Subject: Persecution of refugees stepped-up throughout Indonesia
Date: Sat, 25 Sep 1999 10:45:39 -0400

Persecution of refugees stepped-up throughout Indonesia

DARWIN, Australia, Sept 22 (AFP) - The persecution of East Timor refugees has spread throughout Indonesia, with the military stepping up a campaign of harassment and terror in places such as Bali and Java, the Carter Center said Wednesday.

Churches, hotel owners and local residents were being ordered to inform on the whereabouts of refugees, the Center said citing reliable sources.

"Refugees from East Timor continue to be harasssed, intimidated and forced to flee from places in which they have sought refuge," the Center said in a statement handed to AFP.

It pointed to Denpasar, in Bali, and the Javanese cities of Surabaya, Malang, Solo, Yogyakarta and the capital Jakarta.

Indonesian authorities, with the assistance of local government officials, members of the FPDK (a pro-autonomy umbrella organisation) and suspected militia were "ordering churches, hotels, boarding houses and neighbourhood residents to report the presence of Timorese refugees".

In Bali, a popular tourist destination, police and military officials had visited Timorese shelters and told them a "sweeping operation" was underway to "arrest and drive them out of their refuges".

This included Kuta Beach, a favourite among foreign holidaymakers.

"Indonesian soldiers and FPDK members have approached and threatened Timorese residents, barring access to banks, shops and telephone bureaus."

The US-based watchdog said it had evidence that police officers and militiamen murdered at least one refugee who was travelling by sea from Kupang, in West Timor, to Bali on September 13.

It said a group of armed police wearing T-shirts of the Kontingen Lorosai (the special police contingent sent to East Timor to oversee security) dragged two refugees from their room on the passenger ferry Anu.

They were severely beaten before one of the two was taken away.

A short time later a self-proclaimed Aitarak milita member boasted to the wife of the man: "I wouldn't bother looking for your husband because I killed him myself."

The Carter Center, whose representatives were forced out of Dili at gunpoint on September 5, is a non-profit institute dedicated to peace and eradicating poverty.

It was set up and directed by former US President Jimmy Carter.


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