Violence continued in East Timor despite the United Nations-brokered agreement between Portugal and Indonesia on 5 May, speakers this afternoon told the Special Committee on the Situation with Regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.
A representative of the Free East Timor Japan Coalition said there had been a dramatic increase in violence and murder perpetrated by paramilitary groups in East Timor. Many East Timorese branded as "pro-independence" had been forced to flee their homes. Also, human-rights organizations had been threatened and blocked from carrying out their normal activities by the paramilitary groups. Since the 5 May agreement, the situation had become worse, not better.
It was no secret that there had been repeated and grave violations of the 5 May agreements, said a representative of the Canadian Action for Indonesia and East Timor. She said one blatant violation of the agreement had been the appointment of Eurico Guterres as the head of the civil defence corp of the Dili adminstration. Mr. Guterres was well known as the head of the Aitarak militia and many eyewitness had seen him, on 17 April, on the steps of the Governor's house in Dili, urging Aitarak members to kill pro-independence supporters -- as indeed they had. At least 12 people, and perhaps more than 40, had been killed by militia members that day. Mr. Guterres should be placed under arrest immediately.
A member of the Portuguese Communist Party Bench in Parliament said militias had unleashed a campaign of terror, burning homes and murdering innocent people. Their aim was to instill fear and prevent people from freely exercising their vote. He and other speakers called for the release of Xanana Gusmao, leader of the National Council of Timorese Resistance, who was under house arrest in Jakarta. Many said he had played a role in the international
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negotiations to end the lengthy conflict, and freeing him would contribute decisively to creating a safe and peaceful atmosphere for the ballot.
The representative of Indonesia said his country's opinion on the question of East Timor was well documented and there was no need for elaboration here. The consideration of this question in the Committee would add nothing to the substance of the issue. A solution to the question of East Timor could only be achieved within the framework of the 5 May agreements. He requested that his objection be recorded in the official record of the Committee.
Petitions were also made on East Timor by representatives of the following non-governmental organizations and parliamentary organizations: Kyoto East Timor Association; Hobart East Timor Committee; Asia-Pacific Coalition for East Timor; East Timor Action Network/United States; International Platform of Jurists for East Timor; Providence Journal Editorial Board; Parliamentarians for East Timor; Socialist Party of Portugal; Solidarity Forum for the People of East Timor; Concelho National d Resistance Timorese; International League for Human Rights; Fundacao das Universidades Portuguesas.
The following persons also made petitions in their personal capacity: Adriano Do Nascimento; Roberto Soares Cabral; David Hutagalung; and Ahmad D. Padang.
Also this afternoon, the Committee took up the question of Western Sahara. A statement was made on the topic by a representative of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro (POLISARIO). He said the Western Sahara peace plan had been altered by Morocco's attempt to turn the referendum into a plebiscite to legitimize its occupation. The last 20 years had allowed Morocco to strengthen its occupation, drastically alter the demographic composition of the Territory and step up its repression of the people who had been there before the occupation. Real gains had been made in the Houston Agreements, which POLISARIO and Morocco had negotiated under the auspices of James A. Baker III, the Secretary-General's Representative for Western Sahara. However, there was no doubt that the decolonization of Western Sahara had yet to be carried out.
The Committee decided to transmit all the relevant documents on the issue to the General Assembly for consideration at its fifty-fourth session.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. Wednesday, 23 June, to continue its consideration of the question of East Timor.
Committee Work Programme
When the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples meets this afternoon, it is expected to adopt its provisional agenda, take up the questions of Western Sahara and East Timor, and consider requests for hearing. It will have before it working papers prepared by the Secretariat on Western Sahara (document A/AC.109/1999/11) and East Timor (document A/AC.109/199/10). It will also hear petitioners from both Territories.
Question of Western Sahara
The working paper on Western Sahara details general conditions and developments in the Territory as outlined by the Secretary-General in a series of reports to the Security Council. On 18 May 1998, the Secretary-General reported to the Council that the pace of the process for identifying participants in a proposed referendum on the Territory's political future had been much slower than expected. Morocco refused to participate in the identification of 603 individuals belonging to tribal groupings H41, H61 and J51/52, listed in the 1974 census and living in the Tindouf area and Mauritania, until the overall issue of eligibility of some 65,000 individuals belonging to those groupings had been resolved. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro (Frente POLISARIO) had asked the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) to include the 603 individuals in the May identification programme on the grounds that they were entitled to be convoked for identification under the Houston agreements between the parties.
