|Subject: Commemoration on the even of 10th
anniversary of Santa Cruz massacre
November 12, 2001 Tokyo East Timor Association (Free East Timor! Japan Coalition)
Contact: Kyo Kageura, +81-3-4212-2518; +81-3-3916-1731
On Nov. 11, more than 70 people took part in a memorial event in Tokyo to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Santa Cruz massacre in East Timor. After about an hour meeting, mourners walked to the Indonesian embassy in Tokyo carrying pictures of victims of the Santa Cruz massacre and laid flowers at the gate of the embassy.
The event was organised by Tokyo East Timor Association (a member group of Free East Timor! Japan Coalition ), National Christian Council, Japan Catholic Council for Justice and Peace, Amnesty International Japan, Network for Indonesian Democracy, Japan, Japan NGO Network for Indonesia, and Pacific Asia Resource Center. The attendants unanimously approved the statement prepared by organisers, calling for the establishment of an international tribunal to prosecute Indonesian military officers and top-level militia leaders responsible for crimes against humanity committed in East Timor.
They condemned the continuing use of terror tactics by the Indonesian military in various parts of Indonesia, including Aceh and West Papua. On the same day, the mutilated body of West Papuan leader Theys Hiyo Eulay was discovered.
Five Acehnese attended the commemoration, expressing their solidarity with East Timor and calling for the Japanese government to reconsider its aid to Indonesia.
At the same time in Osaka, about 20 people gathered in front of the Indonesian consulate to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Santa Cruz massacre. In Sendai, another memorial event is planned on Nov. 17.
---- Statement adopted on the even of the 10th anniversary of the Santa Cruz massacre in East Timor
Nov. 12, 2001 is the 10th anniversary of the Santa Cruz massacre in East Timor.
On Nov. 12, 1991, hundreds of unarmed East Timorese joined a procession to Santa Cruz cemetery in Dili to mourn a Timorese youth killed two weeks before by the Indonesian military. As they walked, people unfurled banners and called out pro-independence slogans. After arriving at the cemetery, the mourners were surrounded by Indonesian soldiers, who fired on them indiscriminately, killing 273 people and wounding a further 376. Some of the wounded who were taken to the Wira Husada military hospital were killed there. The whereabouts of another 255 mourners who went missing on the day of the massacre remain unknown to this day.
The Indonesian military invaded East Timor in 1975 and illegally occupied the country for 24 years, until 1999. During this time, it carried out many acts of terrorism against the East Timorese, resulting in the deaths of over 200,000 people, a third of the East Timorese population. The Santa Cruz massacre is just one of the many massacres the Indonesian military committed in East Timor.
Despite the continuing human rights violations perpetrated by the Indonesian military in East Timor during the occupation, powerful countries such as Japan, the United States, Australia and European nations continued to provide military supplies and support to the Indonesian military, while aiding the Indonesian government both diplomatically and economically.
In September 1999, after the East Timorese chose independence in a United Nations-sponsored referendum, the Indonesian military and its militia proxies initiated a preplanned orgy of killing and destruction. The violence was so bad that it was no longer possible for the countries that had supported Indonesia until that time to ignore what was taking place, and military assistance and arms exports to Indonesia were suspended. By the time an international military force was dispatched to restore order to East Timor, however, 70 percent of the country's buildings had already been destroyed and as many as 3,000 people killed.
Since the Indonesian military withdrew, East Timor has embarked on the difficult task of constructing a peaceful and democratic nation, in anticipation of full independence in 2002. However, to date not a single Indonesian military official responsible for crimes against humanity in East Timor, such as the Santa Cruz massacre, has been brought to justice. This casts a shadow over the process of national reconciliation and nation building in East Timor.
In addition, the Indonesian military still wields considerable political power and continues to perpetrate atrocities in various parts of Indonesia:
- In Aceh, after former President Suharto stepped down, people began calling for investigations into human rights violations committed in the province and the prosecution of those responsible, and also began criticizing the fact that Aceh's natural resources were being exploited for the sake of the central government, not the Acehnese. Security forces were dispatched to crush these movements, and the incidence of extrajudicial arrest, torture, kidnapping, killing and rape has actually increased compared to the Suharto era. In 2001 alone, more than 1,200 people, most of who were not armed guerrilla fighters but ordinary citizens, have already lost their lives. Humanitarian and human rights activists, religious leaders, students and intellectuals have also been among the victims.
