|[Part 1 of 4] United Nations A/AC.109/2111
Distr.: General 1 June 1998
Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration
on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples
East Timor Working paper prepared by the Secretariat
Contents Paragraphs Page I. General 1 3 II. Political developments 222 3 A.
Background 23 3 B. Recent developments 422 3
III. Human rights situation 2329 5 IV. Economic, social and educational
conditions 3047 8 A. Economic growth 3133 8 B. Employment 34 8 C. Agriculture
35 8 D. Water 3637 8 E. Communications and transport 3839 9 F. Education and
training 4041 9 G. Health care 42 9 H. Religion 43 9 I. Housing 44 9 J. Tourism 45 9
K. Transmigration 46 9 L. Oil 47 10 V. Consideration by the United Nations 4863 10
VI. Consideration by regional organizations 6466 12 Annex Krumbach Declaration of
1. The Territory of East Timor comprises the eastern part of the island of Timor, which
is located at the top of the chain of islands forming the Republic of Indonesia; the
enclave of Oecusse Ambeno; the island of Atauro, off the northern coast of Timor; and the
island of Jaco, off its extreme tip. It lies between latitudes of 8 17'S and 10 22'S and
longitudes 123 25'E and 127 19'E. The 1980 census recorded the total population of the
Territory at 555,350. According to Indonesian Government estimates, as of 1997, the
population of the Territory was 857,000.1
II. Political developments A. Background
2. According to Indonesian Law 7/76 of 17 July 1976, East Timor is a province or a
"first-level region" of Indonesia, with a Government consisting of a
"Regional Secretariat" and a "Regional House of Representatives". East
Timor is represented in the National House of Representatives and in the People's
Consultative Assembly of Indonesia.
3. In its resolution 32/34 of 28 November 1977, the General Assembly rejected the claim
that East Timor had been integrated into Indonesia, inasmuch as the people of the
Territory had not been able to exercise freely their right to self-determination and
B. Recent developments
4. Indonesia has continued to maintain its military presence in East Timor. In 1997,
Indonesian sources stated that it had seven battalions in the Territory, with between 600
and 650 men per battalion.2 Other sources stated that the Indonesian Government maintained
an estimated 15,000 troops in the Territory.3
5. East Timorese resistance to Indonesian rule has continued. On 6 June 1997, press
reports indicated that at least 36 persons were killed following a series of attacks and
violence which were blamed on pro-independence guerrillas. Indonesian police arrested and
questioned 130 people in various districts. East Timor experienced a surge of unrest
around the period of Indonesia's election (29 May). The guerrillas reportedly launched a
wave of attacks in Dili, and in the towns of Baucau, Ermera and Los Palos. Rebels threw a
grenade into a truck carrying policemen in the Baucau district, instantly killing 13. Five
policemen were killed as they tried to escape, while nine others were injured.4
6. Guerrilla leader Mr. David Alex died of gunshot wounds on 25 June 1997 following a
shootout with Indonesian soldiers in Baucau, 15 kilometres east of Dili. Five of his
followers were captured. The circumstances of Mr. Alex's death have been in dispute as a
rebel spokesperson said Mr. Alex was only slightly wounded but later died in the military
hospital. Amnesty International called on Indonesia to allow for "an independent and
impartial investigation" into Mr. Alex's death.5 On 27 June 1997, Portuguese
President Jorge Sampaio appealed to the United Nations and the international community to
"ensure a radical change in human rights" in East Timor.6
7. On 30 July 1997, some 14 people who had taken part in a demonstration at the time of
the visit of the United Nations Secretary-General's Personal Representative for East Timor
on 23 March 1997 were brought to trial. Prosecutor Bonar Pardede charged the defendants,
aged between 19 and 33, with publicly advocating separatism. The demonstrators had
demanded to meet the United Nations envoy but were blocked by security personnel.7 They
were sentenced to one year in prison.
8. On 4 September 1997, East Timor's "Governor" José Osorio Abilio Soares
was re-elected to office by the (local) legislative council, with 90 per cent of the vote.
The council, comprising legislators from Golkar, the United Development Party and the
Indonesian Democratic Party, elected Soares for a five-year term.8 President Suharto gave
Mr. Soares' election the final approval.
