Subject: AFP: UN rights chief demands action against Timor militia
Date: Sat, 10 Jul 1999 16:54:44 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <>

Received from Joyo Indonesian News:

UN rights chief demands action against Timor militia

GENEVA, July 8 (AFP) - UN human rights commissioner Mary Robinson protested Thursday against pro-Indonesian militia attacks on the United Nations in East Timor, saying the violence aimed to deny Timorese the right to self-determination.

In the latest incident, armed militia attacked a relief convoy accompanied by a UN mission vehicle, leaving at least one injured and six people missing.

In a statement, Robinson said: "The violence aims clearly at keeping the East Timorese from exercising their right to determine the status of the territory."

"The Indonesian authorities must make good on their pledge to investigate the attacks and bring to justice those responsible," she said. "The militias must not be allowed to succeed."

The army-backed militia have been blamed for most of the violence in East Timor since January, when Jakarta first announced it might grant East Timor independence if its people rejected an autonomy offer.

Indonesia invaded the former Portuguese colony in 1975, and an estimated 200,000 East Timorese died at the hands of the army and of disease and starvation.

Indonesia and Portugal agreed in May that the UN would send in unarmed civilian police and electoral officers to supervise an August poll to determine whether the population accepts Indonesia's offer of broad autonomy or wishes independence.

The militia have attacked and harrassed UN personnel and its outposts in several towns.

Militia chief Eurico Guterres last week warned indirectly that something might happen to the UN spokesman in East Timor, David Wimhurst, if he did not get out.

"I hate David Wimhurst," Guterres said. "I want him to go away immediately, otherwise I don't know what will happen to him."

Back to July Menu
Human Rights Violations in East Timor
Main Postings Menu
June '98 through February '99