Subject: UNCHR: April 7/99 Situation of Human Rights Anywhere in World
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999 19:09:25 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Sharon R.A. Scharfe" <>

7 April 1999

Press Release HR/CN/897


(Reissued as received.)

GENEVA, 6 April (UN Information Service)

... The Commission meanwhile continued its review of "the question of the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in any part of the world" -- annually one of its most contentious agenda items.


Representatives of the following countries spoke: Armenia, Iran, Albania, Equatorial Guinea, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Portugal, Australia, Eritrea, Croatia, Greece, Azerbaijan, Nicaragua and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The following non-governmental organizations also delivered statements: International Federation of Human Rights; International League for the Rights and Liberation of Peoples; Lutheran World Federation; World Federation of Trade Unions; General Arab Women Federation; European Union for Public Relations; Permanent Assembly for Human Rights; Interfaith International; International Association against Torture; International Federation of Rural Adult Catholic Movements; Asian Buddhist Conference for Peace; North-South XXI; Centre Europe - Tiers Monde; and Afro-Asian People's Solidarity Organization.

The Commission will reconvene at 10 a.m. Wednesday, 7 April, to continue its discussion of human rights situations anywhere in the world.


Situation of Human Rights Anywhere in World

G. SANTA CLARA GOMES (Portugal) said that although there had been encouraging advances towards a political settlement of the East Timor issue, the situation there remained critical. Despite Indonesia's commitment to release East Timorese political prisoners, many remained in detention. Also patterns of arbitrary arrest and detention by military and paramilitary forces made it difficult to obtain accurate information.

There had not been an overall reduction in Indonesia's overwhelming military presence in East Timor, and civilian militias had been armed. The situation of the about 5,000 displaced persons had worsened. Indonesia had a continued obligation to maintain East Timor's internal security and that of its population. Peace and security were instrumental to a democratic process of consultation, but they could only be achieved if concrete measures were taken on the ground.

LES LUCK (Australia) said Australia believed that a focus on human rights institution-building was the best way to realize all rights -- civil and political as well as economic, social and cultural. Institutions were needed which could safeguard freedom of expression, independence of the judiciary, and open and accountable government both in the political and economic senses. Australia was disturbed by the social tensions erupting in violence in Indonesia; Indonesian stability and national well-being could be assured only if all sectors of society put the protection of human rights first. The overriding concern now was to effect a smooth and peaceful transition to a new status for East Timor.

Australia acknowledged the progress made over the last 20 years by China -- in realization of economic and social rights, in democratization of village structures and in development of due process of law. In Papua New Guinea Australia welcomed the ceasefire now in place in Bougainville and continued to support the process of reconciliation. Australia remained concerned about human rights conditions in Myanmar, Afghanistan, Algeria, the Great Lakes region of Africa and Sri Lanka. It deplored the humanitarian crisis in Kosovo. In Cambodia some progress could be seen in the area of human rights, as well as in Iran.


MARTA BOBICHON NEVES, of Asian Buddhist Conference for Peace, spoke of the tragic violation of human rights that occurred in East Timor, where the East Timorese, faced with the indifference of the world, had resisted Indonesian domination as reinforced by genocide, sterilization, bloody repression, and false progress. The international community was responsible in part for this genocide, since despite passing UN resolutions, it had never done anything concrete.

The Indonesian Government had tried to manipulate history so as to prove Indonesia was the only guarantor of peace in the region. The East Timorese people had the right today to insist that the international community exert pressure on Jakarta so that the militias recently formed were disbanded and civilians disarmed. The international community should send a peace force to East Timor to guarantee the disarmament of all parties.

For more information on Parliamentarians for East Timor, Please Contact: Sharon Scharfe, International Secretariat PARLIAMENTARIANS FOR EAST TIMOR Suite 116, 5929-L Jeanne D'Arc Blvd., Orleans, ON K1C 7K2 CANADA Fax: 1-613-834-2021 E-Mail:

Human Rights Violations in East Timor
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