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Call your Senators and Representative and ask for their foreign policy staffer. The congressional switchboard number is 202-224-3121. For fax and e-mail info: House, Senate. You can also find out who your members of Congress are, through your local League of Women Voters. Remember to thank your Senators and Representatives for any previous support. (See below for background info.)

Tell your Senators and Representative

Now is not the time for normalization of military ties with Indonesia. Now is the time for the U.S. administration to increase pressure on President Wahid and the Indonesian government to finally resolve East Timor's refugee crisis. 

Request that your Representative and Senators:  

  • Actively support the inclusion of the current Leahy conditions (see below) pertaining to East Timor in the FY 2001 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. Let her/him know that the Leahy conditions have not been met. 
  • Express their opposition to joint military exercises with Indonesia, such as CARAT, until all Congressional conditions have been met. 
  • Actively support the provision of $25 million in aid for East Timor for FY 2001. President Clinton requested only $10 million for East Timor for 2001, down from $25 million for FY 2000. Current levels must be maintained to support development, reconstruction, and institution building for the next several years. 

Request that your Representative: 

  • Co-sponsor HR 4357, the East Timor Repatriation and Security Act of 2000, introduced by Representatives James McGovern (D-MA) and Chris Smith (R-NJ).  
  • Co-sponsor HR 1063, the International Military Training Transparency and Accountability Act, introduced by Representatives Chris Smith and Lane Evans (D-IL), if they have not already done so. 

Click here for a list of current co-sponsors of HR 4357 and HR 1063. 

Request that your Senators:

  • Co-sponsor S 2621, the East Timor Repatriation and Security Act, recently introduced by Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) and others. 

Click here for a list of current co-sponsors of S 2621.

Thank you for your support. It does make a difference. Please let the East Timor Action Network know the results of your contacts. For sample letters send a blank e-mail to or go to Contact Karen Orenstein at ETAN's Washington office, 202-544-6911,, or consult the ETAN website, for more information.


THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION is considering re-engagement with the Indonesian military (TNI) despite continued military and militia intimidation and violence in East Timorese refugee camps in West Timor and activity on the East-West Timor border, and despite continuing military-backed human rights abuses in some areas of Indonesia, including Ambon, Aceh and West Papua. While current law prohibits weapons transfers and military training, Pentagon and State Department officials have already authorized exchanges between the U.S. and Indonesian armed forces. A regional exercise, Cobra Gold, has already gone forward with Indonesian military personnel observing. The administration is also making plans to stage a CARAT (Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training) military exercise with the TNI in July. CARAT is a large-scale exercise involving Navy, Marines, and other forces that stages simulated amphibious invasions of Indonesian islands. Previous CARATs, including one held last August just before East Timor voted, have included patrolling, live fire cross training, and raids. Some Indonesian soldiers went directly from last August's CARAT to East Timor to participate in the worst violence. Pentagon officials and some in the State Department and Congress are attempting to overturn the current suspension of military training and weapons transfers. Clearly, now is not the time to discuss normalization of military ties with Indonesia. 

More than 100,000 East Timorese remain in military- and militia-controlled camps in West Timor. Most want to return home. Conditions in the camps are horrendous, with malnutrition and disease rampant. Healthcare is inadequate. Some 60 refugees were killed and tens of thousands further displaced in recent flash floods. Elements in the State Department are pushing for a June 30 deadline for the start of camp closures and attempting to cut funding for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). This is unacceptable until serious progress has been made in securing refugee safety and meeting humanitarian needs. An unknown number who were moved to other areas of Indonesia last year have not returned. It is unacceptable that over nine months after the East Timor voted for independence this refugee crisis continues. The U.S. government must increase pressure on President Wahid and the Indonesian military to resolve this crisis.


