|Subject: Free Juliana Dos Santos Kidnapped
to West Timor
EMBARGOED UNTIL 18.00 EST
KIRSTY SWORD GUSMÃO: FREE JULIANA DOS SANTOS & HER CHILD
Dili, East Timor , Wednesday, 20 February 2001
The Australian wife of Xanana Gusmão, East Timor’s President of the CNRT-CN, has expressed her deep concern for the lack of progress in the case of the brutal kidnapping of a 15 year old East Timorese girl, Ms Juliana dos Santos.
Refugees who have recently returned to Suai from West Timor report that Ms dos Santos is living at present in the village of Wemasa, West Timor, located about 1 kilometre from the border separating East and West Timor.
At the height of the militia led violence which followed East Timor´s Popular Consultation of August 1999, Ms dos Santos watched as her brother was murdered by Vice Commander of the LAKSAUR militia group, Igidio Manek. The Suai massacre of September 6, 1999, left some 200 East Timorese dead. One eyewitness to the Suai killings claims that it was Igidio Manek who gave the order to kill local priests and nuns, including the popular Father Hilario.
Juliana was then taken by Manek and his militia men across the border into West Timor. After being paraded as a war trophy, she was repeatedly raped and fell pregnant.. She gave birth to a son, Carlos, on 27 November, 2000.
Manek is believed to be in protective custody in West Timor. He ignored a summons to appear before the Indonesian Attorney General in September 2000, and is likely to face serious charges for his role in the Suai killings.
Ms Sword Gusmão said in a statement from Dili today:
“Juliana dos Santos must be considered a kidnapped person, and as a minor, her case merits special attention.
Despite assurances given by representatives of the Indonesian Government and military to members of a visiting UN Security Council delegation that efforts would be made to reunite Juliana with her family in Suai, there is no proof whatsoever of any concrete steps having been taken in this direction. What Juliana has endured to date is inhumane by anybody´s standards. Other East Timorese women being held in West Timor by militias in similar circumstances must also be returned.”
She has also noted that a further commitment to resolve the case of Ms Dos Santos was made by the Indonesian authorities at the Joint Border Committee meeting held in Denpasar, Bali from 30 to 31 January. The text of the minutes of that meeting read: “Both sides agreed that Juliana dos Santos and her baby should be placed in a safe environment free from duress so as to enable her to make her own free choice”.
Ms Sword Gusmão said, “I call on our friends in Indonesia, the Attorney-General Marzuki Darusman, and our good friend Gus Dur to look into Juliana´s case and order that she be returned to East Timor and to her family in Suai. She is just one woman survivor of rape amongst very many, however if I can help to secure her return, then perhaps this win for human rights and justice will offer a glimmer of hope to other women, their families and communities. I also call on the International Commission of Jurists to step up pressure on the Indonesian Government to ensure that its commitment to the UN Security Council and to the Joint Border Committee is honoured”.
Ms Sword Gusmão has personally taken up Juliana’s case since giving birth to her own son, Alexandre, on 30 September last year.
Dili - Ms Sarah Niner Mobile: +61-417 357 298 Sydney - Ms Margherita Tracanelli Mobile: +61-407 911 429
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