|Subject: CONG: House members write Albright on
Date: Sat, 22 May 1999 10:10:59 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <email@example.com>
Congressional Press Releases
May 12, 1999, Wednesday
AGAINST MILITIA VIOLENCE IN EAST TIMOR
BARNEY FRANK , REPRESENTATIVE , HOUSE , KEY HOUSE HUMAN RIGHTS LEADERS URGE STATE DEPARTMENT TO ACT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MAY 11, 1999 KEY HOUSE HUMAN RIGHTS LEADERS URGE STATE DEPARTMENT TO ACT AGAINST MILITIA VIOLENCE IN EAST TIMOR
On Friday, a bipartisan group of 9 Members of Congress wrote to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright pressing for concrete action by the United States to help stop paramilitary violence in East Timor. , Militia groups reportedly backed by the Indonesian military are advancing a campaign of terror and violence aimed at keeping pro- independence East Timorese from voting in an August referendum on autonomy for East Timor.
This has generated concern from many members of Congress, who over the past several months have signed letters to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and President Clinton calling for an immediate introduction of UN and other international observers into East Timor and urging the United States to use its influence to insist that the Indonesian government disarm and remove the militia troops from East Timor.
However, recent reports by relief workers, human rights groups, and Western military analysts confirm that vicious attacks by the paramilitary units are continuing. The militia groups have reportedly created a death list of leaders of the pro- independence movement., and in certain areas, large numbers of East Timorese are being relocated and held captive to assure a vote against independence.
Key human rights leaders in the House of Representatives wrote to Secretary Albright last Friday to request a meeting with the State Department to learn "what specific actions the U.S. has taken to assure that the people of East Timor can vote on independence in an atmosphere as free of intimidation as possible, so that an accurate expression of East Timorese opinion is possible."
Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) said, "The Portuguese government has been taking the lead in the fight to defend the rights of the people of East Timor, and we believe it is long overdue for the United States government to become full participants in this effort."
In addition to Frank, the letter was signed by Reps. Tony Hall (D- OH)- Patrick Kennedy (D-RI)- Nita Lowey (D-NY)- James McGovern (D- MA)- Joseph Pitts (R-PA); John Porter (R- IL), co-chair of the House Human Rights Caucus- Christopher Smith (R-NJ), chairman of the International Relations Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights, and Frank Wolf (R-VA), an Appropriations Subcommittee chairman.