In his report of 11 September 1998, the paper says, the Secretary-General informed the Security Council that 147,000 referendum applicants from tribes other than the H41, H61 and J51/52 tribal groupings had been interviewed by the Identification Commission, including 60,112 during the first phase of the process from August 1994 to December 1995, and 87,238 since its resumption on 3 December 1997. During September 1998, the Identification Commission would continue to review its files with a view to finalizing the provisional voters list.
According to the working paper, the Secretary-General's report of 26 October 1998 indicated that he had decided to present his own arbitration in order to move ahead on the issue of tribal groupings H41, H61 and J51/52. In keeping with the provisions of the Settlement Plan, and in order to avoid taking an arbitrary decision which might lead to the exclusion of persons eligible to vote, he saw no alternative than to ask the Identification Commission to consider requests from any applicants from the tribal groupings in question who wished to present themselves individually, in order to verify whether they had the right to vote. In keeping with the wishes of both parties not to postpone the referendum too long, the Secretary-General also indicated
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that it seemed advisable to launch the appeals process simultaneously with the identification of the applicants belonging to those groupings.
The paper says that the Secretary-General reported his submission of various texts to the Moroccan Government, the Frente POLISARIO and the Governments of Algeria and Mauritania, including the outstanding draft status- of-forces agreements and the protocols on the identification of applicants from tribal groupings H41, H61 and J51/52, the appeals process, a memorandum on the activities of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and an outline on the next stage of the Settlement Plan. However, a memorandum contained in a 20 November 1998 letter from the Moroccan Foreign Minister questioned the simultaneous initiation of identification procedures of the remaining H41, H61 and J51/52 applicants and the appeals process for applicants already identified. It requested clarifications on the timing of the next two steps in the implementation of the Settlement Plan and proposed that the UNHCR mission in Western Sahara be the subject of an agreement to be negotiated between Morocco and the agency.
In his report of 28 January 1999, the working paper says, the Secretary- General noted that, in light of extensive clarifications by MINURSO, the Moroccan Government indicated its intention to propose specific amendments to the protocols which would enable it to accept the package of measures. On 22 March, the Permanent Representative of Morocco communicated that his Government accepted in principle the proposed package on the understanding that certain amendments would be incorporated in the identification and appeals protocols and that MINURSO would provide operational directives, together with a revised timetable, to the parties. The Secretary-General's report of 22 March 1999 indicated that the identification and appeals protocols would be revised in order to reflect necessary amendments, including revised dates. Operational directives were also being prepared by the Identification Commission to ensure the transparency and common understanding of its work and of the identification and appeals procedures.
Citing the Secretary-General's report of 27 April 1999, the paper says that the revised calendar for the referendum process incorporated MINURSO's estimates for the completion of the identification and appeals process in November 1999 and February 2000, and the beginning of the transition period in February 2000, leading to the referendum campaign in June-July 2000 and the referendum itself at the end of July. He cautioned, however, that the timely implementation of that calendar was predicated upon many critical assumptions.
The working paper also outlines consideration of the Western Sahara question by the Security Council. Adopting several resolutions on the issue, the latest being resolution 1238 (1999) of 14 May, the Council decided to extend MINURSO's mandate until 14 September 1999 in order to resume the identification process, start the appeals process and conclude all outstanding agreements needed to implement the Settlement Plan.
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Also contained in the working paper is a summary of the Fourth Committee's (Special Political and Decolonization) consideration of the Western Sahara issue during the General Assembly's fifty-third session. On 3 December 1998, on the recommendation of the Fourth Committee, the General Assembly adopted, without a vote, resolution 53/64 entitled "Question of Western Sahara".
Question of East Timor
Detailing recent development in the Territory, the working paper on East Timor observes that Indonesia continued to maintain its military presence in East Timor during the period under review. Indonesian military authorities stated that 11,000 troops remained in the Territory in mid-August, following a withdrawal of 1,000 troops in late July. Reports by foreign journalists and Western embassies around the same time, however, estimated that there were nearly 18,000 Indonesian troops in the Territory.
In addition, the paper continues, at least 20 pro-Indonesian militias operate in the eastern half of the Territory, representing approximately 7,000 men. According to human rights sources, the militias are armed with guns and grenades supplied by the Indonesian military. The Indonesian military has denied arming civil militias, but said it has provided guns to official paramilitary units.
