Solidarity Movements to Celebrate Tenth Anniversary of Timor
Referendum: Timorese and International Activists will gather in Dili to reflect
on the past and plan for the future
ETAN to Gather in Timor-Leste for
Anniversary of Historic Independence Vote
Contact: John M. Miller +1-917-690-4391
(New York, before August 14);
+670-746-7636 (Dili, from August 17) email@example.com
August 12 - Members
of the U.S.-based East Timor and Indonesia Action Network
(ETAN) will gather in Timor-Leste later this month to
commemorate the tenth anniversary of the country's historic vote
"In Dili we will demonstrate our ongoing commitment to the Timorese
people," said John M. Miller, ETAN's National Coordinator. "We will
join with Timorese and international activists to look back at the
East Timorese struggle for independence and to evaluate the new
nation's course since those momentous events. We will explore with
our Timorese friends how we can best support Timor-Leste in the
"We will also
strongly reaffirm our commitment to
justice and accountability
for the years of crimes against humanity committed by Indonesia with
U.S. government backing," he added.
Voters wait their turn on Aug. 30, 1999. Photo by John M.
"Our goal is to return home with a deeper
understanding of today's Timor and a strengthened commitment and
concrete plans for ongoing ties with the people of the still
struggling nation," added Pam Sexton a member of ETAN's Executive
Committee who has been living in Timor-Leste during the past year.
"The anniversary should not serve only as platform for
self-congratulatory speeches by the international community and
politicians" said Charles Scheiner, an ETAN co-founder.
"The United Nations and its members need to clearly understand the
impact of their failure to help the Timorese people from
Indonesian's invasion in 1975 through 1998. International support
since then needs to be made more effective and responsive to
Timorese needs," added Scheiner works with
La'o Hamutuk, a local
organization founded soon after the independence vote to monitor
international institutions and foster grassroots participation in
Contact ETAN to arrange interviews from Timor-Leste.
IFET-OP and UN vehicles at
polling place, Aug. 30, 1999. Photo by John M.
East Timor in 1975 and illegally occupied the territory until
October 1999, with backing from the United States and other powers.
On August 30, 1999, the East Timorese people voted overwhelmingly
for independence in a UN-organized referendum. Following the vote,
Indonesian security forces and their militia laid waste to the
territory, capping nearly two and half decades of brutal occupation
with the destruction of 75% of the buildings and infrastructure.
Timor-Leste's Commission for Reception,
Truth and Reconciliation (CAVR) estimates that up to 184,000
Timorese people were killed as a result of the occupation.
Timor-Leste became independent in May 2002.
ETAN was a major
participant in the International
Federation for East Timor's Observer Project, one of the largest
international observer missions for the vote in 1999. ETAN members
also served as observers with church and parliamentary delegations.
ETAN was formed in
1991 to advocate for self-determination for the occupied country.
The U.S.-based organization continues to advocate for democracy,
justice and human rights for Timor-Leste and Indonesia. ETAN
recently won the John Rumbiak Human Rights
Defenders Award. For more information, see ETAN's web site:
Link to PDF
Kliburoup - Solidaridade
Timor-Leste | Timor-Leste
For immediate release
For further information:
Charles Scheiner firstname.lastname@example.org
Xisto dos Santos email@example.com +670‐726‐6564
Solidarity Movements to Celebrate Tenth
Anniversary of Timor Referendum
Timorese and International Activists will gather in
Dili to reflect on the past and plan for the future
On 30 August, 1999, hundreds of thousands of
Timorese voters braved an Indonesian‐directed terror campaign to
cast ballots for independence in a U.N.‐organized referendum. This
event, which ended Indonesia's 24-year
illegal, brutal military occupation, led to the creation of the
Democratic Republic of Timor‐Leste as the first new nation of the
millennium. The vote was the culmination of decades of struggle by
Timorese people, supported by solidarity activists around the world.
Ten years later, Timorese campaigners and their
international colleagues will gather in a peaceful, independent Dili
to celebrate that success and rededicate themselves to work to
ensure that all the people of Timor-Leste
enjoy the benefits of independence and justice.
Among the events planned are:
An exhibition describing solidarity activities over
the years to help the new generation of Timorese youth to learn
about campaigns around the world which helped them and their
predecessors achieve independence. The exhibition will be in
Fundação Oriente, Dili, from 24 August through 5 September.
Visits to rural communities by international
activists to expand their understanding of people's
daily lives and how they are cooperating for mutual benefit.
A three-day conference to
explore current global movements and issues, as well as reflecting
on the past and developing shared campaigns to complete the struggle
for self-determination, with a focus on
ending impunity and achieving social justice. The conference will be
held from 27‐29 August in Salão João Paulo II, Comoro, Dili, and
will be attended by international supporters, Timorese leaders and
youth, and a wide range of grassroots and civil society people. The
conference will re‐energize activism in Timor-Leste
and around the globe.
Participants are expected from, among other places,
Australia, England, France, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, the
Netherlands, the Philippines, Portugal, Scotland, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste,
the United States and Zimbabwe. They will also join in official
observations organized by the Timor-Leste
government and the United Nations, as well
as the National Congress of Victims
Families in early September.
details and updated information are available at
www.laohamutuk.org/solidarity/index.htm or by emailing
‐ end ‐
Member groups include Asosiasaun HAK (TL), Dewan
Solidaritas Mahasiswa (TL), East Timor and Indonesia Action Network
(ETAN/USA), East Timor Ireland Solidarity Campaign, Estudante
Universitarius Timor‐Leste (TL), Fortilos (Indonesia), Free East
Timor Foundation (Netherlands), Free East Timor Japan Coalition,
GFFTL (TL), Haburas (TL), Institutu Edukasaun Popular (TL),
International Federation for East Timor (IFET), KSI (TL), La'o
Hamutuk (TL), PARCIC (Japan), Peace center (TL), Timor-Leste Media
Development Center (TL). List in formation.