The Guardian July 14, 1999


East Timor:
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.

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