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Berkeley, California, Adopts Uniform Selective Purchasing Policy
Pedro T. Coelho, 14 Jan 1999

Dear Friends And Supporters of East Timor:

On January 12th, 1999, the Berkeley City Council approved, in a 8 to 0 vote, with one abstention, the final text of the selective purchasing and investment policy legislation impacting Indonesia and East Timor. The vote also carries with it a profound revision, and the uniformization, of selective purchasing policies previously adopted by the City of Berkeley.

As you may recall, in 1998, the City of Berkeley adopted a Resolution of Intent to enact a selective purchasing and investment law concerning East Timor and Indonesia. Thereafter, in light of a desire to strengthen previously adopted selective purchasing laws, and to lower implementation costs through their uniformization, the City Attorney's office took the opportunity to initiate the development of the Uniform Selective Purchasing Policy now adopted.

The favorable vote cast on the proposed Uniform Selective Purchasing Policy prompted the simultaneous adoption by the City of Berkeley of five Resolutions, (1) expressing support for a national foreign policy which places paramount importance on human rights by prohibiting the expenditure of public funds for personal services, procurement of goods, investments or deposits with business entities which do business with those governments designated by the Council as "Oppressive States" and repealing selective purchasing Resolutions previously adopted by the City of Berkeley; (2) adding the Nation of Burma(Union of Myanmar) to the Oppressive States list; (3) adding the Tibet Autonomous Region and the provinces of Ado, Kham and U-Tsang to the Oppressive States list; (4) adding the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the Oppressive States list; and (5) adding the Republic of Indonesia and the territory of East Timor to the Oppressive States list.

Myself having had the honor to initiate and actively participate in the year-long process which took us to this victory of global social responsibility, I am very happy to note, that the adopted legal text does include the initially proposed divestment and disclosure provisions, and, albeit in a different format, the desired exemptions for "non-profit community organizations" and "humanitarian" activities. The law's exemptions, will enable organizations such as those dedicated to the practice of Fair Trade to find shelter for their business in targeted territories. Moreover, the Resolutions concerning Burma, Tibet, and Nigeria, have also been considerably strengthened by the City's uniform adoption of provisions we initially proposed for East Timor and Indonesia.

My deepest appreciation goes to the Citizens of Berkeley, and to Linda Maio, the City Councilmember who most actively supported our efforts to see adopted a selective purchasing and investment Resolution pertaining to East Timor and Indonesia in the City of Berkeley, California.

My heartfelt thoughts go to the People of East Timor who, after twenty four years, still today endure and fight off the brutal military occupation of their land by Indonesia.

For a Socially Responsible Global Village.

Long Live East Timor!

Viva Timor!

Pedro Tropa M. Coelho, Esq. (510) 558-7101 Berkeley, California

The Uniform Selective Purchasing Policy was presented to the Berkeley City Council by Manuela Albuquerque, City Attorney, 510-644-6380. Copies of the adopted Resolutions can be obtained, when made available within approximately a week, from the Berkeley City Clerk Department, 510-644-6480.