The paper says that a change in leadership in Indonesia in May 1998 was followed by renewed calls for an early solution to the East Timor question. On 11 June 1998, the New Indonesian President, B.J. Habibie, suggested that he was ready to offer East Timor "special status" and signed a decree to release 15 East Timorese political prisoners. Jose Ramos-Horta, a leader of the East Timorese opposition, rejected that offer, claiming that it would require the United Nations to recognize the annexation of the Territory.
Several thousand East Timorese, the paper continues, demonstrated against the proposal and also demanded the liberation of East Timorese resistance leader "Xanana" Gusmao, who was not among the 15 prisoners scheduled to be released. On 20 June 1998, Mr. Gusmao rejected a proposal by President Habibie under which: he would be released: troop presence in East Timor reduced; and the Territory granted special status, in return for international recognition of Indonesian sovereignty over East Timor. Instead, Mr. Gusmao, imprisoned since 1992, reiterated his demands for a referendum on independence.
The paper also states that, in June 1998, a proposal by Indonesia offering East Timor special status with wide autonomy as part of a lasting and internationally acceptable solution to the question was put forward to the Secretary-General and Portugal. That proposed autonomy arrangement would be extensive, but would not include foreign affairs, finance, defence and security. On December, about 1,000 protestors demonstrated outside the
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legislature in Dili to demand independence. During that month, the Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, informed Mr. Habibie that the Government of Australia was in favour of a self-determination referendum for the Territory. Australia is one of the few countries that has recognized Indonesian sovereignty over East Timor and has also undertaken military and economic cooperation with Indonesia.
The paper states that, on 27 January of this year, several high-level members of the Indonesian Government announced that their country would be willing to rescind its annexation of East Timor and grant it independence if its offer of autonomy was rejected. On the same day, the Secretary-General welcomed a report that Mr. Gusmao would be transferred from jail to house detention. According to a press release provided by the Indonesian Government, on 28 January, 33 political prisoners were given amnesty and 19 had their sentences abolished by presidential decrees. The same document indicated that 20 East Timorese political prisoners remained in custody.
According to press reports, the paper states, thousands of Indonesians reacted to the sudden possibility of independence by leaving East Timor. In February, Mr. Gusmao was released from prison and transferred to a bungalow in Jakarta where he remained in custody, but was allowed to receive friends and visitors. On 11 March, Portugal and Indonesia agreed to a United Nations- supervised ballot to determine whether East Timorese wanted independence or autonomy. The ballot would include East Timorese living in East Timor and abroad.
The paper goes on to say that, according to press reports, on 5 April, Mr. Gusmao ordered his supporters to take up arms, effectively ending a four- month ceasefire in the 23-year-long insurrection against Indonesian rule. The order was reported to be a reaction to the alleged killing of 17 civilians by Indonesian troops on the same day. The next day, a massacre was reported to have occurred at a church in Liquica, a town 18 miles west of Dili.
The paper states that Nobel Peace Laureate Carlos Ximenes Belo said he believed at least 25 people had been killed in the massacre while seeking sanctuary from pro-Indonesian militias. Mr. Gusmao said that 49 had been killed and an Indonesian army spokesman put the figure of dead separatists at five. A press release by the Permanent Mission of Indonesia to the United Nations also stated that five people had been killed.
According to the paper, on 17 April, a pro-Indonesian militia reportedly killed at least 13 people in Dili in a series of attacks. The National Human Rights Commissioner, Marzuki Darusman, said independent inquiries put the death toll at 20. The police and military claimed that 13 were killed and five seriously wounded. Militias also attacked the home of pro-independence leader Manuel Carrascalao, who had provided refuge to more than 100 villagers fleeing earlier acts of violence in the countryside.
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The paper states that, in press releases provided by the Indonesian Government, a significant escalation of violence by pro-independence elements occurred following the Government's 27 January decision to offer autonomy or independence. According to press releases which documented some of these incidents, their aim was to force the East Timorese to reject autonomy and opt for independence.
The paper goes to say that a renewed ceasefire was signed in Dili on 21 April, with a copy being signed by Mr. Gusmao in Jakarta. The agreement called on all parties to cease acts of violence, to respect the peacemaking efforts of the United Nations and the local Catholic Church, and to set up a peace and stability commission. It did not, however, commit the militias to handing over their weapons. The Indonesian military, accused of arming the militias, have pledged to ensure the ceasefire.
