Subject: PET Statement on UN Ballot in E Timor
Date: Wed, 1 Sep 1999 11:40:11 EDT
From: JohnM85747@aol.com

Parliamentarians for East Timor Summary of Observation of U.N. Ballot in East Timor

The East Timorese people have voted. The August 30th vote was a historic moment for the East Timorese and a historic step toward achieving the long-delayed goal of self-determination to which East Timor is entitled under international law. Parliamentarians for East Timor was impressed by the commitment and determination of the East Timorese people as they voted on their political status. They came out in massive numbers, defying threats and intimidations, to exercise their franchise under the UN agreement.

UNAMET personnel, both local and international, acted with dedication, efficiency, and professionalism in implementing what we believe to be a flawed process. Now that the voting is complete, crucial and dangerous days lie ahead, both before and after the results are announced and before and after the transition to East Timor's new political status (whether autonomy or independence) begins. We expect the UN and the international community to devote enough resources, both material and political, to see this process through to a peaceful conclusion. Ballot day was only the beginning.

Parliamentarians for East Timor (PET) was founded in 1988 to support self-determination for the East Timorese people. This is a summary of the views of members of the PET's observer delegation as well as those participating in official delegations. Parliamentarians compiling this summary report came from Australia, Britain, Finland, Japan, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Philippines, Scotland and European Union. Individual delegations and parliamentary observers will also be submitting their own detailed observations to UNAMET in the coming days. We intend to discuss what we have seen with our parliaments and governments.

The UN Agreement We wish to congratulate all parties involved on the agreement which lead to yesterday's direct ballot on the future East Timor. The UN Agreement that established the consultation process has flaws. There was little time for basic voter education. The main flaw in the agreement involved leaving the Indonesian police in charge of security during the consultation period. Parliamentary observers saw instances where the police responded late or not at all to security threats or violent action, in some cases deliberately ignoring obvious threats to security. Leaving Indonesia. in charge of security contributed to a climate of fear as the Indonesian security forces are mistrusted.

While UNAMET is not leaving and preparations are under way to change its mandate to reflect the outcome of the vote, many have the impression that UNAMET will be devoting far more substantial resources to post-ballot security than the UN Security Council resolution actually stipulates.

The process, managed by the UN, should have anticipated the violence and allowed for armed peacekeepers to step in as Indonesian troops were withdrawn. Instead, despite Indonesia's assurances, there were misleading withdrawals by the TNI and Indonesia's military deployment in East Timor remains extensive.

Despite the limitations of its mandate, UNAMET did an outstanding job.

Campaign Period The campaign period was characterized by systematic campaign of violence and intimidation of the pro-independence side and of harassment against UNAMET local staff. In a number of areas, the pro-independence side had offices destroyed and were unable to campaign openly. In violation of the UN Accords, Indonesian government officials, police and military were actively involved in the campaign on the pro-autonomy side. This meant an extremely unlevel playing field, suppressing the pro-independence public campaigning. The rules of campaigning were seriously flouted.

Polling Day The turnout on August 30 is a testament to the extraordinary commitment and courage of the East Timorese people. People lined up despite intimidation in some areas (several parliamentary observers saw voters being heckled as well as witnessing the remnants of houses burnt as a warning the voters). Specifically, in Gleno, parliamentary observers watched voters return to line up to vote soon after a violent militia attack had dispersed them. We also saw armed police within 200 meters of polling stations including within voting rooms, while a breach of the voting rules, we saw no evidence of intimidation or blocking of people from voting by police.

Additionally, some Timorese UNAMET staff were deployed in their home areas against the agreed to terms of the UN agreement of implementation, placing them at risk.

Recommendations 1) Security over the coming weeks is crucial. East Timorese and Indonesian forces opposed to the UNAMET process or its result, may use this interim period, before a transition mechanism to East Timor's new political status is in place, to carry out repeated threats to attack and kill pro-independence leaders and supporters and UN personnel. While many threats may prove empty, many are at risk. Too many have already died and East Timor needs peace to rebuild its shattered society. Therefore we urge, that the international presence both UN, governmental and NGO be expanded not shrunk. We see the expansion of CivPol and Military Liaison officers as an important steps and their numbers should be further increased. They must be visible throughout all of East Timor. We will encourage our own governments to keep their CivPol here and to increase their numbers. A particularly dangerous time will be after the declaration of the result. The Indonesian government and military must be held responsible for any loss of life and breach of security. Government officials from Jakarta who say they will honor the outcome must be present to ensure that their representatives do so as well. There are signs of militia activity in attempting to prevent Timorese people from entering the airport the day after the poll.

