|Subject: West Timor Humanitarian NGO Forum
Memo to UN delegation
The following is the full text of the primary document presented to the U.N. Security Council delegation by a group of individuals representing local NGOs in West Timor. The full names of the witnesses (here given as letters to protect them) were in the original document.
Humanitarian NGO Forum of West Timor
Information for the United Nations Security Council Delegation Regarding the Situation in West Timor
In view of recent developments in West Timor in relation to the Indonesian Government's implementation of UN Resolution 1319 and the situation of the refugees from East Timor, we feel it is important to convey some of the results of our observations and investigations in the field to the Security Council delegation. We do this solely because of our commitment to a humane solution to the refugee problem and in the interest of providing an accurate picture of the situation in West Timor. We wish to convey the following information:
1. Confiscation of Weapons: According to Security Council Resolution 1319, 8 September 2000, confiscation of weapons in the hands of militia in West Timor is imperative. For this purpose the Indonesian government, through the National Police, instigated "Operation Tuntas Komodo 2000." The main task of the operation was to remove weapons from the hands of the pro- integration militias operating in West Timor. The operation was begun with a surrender of weapons by the Force for the Integration Struggle ("Pasukan Pejuang Integrasi" or PPI) to the police, which was personally witnessed by Vice President Megawati Sukarnoputri in Atambua on Sunday, 24 September 2000. In relation to the surrender of weapons, there are several points we wish to stress:
a. The surrender of weapons in Atambua on 24 September was a trick perpetrated by the Indonesian government via the National Police and the Army in order to deceive the international community. The weapons that were displayed in that ceremony were not the result of recent confiscations or surrender as a result of Res. 1319, but were in fact weapons taken from militias a year ago when they first arrived in West Timor. The weapons were brought from Kupang in the back of a Kijang pickup truck on Friday, 22 September 2000. The announced total of 800 weapons was also a falsification. A more realistic figure is 200-300 weapons, consisting of 19 standard military rifles, and the remainder home-made weapons.
b. The confiscations under Operation Tuntas Komodo 2000 by combined teams of police and army in the refugee camps since 29 September brought no results. Not a single weapon was actually taken from the hands of militia or refugees. The weapons and ammunition totals that were announced by the NTT Provincial Chief of Police had in fact been surrendered voluntarily by the militias. Militia Commander of Sector C (western East Timor) Cancio Lopes de Carvalho provided this information at a seminar at the Hotel Cendana in Kupang on 14 October 2000. Furthermore, he stated that the army and the police have failed to implement confiscation operation. Thus, the government claims that these weapons were confiscated in Operation Tuntas Komodo 2000 do not clearly reflect the truth of the matter. Most of the surrendered weapons were from the militia commanders and the pro-integration elites. As an implication, we believe that a large number of militia members are still holding their weapons. Based on our findings, when weapons searches failed to turn up any results, the police persuaded militias to make homemade weapons expressly for the purpose of surrendering them to the police as evidence of their "success." (Information from witnesses is appended)
c. Many weapons, ammunition, and grenades are still in the hands of militia. When searches were made in the camps, they hid them outside the camps by burying them in the ground after wrapping them in carbon paper to foil metal detectors. (Witness's account appended)
2. Disbanding of Militias/PPI: The official account of the Indonesian government (police and army) is that the militias, or PPI, were disbanded in a ceremony in Atambua in December 1999. De jure this may be true, but de facto the activities and organizational structure of the militia/PPI are still in place up to the present time. The proof of this is, among others:
a. The militias are still under the command of their respective unit commanders, as for example Aitarak militia led by Eurico Guterres, Halilintar militia under Joao Tavares, Saka-Baucau under the command of Joanico Cesario, and Mahidi militia led by Cancio Lopes de Carvalho. This is confirmed by the repeated public declarations of these militia leaders that they still have a force under their command. In a seminar at Hotel Cendana in Kupang on 14 October Cancio Lopes de Carvalho told participants that he had sent some of his men into East Timor to conduct guerrilla activities. Another example, militia Saka-Baucau is still very powerful in the camps of Naibonat and Tuapukan, in the outskirt of Kupang. The whole command structures under Juanico Cesario are still functioning. This was proven when an aid organisation wanted to work in those two camps, they were asked by Saka militia to work through their structure. Cancio, with other militia commanders had sent two letters to the Secretary General of the United Nations on behalf of PPI (Force for Integration Struggle).
b. The mass action that led to the killings of UNHCR staff in Atambua on 6 September 2000 revealed the coordinating role of Vice Commander of Laksaur (Suai) Ijidio Manek and Nemecio Lopes de Carvalho (Vice Commander of Sector C) in leading the attack.
c. At the funeral of Olivio Mendousa Moruk in Betun, south Belu, the continuing role of the militias was clear. They lined up in uniform and conducted a military ceremony under the leadership of Eurico Guterres.
d. In Atambua on 8 November 2000 the Halilintar militia under the command of Joao Tavares staged a public show of force (which they called a "show of peace.") Tavares also urged the refugees in Atambua not to talk to the UN Security Council delegation.
