|FRETILIN EXTERNAL DELEGATION
STATEMENT BEFORE THE
DECOLONIZATION COMMITTEE BY JOSÉ LUIS GUTERRES CHIEF OF EXTERNAL DELEGATION JUNE 1998
Mr. Chairman Distinguished Delegates
On behalf of FRETILIN I would like to thank you Mr. Chairman for this opportunity to
address the decolonization committee on the question of East Timor.
As a political organization we have since 75 participated in the discussions of
the East Timorese question at the United Nations body. During these years FRETILIN have
suffered many human losses. One of our Presidents died in the battlefield as well as 90%
of our National Leadership and thousands of our members have died, imprisoned, tortured
and persecuted by the Indonesian Army; the most recent death was of the Mr. Konis Santana,
then Secretary of the Directive Commission.
At the national leadership meeting in the mountains of East Timor Mr. Lu Olo was
elected Secretary of the Directive CommissionPresidencv of FRETILIN.
During these years we have all witnessed the changes of political environment and
geography all over the world: In South Africa, in the former Soviet Union, Palestine,
Yugoslavia, and today in Indonesia.
STRUGGLE FOR DEMOCRACY AND FREEDOM IN INDONESIA
We want to congratulate the Indonesian democratic opposition Leaders, Prof. Amien Rais,
Labour Leader Dr. Pakpahan, Eng., Sri Bintang, Mrs Megawati Sukarno, for their role in the
struggle for democracy and freedom.
I would like to pay a very special tribute to the Indonesian Youth and their
organizations, for their courage, determination and sacrifices that they have shown,
during these ongoing process of democratization.
To the new Indonesian military leadership General Wirianto, General Bambang Yoduyono we
would like to remark their invaluable contribution in facilitating the process of
democratization of Indonesia, avoiding the bloodshed in Indonesia. To all Indonesians that
have fallen for freedom and democracy we extend our great respect and sympathy to their
families and friends.
THE QUEST FOR FREEDOM IN EAST TIMOR In East Timor the situation in its fundamentals
remains unchanged; an occupied country and its People have not yet exercised their right
for self-determination and independence as demanded in various resolutions of the United
Nations General Assembly.
The call of Security Council on its resolution, 384 of December 75 and 389 April 76
remains to be implemented.
We believe that the permanent members of the Security Council should have done more to
implement a decision that was taken. During last years we have seen a more active role by
United States. The People's Republic of China the only permanent member in Asia, that have
played a major role, during the debate of the question of East Timor in the security
council in the 75 and 76, have not any productive role today, in these international
We appeal to Chinese Government, Japan, Australia, ASEAN and South Pacific Forum in
order to help the United Nations Secretary General to bring peace and freedom to East
As Timorese we believe that the international community can do more in order to have
these United Nations resolutions be respected by Indonesia in order achieve a lasting
peace for East Timor. The visit by European Union during these days, have given an window
of opportunity for the Timorese People to peacefully demonstrate our demands for freedom.
Unhappily some incidents have occurred and some Timorese died. We believe that
perpetrators of the violence and killings should be brought to justice.
UNITY AND RESISTANCE As a political organization we know the importance of unity among
the Timorese for success of our struggle for freedom and independence.
Recently in Portugal, the Timorese political parties of various tendencies have met and
we have agreed to create a common political platform, in order to unify our struggle for
freedom and independence and development of our country.
The formation of CNRT-National Council of Timorese Resistance had a very a positive
impact in building up of consensus in East Timor towards a peaceful solution to the East
Timorese question. Delegates from more than 20 political social and cultural organizations
have participated in these meetings, which have reaffirmed the leadership of Commander
Xanana Gusmao, as President of CNRT, elected a political figures of various tendencies to
the leadership and have unequivocally reiterated the willingness to defend the right of
the Timorese People for self determination and Independence.
The process of dialogue and the quest for unity within the Timorese Society will
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL SITUATION The economic and social situation of East Timor have been
severely affected by the dramatic changes the economic and social indicators in Indonesia
and by the continuing military occupation of East Timor.
In spite of the claims by Indonesian authorities of development and massive investments
that surpassed that of the Portuguese Colonial period, two important indicators released
in 96, before the current economic crises, by United Nations Population Fund, indicated
that life expectancy for the Timorese is one of the lowest among the 30 Least Developed
Countries: 48.4 for women and 46.7 for men. The Infant Mortality Rate is in fact the
worst, 135 per 1,000 births. From a self-sufficient country in rice production East Timor
now depend on rice imports from Indonesia. The deforestation for military purposes, the
destruction of our environment have led the majority of Timorese to live below the poverty
These situation requires an urgent attention.
We appeal to UN agencies and international community to deal with these problems
without any further delay.
Therefore we appreciate the initiative of Prime Minister of Portugal Mr. Antonio
Guterres to allocate substantive financial resources to NGOS operating in East Timor.
Concerning also with need to fulfil the more urgent needs of our People we support the
minimum conditions that were presented by Bishop Ximenes Belo, the Novel Peace Laureate to
President Habibie of Indonesia, to improve the everyday life, in particular those
referring to free circulation and settlement of the Timorese. I firmly that believe that
the implementation of these demands will help the creation of better atmosphere for the
dialogue and understanding between Timorese and Indonesia.
