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Amnesty International - Urgent Action

PUBLIC                                    AI Index: ASA 21/140/99

EXTRA 127/99        Fear for safety              9 September 1999

EAST TIMOR          The population of East Timor

Amnesty International fears for the safety of the entire
population of East Timor. Armed pro-Indonesian militias and
Indonesian troops have complete control of the territory and
are committing grave human rights violations with impunity. An
unknown number of people have already been killed, thousands
have fled to the hills, and tens of thousands have been forced
at gunpoint to neighbouring West Timor by Indonesian soldiers.
Amnesty International has already received reports of arrests
and killings of East Timorese independence supporters who have
been forcibly relocated to West Timor. 

The only international observers left in East Timor are around
200 staff from the United Nations Assistance Mission to East
Timor (UNAMET) and a handful of journalists, all of whom are
under siege in the UNAMET compound in Dili. Their supplies of
food and water are running out. Local human rights monitors
were forced from the territory on Monday 6 September; the
Indonesian military have ensured that no one is left to
witness the atrocities. 


Indonesia invaded East Timor, a former Portugese colony, in
1975, and has committed grave human rights violations there
ever since, including extrajudicial killings, torture and
"disappearances". The Indonesian occupation of the territory
was never recognised by the United Nations. In January 1999,
President Habibie of Indonesia announced that the people of
East Timor could decide their own future. Indonesia, Portugal
and the United Nations signed Tripartite Agreements on the
future of East Timor in New York on 5 May. Under the
Agreements, UNAMET was to organize a popular consultation
process in which the East Timorese people would vote to accept
or reject autonomy within Indonesia. The Indonesian
authorities were mandated to ensure a secure environment in
East Timor. The ballot took place on 30 August: the result was
an overwhelming majority in favour of cutting ties with
Indonesia. According to the Agreements, arrangements should
now be made for the peaceful transfer of authority to the
United Nations, during a transitional phase before full
independence for East Timor. However, since the results were
announced on 4 September, armed pro-Indonesian militias,
working with Indonesian soldiers, have wreaked havoc
throughout the territory, in open violation of the terms of
the Agreements. 

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/airmail

- expressing your horror at the situation in East Timor, and
your fears for the safety of the entire population;
- noting that the United Nations is a party to the 5 May 1999
Agreements, and has an obligation to the East Timorese people,
who, despite threats and intimidation, courageously exercised
their right to self-determination by participating in the
popular consultation on 30 August 1999;
- asking what, as a member state of the United Nations, your
government is doing to protect the rights of the East Timorese
- urging your government to impose an immediate moratorium on
all transfers to Indonesia of military, security and police
equipment, weaponry, personnel or training which could be used
by the army, police or militias to commit human rights
violations. The moratorium should include all financial and
logistical support for such transfers, including spare parts
and maintenance, licensed production, brokering and
government-to-government agreements.


The Right Honourable Prime Minister Chretien
Office of the Prime Minister
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A2
Fax:      (613) 941-6900
Email:    pm@pm.gc.ca 

The Honourable Lloyd Axworthy
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Centre Block, Room 418N
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
Fax:      (613) 947-4442
Email:    Axworthy.L@parl.gc.ca



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