Vol. 6, No. 1
|We Can't Stop Here
International Federation for East Timor Launches
Last year, the International Federation for East Timor (IFET) organized an Observer Project during the referendum. 140 international activists, including 40 from ETAN, spent weeks in East Timor before, during and after the August 30 vote, supporting East Timorese self-determination and reporting threats to the consultation process. We planned to stay in East Timor to observe implementation of the vote, but military/militia violence forced us out soon after the results were announced. Indonesian troops have since withdrawn, and East Timor is now governed by a transitional United Nations administration (UNTAET). Although many East Timorese still cannot return home, and reconstruction is too slow, East Timor will be the first new independent nation of the 21st century.
Or will it? The "new occupation" has brought thousands of foreigners to East Timor to work with the UN, foreign agencies and businesses, the World Bank, and other organizations which sometimes have inadequate sensitivity to East Timorese concerns. In what threatens to be a reprise of cases where international crisis response brought a new set of problems, many of the big international NGOs ("BINGOs") often fail to consult or utilize East Timorese. The UN's own institutional limitations and priorities often work to exclude those of the East Timorese people.
If you would like to help with this project, please contact Charlie Scheiner at firstname.lastname@example.org or ETAN's White Plains office. Unlike IFET-OP, we will not send dozens of people to East Timor, but IFET-MP will need international support. You can follow its progress on IFET's website.