The international community must take quick action to pressure the Indonesian government to honor its pledge to respect the wishes of the East Timorese people and to facilitate a peaceful transition to East Timor's new political status. Unfortunately, what we have seen gives us little confidence that either the TNI or Polri will work actively to help maintain security during this period. In too many cases the Polri have stood by, acting late or not at all to incidents. We have heard much evidence of active collaboration between the military and its militias. Even so we hold Jakarta responsible for disarming and disbanding the pro-integration militia which are clearly the creation and tools of the elements of the Indonesian military. We must be clear that future military and economic assistance to Indonesia must be conditional on its living up to its promises concerning East Timor.

2) The quick deployment of an international police or peacekeeping force is essential. In the interim, UN police must be given greater authority during the transition period.

3) We note that local UNAMET staff are especially at risk. The international community must guarantee immediate protection of both international and local Timorese UNAMET staff.

4) Indonesia, working with the UN, must work to assure public services and administration are not disrupted during the coming period. Indonesians of goodwill who wish to remain and join in building a new East Timor without discrimination should be encouraged to do so. Their rights must be respected.

5) The international community must ensure that those responsible for any acts of violence will be called to account. An investigation into past crimes against the people of East Timor will be a necessary part of building East Timor's future.

6) We urge Falintil and other pro-independence forces to maintain their discipline and keep their ceasefire. The cantonment of all weapons must continue and be expanded.

7) We expect Indonesia to keep its promise to release the leader of East Timor, Xanana Gusmao and urge the prompt release of all East Timorese political prisoners, so all can return to East Timor to work for peace and reconciliation which we acknowledge he has already pledged to do.

8) Planning for a smooth economic transition to a new status must begin now. We encourage all parliaments to begin now to look at what resources their governments and inter-governmental bodies can contribute to build East Timor. In the short-term, humanitarian agencies must have unhindered access to the territory as part of the UN transition plan. Standards of living, life expectancy and child health are low and help must be provided to effect improvements.

9) There must be specific attention to protecting Timorese women from the military and militias.

Dili, August 31, 1999

Please note that national delegations should submit their own factual observations of polling day events which they witnessed to UNAMET. Parliamentarians for East Timor Suite 116, 5929-L Jeanne D'Arc Blvd. Orleans, ON K1C 7K2 CANADA Ph. 1-613-822-1227; Fax: 1-613-834-2021; pet@web.netParliamentarians for East Timor Summary of Observation of U.N. Ballot in East Timor

The East Timorese people have voted. The August 30th vote was a historic moment for the East Timorese and a historic step toward achieving the long-delayed goal of self-determination to which East Timor is entitled under international law. Parliamentarians for East Timor was impressed by the commitment and determination of the East Timorese people as they voted on their political status. They came out in massive numbers, defying threats and intimidations, to exercise their franchise under the UN agreement.

UNAMET personnel, both local and international, acted with dedication, efficiency, and professionalism in implementing what we believe to be a flawed process. Now that the voting is complete, crucial and dangerous days lie ahead, both before and after the results are announced and before and after the transition to East Timor's new political status (whether autonomy or independence) begins. We expect the UN and the international community to devote enough resources, both material and political, to see this process through to a peaceful conclusion. Ballot day was only the beginning.

Parliamentarians for East Timor (PET) was founded in 1988 to support self-determination for the East Timorese people. This is a summary of the views of members of the PET's observer delegation as well as those participating in official delegations. Parliamentarians compiling this summary report came from Australia, Britain, Finland, Japan, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Philippines, Scotland and European Union. Individual delegations and parliamentary observers will also be submitting their own detailed observations to UNAMET in the coming days. We intend to discuss what we have seen with our parliaments and governments.

The UN Agreement We wish to congratulate all parties involved on the agreement which lead to yesterday's direct ballot on the future East Timor. The UN Agreement that established the consultation process has flaws. There was little time for basic voter education. The main flaw in the agreement involved leaving the Indonesian police in charge of security during the consultation period. Parliamentary observers saw instances where the police responded late or not at all to security threats or violent action, in some cases deliberately ignoring obvious threats to security. Leaving Indonesia. in charge of security contributed to a climate of fear as the Indonesian security forces are mistrusted.

