|Subject: DPA: East Timor political factions sign
campaign code of conduct
Date: Sat, 14 Aug 1999 10:13:48 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Note: The text of the Code of Conduct can be found at http://www.un.org/peace/etimor/etimor.htm
August 9, 1999, Monday, BC Cycle
East Timor political factions sign campaign code of conduct
Representatives from East Timor's rival political factions on Monday agreed to commit themselves and their supporters to a peaceful referendum campaign in the lead-up to a self-determination ballot scheduled for August 30.
At a United Nations-organised ceremony, Leandro Isaac of the National Council for Timorese Resistance and Domingos Soares, the head of the United Front for Indonesian Autonomy (BRTT) signed the accord in the presence of senior U.N., Indonesian, Portuguese, church and police officials.
"I hope we have taken an important step towards a peaceful and successful campaign," said Ian Martin, head of the U.N. Assistance Mission in East Timor (UNAMET).
Campaigning for the referendum is due to start on Saturday and the signatories have signed to "accept the officially validated outcome of the popular consultation, in accordance with the Main Agreement of 5 May 1999."
The code of conduct contains several key clauses related to freedom of speech. "All participants shall enjoy the fundamental right to a fair ballot, including the freedom to campaign," it said. "All participants shall respect the right and freedom of all other participants to campaign and to disseminate their political ideas and principles without fear," it added.
More than 150 people, mostly pro-independence supporters have been killed due to pro-Indonesian militia violence in East Timor since January.
The code also warned supporters of both sides to respect reporters and refrain from harassment or obstruction of journalists.
After signing, Isaac said he acknowledged the good-will of both sides in agreeing to the details contained within the code of conduct. He said: "There can be no peace (in East Timor) without a fair solution."
Commenting on behalf of the BRTT, Soares acknowledged that the code did not commit the rival parties to disarmament and he appealed to supporters on both sides of East Timor's political divide to "comply with the regulationscontained in the Code of Conduct."
Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 after a sudden pullout by former colonial power Portugal left a power vacuum.
Indonesia incorporated East Timor as its 27th province in 1976 but the move was never recognised by the U.N. dpa md bo