The paper says that, on 27 April, President Habibie met with the Australian Prime Minister, Mr. Howard and, following that meeting, said that he had agreed to the sending of a United Nations civilian force to East Timor to supervise a vote on independence or autonomy on 8 August. He also said he had approved the draft of an agreement on the voting mechanism for East Timorese, which would be taken to the United Nations in New York for signature on 5 May. Mr. Habibie further agreed that Australia should open a consulate in the East Timorese capital of Dili as soon as possible and that international organizations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), should have an expanded presence there.
The paper states that, on 5 May, Indonesia and Portugal signed an accord at United Nations Headquarters in New York to enable the people of East Timor to decide on a status of wide-ranging autonomy under Indonesian rule. Specifically, the question to be put to the voters is, "Do you accept the proposed special autonomy for East Timor within the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia?" or "Do you reject the proposed special autonomy for East Timor within the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia?"
On 11 May, the paper goes on to say, violence broke out again in Dili leaving at least four dead. On 24 May, according to press reports, the Foreign Minister of Indonesia, Ali Alatas, said that the Indonesian Government would reduce the number of troops in East Timor and replace them with police prior to the ballot.
The paper then details the human rights situation in the country. According to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which visited Jakarta and East Timor in February, "while the measures which have been taken are welcome, there are still questions about the Habibie Government's commitment to human rights reform. The Government has not fulfilled several of its own commitments or begun to address many of the legal and institutional changes needed to protect human rights. As a result, the
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pattern of human rights violations -- the arrest of individuals engaging in legitimate peaceful activities, torture, ill-treatment, 'disappearances' and unlawful killings -- remains largely unchanged".
Addressing the effects of the current situation in the Territory on economic, social and educational conditions, the paper also details developments in areas such as economic growth, employment, agriculture, water, communications and transport, education and training, health care, religion, housing, tourism, transmigration and oil.
Looking at considerations by the United Nations, the paper outlines the history of the United nations involvement in the question of East Timor, citing the various Security Council resolutions in support of self-determination, General Assembly request for action by the Secretary-General, the tripartite talks involving the Secretary-General, Indonesia and Portugal, as well as consultations with East Timorese representatives, and the efforts by the Secretary-General to secure the release of Mr. Gusmao.
The paper noted that, on 7 May, the Security Council adopted resolution 1236 (1999) on the situation in East Timor, welcoming the agreement between Indonesia and Portugal on 5 May and the agreement between the United Nations and the Governments of Indonesia and Portugal regarding security arrangements and the modalities for the popular consultation of the East Timorese through a direct ballot. The Council also stressed the responsibility of the Indonesian Government: to maintain peace and security in East Timor; to ensure that the consultation was carried out in a fair and peaceful way and in an atmosphere free of intimidation, violence or interference from any side; and to ensure the safety and security of the United Nations and other international staff and observers in East Timor.
The Council further requested the Secretary-General to inform it prior to the start of voter registration whether, on the basis of an objective evaluation by the United Nations mission, the necessary security situation existed for the peaceful implementation of the consultation process.
The paper also outlines considerations by regional organizations, such as the European Union, which called on the Indonesian Government to ensure that its armed forces met their obligation to keep peace in the Territory. It also urged the United Nations to play a peacekeeping role in East Timor.
According to the working paper on East Timor, Indonesian law states that East Timor is a province of a "first-level region" of Indonesia, with a government consisting of a "Regional Secretariat" and a "regional House of Representatives". East Timor is represented in the National House of Representatives and in the People's Consultative Assembly of Indonesia. In its resolution 32/34 of November 1977, however, the General Assembly rejected the claim that East Timor had been integrated into Indonesia, inasmuch as the
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people of the Territory had not been able to exercise freely their right to self-determination.
Statement on Question of Western Sahara
MOULUD SAID, of the Frente POLISARIO, said the genesis and evolution of the conflict in Western Sahara since the invasion of Moroccan troops was known in great detail by the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and People.
He said the Committee had the clarity to consider, contrary to the thesis of the invading country, that the decolonization of the Territory had not been achieved. In 1975, Frente POLISARIO had been considered by the United Nations as the only political force representing the region. It was a known fact that the peace process in the Territory had not been allowed to succeed, as foreseen in February 1992. The manoeuvres taken by Morocco at the end of 1991 had contributed, in large part, to preventing MINURSO from completing the mission mandated by the Security Council.
