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Carleton - support the East Timor Solidarity Fund - Nov. 23/24
OPIRG-Carleton and the East Timor Alert Network
is calling on the Carleton community to support the
East Timor Solidarity Fund
- see below for details about the fund -
Volunteers will be accepting donations at a table in the Tory Link
(between Tory Building and Unicentre)
November 23/24, 1999
10 am - 4 pm
Please make cheques payable to:
East Timor Solidarity Fund
Note, ETAN is an advocacy group and as such is unable to issue receipts for
For more information call 520-2757
East Timor Solidarity Fund
A fund-raising appeal from the East Timor Alert Network (ETAN)
Please consider contributing to the "East Timor Solidarity Fund" to help
East Timorese social justice organizations rebuild. Your contribution will
support their efforts to once again provide desperately needed services to
East Timor's social justice groups
After Indonesian president Suharto was forced to step down in May, 1998, a
period of relative openness followed in Indonesia and in East Timor. For
the first time since Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975, East Timorese
women's, students' and human rights groups were able to come out from
underground, open offices and organize.
In August 1999, ETAN was part of a Canadian Labour Congress delegation to
East Timor, including Canadian unions and women's, students', and human
rights groups, and NDP MP Svend Robinson. One of the delegation's goals was
to learn about and make links with these organizations. We were deeply
impressed by the work East Timorese non-governmental organizations were
doing under very difficult conditions. They were determined that
organizations founded and run by the East Timorese themselves play a major
role in creating short and long term solutions for their people.
Women's groups worked to assist survivors of rape by the Indonesian
military, and started public discussion about domestic violence and women's
roles in society. Student groups organized public education forums and
began to address the need for genuine education in East Timor, rather than
education by and for the Indonesian military regime. Human rights groups
risked their own lives to document atrocities by the Indonesian military
and their militia. Workers began to plan how they would form East Timor's
first ever trade unions. East Timorese-run health clinics worked to meet
the needs of a people terrified of military-run hospitals. Priests and nuns
throughout East Timor worked to protect people from Indonesian state terror.
Once the United Nations supervised vote was announced, these organizations
worked hard to inform the international community about the military and
militia's ongoing intimidation and violence. Assured by the United Nations'
presence, and by the international community's interest, these groups
encouraged the East Timorese to register and vote, despite a terrifying
campaign of intimidation waged by the Indonesian military and their
militia. Over 98 per cent of the East Timorese people voted on August 30,
and on September 4, the results were announced -- over 78 per cent had
voted for independence.
Within hours of the announcement of the vote results, the Indonesian
military and militia began their carefully orchestrated plan to exact
revenge on the East Timorese. East Timorese non-governmental organizations,
their leaders and their offices were high on the list of targets. Their
offices destroyed, and some of their leaders injured, missing or killed,
these organizations need our support to rebuild, so they are able to play a
major role in the work to help their people heal and rebuild.
Where will your contribution go?
Each time contributions to this fund reach Cdn $1000, ETAN will send the
money to the East Timor Relief Association (ETRA). Although ETRA's East
Timor office was also just destroyed, it still has an office in Sydney,
Australia, from which it can send contributions where they are needed most.
East Timor Relief Association
The East Timor Relief Association (ETRA) is an East Timorese-run
non-governmental organization which was formed in January, 1992. ETRA is
based in Sydney, Australia, but set up an office inside East Timor in 1999.
ETRA has worked hard to provide and promote humanitarian assistance to
people and organizations in East Timor; has assisted families of East
Timorese political prisoners; has assisted the East Timorese living in
exile in Australia; and has conducted advocacy and public education work in
Since the United Nations-sponsored vote was announced for East Timor, ETRA
has concentrated on strengthening civil society in East Timor. ETRA works
to support the growth of East Timorese trade unions, women's, students',
human rights, environmental, and other NGOs. In August, 1999, ETRA
organized the itinerary and logistics for the CLC-led delegation to East
Timor. ETAN participated in this delegation, and through ETRA, was able to
meet with and learn about the work of many of the East Timorese NGOs
operating inside East Timor.
ETAN has asked ETRA to direct funds raised through our "East Timor
Solidarity Fund" to on-the-ground work inside East Timor, especially to the
organizations whose offices and resources have been destroyed by the
military and its militias in recent attacks. These include the
organizations described here. ETRA's web page says more about their work,
Yayasan HAK (Legal Aid, Human Rights and Justice Foundation)
Yayasan HAK worked underground from 1976 until March 1997, when it was
legalized as a non-profit organization operating in East Timor. It is a non
partisan, independent non-governmental organization which assists victims
of Indonesian military and militia violence in East Timor.