9. In September 1997, a group of Nobel laureates and other prominent figures signed a
letter to President Suharto appealing for his "fullest support" for new moves to
try to resolve the conflict in East Timor. Those who signed the open letter included
former presidents of four nations, Messrs. Richard von Weizsaecker (Germany), F. W. de
Klerk (South Africa), Oscar Arias Sánchez (Costa Rica), and Patricio Aylwin Azocar
(Chile). Former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans, who also signed the letter,
stated that it was a "well-intentioned effort to encourage President Suharto to
rethink his position on East Timor, which is obviously still causing Indonesia a great
deal of pain in its international relations".9
10. On 13 September 1997, a bomb exploded in the Plamongan Indah housing complex in
Demak, Central Java. According to a spokesperson of the Indonesian Armed Forces, it was an
accidental explosion that occurred during a bomb-making activity managed by the Associacio
Socialista de Timor, a pro-independence group.10 Press reports indicated that the
Indonesian authorities arrested at least nine East Timorese youths in Semarang and Dili in
connection with the incident.11
11. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the 164th Wira Dharma
military command in Dili continued to hold regular dialogue in efforts to solve human
rights issues in East Timor. The head of ICRC in Dili, Jeurg Frei, said "we've been
having good relations with the military since we began holding such dialogues".12
12. On 12 November 1997, East Timorese held demonstrations to commemorate the sixth
anniversary of the Dili incident of 12 November 1991, when security personnel opened fire,
killing a large number of demonstrators. Some 300 students held a candlelit ceremony
inside the campus of the University of East Timor. In Yogjakarta, 70 students wore black
clothes and unfurled posters and banners before the city legislative building. In Kuala
Lumpur, Solidaritas Timor Timur, an organization which supports self-determination for
East Timor, issued a statement marking the anniversary. In Washington, D.C., 11 people
were arrested in front of the Indonesian Embassy for staging a mock funeral.13
13. Media sources reported that on 14 November 1997, a clash ensued between Indonesian
troops and students at the University of East Timor. Reports stated that trouble broke out
when a number of students started fighting with plain-clothes military personnel who had
entered university premises. By the time truckloads of military reinforcements arrived, a
large crowd of students had gathered at the university entrance. Police and soldiers
started firing their weapons into the air to disperse the crowd.14 A subsequent report
issued by the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission stated that there had been no
deaths in the campus clash, but that a number of students and security personnel had
14. The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit held in Vancouver from 24 to 25
November 1997 attracted demonstrators calling on the summit to place the issue of human
rights higher on its agenda. Sixteen people protesting Indonesia's presence in East Timor
were arrested. A people's summit, an "alternative" conference organized by human
rights and labour activists, was held simultaneously. The people's summit filed a petition
to Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy, asking Canada to seek a commitment from
Indonesia that Indonesians attending protests abroad would not be prosecuted on their
15. In January 1998, East Timorese students held a demonstration in the regional
legislative council of Semarang, Central Java's provincial capital. A spokesperson of the
students' organization Impetu said that the demonstration followed a series of kidnappings
of several East Timorese students and university professor Lucas da Costa in Java in
December 1997. Impetu called on the Indonesian Government to protect East Timorese
students across the nation against military and police abuses.17
16. The Third Asia Pacific Conference on East Timor (APCET III) was held in Bangkok
from 2 to 6 March 1998. The organizers said that it was the first time that the Conference
had been concluded successfully, despite complaints of police videotaping participants
during the first days, and foreign participants having to present work permits. Some 90
academics, parliamentarians and human rights activists attended the conference. The
Conference statement called upon the United Nations to place a human rights representative
17. Media sources stated that rebel leader Nino Konis Santana died on 11 March 1998 in
Ainaro district from injuries sustained during a fall when he was trying to take shelter
in one of his hiding places. Mr. Taur Matan Ruak, who was named successor, was quoted as
appealing to the Indonesian Government to work in conjunction with the international
community towards a peaceful solution, stating that a "radicalism approach"
would not benefit Indonesia.19
18. On 29 March 1998, a team from the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights
arrived in Dili to investigate the 4 January 1998 death of four residents of Coeliman
village in East Timor. The team was scheduled to meet Dili Bishop Carlos Belo as part of
their information-gathering. Team member Mr. B. N. Marbun said he welcomed journalists
wishing to join the team. He added that all relevant information on the deaths would be
collected for further discussion in Jakarta before the results were announced.20
19. On 3 April 1998, some 70 East Timorese students staged a peaceful rally in front of
the British Embassy in Jakarta, demanding that officials attending the Asia-Europe Meeting
in London to include human rights in East Timor in their agenda. A statement issued by the
demonstrators "urged European governments not to use the Asian financial crisis as an
excuse not to take a stand on East Timor or press Indonesia on it". Riot police from
the Menteng subprecinct and troops from the district military command sealed off the area
to prevent possible unrest.21 Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas said that the issue
of East Timor would not be taken up at the meeting because it was irrelevant and was
already being addressed in other forums.22
20. On 20 April 1998, Portuguese radio reported that Messrs. Manuel Carrascalao and
Francisco Carvalho, two leaders of the Movement of Reconciliation and Unity inside East
Timor, had been subjected to continuous interrogation for four consecutive days.