He said the peace plan had been altered in its essence by the introduction of substantial changes by Morocco in order to turn the referendum into a plebiscite that would legitimize its occupation of the Territory. The passage of 20 years had now allowed Morocco to strengthen its occupation, drastically alter the demographic composition of the Territory and, at the same time, step up its repression of the people who had lived there before the occupation. Thanks to the Houston Agreements, which Frente POLISARIO and Morocco had negotiated under the auspices of James A. Baker III, the Secretary-General's representative to the Western Sahara, real gains had been made.
He said the thorniest problem, that of electoral agreement, had been solved through the Agreements. As a result, 84,000 persons had been identified with a right to vote. However, the process had once again been paralysed from August to June. The Secretary-General toured Western Sahara and neighbouring countries to present a solution to the new difficulties. The proposals were a package deal that were not really up for negotiation. The Frente POLISARIO had accepted them, but the process had been stalled because Morocco rejected a number of the Secretary-General's suggestions.
Subsequent amendments had been accepted by Frente POLISARIO in another demonstration of its flexibility, he said. Belief in the credibility of the United Nations was sincere, and it was expected that everything would take place within the framework of transparency. It was possible that Morocco would deliberately attempt to introduce persons who had not been found eligible for the vote in the upcoming referendum. If Morocco resorted to that tactic, it would impede efforts to hold the referendum in July 2000. There was no doubt that the decolonization of Western Sahara had yet to be carried out.
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The Committee then decided to transmit all the relevant documentation to the General Assembly.
Statements on East Timor
KRISTIARTO LEGOWO (Indonesia) said his country's opinion on the question of East Timor was well documented, and there was no need for elaboration here. The consideration of this question in the Committee would add nothing to the substance of the issue. A solution to the question of East Timor could only be achieved within the framework of the 5 May agreements. He requested that his objection be recorded in the official record of the Committee.
RICHARD TANTER, Kyoto East Timor Association, said it was clear that the Government of Indonesia had not fulfilled its obligations under the various 5 May agreements. However, lawless behaviour of the Indonesian military was not new. For 32 years, the citizens of Indonesia had been subjected to a regime of terror backed by a comprehensive system of political surveillance. What was new was that the terror in East Timor today was being carried out by the Indonesian military in apparent contradiction of orders given by the Indonesian President. There was a clear breakdown in State authority in Indonesia and in the chain of command.
It was crucial that the Indonesian military's freedom be limited, he said. But, there were no effective domestic sources of restraint. The only effective tool that was available to restrain the military was for Indonesia's creditor nations to make any further disbursements of aid conditional on full compliance with Indonesia's agreed international obligations. Specifically, that meant that the expected disbursement of subsequent tranches of loans to the Government of Indonesia from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the countries making up the Consultative Group on Indonesia must be made conditional on proper behaviour by the Indonesian armed forces and the permanent disarming of the East Timorese militias.
JOHN MILLER, East Timor Committee, said less than 2,000 Axis and Allied soldiers had died in East Timor in the Second World War, but at least 150,000 East Timorese, about a quarter of the population, had died. The nations fighting in the country -- Japan, Australia, Netherlands, United States and United Kingdom -- had not acknowledged their responsibilities and debts to the people of East Timor.
That the United Nations was now endeavouring to carry out a free and fair referendum in a profoundly traumatized, isolated, damaged and divided society, was a reminder of the United Nations' own failure to carry out its mandate towards the people of East Timor over the last 39 years. In particular, it showed its failure to implement its own resolutions passed after Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975. The United Nations should present
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a clear and sincere apology to the people of East Timor for what could only be seen as a failure to give them the care and attention to which, by the United Nations own admission, they had been entitled since 1960.
CHARLES SCHEINER, East Timor Action Network/United States, said although the Indonesian President and Foreign Minister had promised to allow the people of East Timor to vote on their future, they had done nothing to make that vote fair and free. Their own television station had even refused to broadcast the message from the Secretary-General explaining the consultation process to the East Timorese people. Their military and police officials had sat by, while murderers plied their trade and awarded those bloody deeds with official appointments.
He said it was recognized that the United Nations could not confront the Indonesian army militarily. That would only compound the long-term suffering of the East Timorese people. The international community, as led by the United Nations, must greatly enlarge the presence of the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) in the Territory. The Mission must take responsibility for its own safety and offer credible assurances to the East Timorese that they too would be protected. The Indonesian army and police could not be relied upon as impartial guarantors of security -- they were the very source of the problem.
