|Subject: SMH: UN told of gang rape, abductions
Date: Fri, 02 Jul 1999 09:06:44 +0000
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Received from Joyo Indonesian News:
Sydney Morning Herald 30/06/99
EAST TIMOR UN told of gang rape, abductions
By CRAIG SKEHAN, Herald Correspondent in Dili
An international delegation has presented first-hand accounts to the United Nations mission in East Timor of alleged rapes by members of pro-Jakarta militia and the Indonesian military.
The 13-member group from the Asia-Pacific Coalition for East Timor, including two Australian representatives, cited one case in which a 22-year-old woman told of being gang raped by 15 men on May 15.
The woman was allegedly taken from her home in Ermera, in the western part of East Timor, by members of a local militia and five Indonesian soldiers. The account named an Indonesian officer who was alleged to be involved.
"We were also informed of the situation of 11 women, including one 14-year-old, kept in military posts in Ermera," a statement released by the delegation yesterday said.
"Fifty-nine others from another village of the same regency [district] were reportedly distributed every night to different military posts."
An Irish human rights lawyer, Ms Patricia Kelly, said statements of victims had been passed to the UN mission in East Timor helping to prepare for August's independence referendum. Ms Kelly, who was an adviser to the delegation, said she expected the UN to take the cases up with Indonesian authorities. However, the UN spokesman Mr David Wimhurst said there was a "mountain" of allegations which were being assessed and collated and specific cases were not necessarily raised with Indonesian authorities.
Mr Wimhurst said he was aware human rights abuse claims were accumulating with no results forthcoming from Indonesian police investigations as yet.
"That in itself will not stop the [referendum] process from moving forward," he said.
Ms Kelly said the UN mission in East Timor was limited by a mandate which only allowed it an advisory role on law and order issues in the lead-up to the referendum.
However, another member of the delegation said the UN should be doing more to press Indonesian police to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of human rights abuses.
The Asia-Pacific Coalition for East Timor is made up of non- government organisations from seven countries including Indonesia. The groups actively campaign for East Timor independence.