Subject: AFP: Timor becomes 191st country to sign up to Geneva Conventions

Agence France Presse

June 6, 2003 Friday

Timor becomes 191st country to sign up to Geneva Conventions

GENEVA, June 6

East Timor, which became the newest nation on the planet in 2002, has joined the Geneva Conventions on human rights in time of war, Red Cross officials said Friday.

East Timor, the tiny half-island and former Portuguese colony, was engulfed in violence when it voted for independence from its Indonesian occupiers in 1999 when Indonesian-backed militias and the military rampaged through the territory.

At least 1,000 people are estimated to have died and whole towns were burnt to the ground.

Now East Timor has become the 191th member of the Geneva Conventions after sending in its accession letters to the Swiss authorities last month.

The four conventions deal with improving the fate of those wounded in the armed forces; regulating armies at sea; the treatment of prisoners of war and the protection of civilians.

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