Subject: Press Release Call to Habibie; 'protect East Timorese'
Date: Fri, 26 Jun 1998 20:27:50 +1000
From: "JoaoCarrascalao" <email@example.com>
TIMORESE DEMOCRATIC UNION
For immediate release: 10 pm AEST, Thursday 25/6/98
SYDNEY: East Timorese supporters of the right to self-determination and
freedom in Dili fear for their lives tonight as the Indonesian army and
pro-integrationists prepare for a major show of force in Dili tomorrow.
It's been reported from Dili tonight that guns are being distributed to
pro-integrationists - supporters of the current governor of East Timor,
Abilio Osório Soares, who favour the integration of East Timor into
Indonesia, ahead of what was supposed to be a peaceful demonstration
It's understood the demonstrators, backed by the army, will be demanding
East Timorese sign declarations that they support the integration of East
Timor into Indonesia.
World-wide President of the Timorese Democratic Union party, UDT, Mr João
Carrascalão, tonight called on the international community to bring urgent
pressure to bear on Indonesia's President Habibie to protect East Timorese
and defuse the potentially explosive situation.
"President Habibie has his East Timor peace commission going with support
from the opposition parties in East Timor. They are talking about autonomy
for East Timor.
"But on the ground, the President's army is running its own hard line,
integrationist agenda, is arming civilian supporters of Indonesia, and
appears to be running an agenda designed to scuttle the peace commission's
"Who is in charge? Is President Habibie really the leader of Indonesia, or
is he some lame duck front man for the murderous beasts of the army?
"If President Habibie is the real leader of Indonesia, he should be
ordering his army to keep off the streets. He should be ordering them to
their barracks. He should be ordering them to withdraw arms handed out to
Apodeti and other pro-integrationist civilians.
"He should be guaranteeing the safety and security of people on all sides
of politics in East Timor.
"In particular, he should be guaranteeing the security of those East
Timorese leaders who signed the 13 October declaration last year of the
Movement for Reconciliation and Unity for the Liberation of East Timor, and
others who oppose integration.
"We of UDT have no problem at all with political demonstrations. We have no
problem with opposing views. But we do have a big problem with
orchestrated, Indonesian Government run shows of force by the Indonesian
army and its armed supporters, subversion of the self-determination
process, and overt threats to innocent people."
Signatories to the declaration of the Movement for Reconciliation and Unity
for the Liberation of East Timor include Manuel Carrascalão, Maria do Carmo
Quintao, Paulo Freitas da Silva, João Petro Soares, Francisco Lopes de
Carvalho, Leandro Isaac and Aleixo Ximenes.
Several of them were questioned at length by Indonesian authorities
recently, and their fax machines, which they used for contact with the
outside world, were confiscated.
In recent weeks, a a hate leaflet has been circulating in Dili carrying
Manuel Carrascalão's picture, labelling him a traitor, and calling for him
to be assassinated.
The rangy, 65-year-old businessman, whose family provided safe haven to
Australian commandos during World War II, says he does not want to die, but
if he is killed, "I will have died for a free East Timor".
A former member of the East Timor Regional Assembly under Indonesian rule,
Manuel Carrascalão said he was moved to sign the liberation document
because "after 22 years of continuous brutality, it was clear that
Indonesian repression in East Timor would never end".
"We are just sick and tired of it. We are strangers in our own country,
treated as second class citizens, unable to say what we think or do what we
want to do without attracting some reaction from the Indonesian army.
"People disappear. Sometimes they just disappear. At other times they are
arrested and disappear, or the word comes back that they suffered a heart
attack or a fatal accident while in jail.
"Lucky ones reappear - but their scars tell the tale of the kind of
'accident' they met with while in custody.
"I hope that doesn't happen to me, but if it does, I will have died for a
free East Timor."
João Carrascalão, President, UDT +61 2 9823