|Subject: SCMP: Death threats whispered against UN
Date: Sat, 26 Jun 1999 08:58:22 +0000
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Received from Joyo Indonesian News:
South China Morning Post Thursday, June 24, 1999
Death threats whispered
Disenchantment among United Nations personnel in East Timor with Indonesia's role there set in early in their mission to what Jakarta claims is its 27th province.
Now that the UN's relationship with one of the major forces - the pro-Indonesian militias at large in East Timor - has deteriorated to the point where death threats are being whispered against UN spokesman David Wimhurst and the UN is accused of abusing private property during searches for illegal arms.
United Nations staff say the allegations are entirely false and that any perceptions of a UN bias towards a pro-independence mandate are groundless.
A pro-Indonesia group, the Peace and Justice Forum, which includes the heads of some militias, claimed the mission had so far ignored several cases of violence against pro-Indonesia supporters.
It also claimed Mr Wimhurst and other UN staff were "only recruited from among the anti-integration side".
A difficulty for UN staff, along with those journalists who aim for objectivity, is that it is hard to find abuses by pro-independence groups to criticise when the massacres and intimidation by pro-Indonesian groups are so much more apparent.
One of the formative experiences for UN Mission in East Timor (Unamet) chief Ian Martin was probably his trip to Liquica last week with a team of Indonesian and UN officials.
Liquica is where about 30 unarmed worshippers were slaughtered in church in early April. Many of the bodies were never found.
Mr Martin's goal was to check reports about thousands of people being corralled into camps and held under duress, perhaps as part of a technique to disrupt voter registration - and he found more than he bargained for.
He not only saw thousands of displaced persons, but members of the Besi Merah Putih militia training openly beside a cache of homemade weapons.
"That is something obviously we raised with the police," he said.
But his questions were apparently to no avail, as they were unwilling "to acknowledge all the information we have is correct".