issue 253 - March 1994
What is to be done?
The action you can take depends to some extent on the specifics of your
government’s relations with Indonesia, but the main themes are:
CALL ON GOVERNMENTS TO:
Support, at the UN General Assembly, East Timor’s right to self-determination.
Support the peace plan of the East Timorese resistance and urge that representatives of the East Timorese people, including the resistance and church, be included in talks on East Timor between Portugal and Indonesia being sponsored by the UN
Condemn Indonesia’s human-rights violations at the UN Human Rights Commission and its Sub-Commission for the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. The 1994 Session of the Human Rights Commission, its 50th, takes place between 31 January and 11 March 1994. The Sub-Commission will start in late July and continue throughout August.
Press for immediate implementation of the UN Human Rights Commission’s Resolution on East Timor adopted on 11 March 1993. In particular, governments should be urged to press the Indonesian Government ‘to invite the Special Rapporteur on Torture, the Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances to visit East Timor and to facilitate the discharge of their mandates’. [Paragraph 9 of the Resolution.]
Ban the sale of all military hardware to Indonesia because of its illegal occupation of East Timor and the gross abuse of human rights throughout the Indonesian archipelago.
Lobby your elected representatives to:
Press governments on these demands and to make preparations for a group of parliamentarians to visit East Timor. A request to visit East Timor should be addressed to the Indonesian Embassy in your country, citing the Statement issued by the UN Secretary-General after the UN-sponsored talks between the Foreign Ministers of Indonesia and Portugal in New York on 17 September 1993 which states that ‘both ministers... reaffirmed the need for further facilitating access to East Timor, inter alia by the United Nations and humanitarian and human rights organizations’.
Call for the immediate and unconditional release of
Xanana Gusmao, leader of the East Timorese resistance, who is serving a 20-year sentence in Cipinang Prison, Jakarta: and for the immediate and unconditional release of all East Timorese political prisoners being held in Dili and in various parts of Indonesia. Messages of solidarity can be sent to Xanana Gusmao, Fernando Araujo (serving a nine-year sentence) and Joao Freitas da Camara (serving a 10-year sentence) at the following address: Lembaga Pemasyarakatan Cipinang, Jln Raya Bekasi Timur, Jatinegara, Jakarta Timur, Indonesia.
Anniversaries to remember for special campaigns:
November 12: Santa Cruz massacre in 1991, when nearly 200 peaceful demonstrators were killed
November 20: Xanana Gusmao’s arrest in 1992
November 28: East Timor’s declaration of Independence in 1975
December 7: Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor in 1975
David against Goliath
In December 1993, to mark the eighteenth anniversary of the Indonesian invasion of East Timor, Hugh Dowson (right in photograph) undertook a 100-hour hunger strike outside the Filton, Bristol factory of Rolls Royce PLC. Here the Adour engines for the Hawk aircraft are made. He was joined for 24 hours by Anthony Waterhouse (left in photograph). ‘I see myself as David against Goliath,’ says Dowson. ‘Each time there’s a press article or a radio interview it gives me an extra stone to put into my little slingshot so that I can make an impression on Goliath’s rear end.’
The following are some of the groups to which you can write. If your country is not listed, write to the NI. We may have further information not included here for lack of space.
See website www.freetimor.com
Aotearoa / New Zealand
East Timor Support Group,
CIET (Campaign for Independent East Timor),
Hobart East Timor Committee,
AFET (Australian Federation for East Timor),
Agir pour Timor,
TAPOL, Indonesia Human Rights Campaign,
Catholic Institute for International Relations,
Amnesty International reports: In meetings and correspondence with representatives of the Indonesian Government, Amnesty International reiterated its request to visit Indonesia and East Timor. The Government responded by asserting that it observed the rule of law and said Amnesty International should not interfere in Indonesia’s domestic affairs. The following are just three cases which illustrate the situation.
