Subject: UN Security Council delegation to go to Indonesia in Nov

UN Council delegation to go to Indonesia in Nov

By Evelyn Leopold

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 12 (Reuters) - A Security Council delegation is expected to visit Indonesia the week of November 13 to evaluate the crisis in East and West Timor, where militias are preventing refugees from returning home, U.S. ambassador Richard Holbrooke said on Thursday.

The Indonesian government last month refused to allow the delegation to visit Jakarta and other locations until it had an opportunity to take action against the militias, who are also attacking U.N. peacekeepers in East Timor.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab conferred with Security Council members, and Holbrooke told reporters, ``We have a date certain for the trip now,'' which would be the week of November 13.

He said Indonesia had taken an ``important action in the right direction'' when it arrested last week Eurico Guterres, 27, accused of inciting violence that led to the murder of three U.N. relief workers in West Timor in September.

West Timor is under Indonesian control while the United Nations is administering East Timor until it becomes independent.

But Holbrooke said the United States remained ``deeply concerned'' about the situation in the West Timor camps as well as the arming of the militia.

``None of our concerns has disappeared; nor would I even say they have abated. However. we should recognise the Indonesian government is acting in the direction they said they were moving in,'' with the arrest of Guterres, Holbrooke said.

Foreign relief workers fled Indonesian West Timor after a militia-led mob stormed an office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in the town of Atambua on Sept. 6, killing three U.N. employees and some 20 civilians.

The militias, originally organised by the Indonesian army, are the same gangs that razed East Timor a year ago and killed hundreds of people to protest against an overwhelming vote for independence from Jakarta in a U.N.-organised election.

They forcibly herded tens of thousands of East Timorese over the border, where they have been housed in squalid refugee camps and until recently were fed by foreign aid agencies. The gangs have also conducted raids into East Timor, now under U.N. administration.

Guterres also is wanted for questioning by the United Nations over his alleged role in two massacres in East Timor in April last year. But Indonesia said he would not be handed over to the U.N. administration in East Timor, although U.N.-authorised prosecutors may be allowed to question him.

Holbrooke said setting up an international tribunal for human rights abuses committed in East Timor was not feasible at the moment because ``we would not have the votes to get that through'' the Security Council.

But he said, ``The arrest of Guterres is not unrelated to the fact that the international community is reviewing its decisions.''

Asked if the relief workers should return to West Timor, Holbrooke said this was a difficult decision because no one wanted to expose them to more violence.

``I want those people back in the camps,'' he said. ``But I don't want any more U.N. workers killed. It's a really tough decision.''

October Menu
World Leaders Contact List
Human Rights Violations in East Timor
Main Postings Menu

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