|Subject: RT: Amnesty says Indon military destabilise
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 1999 08:52:24 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Received from Joyo:
Amnesty says Indonesian military destabilise Timor
SYDNEY, April 16 (Reuters) - The Indonesian armed forces and pro-Jakarta paramilitary groups are deliberately trying to destabilise East Timor ahead of a July ballot on autonomy, Amnesty International said on Friday.
``Paramilitaries -- armed and supported by the Indonesian armed forces (ABRI) -- have been let loose to murder, rape and torture innocent civilians whose support for East Timorese independence they do not share,'' Amnesty said in a statement titled ``East Timor -- spiralling into violence.''
``The timing is no coincidence -- all the indications suggest that this is a deliberate attempt by the Indonesian military and pro-integration paramilitary groups to destabilise the situation and thus undermine the diplomatic process to find a political solution to the conflict in East Timor.''
``Paramilitary groups are terrorising independence supporters and human rights defenders,'' said the human rights group.
``If the Indonesian government does not take action to check the activities of these groups the violence will spiral out of control and seriously compromise efforts to find a peaceful solution to the problems of East Timor,'' it said.
ABRI has said they support the government offer of autonomy and that although they do arm official militias in East Timor and elsewhere in Indonesia to help maintain peace, they have not given guns to unofficial militias.
East Timor rebel leader Xanana Gusmao has said 21 people have been killed by pro-Jakarta forces in the first three months of this year in East Timor. The territory's spiritual leader, Nobel prize-winner Bishop Carlos Belo, has said 25 people were killed in a massacre by pro-Jakarta forces on April 6 at the village of Liquisa.
Indonesia rejects reports of a Liquisa massacre.
Amnesty urged Jakarta to allow a U.N. human rights monitoring team in East Timor, to reinforce the U.N. peace efforts and bolster the confidence of the East Timorese community.
Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 and annexed it the following year in a move not recognised by the United Nations. More than 200,000 of its people have died of war, disease and starvation under Indonesian rule.
Indonesia has promised to stage an autonomy ballot in East Timor in July, saying if the East Timorese people reject autonomy then the territory would be granted independence.
Since Jakarta made the offer of autonomy or independence in January there has been an upsurge in violence in East Timor.
A new round of U.N.-sponsored talks between Indonesia and Portugal on the future of East Timor, and the autonomy package, are scheduled to take place in New York on April 22.