Foreign Operations Appropriations Act - Leahy Conditions: Last fall, Congress cut off military training and weapons transfers until Indonesia meets certain conditions pertaining to East Timor. This legislation -- the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act, which contains the "Leahy conditions" -- must be renewed every year. Current conditions are far from being met, and others pertaining to civilian control of the Indonesian military should be added. Current conditions stipulate that before normal military ties can be restored between the U.S. and Indonesia, the Indonesian government and military must allow "displaced persons and refugees to return home to East Timor" and bring to justice military and militia members responsible for human rights atrocities in East Timor and Indonesia. They also require Indonesia to actively prevent militia incursions into East Timor and cooperate fully with the UN administration in East Timor. The Leahy conditions reinforce President Clinton's own suspension of military ties with Indonesia - put in place last September as the destruction of East Timor escalated following the overwhelming vote in favor of independence. Representatives and Senators who sit on the Appropriations Committees are especially important.   Click here for a list of House and Senate Appropriations Committee members. Remember to thank your Representatives and Senators for any previous support.

HR 4357 and S. 2621, the East Timor Repatriation and Security Act of 2000. These companion bills would prohibit military relations and assistance to the armed forces of Indonesia until the Indonesian government provides for the territorial integrity of East Timor; the security and safe return of refugees; and has brought to justice those individuals responsible for murder, rape, torture and other crimes against humanity in East Timor and elsewhere. Urge your Senator to co-sponsor S 2621. Urge your Representative to co-sponsor HR 4357.

HR 1063, the International Military Training Transparency and Accountability Act, closes loopholes the Pentagon has used to continue to train human rights violators in Indonesia. Although Congress has banned combat training for Indonesia under the IMET (International Military Education and Training) program, this bill would ban JCET (Joint Combined Education and Training) and all similar programs to Indonesian and other human rights violating militaries. This bill has far-reaching implications for the human rights of all Indonesians and others around the world (including Latin America and Africa).


Over 100,000 East Timorese refugees are living in some 200 refugee sites scattered throughout West Timor. Another 11,000 to 30,000 are believed to be elsewhere in Indonesia. A recent fact-finding mission coordinated by the East Timor Action Network found that the situation for refugees in West Timor and other parts of Indonesia remains dire. East Timorese in camps face ongoing threats and intimidation by Indonesian military (TNI) supported militia leaders, little to no medical care, and malnutrition. Over 700 people, most children, have died from various illnesses since last September due to inadequate sanitation and medical care. Nearly 100 refugees were killed and tens of thousands further displaced in mid-May in flash floods. Continuous damp and muddy conditions in the camps due to an unusually long rainy season have already exacerbated the health care crisis. A malaria catastrophe looms once the rains stop. Access to many of the camps by humanitarian organizations remains limited, and aid workers are still being threatened. The Indonesian military, its militia allies and the local media continue to spread disinformation to discourage East Timorese from returning home. Elements in the State Department are now pushing to shut down the camps beginning on the arbitrary date of June 30, ignoring the conditions that prevent free and safe refugee return, in spite of UNHCR's own recommendation to keep the camps open. Elements in the State Department are also threatening to cut off funding to UNHCR.

Steps needed to end the lingering refugee crisis include: 

  • An immediate end to Indonesian military support for militias, and the disarming and disbanding of all militia groups. 
  • The separation of militia leaders from the civilian refugee population, their arrest by Indonesian police or UN authorities, and their extradition to East Timor. 
  • Open and complete access to all refugee camps in West Timor for humanitarian aid workers. 
  • Assurance that all refugees who wish to return home can do so without intimidation before any forced closing of camps under arbitrary deadlines. 
  • A coordinated effort to track, locate, and safely return East Timorese refugees taken off Timor island. 
  • Better preparations in East Timor by UNHCR and others for reintegration and resettlement of returning refugees.

May 30, 2000

ATTEND AN EVENT, HOST A SPEAKER Demonstrations and events are taking place around the U.S. and world. Click here for latest list. ETAN speakers and East Timor support groups are available nationwide.

Much still needs to be done to support East Timor and ETAN continues to work hard to insure a peaceful transition to independence.Please send a contribution to ETAN by using our donation form. Thank you for any support.

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