Subject: Media Release: New ETHRC report
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 1999 13:11:50 -1000
From: ethrc <ethrc@minihub.org>

EAST TIMOR HUMAN RIGHTS CENTRE 124 Napier St Fitzroy 3065 Australia PO BOX 1413 Collingwood 3066 Australia Tel: +61 3 9415 8225 Fax: +61 3 9415 8218 E-mail: ethrc@minihub.org Chair: Bishop Hilton Deakin Director: Ana Noronha

MEDIA RELEASE 17 August 1999

Human Rights in East Timor: Indonesia Defies UN & the International Community

The first half of 1999 has seen an alarming escalation of human rights violations in East Timor. The East Timor Human Rights Centre (ETHRC) today launched a new report detailing this serious rise in violations between January to June 1999. The report also provides a critical assessment of the current security situation in East Timor in the lead up to the August 30 consultation ballot on autonomy and analyses where the Indonesian government has failed and continues to fail to meet with its international obligations.

Ana Noronha, Executive Director of the ETHRC said, "The increase in violations came after two major political developments concerning East Timor's future was delivered. The period following President Habibie's January 27 commitment to allow the East Timorese people to vote on an autonomy package, and the signing of the UN Accords on May 5 for the UN to conduct a popular consultation has been marked with serious violations, mostly committed at the hands of pro-Indonesian militia groups which are supported by the Indonesian army".

One of the most alarming atrocities documented by the ETHRC during the first six months of 1999 was the early April Liquica massacre where at least 46 civilians were extra-judicially executed and 56 people were seriously injured. The ETHRC is also concerned with the alarming trend of the increase in the number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP's) living in life-threatening conditions.

"Thus far, Indonesia has failed in its obligations to protect civilians. It has also failed to protect humanitarian relief workers and UN personnel from attacks by the Indonesian army backed militias. This pervasive climate of intimidation and human rights violations diminishes the opportunity for civilians in East Timor to exercise their right to register and vote which was guaranteed by Indonesia under the UN Accords", said Ms. Noronha.

While the work of the United Nations Assistance Mission to East Timor (UNAMET) has been positive in maintaining a semblance of peace in some places of East Timor, the Indonesian army and other perpetrators of human rights violations in East Timor are still acting with impunity. Thus far, Indonesia has defied the UN and the international community. The ETHRC calls for more international pressure to be exerted on the Indonesian government to comply with its international obligations. "Only when the people of East Timor legitimately exercise their right to self-determination through a free and fair election, can there be any real peaceful solution to this long running conflict", stated Ms. Noronha.

For further information or to obtain a copy of the report, contact:

Ana Noronha Executive Director Tel +61 3 9415 8225 E-mail: ethrc@minihub.org

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