Francisco Miranda Branco
A 41-year-old civil servant in Dili, East Timor, he was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment. He had been convicted under Indonesia’s sweeping Anti-Subversion Law. At the trial state prosecutors argued that subversion charges were warranted because the defendant had sought ‘to give a wrong picture of the facts in East Timor to prove that the Indonesian Government did not respect human rights in the province’. Francisco Miranda Branco denied charges of subversion and stated before the court: ‘I uphold the principles of non-violence and peace, which is why, after the outbreak of civil war in East Timor... I decided that... I would no longer take sides with any party... which is my position up to the present day.’ He is one of eight people imprisoned for organizing or participating in the peaceful procession to the Santa Cruz cemetery.
They were also accused of membership of the ‘Executive Committee’, which had been created to deliver a petition to Portuguese parliamentarians scheduled to visit East Timor in October 1991. The petition reportedly appealed for a dialogue to be established between the Indonesian and Portuguese Governments and representatives of the East Timorese people. The terms of reference for the visit, agreed under the auspices of the United Nations, specified that all those wishing to make contact with the parliamentarians should be free to do so.
One of the people massacred at the Santa Cruz cemetery. He was the sole surviving member of his family; his parents and brothers had all been killed by the Indonesian army. He was 28 when he died. Born in Ossu, a town in the region of Viqueque, he studied the Indonesian language at school and then trained as a teacher, qualifying in 1990. A reporter who witnessed the Santa Cruz massacre met him some two months earlier, and remembers him as ‘above all an extremely gentle man’. Domingos helped the reporter to make contacts with priests and activists in the non-violent resistance, of which he was a member.
The two men lost contact with each other for several weeks when Domingos went into hiding after hearing that the army was looking for him. They met again on the morning of the massacre while the procession was assembling. As people unfurled their pro-independence banners and the procession began, Domingos said to the reporter: ‘You must report everything’. The reporter last saw Domingos Segurado as the procession entered the Santa Cruz cemetery. Fifteen minutes later Indonesian soldiers opened fire on the marchers. Write to the President of Indonesia. Say that you have read about the political killing of Domingos Segurado. Urge that it be fully and impartially investigated and that those responsible be brought to justice.
Gaspar Luis Xavier Carlos
A bank employee living in Kupang, West Timor, he was arrested on 3 September 1992. He subsequently ‘disappeared’ and his family fear he has been killed. He was one of dozens of East Timorese political activists arrested in August and September 1992. These arrests followed the detention on 19 August of another political activist, Agostinho Pereira, who may have been tortured to reveal names. Agostinho Pereira was one of 10 activists who fled East Timor in the first half of 1992 to escape military harassment following the Dili massacre of November 1991.
After leaving East Timor, some of the 10 are understood to have gone into hiding in Kupang, West Timor, where they may have stayed with Gaspar Luis Xavier Carlos. Seven of them sought protection in the Finnish and Swedish embassies in Jakarta in June 1993. The military raided Gaspar Luis Xavier Carlos’ house just hours after Agostinho Pereira was taken into custody, but he managed to evade arrest. Two weeks later, however, he was picked up and apparently held incommunicado in Colmera Prison, Dili.
Please send letters highlighting these cases to:
President Suharto, Instana Negara, Jakarta, Indonesia.
Also worth reading on
A traveller’s dictionary in Tetun-English and English-Tetun from the Land of the Sleeping Crocodile: East Timor, by Cliff Morris, Baba Dook Books, Melbourne, 1992.
Death in Dili, by Andrew McMillan, Hodder and Stoughton, Sydney, 1992.
FUNU: The unfinished saga of East Timor, by Jose Ramos-Horta, The Red Sea Press, Trenton, New Jersey, 1987.
Telling – East Timor: personal stories 1942-1992, by Michele Turner, NSW University Press, Sydney, 1992.
The Indonesian occupation of East Timor 1974-1989: a chronology, by John Taylor, Catholic Institute for International Relations, London, 1990.
Timor, a people betrayed, by James Dunn, The Jacaranda Press, Queensland, 1983.
TAPOL Bulletin, (bi-monthly) from TAPOL, 111 Northwood Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey CR7 8HW, UK.
Timor Link, c/o CIIR, Unit 3, Canonbury Yard, 190A New North Road, London N1 7BJ.
Indonesia’s forgotten war: the hidden history of East Timor, by John Taylor, Zed Books, London and Pluto Press, Sydney, 1991.