|Subject: INFID statement on East Timor
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 1999 08:36:32 -0400
INFID is a forum consisting of NGOs from various regions of Indonesia. This statement was issued on the occasion of the "Forum Indonesia XXI" which was held by INFID in Yogyakarta, April 8-10, 1999.
Violence and Terror Will Ruin a Peaceful Resolution to the East Timorese Problem
Yogyakarta, 10 April 1999
Since late 1998, a wave of violence, terror and intimidation against East Timorese civilians has risen ever higher. On April 7, 1999, in the city of Liquica, civilians were shot. The government stated that five were killed in the attack by the pro-integration militia that launched by Besi Merah Putih with support from ABRI and the police, while local social leaders stated that at least 25 individuals were killed. The exact number is difficult to determine before there is an investigation that is independent and complete. Apart from the question about the certainty over number of victims, we are certain in considering this incident as a massacre because the attack was carried out against unarmed civilians who were taking refuge in a church complex.
This brutal action is one out of no less than 53 cases of violence, terror and intimidation since late last year. Based on the data collected by humanitarian organization, the total number of victims up to April 9, 1999 is listed as: more than 40 fatalities, 22 wounded as a result of shooting or attack by other weapons, 77 victims of torture, and 8 victims of arbitrary arrest, and 3 disappearances, and 2 women raped. More than 10,000 people were forced to flee their homes and live in very difficult conditions. The security forces that are supposed to protect the civilians from attacks are, in almost all cases, took no action whatsoever. Not only that, the police forces and ABRI were involved in violent acts that resulted in fatalities.
This wave of violence has increased primarily after the Indonesian government through the Foreign Minister Ali Alatas announced that there was a possibility of a "second option" for the East Timorese people if they refused the offer of wide-ranging autonomy. As is well known, the government repeatedly stresses the worry that there will be a "civil war" if the autonomy offer is refused. This worry has been confirmed by the pro-integration militia who has made it explicit through the mass media that they will make East Timor a "bloodbath" if autonomy is rejected.
The violent actions against the civilians basically disrupt the efforts to search for a resolution to the East Timor problem that is peaceful; it carries all the achievements of negotiations back to point zero. In this context, the security forces share responsibility in allowing, even supporting, the occurrence of violent acts, and further, in helping create a "civil war" in East Timor.
Considering the various problems listed above, we:
1. Condemn the violent acts, intimidation, and terror against the residents of East Timor, all the while claimed to be a part of the effort to "uphold the unity and integrity of the nation", as well as condemn the use of the symbols of our nation, such as the Red and White, for activities that directly contradict the spirit of the nation itself.
2. Demand a thorough investigation by the UN Human Rights Commission of all cases of violence claimed to be "clash among residents" or "civil war."
3. Demand a withdrawal of ABRI troops and disbandment of all armed militia groups, and demand the presence of a UN authorized peacekeeping force that can take concrete steps to stop the violence, terror and intimidation against the civilians.
4. Demand an end to all violent acts against civilians both by pro-integration and pro-independence groups, and support all attempts toward a peaceful, just and thorough resolution to the East Timor problem
This is a collective statement from all of the undersigned.
Yogyakarta, 10 April 1999
Binny Buchori, Executive Secretary
Participants of Forum Indonesia XXI 08-10 April 1999 in Yogyakarta
1. Lembaga Studi Agama Filsafat (LSAF), Jakarta
INFID International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development