timor in Jakarta at a news conference on August 12. Below the statement are details on the participants and on the people and places we visited.

We are now planning follow-up work here in Canada, and will forward information on that work as it becomes available.

Please let me know if you have any questions,

In solidarity,

Kerry.


Canadian delegation to East Timor: 'Intimidation and violence continue despite high voter registration'

For immediate distribution Thursday, August 12, 1999

Jakarta - A delegation of Canadian trade unions, women's, students', and human rights groups, and a Canadian member of parliament, led by the Canadian Labour Congress, has just completed a mission to East Timor from August 5 to 10, 1999.

The purpose of the mission was to assess conditions leading up to the vote, and to express support for the East Timorese people's right to self-determination.

The delegation visited areas inside and outside of Dili, the capital, and saw first-hand concrete signs of widespread violence and intimidation in the lead up to the vote scheduled for August 30.

The delegation condemns in the strongest possible terms its contempt for the Indonesian military for breaching the May 5th United Nations accord, and calls for the Canadian government and the international community to pressure the Indonesian military and government to respect its obligations under the accord.

* The delegation spoke to one of many public service workers who were fired for refusing to sign a statement in support of Indonesia's autonomy (integration) offer;
* The delegation witnessed military and militias gathered at military posts and travelling together;
* The delegation visited areas of East Timor where the militias, backed by the military, were very clearly in control and terrorizing the people;
* The delegation saw several homes burned to the ground by the militias;
* The delegation visited a refugee camp where thousands of people - mostly women and children - live in terrible conditions after being chased from their homes by the militia. It is estimated that internally displaced persons make up 10 per cent of the potential electorate;
* We saw whole communities, including those of displaced persons, where residents had obviously been forced to fly the Indonesian flag for protection;
* Students attempting to open voter education centres outside of Dili have been intimidated and attacked by militias;
* The delegation is alarmed by statements by the pro-integration groups that they will not accept a pro-independence result, and threatened a bloodbath if that is the result of the vote;
* During the visit the delegation heard reports of persistent militia attacks on civilians, indicating a continuation of the intimidation. The delegation saw and heard evidence that this climate of terror may increase over the next few days, during the campaign period and beyond.

At the same time the delegation was struck by an overwhelming sense of hope and a strong commitment by the East Timorese people to finally exercise their right to self-determination and choose their own destiny. This commitment was reflected by the higher than expected registration turnout.

The delegation applauds the efforts of UNAMET, but feels the mission needs more resources and an extended mandate. The delegation also applauds the work of international and local non-governmental organizations, which with very limited resources, are struggling to support a free and fair vote.

Recommendations:
1. The delegation calls for the unconditional and immediate release of Xanana Gusmao, and for his right to campaign freely in East Timor.
2. Canada and the international community should increase pressure on Indonesian authorities to provide security for a free and fair vote as outlined in the United Nations agreement.
3. The delegation fully supports calls by local and international NGOs for an extension of the UNAMET mandate, and for a United Nations peacekeeping presence in East Timor as soon as possible. In the interim, more civilian police should be stationed in East Timor, especially in areas outside of Dili.
4. The delegation calls for the immediate withdrawal of all Indonesian troops.
5. The delegation calls for governments, especially Canada's, to support and increase monitoring and accompaniment efforts of international NGOs who are working to provide and observation services, so they can increase their presence, especially outside of Dili.
6. The delegation urges that those responsible for crimes against humanity be brought to justice.
7. The delegation challenges the Canadian government to take the lead in:

* Using Canada's seat on the United Nations Security Council to push for a UN peacekeeping presence as soon as possible, as well as for an extension of the UNAMET mandate;
* Publicly condemning breaches of the United Nations agreement by the Indonesian government and military;
* Ending all military sales to and collaboration with Indonesia, and push other countries to do the same;
* Suspending all government-to-government aid to Indonesia;
* Providing long-term economic support to East Timor, especially for health, education, housing, and basic social services.