Indonesian authorities confiscated symbols of the movement and office equipment, including
fax machines, typewriters and various documents.23 Both men were being investigated for
"sowing public hatred against the Government".24
21. A meeting entitled East Timorese National Convention in the Diaspora was held in
Peniche (north of Lisbon) from 23 to 27 April 1998. East Timorese resistance groups joined
forces to establish a unified stand on the future of East Timor. The Convention, which was
attended by 208 delegates from more than a dozen political parties, established the
Council of Timorese Resistance. The new Council is headed by Mr. "Xanana"
Gusmao, East Timorese resistance leader who is still serving a 20-year jail sentence in
Jakarta, while Nobel laureate Mr. José Ramos-Horta, East Timorese resistance activist
spokesman, was appointed Vice-President. A second vice-president from inside East Timor
was also named. The delegates approved a charter of principles entitled "Magna Carta
concerning Freedoms, Rights, Duties and Guarantees for the People of East Timor". The
Convention was not attended by the Reconciliation Group for East Timor's Development and
the East Timor Socialist Association, who ran their own resistance network inside East
Timor.25 Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas criticized Portugal for supporting the
conference, stating that the conference "was undermining the existing efforts by the
United Nations Secretary-General under the tripartite dialogue"26 and would
"only sharpen the polarization among the East Timorese".27 He also stated that
the conference would affect the All-Inclusive Intra-East Timorese Dialogue which would
"lose its useful aims".
22. A number of East Timorese continued to seek asylum in foreign embassies in Jakarta.
Four adults and two children remain at the Austrian Embassy after taking refuge there in
September 1997. Indonesian authorities have refused to give safe passage to two East
Timorese whom they accuse of being involved in causing a bomb explosion in Central Java on
13 September 1997.28 Four asylum-seekers who entered the Bulgarian Embassy in June 1997
were handed over to the Indonesian police hours after their entry.29 In January 1998, five
East Timorese sought asylum at the French Embassy30 while eight sought refuge at the
Spanish Embassy.31 In February 1998, a group of six entered the Spanish Embassy,32 and in
April, four East Timorese entered the British Embassy seeking asylum.33 All were
eventually granted safe passage to Lisbon.
1 Indonesian Observer, 18 July 1997
2 South China Morning Post, 30 August 1997.
3 World News (Australia), 30 March 1998.
4 The Guardian, 30 May 1997; Agence France-Presse, 1 and 6 June 1997.
5 The Herald Tribune, 27 June 1997; Agence France-Presse, 5 July 1997.
6 Agence France-Presse, 27 June 1997.
7 ANTARA, 1 August 1997.
8 Reuters, 4 September 1997
9 International Herald Tribune, 11 September 1997.
10 ANTARA, 21 and 23 October 1997.
11 Agence France-Presse, 5 January 1998.
12 The Indonesian Times, 15 October 1997.
13 Reuters, 12 November 1997; Indonesian Times, 13 November 1997; Agence France-Presse,
13 November; The Jakarta Post, 14 November 1997.
14 The Weekend Australian, 15-16 November 1997.
15 News & Views Indonesia, Review of November/December 1997.
16 Agence France-Presse, 24 and 25 November 1997; Reuters, 24 November 1997.
17 Ibid., 5 January 1998.
18 The Associated Press, Comtex Scientific Corporation and Deutsche Presse-Agentur
GmbH, 6 March 1998.
19 Reuters, 31 March 1998.
20 The Indonesian Observer, 30 March 1998.
21 Agence France-Presse, 3 April 1998; The Associated Press, 6 April 1998.
22 Berita Antara, 27 March 1998.
23 RDP Antena 1 radio, Lisbon, 1200 gmt, 20 April 1998.
24 The Associated Press, 17 April 1998.
25 Berita Antara, 29 April 1998.
26 The Associated Press, 23 April 1998.
27 Reuters, 24 April 1998.
28 Ibid., 12 October 1997; The Indonesian Times, 22 October 1997.
29 Agence France-Presse, 31 August 1997.
30 Ibid., 15 January 1998.
31 The Associated Press, 28 January 1998.
32 Reuters, 10 February 1998.
33 The Associated Press, 22 April 1998.
34 United States Department of State, Indonesia Report on Human Rights Practices for
1997, Washington, D.C., 30 January 1998.
35 Human Rights Watch, Indonesia/East Timor: Deteriorating Human Rights in East Timor,
Vol. 9, No. 9 (c), September 1997.
36 Amnesty International. East Timor: Broken Promises Implementation of the
Recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary
Executions Following a Visit to Indonesia and East Timor in 1994. ASA 21/24/98, March
37 Letter dated 6 November 1997 addressed to the Honourable Robert E. Rubin, Secretary
of the Department of The Treasury, United States, from Representatives Barney Frank, Tony
P. Hall, Patrick J. Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi and Joseph P. Kennedy.
38 Press Release, Office of the Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, First District, Rhode
Island, 10 June 1997.
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