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JOIN ETAN's Campaign to Bring the East Timorese Refugees Home

Write, Call Indonesian, U.S. Officials
On August 30, 1999, almost 80% of the population of East Timor voted for independence from Indonesia. Within hours of the announcement of the results on September 4, a systematic campaign of terror was launched by the Indonesian armed forces and their militias. Unknown numbers of East Timorese were murdered, raped, and tortured. Approximately three-quarters of the population was displaced. In a coordinated manner, the Indonesian military and its militias forced hundreds of thousands of East Timorese at gunpoint to board trucks, boats, and even airplanes. They were taken either to Indonesian West Timor or off the Timor island to other parts of Indonesia. Some were taken out to sea by boat and never seen again. By the end of September, over 250,000 East Timorese were living in refugee camps in West Timor. By the end of 1999, UN agencies reported over 125,000 had returned to East Timor either through their own or organized efforts. However, more than 100,000 East Timorese remain unable to return home, nearly five months after the announcement of the referendum results and despite repeated pledges by the Indonesian government to remedy the situation. Thousands taken to other areas of Indonesia remain unaccounted for. It is time to bring the East Timorese home. 

Call or write the following to urge that all refugees who wish to return home can do so safely and immediately! Urge the the Indonesian government to fulfill its promises by ensuring a safe and quick return of East Timorese.

  • 1. Ambassador Dorodjatun Kuntjoro Jakti at the Indonesian Embassy:  Tel: 202-775-5200, Fax: 202-775-5365. 
    • 2020 Mass. Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20036
  • 2. Ambassador Makarim Wibisono at the Indonesian Mission to the UN:  Tel: 212-972-8333, Fax: 212-972-9780. 
  • 325 E. 38th St., New York, NY 10016

  • 3. President Abdurrahman Wahid Leave messages for him with the State Secretary at the State Ministry.  This is a long distance call, but it's worth it: Tel: 011-62-21-384-7198, Fax: 011-62-21-345-2685. 
  • Office of the President, Presidential Palace, Jakarta, Indonesia 

In addition urge the Indonesian government to guarantee:

  • humanitarian aid workers complete open access to refugees in all camps, including those taken to areas outside of the Timor island.
  • an end to Indonesian armed forces collusion with militia groups.
  • separation of the militia from civilian refugees. Militia groups must be removed from the camps, disarmed and disbanded, and brought to justice. No East Timorese should be forced to choose whether they wish to remain in Indonesia or return to East Timor in a climate of intimidation.

4. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Stanley Roth

Tel: 202-647-9596, Fax: 202-647-7350
Rm. 6205, Dept. of State, 2201 C St., NW, Washington, DC 20520

Tell him the=20U.S. must immediately step up the pressure on Indonesia to expedite the return of all refugees who wish to go home.  Bring up the same points as for the previous 3 calls to Indonesian officials, and add that an organized system must be put into place to track and locate East Timorese taken off-island.

Congress comes back into session the last week of January.  Welcome your Representative and Senators on Wednesday, January 26 with a message urging stepped up U.S. pressure on Indonesia to expedite the return of all East Timorese refugees in Indonesia who wish to go home. Urge your member of Congress to participate in congressional delegations to investigate conditions in East and West Timor.  The congressional switchboard number is 202-224-3121, or consult for  other contact information. Contact your local League of Women Voters to determine your members of Congress. 

Other Actions You Can Take:

  • WRITE letters to the editor. Ensure that East Timor and refugees in Indonesian remain on the agenda of international, national, regional, and local media coverage.  For sample letters to the editor, consult the ETAN website at Contact John M. Miller at or 718-596-7668 for further assistance.

  • MEET WITH your Senators and Representative. In-person meetings are effective means of keeping your Members of Congress updated and actively focused on events in East Timor.  For tips on congressional meetings, consult the 20/20 Vision website at, or call Karen at ETAN's Washington, DC office at 202-544-6911.

Please let ETAN know the results of your contacts. Thank you for your support.

For additional background information, see ETAN's web site or send a blank e-mail to for a copy of ETAN's backgrounder on the refugees.

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