Subject: AETA: Death of Andrew McNaughton

Also: Timor activist dead at 50

DEATH OF DR. ANDREW MCNAUGHTAN

by Jefferson Lee

Members of the Australian and East Timorese communities and are in shock today after hearing of the sudden death of well-known human rights activist and Convenor of the Australia-East Timor Association, Doctor Andrew McNaughtan, aged 50 years.

Dr. McNaughtan was best known for his devotion to the liberation of East Timor. He spearheaded many campaigns to highlight human rights abuses there throughout the 1990s. He earned the wrath of the Indonesian military for documenting their crimes. He was deported, without reason, a number of times from East Timor when his exposures of civilian murders and abuses embarrassed both the Jakarta and Canberra administrations.

Back in Australia, Dr McNaughtan was a constant media lobbyist for East Timor and a thorn in the side of bureaucrats in Canberra. He gave the best advice exposing the TNI "militia" build up in the 1998-99 period, and was a key player in mobilising domestic and international support for INTERFET in the wake of the human cataclysm that followed the August 30th 1999 UN-supervised Referendum in East Timor.

Dr McNaughtan worked on every level - from dispensing medical assitance to hundreds of Timorese, to his work as a board member of Timor Aid, to the production of endless reports and documentaries on the unfairness of the Timor Gap Oil Treaty and the cover up over the 'Balibo Five' deaths, to photo displays that circulated the world - his loss to the movement of people seeking justice for East Timor will be incalculatable.

Spare time was a scarce commodity for Andrew. He will be remembered for his hands on work with refugees and asylum seekers in Australia, his assistance to the West Papuan and Acehenese freedom struggles, and his work with Aborigines whilst working as a medical practitioner in Darwin and elsewhere in the early 1990s.

Relatives and friends have yet to finalise his funeral arrangements.

release by: Jefferson Lee on behalf of the Australia-East Timor Association.

For further details (or copies of photos of Andrew) contact:

AETA Executive.....

Jefferson Lee ...mobile (0425) 201638

Alix Mandelson...(02) 9331-1496 <alixmandelson@bigpond.com>

Brendan Doyle...(02) 9960-4166 <brendanfish@bigpond.com>

Stephen Langford...(02)9331-5986. 

============================

Weekend Australian

Timor activist dead at 50

27dec03

EAST Timorese freedom campaigners are mourning the death of a leading Australian human rights activist, Dr Andrew McNaughtan.

The 50-year-old was found dead in his Mosman home in Sydney's north on Christmas Eve after friends and neighbours noticed he had not been seen for some days.

Dr McNaughtan campaigned for the liberation of East Timor from Indonesian rule and was deported from the troubled province a number of times after exposing civilian murders and military oppression.

Jefferson Lee, a spokesman for the Australia-East Timor Association - for which Dr McNaughtan served as convenor in recent years - said the movement was in shock.

He said Dr McNaughtan played a major role in bringing the plight of the Timorese people to the world's attention throughout the 1990s, and sacrificed his medical career in the process.

Mr Lee described Dr McNaughtan as being "as game as Ned Kelly" in his approach, but "laudable as Ghandi" in championing the rights of oppressed people.

"I think it was just his deep-seated compassion for fellow human beings," Mr Lee said.

"He was first alerted to the Timor problem when he was working as a general practitioner in Darwin and was treating Timorese refugees and noticed all the torture marks and psychosis effects from torture."


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