Yayasan HAK documents human rights abuses, and also does advocacy and
education work around human rights issues. With trained human rights
lawyers on staff, Yayasan HAK has also worked to explore a legal framework
for protecting human rights in an independent East Timor.
Yayasan HAK's staff and volunteers faced frequent attacks by the Indonesian
military and their militia throughout the early months of 1999, but this
did not slow their resolve to gather evidence of the atrocities being
committed by these forces. Yayasan HAK will have an invaluable role to play
in a future war crimes tribunal for East Timor.
FOKUPERS -- East Timorese Women's Communication Forum
FOKUPERS is a non-partisan women's organization founded in July 1997. East
Timorese women took advantage of the era of “reformasi”, following the fall
of Suharto, to organize and speak out against violence against women.
FOKUPERS, along with other women's organizations, organized the first-ever
women's conference in East Timor on November 9 and 10, 1998, and then held
a seminar and demonstration in Dili on November 25, 1998, on the
international day against violence against women.
FOKUPERS stands for Forum Komunikasi Untuk Perempuan Loro Sae, which
literally translated means Communication Forum for Women from the East.
FOKUPERS has five staff and many volunteers, and a director, named Maria
Domingas Alves, or “Micato.” FOKUPERS' focus is on violence against women.
They publish materials, conduct public education, and have community-based
local groups in different areas of the country. FOKUPERS also works in
close cooperation with the women's movement of Indonesia.
In the long term FOKUPERS' goal is to set up a trauma centre for East
Timorese women who need assistance with rehabilitation. Before its offices
were destroyed by the Indonesian military and militia in September, 1999,
FOKUPERS was moving away from needing outside help by raising its own
funding through sales of books and crafts made by East Timorese women.
Gertak Gertak is a women's organization which works closely with the
National Council of Timorese Resistance, and also focuses on stopping
violence against women. Gertak hopes to open a crisis centre for women who
have been raped and who have children fathered by the Indonesian military.
Dewan Solidaritas (East Timor Student Solidarity Council)
The East Timor Student Solidarity Council is a non-partisan, independent
student council which formed in June 1998, after the forced resignation of
former Indonesian President Suharto. They immediately set to work
organizing free speech dialogues in different towns and villages in East
Timor. These were incredibly important forums, where ordinary people
courageously voiced their views in public about the future of their
country. These forums were not easy to organize -- the students had to
negotiate with the Indonesian military for access to each village, and were
denied access to many parts of the territory.
When Indonesian military-backed militia began its intimidation campaign in
early 1999, the students were no longer able to conduct these forums, so
they changed their focus to a civic education program. Students who had
been in different parts of Indonesia at universities were called back to
East Timor to go out to their villages and carry out public education
workshops on human rights, democracy and comparative international studies.
In the lead up to the vote, Dewan Solidaritas sent students out to the
villages to conduct basic voter education, to help ensure that people knew
where, when and how to register and vote. Many of these brave students were
attacked by the military and their militias and some were killed.
Dewan Solidaritas also has a women's section, called Grupo Feto Fonsae
Timor Lorosae (GFFTL). The young women in this group are ensuring that
women have a chance to develop themselves and to participate more in
decision making and policy-making in East Timor's future civil society
organizations and in government.
Sister Lourdes Maun Alin Iah Kristu
Sister Maria Lourdes Martin Cruz has worked for years in the most dangerous
and difficult regions of East Timor, protecting women and children from
rape and torture by the Indonesian military. She works as an intermediary
between the East Timorese and the oppressive Indonesian military. She
teaches the women and children of East Timor that they have rights and
deserve to be treated with dignity.
When the Indonesian military and their militia drove tens of thousands from
their homes between March and May, 1999, Sister Lourdes, and the young
women she has trained, worked tirelessly to feed, clothe and shelter
thousands of these people in refugee camps. Sister Lourdes made a point of
helping the people in areas the United Nations deemed too dangerous to work
In 1989 she founded a non-denominational institute called Maun Alin Iah
Kristu (Sisters and Brothers in Christ). The institute serves the East
Timorese community, both with urgently needed humanitarian assistance, and
with longer term projects to fight poverty and revive and preserve East
Timorese culture which has been eroded by the Indonesian occupation.
