Call for action
"The East Timorese people right now are experiencing a genocidal nightmare that is being visited on them by the Indonesian military and their militias", Andrew Alcock, of the Campaign for an Independent East Timor (South Australia), said in a letter to President Clinton calling for international action. "Despite the presence of an international police force, His Excellency, Mr Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General has once again been forced to delay voter registration for the August referendum." There are 20,000 Indonesian soldiers and several thousands of their militias still operating a terror campaign in East Timor to undermine the UN referendum on self-determination. The UN force is relatively small, and its personnel have also been attacked. "The message to the East Timorese is clear: vote for integration or be shot, hacked, bludgeoned or starved to death. How many more lives will be wiped out before there is effective intervention to change the situation?" The Indonesian military cannot play a peace-keeping role when they are the ones who have murdered, tortured and committed genocide against the East Timorese people for the last 24 years, since Indonesia invaded the country. The UN's role needs to be greatly increased so that they have control, not Indonesia, and this presence needs to remain in place after the vote and, if the people vote for independence, oversee the full withdrawal of Indonesian troops. Mr Alcock called on President Clinton and other world leaders "to assist the UN to place an adequate peace making mission in East Timor that has the capacity to control the Indonesian military and its militias". He also called for the cessation of all military co-operation with Indonesia by member nations of the UN and loans by the IMF, World Bank and governments to Indonesia and other effective sanctions. "We urge you to take these actions to prevent the continuing slaughter of the East Timorese and to ensure that they can have a genuinely free and democratic act of self-determination." East Timorese in exile will also have difficulty in participating in the referendum. For example, the East Timorese in Adelaide and Brisbane have reportedly been told they will have to travel interstate to vote. The East Timorese in Ireland will have to go to Portugal to cast their vote. Mr Alcock called for East Timorese living overseas to be allowed to cast a postal vote that could be handled by each country's own electoral office and overseen by the UN. In Australia, solidarity groups continue to lobby the Government, and Foreign Affairs Minister Downer recently met with CIET for the first time. Protest the illegal integration of East Timor — Saturday 17th July, rally at Gawler Place, Adelaide (south side of Rundle Mall) 11 am. Organised by CIET and other community groups.