MAYUMI KAWAHARADA, Free East Timor Japan Coalition, said that violence and terror continued in East Timor, despite the United Nations-brokered agreement between Portugal and Indonesia on 5 May. His organization had heard report after report of distressing and tragic events in that country. East Timorese visiting Japan had reported that the Indonesian occupation had caused gender-specific trauma for women in East Timor. As well as being raped and tortured by the Indonesian military, they were also used as sex slaves. There were many children in East Timor, born after their mothers were raped or used as sex slaves, who were abandoned by their mothers, he added.
He said that there were also reports of a dramatic increase in violence and murder perpetrated by paramilitary groups. Many East Timorese branded by pro- independence were forced to flee their homes. Also, human rights organizations had been threatened and blocked from carrying out their normal activities by the paramilitary groups. Since the 5 May Agreements, the situation had become worse, not better. In that regard, the United Nations should pressure the Indonesian Government to: punish those responsible for paramilitary attacks; ensure the safety of human rights groups; allow such groups to monitor elections; and establish an environment where the entire election process could be observed.
PEDRO PINTO LEITE, International Platform of Jurists for East Timor, urged the Special Committee to exercise its influence to make the Indonesian Government address the worrying security situation in East Timor and bring the paramilitary militias under strict control. If those goals were not attained, the Committee should demand the Security Council and the Secretary-General to
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envisage the deployment of peacekeeping forces in the Territory. The Committee should also attempt to obtain the immediate and unconditional release of Xanana Gusmao and of all other detained East Timorese. It should pressure the Indonesian authorities to comply in good faith with the obligations born of the 5 May agreements.
SAYLOR CRESSWELL, Canadian Action for Indonesia and East Timor, said the 5 May agreements had provided for a vote by East Timorese on the political status of the Territory and was a tremendous step forward. Nevertheless, serious concerns remained. It was no secret that there had been repeated and grave violations of the agreements on many occasions since they had been signed. Most of those violations could be traced back to either the Indonesian authorities or, in some cases, to certain groups of pro-autonomy Timorese who had been formed into armed militias, evidently with the active involvement of sectors of the Indonesian military.
He said one of the most blatant violations of the agreement was the appointment, by the district head of Dili, of Eurico Guterres as the head of the civil defence corp of the Dili administration. Mr. Guterres was well known as the head of the Aitarak militia. That appointment must be rescinded immediately. Many eyewitness had seen Mr. Guterres, on 17 April, on the steps of the Governor's house in Dili, urging Aitarak members to kill pro-independence supporters -- as indeed they had. At least 12 people, and perhaps more than 40, had been killed by militia members that day. Mr. Guterres should be placed under arrest immediately.
CARL SENNA, member of the Providence Journal Editorial Board, said that today the question was whether the injury to Indonesia ought to be remedied through unilateral actions aimed at unity, or through international bodies such as the United Nations. Thanks to the intervention of the Indonesian Government in East Timor following the withdrawal of Portugal from the Territory in 1975, the reintegration of East Timor with fellow Indonesians on a basis of complete fraternity and equality had taken root. No evidence existed that would lead one to conclude that Indonesia's control of East Timor amounted to a foreign colonial occupation.
The people of East Timor were Indonesians, unlike the residents of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) who were British citizens, although the island was claimed by Argentina; nor were the East Timorese a subjugated racial and ethnic caste, whose lands had been expropriated by an invading colonial Power, such as the aboriginal peoples of Australia, French occupied New Caledonia, and New Zealand. At this juncture, the question was whether the factionally divided East Timorese could survive economically as an independent State without massive and continuous foreign aid, and without mass migration and repatriation of incomes from East Timorese expatriate workers. The answer was no. The Territory could not function economically except in the most impoverished and desperately poor sense.
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SHARON SCHARFE, Parliamentarians for East Timor, said that for any free and fair act of self-determination to take place, there must be an atmosphere of calm -- free from intimidation -- in East Timor. The human rights situation on the ground in East Timor had not improved since the 5 May agreements, where Indonesia had been entrusted with ensuring that the necessary security conditions were present in advance of the ballot. There had been wanton acts of violence, murder and intimidation committed by the militias -- with the support, at times, of the Indonesian army. His group was very concerned that Indonesia would not be able to provide the necessary security conditions to enable a free and fair ballot. The peoples of East Timor must feel they were safe before they could freely participate in the United Nations ballot.
TERESA PATRICIA GOUVEIA, Member of Parliament, Social Democratic Party, in Portugal, said this year's events had created the promise of a future democracy in East Timor. The original disagreement had been the result of the moral strength of the East Timorese people as they searched for the right to self- determination. The declaration made by the East Timorese leaders and members of UNAMET was a cause for concern as the preparations for the upcoming consultations were taking place.
