1993 Annual Report
|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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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
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
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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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
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
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
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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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
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
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
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East Timor Action Network/U.S.
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