To develop an atmosphere of free and safe choice for the refugees in determining their future and to restore security in West Timor, we urge the United Nations Security Council to demand to Indonesian government and military to disband all the militias and confiscate their weapons immediately. That would only be effectively implemented if the UN deploys military observers in West Timor along the process of implementation.
3. The handling of the murders of UNHCR staff in Atambua: There are two matters of concern to us. Firstly, according to the police report, the investigation has reached completion and is ready to be surrendered to the prosecutors. However, according to our investigations, those apprehended by the police are not the actual perpetrators. This has also been admitted by Nemecio Lopes de Carvalho, who says that those arrested are only "stand- ins." (quoted in Kupang based newspaper Radar Timor, 3 November 2000). Unfortunately the police have never investigated Carvalho's statement. In view of these concerns, we urge the Security Council to prevail upon the government of Indonesia (through the provincial police of NTT) to obtain the testimony of Nemecio de Carvalho in the Atambua murder case, because he is a key witness. Secondly, we are concerned about the role of the police and army in providing security to the UNHCR humanitarian aid workers at the time of the attack. Their apparent failure to do their duty has received little public attention. According to reliable sources, the plan for a demonstration in Atambua by refugees from Betun on 6 September was known to the authorities in the afternoon of 5 September. Why did they not take appropriate preventive action? Furthermore, when the masses left Betun they were guarded by a group of army soldiers. Yet when the crowd entered Atambua, according to a statement of a Catholic priest in Atambua, the guard disappeared. What is the reason for this? Quite many witnesses among the Atambuan crowd at that time indicate that a few moments before the attack on the UNHCR compound, Strategic Forces (Kostrad) personnel were also withdrawn. Why? Then, when the attack began, the police and army remaining near the compound fired warning shots, but then withdrew and pushed forward a group of unarmed East Timorese police and army personnel. What was the intention of this maneuver? In light of these events, we urge the Security Council to ask the Indonesian government, through the Attorney General's office, to make further investigations into the handling of the incident by security forces and to take appropriate disciplinary action against those responsible both directly in the field and within the chain of command.
4. The refugees should be given a secure and safe atmosphere in the process of determining their future. Access to truthful information has to be guaranteed, as well as a free choice space. Demilitarisation of all refugee communities should be a precondition to the registration and other things to follow. Meanwhile the registration process should be conducted by independent parties. Organisation with obvious political interests, like UNTAS, should not be involved in all parts of registration process. We demand that the UN Security Council pressure the Indonesian government to conduct the registration process in a transparent, fair, and honest manner.
5. The refugees in West Timor still need humanitarian aid. The presence of international aid organisations is very crucial, since the capacity of Indonesian government and local organisation is very limited. We urge the UN Security Council to ask the Indonesian government to guarantee the security and safety of humanitarian workers.
6. At last, we urge the UN Security Council to give a definitive time frame to the Indonesian government to solve the refugee situation thoroughly. This is to prevent a continuous worsening refugee situation in West Timor.
These are our concerns, based on the information we have conveyed above. We hope this information will be helpful to the Security Council delegation in its evaluation of the implementation of Resolution 1319 in West Timor.
Kupang, 14 November 2000
Humanitarian NGO Forum of West Timor JKPIT Lap Timoris Lakmas Pikul TRuK-Flores Posko Atambua CIS GMKI
Addenda: Witnesses regarding confiscation of weapons
1. Testimony of X, militia member from Viqueque, residing at the Tuapukan camp near Kupang. X says that on Friday, 29 September 2000, beginning at 7:00 a.m. a weapons confiscation was carried out by the police and army. All the barracks were searched, but not a single weapon was found. Then, X says, "A policeman whose name I don't know asked me to make a rifle and give it to him. He said it was so the outside world would know that they had succeeded in confiscating weapons from the Tuapukan camp. I didn't want to, because I had nothing to make it with. What for? It would just be a waste of time." (Interview, 29/9/00)
2. Testimony of Y, Saka militia member from Baucau, residing at the Naibonat camp near Kupang. Y said that he was asked by a policeman (whose name he did not want to mention) to make weapons. He was offered Rp. 5,000 for each one he made, which would be paid to him later by Eurico Guterres.
3. Testimony of Z, Rusafuik militia member (under leadership of Hermenio da Costa da Silva). Z lives at the camp at the abandoned leather factory in Noelbaki. He said that all weapons were hidden several days before the confiscation operations began. Weapons such as homemade rifles, grenades, swords and machetes were hidden by burying them after they were wrapped in carbon paper, in order to avoid metal detectors. The location of the buried weapons is far from the camps, mostly near the fields. Z was not willing to reveal their precise location.
Note: For those who would like to fax "the powers that be" - CallCenter V3.5.8, is a Native 32-bit Voice Telephony software application integrated with fax and data communications... and it's free of charge! Download from http://www.v3inc.com/