- In West Papua, which was integrated into Indonesia as a result of an unrepresentative, farcical referendum in 1969, the Indonesian government, Indonesian and international corporations, and the Indonesian military have imposed an exploitative developmental strategy on the province's rich natural resources, ignoring the rights of the West Papuan people to land and resources. As immigrants from all over Indonesia now dominate the region's economy, Papuan people have a growing sense of crisis and many are resisting Indonesian dominance. These people are targeted by the Indonesian military and have become victims of killing, torture and extrajudicial arrest.
- In the Moluccas, clashes between Muslims and Christians since 1999 have claimed the lives of more than 9,000 people and turned about half a million others into refugees. Many of the victims were shot by the Indonesian military. The conflict has been deliberately provoked by the military in order to provide it with a raison-d'etre as the "protector of security and order," with the ultimate aim of blocking the prosecution of its own past human rights violations and of rolling back reforms to reduce the influence of the military in the government. Supporters of Suharto have also reportedly provided funds for militias to instigate conflict in the region.
In various other parts of Indonesia as well, human rights activists and democracy activists continue to be the targets of severe repression, often by the very same military officers who ordered the destruction and carnage in East Timor.
After the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States, U.S. President George W. Bush immediately condemned terrorism, and on Oct. 7 started a war of "retaliation" against Afghanistan with the stated purpose of annihilating terrorism. On Sept. 19, however, at the same time that the U.S. was preparing its retaliation attack, President Bush promised visiting Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri that, in return for Indonesian support for the U.S. attack, the U.S. would resume commercial sales of weapons to the Indonesian army and direct contact between U.S. and Indonesian military advisers. This was despite the fact that the Indonesian military has committed and continues to commit terrorist acts.
We are opposed to both terrorism and military retaliation, and believe that perpetrators of terrorist acts should be punished according to international law. We are especially opposed to accepting or supporting terrorism under the guise of justifying "retaliation" against terrorism.
Many East Timorese are calling for those in the Indonesian military or its militias who committed acts of terrorism and crimes against humanity in East Timor to be prosecuted in accordance with international law. The Indonesian people also strongly oppose the repeated human right violations committed by the Indonesian military.
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Santa Cruz massacre,
- expressing our heartfelt grief for the people victimized by the Indonesian military in the Santa Cruz cemetery 10 years ago, and also for the great number of people killed by the Indonesian military and its security apparatus during the 24 years of illegal Indonesian rule in East Timor, - recalling and remembering that many people are even now vulnerable to serious human right violations in Aceh, West Papua, the Moluccas and other parts of Indonesia, - heeding the voices of East Timorese and Indonesians who are committed to the promotion of democracy in their countries and to the protection of human rights, as well as to obtaining justice for past human right violations, - facing the fact that the world's great powers have supported and still support the large-scale state terrorism committed by the Indonesian military,
we call for:
I. the Indonesian government
1. to cooperate sincerely with efforts to establish an international tribunal to prosecute acts of state terrorism and crimes against humanity committed by the Indonesian military during its occupation of East Timor; 2. to prosecute past human rights violations committed in Indonesia in a neutral human rights court, not in a military court; 3. to stop human rights violations and terrorism by the Indonesian military and to commit itself to a peaceful process of dialogue with its domestic political opponents.
II. the international community
1. to establish an international tribunal to prosecute acts of state terrorism and crimes against humanity committed by the Indonesian military during its occupation of East Timor; 2. to clarify, in the process, the responsibility of the international community for failing to work for a peaceful resolution of the conflict, especially the responsibility of the great powers, which gave continued support to the Indonesian military; 3. to contribute to the democratization of Indonesia by taking effective action to make the Indonesian military, which continues to carry out terrorist acts in Indonesia, commit itself to a peaceful process of dialogue with its domestic political opponents.
III. the Japanese government
1. to work for the establishment of an international tribunal to prosecute acts of state terrorism and crimes against humanity committed by the Indonesian military during its occupation of East Timor; 2. to ask, in the process, for the clarification of the responsibility of the great powers (including that of the Japanese government), which trained Indonesian soldiers and provided Indonesia with diplomatic support instead of pursuing crimes against humanity committed by the Indonesian military and government; 3. to cooperate with the democratization of Indonesia by taking effective action to persuade relevant countries to stop all aid to the Indonesian military, which continues to carry out terrorist acts in Indonesia, and also to review ODA aid to Indonesia.
Nov. 11, 2001 (the eve of the 10th anniversary of the Santa Cruz massacre)
Free East Timor! Japan Coalition, National Christian Council, Japan Catholic Council for Justice and Peace, Amnesty International Japan, Network for Indonesian Democracy, Japan, Japan NGO Network for Indonesia, Pacific Asia Resource Center, and concerned attendants of the Nov. 11th commemoration of the Santa Cruz massacre in Tokyo, Japan
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