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Subject: Statement by Yayasan HAK on the situation in Alas
Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 11:40:10 GMT


[Apologies for the delay in having this translated. A colleague has undertaken to do translations for us and we will post them when they are received. Carmel]

Concerning the Impact of the Alas Incident.

There have been a number of events in East Timor reported recently in the local media (STT and Novas), as well as reports from the community, regarding the killing of a young man in Darulette (the regency of Liquica), the killing and rape in Iliomar (the regency of Lautem), the shooting of a member of the Police in Loerema (regency of Liquica), the killing and taking as hostage three members of ABRI and a civilian in Weberek (regency of Manufahi), the attack on the military headquarters of the sub-district Alas (regency of Manufahi), the killing of village secretary Comoro in Baucau, the shooting and hunting down of youths in Atabae (regency of Bobonaro) and finally the mass riot in Hatudo (regency of Ainaro). Yayasan HAK's assessment is that the violence has become increasingly brutal and arbitrary resulting in serious violations of Human Rights in this region.

Yayasan HAK feels very concerned, especially in regard to the attack on the military headquarters of Alas. This concern is based on the complaints of several eye witnesses and accounts of victims, along with a similiar report by Suara Timor Timur (25/11/98) stating that after the attack on the military headquarters of Alas by unknown persons, ABRI conducted a large scale operation to hunt down the perpetrators of the attack. Acts of violence towards innocent civilians of the community, including the burning and clearing away of crops which are the source of livelihood for the community, have been connected with the afore-mentioned operation. These acts of violence have caused deep fears not only for the population of the sub-district of Alas, but also in other nearby regions. Violations of the most basic rights are taking place, especially the right to freedom from fear caused by intimidation and terror.

The limited access for outside parties to observe and investigate these events, has led to speculation and the emergence of issues which contradict the official announcement made by Korem 164/Wiradharma. Commander Korem 164/WD, Colonel Suratman (STT, 13/11/98) stated that troop operations by Battalion 744 and 745 were only intended to catch the perpetrators of the attack. Later this was repeated by chief of staff Korem 164WD, Letkol Supadi (Forum magazine, No. 17/Th. VII, 30/11/98) who said that the operation to hunt down the perpetrators was not intended as an act of revenge. But based on the complaints of the community, what is happening is exactly the opposite. Revenge, not upholding the law, is clearly the aim, nor are the military showing any restrain. Troops from outside the organic battalion mentioned appear to be taking part, which is making matters worse. The disembarkation of troops along the south coast has hitherto never occurred. Increasingly the local population suspect that these events are being exploited by certain parties in Jakarta for there own interests.

In this connection and in order to prevent the further spread of the violation of human rights, reports that have spread inside and outside the country need to be verified. We demand that the government and ABRI immediately:

1. Stop the military operation in and around the Alas region and pull back all ABRI personnel to their respective posts. 2. Give access to an independent organisation like Komnas HAM and other NGOs which are active in the field of basic human rights, as well as set up a UN Commission of Human Rights in order to conduct investigations into what is actually happening there.

Dili, 26th November 1998 Manager Yayasan HAK, Dili

Aniceto Guterres Lopes, SH Jose Luis de Oliveira Director. Secretary.

TAPOL, the Indonesia Human Rights Campaign 111 Northwood Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey CR7 8HW, UK Phone: 0181 771-2904 Fax: 0181 653-0322 email: Campaigning to expose human rights violations in Indonesia, East Timor, West Papua and Aceh

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