Although Sister Lourdes is Catholic (as is most of the East Timorese
population), the Institute is receives no official funding from the
Catholic Church. Donations received from people who hear about her work are
used to expand her mission, either by increasing the number of people she
cares for, or by providing additional services.
Sister Lourdes took her perpetual vows on February 5, 1998. At the time,
being recognized as a nun gave her better access to the East Timorese
people being detained. “Priests and nuns are bullet-proof” explained one
human rights worker in East Timor. Everything changed, however, during the
horrific massacres in September, 1999, when refugees sheltering in
churches, and the nuns and priests protecting them, were targeted by the
military and their militia. Sister Lourdes barely escaped with her life as
the military and militias killed two of the younger women she worked with.
East Timorese health clinics
Since Indonesia invaded in 1975 health services have been negligible -- the
occupying Indonesian authorities did not consider health care a priority.
Indonesian-run hospitals have been the site of torture, forced abortions,
and disappearances, and were avoided by the population. Lack of access to
adequate healthcare has exacerbated health problems brought on by military
occupation and oppression -- malnutrition, tuberculosis, one of the highest
infant mortality rates in the world and severe trauma caused by military
oppression are just a few of the problems facing the population.
The Catholic church, nuns and volunteers have set up public clinics, run by
and for the East Timorese, to try to provide some relief. These clinics are
trusted by the population, but are barely funded, and urgently need
resources to cope with the needs of their people.
The Motael Clinic is situated on the grounds of Bishop Belo's church. It is
run by the Catholic church in East Timor, and provides free healthcare
services. With limited funding it has very little equipment, and only six
emergency beds. Sister Filomena, one of the nuns who works in the clinic,
said they need funding to pay doctors, and to provide more beds, to
purchase equipment, supplies and medicine.
The Becora Clinic is in one of the poorer areas of Dili, East Timor's
capital. Maria Dias, a young Timorese woman who has worked in different
areas of East Timor with Sister Lourdes, set up the clinic in July 1999.
Its staff are volunteers. The Becora Clinic was set up to compliment the
work at the Motael Clinic, and focuses on providing treatment to the most
disadvantaged in East Timor. The clinic has been given its own rice field
-- Maria hopes to purchase a tractor for working the rice field for food
for clinic patients.
How to contribute
Please consider organizing a fund-raiser in your community to help
contribute to this fund. Or, talk to co-workers about a group contribution.
If you'd like to order more of these pamphlets or other materials for an
event in your community, please contact us at ETAN's national office (see
our address and contact information on back of this pamphlet).
More ways you can help East Timor
Campaign for a military embargo
ETAN is campaigning for the Canadian government to impose a formal military
embargo on Indonesia -- one that sends a clear message to the Indonesian
military; cancels outstanding military export permits; stops shipments of
military goods already sold; and requires public notice before being
lifted. We're also urging the Minister to work with other governments and
the United Nations for an international military embargo. We're looking for
organizations to endorse this campaign. To find out more about Canadian
military ties with Indonesia and this campaign, please see our web site at
www.etan.ca or contact us by phone or email if you'd like a campaign kit
sent to you.
War crimes investigation
The United Nations has set up an International Commission of Inquiry into
war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against the people of East
Timor. We are urging Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy to generously
commit urgently needed resources to the investigation. We are also urging
him to lobby internationally for a complete investigation and to ensure
that in the end, all those responsible for the atrocities committed,
including high-ranking Indonesian officials, are brought to justice.
Calls for other sanctions
ETAN is calling for the suspension of aid which goes directly to the
Indonesian government -- instead, we call for the Canadian government to
direct aid to Indonesia through credible non-governmental organizations
which will ensure it reaches those who need it most. We're also calling on
the Canadian government to cancel Export Development Corporation (EDC)
loans to Indonesia, and to explicitly link trade with human rights. New
trade deals with Indonesia should be conditional on an end to the abuses
being carried out against the East Timorese people and on an end to the
abuses conducted against peoples throughout Indonesia as well.
Stay informed about East Timor
Send us your mailing address if you'd like our quarterly newsletter. For
urgent action ideas and updates on East Timor, Indonesia, and Canadian
solidarity, subscribe to ETAN's once-a-week email newsletter by sending a
message to email@example.com with the words "subscribe etan-news" in the
body of the message.
____________________________________________ East Timor Alert Network
(ETAN) - Canada, National Office Post Box 4115, Station E, Ottawa, Ontario
K1S 5B1 Phone: (613) 230-4070, Fax: (613) 230-8854 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web:
www.etan.ca For updates on East Timor, Indonesia, and Canadian solidarity,
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