She said there were reports of violence by militias against civilians. Attacks were being levelled at pro-independence groups and even targeted moderate pro-independence supporters. Many pro-independence leaders had fled the capital city. There was evidence that the Indonesian army had not respected the clause for absolute neutrality and had contracted militias. She urged the Indonesian Government to assume the responsibilities it had accepted for itself under the 5 May agreements.
SILVIO CERVAN, Member of Parliament, Social Democratic Party, in Portugal, said that the objective of Portuguese diplomacy towards East Timor was to have Indonesia recognize the right for self-determination of the Timor people as the only means of solving the problem. It was also based on the acceptance by Indonesia of a permanent presence of the United Nations in East Timor that would go beyond the consultative period. The problem of East Timor never had been and never would be a problem between the Portuguese people and the Indonesian people. It was not even a problem between Portugal and Indonesia. It was merely a problem between those who defended human rights and the primacy of the person, and those who did not.
MARTINHO GONÇALES, Member of Parliament, Socialist Party, in Portugal, said the agreements of 5 May had met the main concerns of Portugal in regard to East Timor. Those agreements had been reached after many years of heroic struggle. Portugal had supported that struggle, and recently there had been positive developments in that regard. Nevertheless, there were some concerns in ensuring peace and security in East Timor. The UNAMET had already reported that there had been violations by Indonesia of the agreements. The leaders of militia groups had not been brought to justice and had been allowed to
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continue a campaign of terror. It was the responsibility of Indonesia to address the actions of those militias. Indonesia also had a responsibility in regard to the release of East Timorese political prisoners.
JOAO CORREGEDOR DA FONSECA, Portuguese Communist Party Bench in Parliament, Portugal, said the Timorese people had never ceased to fight against foreign occupation despite the enormous disparity of forces. The uneven struggle had led the international community to realize that it could not remain indifferent to the violence. Political actions were now under way. After 24 years, that might enable the people of East Timor to freely choose their destiny, leading to self-determination and independence. However, there were many doubts concerning the conditions under which the popular consultation would be held. There was good reason to fear the activities of armed militias that favoured East Timor's integration into Indonesia, and which were amply supported by that country.
He said those militias had unleashed a campaign of terror, burning homes and murdering innocent people. Their aim was to instil fear and prevent people from freely exercising their vote. That worry had further increased with the knowledge that Indonesian authorities had granted control of local security to a leader of one of the said militias. Understood properly and fairly, compliance with the accords entailed the following: the release of Xanana Gusmao; the disarmament of the militias; free access by all Timorese to their Territory; and the observance of security regulations that ensured that the popular consultation would be held in conditions of total freedom.
ADRIANO DO NASIMENTO, in his personal capacity, said this was the first time he was able to testify before the Committee on the suffering inflicted upon him by the Indonesian army since it had invaded his country in 1975. The East Timorese had been forced to wrestle with violence that became a way of everyday life. Despite that, his people continued to look for peace and justice. The Timorese had been living in a circumstance of terror, torture and killing since 1975. In his hometown, Covalima, many people had been killed by the Indonesian army -- among them his uncle, Gabriel Dato Taek. He had been killed in 1979. However, his was not a isolated case, there were many who had suffered the same fate.
The Indonesian military had divided his land into two battlefields, he said. The militia controlled the town and villages. They terrorized, tortured and killed unarmed people who did not support the so-called wide- range autonomy with Indonesia. That occurred while the Indonesian military controlled the jungle and the hills hunting those who had escaped the terror in the villages. His friend, Fernando Soares, had been one of the people killed while fleeing a village. He had been killed on 24 January in Zumalai, and the Indonesian army had not yet allowed his body to be returned to his family.
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He said that peace and justice would only result from mutual cooperation and understanding by all sides involved in the conflict and respect for international law. Unfortunately, there was evidence that the Indonesian Government had not fully respected the rule of law. Therefore, in his personal capacity, he requested the Committee to exert pressure on Indonesia until it fully complied with all United Nations relevant resolutions.