Canadian Labour Congress Solidarity Delegation to East Timor and Indonesia August 1999 -- Background Information

Delegates to the May 1999 Canadian Labour Congress convention supported a resolution calling for a solidarity delegation to East Timor and Indonesia. The CLC and the East Timor Alert Network (ETAN) sought advice on timing and decided the sooner the delegation could arrive in East Timor the better.

The CLC also launched a postcard campaign at its convention calling on Indonesian President Habibie to release all political prisoners, especially East Timorese leader Xanana Gusmao and Indonesian labour leader Dita Sari.

The postcards also urge Foreign Affairs Minister Axworthy to increase public pressure on Indonesia. One hundred and fifty thousand post cards were distributed to CLC affiliates and by sponsoring organizations to their members.

On July 5, Dita Sari was released, but many Indonesian activists remain in prison, and Xanana Gusmao remains under house arrest in Jakarta.

Purpose of the delegation:
1. To express solidarity with and develop a better understanding of the struggle for self-determination in East Timor;
2. To visit different areas of East Timor to independently assess whether an atmosphere conducive for a free and fair vote exists, as per the May 5th United Nations accord.
3. To build links with East Timorese and Indonesian workers, women's, students' and human rights organizations.
4. To help push for the release of East Timorese leader Xanana Gusmao and other East Timorese and Indonesian political prisoners.
5. To encourage the Canadian government to do more to address the situation in East Timor.

Participants:
The nine participants, from organizations representing several million Canadians:
* Hassan Yussuff, Executive Vice-President of the Canadian Labour Congress, is leading the delegation. The CLC represents 2.5 million Canadian workers;
* Stephen Benedict, National Director of the International Department of the Canadian Labour Congress;
* Elizabeth Carlyle, National Deputy Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students, uniting 400,000 college and university students;
* Dale Clark, National President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, representing 48,000 workers;
* Joan Grant-Cummings, President of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, representing 3 million women from over 700 women's organization;
* Ken Luckhardt, National Representative for the Canadian Auto Workers, representing 215,000 workers;
* Kerry Pither, East Timor Alert Network, Canada;
* Svend Robinson, Member of Parliament for Burnaby-Douglas, Foreign Affairs Critic for the Canadian Federal New Democratic Party;
* Jane Stinson, Research Director for the Canadian Union of Public Employees, representing 460,000 workers.

List of Groups Visited

The Canadian delegation to East Timor, led by the Canadian Labour Congress, met with several people and organizations during its fact-finding and solidarity mission to East Timor and Indonesia, including:

Church Organizations Peace and Justice Commission Motael Clinic

Non-governmental Organizations
ETRA (East Timorese Relief Association)
Yayasan Hak (East Timorese Foundation for Human Rights and Justice)
Becora Clinic FOKUPERS (East Timorese Women's Communication Forum)
Dewan Solidaritas (East Timorese Student Solidarity Council)
RENETIL (National organization of East Timorese students)
Gertak (East Timorese women's movement against violence)
ETADEP (East Timorese development organization)
Solidamor (Indonesian organization for solidarity with East Timor)
Fortilos (Indonesian organization for solidarity with East Timor)
Individuals from the East Timorese and Indonesian gay communities Solidaritas Perempuan/Women's Solidarity (Indonesia)
SBSI (Indonesian prosperity trade union, Muchtar Paktahan)
IFET (International Federation for East Timor)
SIRA (Aceh rights group)

Political Parties
CNRT (David Ximenes in Dili, Xanana Gusmao in Jakarta)
FPDK (Officers in Dili)

Indonesian Governmental Organizations
Komnas Ham (Florentino Sarmento)

United Nations
UNAMET (D. Wimhurst); Electoral Commissioner (J. Kriegler); Head of UNAMET (Ian Martin)

Canadian Embassy Officials, Jakarta

Areas Visited The delegation traveled to the following areas of East Timor: Dili, sub-district and city Liquiça sub-district and village Atabae sub-district and village

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