Subject: Media Release - Death List; Refugees Slaughtered; Bombers leaving West Timor
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 1999 19:23:15 -1000

EAST TIMOR HUMAN RIGHTS CENTRE 124 Napier St Fitzroy 3065 Australia PO BOX 1413 Collingwood 3066 Australia Tel: +61 3 9415 8225 Fax: +61 3 9415 8218 E-mail: Chair: Bishop Hilton Deakin Director: Ana Noronha

Press Release - 16 September 1999 Death list targets church, CNRT, foreigners Refugees slaughtered Bombers leaving West Timor

Death list targets pro-independence leaders, church

The East Timor Human Rights Centre has confirmed the existence of an Indonesian military Intel death list, targeting East Timorese non-government organisations (NGOs), church leaders, members of the National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT) and foreigners. Indonesian military and military-backed militia are conducting house-to-house searches in Kupang, Atambua and Kefamenanu in West Timor. Searches are also being conducted in the rest of Indonesia, as earlier reported by the ETHRC.

The ETHRC is particularly concerned that military and military-backed militia have also made death threats against family members of pro-independence activists, including those with small children.

Two truckloads of refugees summarily executed at border

Systematic violence against refugees continues. Reliable sources report that East Timorese people fleeing East Timor in their own transport are being summarily executed unless they have first obtained a letter from militia. Between September 7 and 9, large numbers of young East Timorese men were shipped from Dili to Atapupu in West Timor. From Atapupu they were trucked towards Kupang. They young men were hogtied. The ETHRC is confirming numbers. We are gravely concerned about the fate of the young men. On the 9th of September, two truckloads of refugees were summarily executed attempting to cross the border into West Timor in Atambua. Numbers of the dead are not yet confirmed.

Inhabitants cleared from western East Timor

The ETHRC is disturbed by reliable information that up to 40 square kilometers east of Atambua has been cleared of inhabitants. With the exception of those hiding in the mountains, a large tract of land in East Timor, west of Dili, has also been cleared of people. The ETHRC is still trying to confirm reports that a military base will be built in this area.

Systematic Removal of Population of East Timor and eastern West Timor

A systematic campaign is being carried out to clear inhabitants along the border area of East and West Timor. It has been reported to the ETHRC that a number of refugees are located in several places in Flores. The attitude of the local Flores people towards the East Timorese has become more sympathetic since the killings of the Catholic priests and nuns. Flores has a large Catholic population. Women and children are also being forcibly deported to places as far away as Irian Jaya. The ETHRC is gravely concerned that these refugees will be unaccounted for in the following weeks, and will not be repatriated.

Hawk bombers conducting bombing campaign - target unknown

In addition, eyewitnesses have seen Hawk bombers leaving Kupang airport armed and returning unarmed (not armed).  Sources fear that Indonesian military are conducting bombing campaigns using Kupang airport as a base. The ETHRC has yet to confirm if bombing is taking place and where.

3 Abducted

Widespread human rights violations against East Timorese in West Timor and the rest of Indonesia continues. On September 8, three East Timorese were abducted by military-backed militia and an unconfirmed number of summary executions have taken place in Kupang.

Refugees Vulnerable - Fear of Corruption in Aid Distribution

Conditions of refugees are deteriorating as the numbers increase. Refugees suffer from malaria, acute respiratory infections and gastro-intestinal diseases. The general hospital in Kupang is filled to capacity, and an epidemic of diarrhoea is feared. Heightening this crisis is the threat of corruption by Indonesian authorities administering aid. Based on past experiences such as the 1992 Flores earthquake, corruption is a real possibility.

The ETHRC is greatly alarmed by reports that the Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) government is anticipating a total of 200,000 to 300,000 refugees. (The NTT covers West Timor and Flores.) We fear that this estimate is based on information from the military, indicating plans to bring in further refugees.

POLRI Driving UNAMET Vehicles

This situation is aggravated by the presence of Indonesian military, police in collusion with military-backed militia in all refugee sites. Militia groups include Aitarak and Besi Merah Putih (BMP or Red White Iron.) The Indonesian military, police and military-backed militia continue to flaunt their disregard for the United Nations. UNAMET vehicles in Kupang are being driven by POLRI, the Indonesian police.

The ETHRC repeats its calls for:
· The establishment of a war crimes tribunal;
· The immediate arrest of Indonesian military, police and military-backed militia responsible for human rights violations;
· Immediate food drops to East Timorese refugees in East and West Timor;
· Immediate and unrestricted access to all areas of East Timor for UN human rights monitors, international and local human rights organisations, in order to provide ongoing human rights monitoring, and in particular to conduct a full and impartial investigation of the recent atrocities against unarmed East Timorese civilians
· The safe repatriation of all East Timorese wishing to leave West Timor and the rest of Indonesia, and the provision of secure refuges within East Timor, properly supported by humanitarian agencies.

The East Timor Human Rights Centre is the only organisation outside East Timor established to protect and promote the human rights of the East Timorese people. ETHRC has been documenting human rights violations against East Timorese people since 1995.

For more information, contact Ana Noronha, Executive Director, East Timor Human Rights Centre, on 0414 353 016.

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