|Statement before the United Nations Committee on Decolonization by Constancio
Pinto on behalf of National Resistance of East Timorese Students (RENETIL)
York, July 1998
Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all I would like to express my gratitude to you for given me once again the
opportunity to testify before this important body. My sincere gratitude also goes to Dr.
Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations for his good offices in trying to
find a just, peaceful and internationally acceptable solution for East Timor's conflict.
My gratitude also goes to Portuguese government for its tenacity and determination to
carry out its obligation as the administering power in East-Timor.
Mr. Chairman, My name is Constancio Pinto. I am Timorese. I was born and grew up in
East Timor. In 1975, as a result of the brutal Indonesian invasion of East Timor, at the
age of 12 years old, I joined my parents and fled into the mountains. After three years in
the jungle,I witnessed thousands of killings perpetrated by the Indonesia, in 1979 I was
arrested and ended up in the concentration camp. In 1991 I was re arrested by the
Indonesian security forces. I was sent into prison where I was beaten from nine in the
morning to two in the morning of the next day. The torture was beyond human understanding.
In November 1991 I escaped from the jail and subsequently helped organized the peaceful
demonstration of November 12, 1991 in Dili, East Timor. Unfortunately at least two hundred
and seventy one people were massacred by the Indonesian soldiers that day. It has been
seven years now and the perpetrators have still not been held accountable for the
Mr. Chairman, East-Timor is half an Island. It was a Portuguese colony. The size of
East Timor is relatively equal to the size of the State of Massachusetts of the United
States. It is 10 times bigger than Brunei. East Timor has never been a part of Indonesia.
East Timorese are distinct people from Indonesia. East Timor has its own culture,
religion, language and colonial history.
Economically, East Timor is self-sufficient. It has natural resources such as oil and
natural gas, and agricultural goods. The population of East Timor before the Indonesian
invasion was 750,000 people unfortunately over 250,000 people, a third of the population
of East Timor, have been killed as a direct result of the Indonesian invasion and
occupation of the territory. This is a genocide, a crime against humanity. If we compare
the genocide in East Timor with Nazi Germany, Pol Pot's Cambodia, Bosnia, and Rwanda, East
Timor ranks as one of the worst genocide in this century.
Mr. Chairman, It is my privilege to address this important body on behalf of the
National Resistance of East Timorese Students (RENETIL). RENETIL is a student movement
based in Indonesia. It is comprised mostly of East Timorese who where born under
Indonesian occupation and educated by the Indonesian government. Since its inception,
RENETIL has been struggling for the right to self-determination and independence for
As a component of East-Timorese Resistance movement, RENETIL is subject to the
guidelines of the National Council of the East Timorese Resistance (CNRT) a new
organization formed during the first East Timorese National Convention held in Peniche,
Portugal.in April 1998 I would like to mention that in that occasion the participants of
the Convention elected Xanana Gusmao as the President of the CNRT as well as two
Vice-Presidents including Nobel Laureate Jose Ramos-Horta. In this convention, the
participants also unanimously adopted the Magna Carta concerning, Freedoms, Rights, Duties
and Guarantees for the people of East-Timor. The formation of the CNRT and the adoption of
the Magna Carta have shown the international community that the Timorese are capable of
solving our differences and are ready to govern an independent East-Timor.
Mr. Chairman, The question of East Timor is a question of the violation of the
fundamental rights of self-determination of the people of East Timor. It is unquestionable
that Indonesia, by invading East Timor, has violated the International law . According to
Roger Clark a world authority in International Law, the occupation of East Timor violates
two fundamental norms of international law. First, Indonesia's actions deprived East Timor
of its rights to self-determination . Second, military intervention into East Timor
constitute an act of aggression forbidden by the United Nations Charter In fact, the
United Nations condemned the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 10 resolutions in which
two of them were adopted by the United Nations Security Council. Just to mention a few on
December 1975 the day after the Indonesian armed forces invaded East Timor the United
Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 3485 (XXX) which stated as follows:
"The General assembly ...Calls upon all states to respect the inalienable right of
the people of Portuguese Timor to self-determination, freedom and independence and to
determine their future political status in accordance with the principle of the Charter of
the United Nations and the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial
Countries and Peoples."
In 1976, again the United Nations called upon Indonesia to withdraw its forces and
deplored its failure to comply with the previous General Assembly and Security Council
resolutions. In this resolution the United Nations rejected the claim that East Timor had
been integrated into Indonesia, declaring that the people of East Timor had not been able
to exercise freely their right to self-determination.
The Indonesian government has asserted that East Timor is not economically viable and
therefore requires assistance from an economically stable state before it can be expected
to survive as an independent state. This argument is however, in contravention of the
Untied Nations resolution 1514(XV) paragraph three which states: inadequacy of political,
economic, social, and educational preparedness should never served as a pretext for
After 23 years of illegal occupation Indonesian government argue that the people of
East Timor are happy with the Indonesia because Indonesia has developed East Timor
infrastructure such as housing roads hospitals. If this were true, then the people of
Poland and Austria would have accepted the annexation of Nazi Germany because of the roads
that the Nazis had built for them.
The Indonesian claims of its sovereignty over East Timor have no legal nor moral
Mr. Chairman, RENETIL welcomes the offer of President Habibie of a Special Status to
East-Timor and the reduction of the Indonesian military in the territory. RENETIL
reiterates that any political solution for East-Timor should be discussed with CNRT and
should be the result of the freely expressed wishes of the people of East Timor through a
democratic process impartially conducted and based on universal adult suffrage. However
RENETIL also deplores that despite of the promises made by President Habibie there has
been adverse impact on East-Timor where the Timorese remain victims of the Indonesian
Mr. Chairman, Allow me to elaborate some of the human rights violation against East
Timorese that have taken place recently in East-Timor. On June 13, 1998 the Indonesian
Police with guns and rattan sticks violently removed a group of East Timorese protesters
who had peacefully occupied the Indonesian foreign ministry . As a result five of the
protesters were severely wounded. On June 16, 1998, in Manatuto, East Timor an Indonesian
soldier shot and killed Herman das Dores Soares, 21 years old. Herman was shot when he was
loading firewood into his pickup truck on the way to Dili where he lives; on June 27,
hours before the arrival of the European Union delegation in East-Timor, the Indonesian
army shot a group of young Timorese students one person (Manuela Marques 23 years old was
immediately killed.and wounded several; On June 29 another young Timorese identified as
Orlando Marcelino 35-years old was shot to death by Indonesia security forces during a
pro-independence protest in Baucau, East Timor, on the occasion of the visit of the
European Union envoys from Britain, Austria, and the Netherlands.
RENETIL vehemently condemns the killings perpetrated by the Indonesian security forces.
To ease the political situation in East Timor, RENETIL urges the United Nations to take
the following steps:
1 To establish a United Nations Human Rights office in East-Timor,
2. To establish a UN fact finding mission to conduct an international and investigation
of the killings ,
3. To request President Habibie to unconditionally withdraw the Indonesian military
from East Timor without delay,
4. To request President Habibie to unconditionally release Xanana Gusmao the President
of CNRT and all political prisoners, and
5 To call for the participation of the CNRT in the Dialogue under the auspices of the
RENETIL believes that peace and tranquillity will not be restored in East-Timor until
these conditions are met .Otherwise, demonstration will escalate in East Timor as well as
violence and intranquility will reign East Timor.
Thank you Mr. Chairman