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1993 Annual Report 

December 1993

The East Timor Action Network/United States supports genuine self-determination and human rights for the people of East Timor in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 1960 United Nations General Assembly Resolution on Decolonization, and Security Council and General Assembly resolutions on East Timor. Our primary focus is to bring about a change in U.S. policy and raise public awareness in support of self-determination for East Timor.

The East Timor Action Network/United States was formed after November 12, 1991, when Indonesian soldiers massacred over 200 unarmed people at Santa Cruz cemetery in Dili, East Timor. We believed that if U.S. and Indonesian policy on East Timor were ever going to change - even after 17 years of Indonesian occupation and genocide - international awareness of the tragedy had to be converted into action. We agree with the East Timorese resistance that changing U.S. government policy is key to Indonesia's withdrawal from East Timor. During 1993, ETAN worked on many fronts. We will expand those directions and explore new ones in 1994.

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Building Americans' awareness and ETAN's effectiveness

  • Organized a 14-state, five-week, Spring speaking tour of five young East Timorese exiles, bringing the New Generation of Resistance to 30 cities and thousands of Americans and Canadians who had never met anyone from East Timor. We also organized a West Coast tour for Timorese singer-activist Agio Pereira in July and August.

  • Developed a national network of active ETAN groups across the United States, including Austin, Boston, Ithaca, Los Angeles, Madison, Milwaukee, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Portland, Providence, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Seattle, Sonoma and Washington DC. Each has organized educational events and demonstrations, and reached out to others in their community.

  • Held our first Continental Congress, with 30 key activists from across the U.S. and Canada meeting to develop ETAN strategies and structure. We also had international guests from East Timor, Britain, Portugal and the Netherlands.

  • Strengthened ties with religious, human rights, labor, peace, social justice, religious, Luso-American, Asian/Pacific-American, self-determination and other organizations in Washington and around the United States.

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Changing U.S. government policy

  • Continuing the ban on U.S. military aid to Indonesia that we worked for in 1992. This year, the 1994 Foreign Operations Appropriation Bill includes language denying Indonesia permission to buy the U.S. military training they used to get as aid.

  • Successfully convincing the U.S. State Department to block a sale of U.S.-made warplanes from Jordan to Indonesia. This action provoked strong reaction in Indonesia and in the arms industry, spreading awareness of Indonesian government atrocities in East Timor.

  • Supporting the Feingold Amendment to link U.S. weapons sales to Indonesia to human rights in East Timor in the Foreign Aid Authorization Bill. Although passed unanimously by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, this amendment was not enacted before Congress adjourned. When passed, it will be the first time U.S. arms sales have been legislatively tied to human rights.

  • Organizing grassroots pressure to get Congresspeople to urge President Clinton to raise East Timor with Indonesian President Suharto when they met in July and November. More than 40 Senators and 100 Representatives signed letters to Clinton. At their July meeting in Tokyo, Clinton spent about one-third of the time discussing East Timor and human rights, much to Suharto's chagrin.

  • Encouraging the U.S. government to suspend Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) trade benefits for Indonesia until labor and human rights there are improved. Indonesia has now been told that they will lose these subsidies in February, 1994, unless the situation gets better.

  • Facilitating a meeting between Vice President Albert Gore and Constâncio Pinto, U.S. representative of the East Timorese resistance, at the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights awards.

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Providing resources and information

  • Produced our bimonthly Network News newsletter, which is sent to more than 1,300 East Timor supporters worldwide.

  • Issued and distributed Action Alerts to help people respond quickly to emergencies and opportunities.

  • Continued to work with video producers and distributors. ETAN sells four videos (including one we produced), and we have provided information to tens of thousands of viewers of the film Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media on what they can do to support East Timorese. We also distribute books, pamphlets, and other educational materials.

  • Facilitated a worldwide system of computer conferencing which distributes fast-breaking news reports and action alerts.

  • Published periodical Documents on East Timor, which provides over a hundred pages of a comprehensive compilation of press reports and analysis every six weeks. Subscribers include activist groups, journalists, governments and libraries around the world.

  • Wrote articles on East Timor for dozens of mainstream, progressive, religious, Portuguese-American, Asia-related and academic publications. Op-ed pieces by ETAN activists have appeared in several major newspapers.

  • Provided information for students, activists, journalists and visitors to East Timor and Indonesia.

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Keeping the Pressure On

  • Organized pickets and vigils at Indonesian and U.S. government offices in New York, Washington, San Francisco, Los Angeles and other cities. Some of these marked events (such as Xanana Gusmão's trial) or anniversaries (like the November 12, 1991 massacre or the December 7, 1975 invasion) which were similarly noted in many countries.

  • Organized media outreach and protest activities at the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) conference in Seattle in November. Our picket was noticed by Presidents Suharto and Clinton and most other APEC heads of state as their motorcade passed.

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Thinking and Acting Globally

  • Participated in the International Federation for East Timor. We helped represent IFET at the U.N., and attended the annual conference of East Timor support groups in Amsterdam.

  • Testified at the United Nations Committee on Decolonization in New York in July. ETAN arranged housing, clerical support, and presenters for international organizations who also testified.

  • Arranged meetings between Timorese exiles with U.N. representatives of three dozen countries.

  • Conveyed appeals and information to media and public officials after seven East Timorese sought political asylum in the Swedish and Finnish embassies in Jakarta. We also kept the Swedish and Finnish U.N. Missions aware that Americans were concerned.

  • Helped keep the Swedish Parliamentary delegation updated on U.S. developments when they visited East Timor in September.

  • Helped with logistical support and contacts for East Timorese international leaders when they visited the United States for the Indonesia-Portugal negotiations and other U.N.-related activities.

  • Raised disaster relief money for victims of the earthquake and tidal wave in Flores, the Indonesian island just west of Timor.

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East Timor Action Network/U.S. 

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