Subject: JP: Bishop Belo registers for East Timor direct ballot
Date: Sat, 07 Aug 1999 09:51:33 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <>

Received from Joyo Indonesian News:

Jakarta Post 02 August 1999

Bishop Belo registers for East Timor direct ballot

DILI, East Timor (JP): Influential Catholic leader Carlos Felipe Ximenes Belo signed up on Saturday for the August self-determination vote and encouraged the rest of East Timorese to follow suit in the remaining four days of the registration period.

Belo, the Dili Bishop and a colaureate of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize, registered with poll officials at a state elementary school compound in East Dili.

"I call on all East Timorese to register themselves for the direct ballot because it will determine their future. The international community hopes to see us settle our problems," Belo said of the planned ballot on Aug. 30. Doubt on the necessary security measures ahead of the ballot initially planned for Aug. 8 was a main factor which led the United Nations, who are sponsoring the ballot, to postpone the vote.

Belo did not vote in the June 7 general election, which saw an overwhelming turnout with the ruling Golkar Party topping the vote count in the province.

But this time he has lashed out at people who opt to boycott the upcoming poll, which will determine whether the former Portuguese colony remains a part of Indonesia with greater autonomy or becomes independence.

"Never think of a poll boycott because it is an undemocratic act. If we snub the direct ballot, we are the losers. On the contrary, those who take part will win the vote," he said.

Belo gave an excuse for not participating in the general election, saying that he was doubtful that legislative candidates listed by the General Elections Commission represented their constituencies in the province.

"I did not know who I should vote for, nor their programs. They always looked as if they were good boys in front of me, but they spoke of different things behind me," he said.

Belo urged the UN Mission in East Timor (UNAMET), as well as the East Timorese, to work together to fight intimidation and terror within the time remaining. He did not elaborate.

"Only if we can stop the violations, can we exercise our right to vote in a free, fair, honest and democratic manner," he said.

Later in the day, Belo met with the Japan Arch Bishop who visited the troubled province on a solidarity mission.

Chief of UN registration office, Carina Berelli, was quoted by Antara on Saturday as saying, "If someone doesn't register for the coming ballot, it means he is letting go of a golden opportunity."

UNAMET will not open additional registration posts but it will add personnel to allow more East Timorese to register, Berelli said.

UNAMET head in East Timor, Ian Martin, said on Friday that up to the 15th day of registration, about 300,000 East Timorese had registered.

Meanwhile, registration at UNAMET's Lisbon office had reached 1,383 by Friday.

"There are several East Timorese who live in other European countries who could not come to Lisbon to register because of financial reasons," Djafar Hussein, chief of Indonesian observer team for UNAMET's Portugal office said.

In Dili a man was killed on Sunday, identified as Angelino Amaral, 24. He was said to have been shot by two gunmen, members of prointegration militia groups.

Crowds reacted by burning down the house of a militia member.

Angelino was shot before dawn on the street near his home in the Taibesi neighborhood after his motorcycle collided with another, carrying the two men, witnesses said.

Angelino, a bank employee, died of three gunshot wounds. Before he was brought to the San Antonio clinic of the Motael church his family said the victim told his brother-in-law the names of his killers.

On learning of the identity of one of the killers, crowds approached his house and stripped off doors and windows of the semi-permanent building before they set it on fire.

Dili police chief Lt.Col. Hulman Gultom said he could not confirm the identity of the gunmen. (amd/33/05)

Back to August Menu
Human Rights Violations in East Timor
Main Postings Menu