Vol. 7, No. 3
Lobby Days 2001 Yields Info, Action
Lobby Days 2001 Yields Information, Action
by Karen Orenstein
ETAN Lobby Days 2001 were a remarkable success. Forty-five activists from 20 states met with some 155 offices! ETAN would like to extend a hardy “thank you” to all who made this year’s Lobby Days so successful.
On Saturday, June 9, Lobby Days activists participated in a fund-raising workshop led by veteran fund-raising consultant Katherine Wortheim, in addition to a grassroots organizing, strategies, and information-sharing session.
Sunday’s Lobby Days training covered the mechanisms of lobbying and legislative meeting role-plays, as well as policy updates and a discussion on accountability for human rights violations. A panel on “East Timor Today” was lead by Angelina Sarmiento of Kadalag Sulimutuk Institute in East Timor, which focuses on conflict resolution, and Lito da Costa Gama, an East Timorese expert on education who interned with ETAN this summer. Winston Neil Rondo, General Secretary of the Centre for Internally Displaced People's Services in Kupang, West Timor, spoke on the East Timorese refugees (see page 6). A workshop, on “Aceh, Papua, and Indonesia,” was lead by Radhi Darmansyah and Machyar Kumbang of the Aceh Referendum Information Center, and Kurt Biddle, the Washington Coordinator of the Indonesia Human Rights Network.
Topics covered during congressional meetings included co-sponsorship of concurrent House and Senate resolutions urging the establishment of an international tribunal for prosecuting crimes against humanity in East Timor (H. Con. Res. 60 and S. Con. Res. 9), signing on to House and Senate letters on the East Timorese refugee crisis in West Timor, and support for provisions on East Timor and Indonesia in Foreign Operations Appropriations and Foreign Relations Authorization bills, including U.S. financial assistance for East Timor in 2002.
East Timor and Indonesia activists also took to the streets to demonstrate in front of the Indonesian Embassy in protest of the East Timorese refugee crisis, military and militia impunity, and ongoing human rights violations by the Indonesian military and militia throughout the archipelago.
Progress as a direct result of Lobby Days was clear; Congressional support for East Timor dramatically increased following everyone’s hard work. Prior to Lobby Days, co-sponsorship for H. Con. Res. 60 stood at 39 and S. Con. Res. 9 at 7. As of November, the House resolution had 59 co-sponsors and the Senate 11. House and Senate letters for which we were lobbying had 44 and 17 co-signers respectively, more than normally expected.
For more information, see www.etan.org/legislation.
Return to Winter 2001-2002 Menu