ROBERTO SARMENTO DE OLIVERIA SOARES CABRAL, in his personal capacity, said that he had been six years old when the Indonesian army had invaded East Timor. He had spent three years in the jungle with his parents after the invasion. His father had been killed as a direct consequence of the Indonesian invasion and his own life had been physically and psychologically affected by the occupation. In the 1990s, he had begun to be actively involved in the resistance through the non-violence movement with the youth liberation front. He was a survivor of the massacre committed by the Indonesian Military at Dili on 12 November 1991. He had managed to escape from the shooting and he had hidden for six months from persecution.
He said that, after 24 years of brutal occupation, the Indonesian military remained stubborn and consistently denied the inalienable rights of the Timorese. The military and its puppets continued to carry out a systematic campaign of murder and destruction with total impunity. On 5 and 6 April, the military and its puppets had opened fire against innocent people in Liquica, and other such killings had continued. There had also been systematic rape, torture and many other attempts to destroy the fabric of Timorese society and culture. All those horrible acts had been committed in order to pressure and coerce people to choose the autonomy plan offered by the Indonesian Government.
ROGER S. CLARKE, International League for Human Rights, said some cases of independence -- Namibia and East Timor, for example -- took longer. The arrangement made by Indonesia, Portugal and the Secretary-General appeared to be carefully crafted. He was pleased with the involvement of the United Nations in the consultations. He said that while the form of the questions was not one "we would have chosen, we believe that they fairly raise the issues on the table; integration (via autonomy) or independence". It was, however, important that the educational process be adequately carried out in all the Territory's languages so that the world could be sure that it was properly understood on the ground, as well as at the present gathering.
He said the only fear at this point was the security issue. There were disturbing stories about the militia and there were many recent dead. The security issue remained and he believed that it was within the power of Indonesia to take it to the next stage. The 5 May agreements had proceeded on the basis of the separate international personality of East Timor. The different claims of Indonesia and Portugal as to the existing territorial sovereignty over East Timor had been placed in the background where they
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belonged. The main point was to consult the people of the Territory. They might choose Indonesia or they might chose independence. It was their choice.
Mr. OLIVIERA, Foundation of Portuguese Universities, said that militia violence had created a refugee crisis in East Timor, with an estimated 40,000 people forced to flee their homes. Many of them could not be reached because the militias blocked the roads. The United Nations should pressure the Government of Indonesia to take steps to immediately disarm all civilian militia groups in East Timor in order to create free and fair conditions for the United Nations ballot. The United Nations should also demand the release of Mr. Gusmao, who was under house arrest in Jakarta. He had played a key role in the international negotiations to end the lengthy conflict and freeing him would contribute decisively to creating a safe and peaceful atmosphere for the ballot.
DAVID HUTAGALUNG, speaking in his personal capacity as an Indonesian living in the United States, said that regardless of its many shortcomings, the Government of Indonesia had done significant work to build and develop East Timor. A considerable portion of the national budget had been allocated to development efforts in the Territory. In that regard, President B. J. Habibie's decision to agree with the popular consultation this coming August should be lauded and, no matter what the outcome, those achievements could not and should not be ignored. The upcoming consultation was a critical point in the long and complicated efforts to find a just and peaceful solution to the East Timor debate. The United Nations presence through UNAMET was also very important in bringing peace to the region, especially in conducting a ballot that was fair to the people of East Timor.
To remain credible, UNAMET must maintain its neutrality, he continued. The same was true for the Government of Indonesia and its armed forces. It was time to step back and let the people of East Timor decide, confidently and without restraint. The recent agreement on 18 June between pro-independence and pro-integration parties in Jakarta to participate peacefully in the ballot and, more importantly, to disarm all militias, was an important step towards achieving peace -- a necessary condition if the ballots were going to proceed fairly and peacefully. "Let us hope that the text of the agreement translates into real action where it counts most, in East Timor", he said. In the end, the future of the Territory rested with its peoples. They must decide for themselves which path would bring them a better future.
ACHMAD PADANG said he spoke in his personal capacity as a member of the Indonesian community in New York. To Indonesians, the 5 May agreements signalled a bright future. Having succeeded in freeing themselves from a politically repressive government and having conducted the first free elections in over 30 years, Indonesians looked forward to a new chapter in their history. The people of East Timor had come a long way since the Portuguese Government had left the territory in 1975. To be sure, some
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mishaps and tragic incidents had taken place since that time. However, the Government of Indonesia had not shied away from taking military disciplinary measure against those considered responsible for the incidents. Thanks to international efforts, the people of East Timor had now been given the opportunity to freely and openly express themselves in a ballot. Indonesians everywhere looked forward to the speedy implementation of the 5 May agreements.
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