DEMOCRACY AND TOLERANCE
Just after the Democratic triumph in Portugal in 74, we have experience a period of
freedom, democracy, and tolerance. The Timorese political organizations that were created
UDT, ASDT/FRETILIN and APODETI have different political options for the Timorese future.
But we all believed that only the East Timorese can decide about their future.
But the democratic process was brutally disturbed by the Indonesian political
interference, military invasion, and occupation in 75.
FRETILIN, declared unilateral Independence in 28 November 75 only after the
impossibility of the continuation of negotiations between all Parties, and the inability
of Portugal to defend the territorial integrity of East Timor against the Indonesian
intervention. The Democratic Republic of East Timor was recognized by 15 countries. But
since the United Nations have not recognized the Republic, FRETILIN to abide by
international law, and UN resolutions, accepts the realization of a referendum, in order
to give to all Timorese to exercise their sacred right of self determination and
independence under UN supervision.
XANANA PROPOSAL Four days ago, the President of the National Council of Timorese
Resistance, in an interview Sydney Morning Herald, made an appeal to the Timorese to be
patient. He proposed a very sensible offer to Indonesia not hold immediately a referendum,
but to give a period of 5 to 10 years of preparation, during which period Indonesia would
be welcomed in East Timor. We commend and support the efforts of the Timorese Leader
Xanana Gusmao, to find a political compromise, that will take in consideration the
legitimate strategic and security interest of the sister Republic of Indonesia. Xanana is
a Leader of peace and dialogue and it is an aberration in a Democratic Indonesia to
maintain behind bars of Cipinang prison.
We appeal therefore to President Habibie to release unconditionally Xanana Gusmao and
all Political prisoners, Indonesian or Timorese.
SPECIAL STATUS FRETILIN clearly rejected the idea of any definitive solution, without
the participation of the Timorese People. Whether, it is special status within Indonesian
Republic, autonomy, association with Portugal.
FRETILIN will never accept any transitional status, that will imply the recognition of
Indonesian sovereignty over East Timor. We recognized the right of any Timorese to defend
any political status for East Timor.
But we want to put on records that some the of rationale behind some political options
are baseless and not in conformity with our past and recent history and culture and the
constitution of the country involved.
Statements were made referring to the need of maintaining the presence of Indonesian
army, or to associate with another Country in order to prevent civil war and to guaranty
peace and stability. During the recent riots in Indonesia, in East Timor, not a single
Indonesian was killed, nor the private properties of Indonesians were destroyed.
During these 24 years of war, not a single Indonesian civilian was a military target.
HUMAN RIGHTS To the accusations of human rights violations committed by FRETILIN, as
for example the accusations made by Indonesian delegates during the Human Rights
Commission meeting this year, I have written a letter to High Commissioner for Human
Rights, Mrs Mary Robinson, giving all our cooperation and suggesting the creation of
international commission of inquiry in order to investigate that allegations, and others,
because we believe that human rights should be respected by all individuals, organizations
CONTAGION EFFECT-DOMINO THEORY
We will continue to cooperate with all the political parties and associations in
Indonesia in order to denounce all the human rights violations that might occur; whether
in East Timor, Aceh, Irian; but we have never in any occasion encouraged or promoted the
destruction of the Indonesian State.
The fears among Indonesian military that a referendum for East Timor will have a
contagion effect, leading to the dismembering of Indonesia are groundless.
Indonesia, have experienced, even before the annexation of East Timor in 1976, the
struggle of Republic of South Moluccas, the Aceh, Irian Jaya, Sulawesi towards self rule
and independence. It is not the struggle East Timorese for Independence and freedom that
have influenced their struggle, but the centralised political power in Java, that
prevailed up to today, the lack of respect for human rights and the specific heritage of
those islanders, that will destroy Indonesia.
We as East Timorese have reaffirmed our respect for the colonial boundaries; we have
not, at any time encouraged the destruction of the Indonesian State; We firmly believe
that a strong, democratic.. stable Indonesia, is in the interest of the East Timorese
People, the ASEAN, Australia, and the World.
MR CHAIRMAN DISTINGUISHED DELEGATES
THE FUTURE The time has come for the East Timorese, Indonesian and Portuguese
Governments, and the United Nations to engage in a serious discussions on the substantive
FRETILIN will continue to make all efforts to maintain the climate in East Timor and
internationally conducive to a peaceful resolution of our question. We will encourage our
members to continue to participate in the Intra Timorese dialogue, and advise our members
to maintain the spirit of reconciliation and fraternity in the Timorese society.
FRETILIN will do whatever it can to find with our Indonesians brothers an sisters, the
possible compromises in order to respect the mutual legitimate concerns of security and
strategic interests. To achieve all this, we need to initiate informal talks about a
possible avenues for a common foreign affairs, defense, economic and monetary policy.
FRETILIN is firmly committed to face the challenges of today in order bring about
peace, prosperity, stability not only for our beloved Country but also to Indonesia and
With the help of all the Timorese regardless of their past, their political opinion
today or tomorrow, we as Timorese will build a Nation of peace tolerance, justice,
democracy, a Country that our future generation will be proud of.
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