While UNAMET is not leaving and preparations are under way to change its mandate to reflect the outcome of the vote, many have the impression that UNAMET will be devoting far more substantial resources to post-ballot security than the UN Security Council resolution actually stipulates.

The process, managed by the UN, should have anticipated the violence and allowed for armed peacekeepers to step in as Indonesian troops were withdrawn. Instead, despite Indonesia's assurances, there were misleading withdrawals by the TNI and Indonesia's military deployment in East Timor remains extensive.

Despite the limitations of its mandate, UNAMET did an outstanding job.

Campaign Period The campaign period was characterized by systematic campaign of violence and intimidation of the pro-independence side and of harassment against UNAMET local staff. In a number of areas, the pro-independence side had offices destroyed and were unable to campaign openly. In violation of the UN Accords, Indonesian government officials, police and military were actively involved in the campaign on the pro-autonomy side. This meant an extremely unlevel playing field, suppressing the pro-independence public campaigning. The rules of campaigning were seriously flouted.

Polling Day The turnout on August 30 is a testament to the extraordinary commitment and courage of the East Timorese people. People lined up despite intimidation in some areas (several parliamentary observers saw voters being heckled as well as witnessing the remnants of houses burnt as a warning the voters). Specifically, in Gleno, parliamentary observers watched voters return to line up to vote soon after a violent militia attack had dispersed them. We also saw armed police within 200 meters of polling stations including within voting rooms, while a breach of the voting rules, we saw no evidence of intimidation or blocking of people from voting by police.

Additionally, some Timorese UNAMET staff were deployed in their home areas against the agreed to terms of the UN agreement of implementation, placing them at risk.

Recommendations 1) Security over the coming weeks is crucial. East Timorese and Indonesian forces opposed to the UNAMET process or its result, may use this interim period, before a transition mechanism to East Timor's new political status is in place, to carry out repeated threats to attack and kill pro-independence leaders and supporters and UN personnel. While many threats may prove empty, many are at risk. Too many have already died and East Timor needs peace to rebuild its shattered society. Therefore we urge, that the international presence both UN, governmental and NGO be expanded not shrunk. We see the expansion of CivPol and Military Liaison officers as an important steps and their numbers should be further increased. They must be visible throughout all of East Timor. We will encourage our own governments to keep their CivPol here and to increase their numbers. A particularly dangerous time will be after the declaration of the result. The Indonesian government and military must be held responsible for any loss of life and breach of security. Government officials from Jakarta who say they will honor the outcome must be present to ensure that their representatives do so as well. There are signs of militia activity in attempting to prevent Timorese people from entering the airport the day after the poll.

The international community must take quick action to pressure the Indonesian government to honor its pledge to respect the wishes of the East Timorese people and to facilitate a peaceful transition to East Timor's new political status. Unfortunately, what we have seen gives us little confidence that either the TNI or Polri will work actively to help maintain security during this period. In too many cases the Polri have stood by, acting late or not at all to incidents. We have heard much evidence of active collaboration between the military and its militias. Even so we hold Jakarta responsible for disarming and disbanding the pro-integration militia which are clearly the creation and tools of the elements of the Indonesian military. We must be clear that future military and economic assistance to Indonesia must be conditional on its living up to its promises concerning East Timor.

2) The quick deployment of an international police or peacekeeping force is essential. In the interim, UN police must be given greater authority during the transition period.

3) We note that local UNAMET staff are especially at risk. The international community must guarantee immediate protection of both international and local Timorese UNAMET staff.

4) Indonesia, working with the UN, must work to assure public services and administration are not disrupted during the coming period. Indonesians of goodwill who wish to remain and join in building a new East Timor without discrimination should be encouraged to do so. Their rights must be respected.

5) The international community must ensure that those responsible for any acts of violence will be called to account. An investigation into past crimes against the people of East Timor will be a necessary part of building East Timor's future.

6) We urge Falintil and other pro-independence forces to maintain their discipline and keep their ceasefire. The cantonment of all weapons must continue and be expanded.

7) We expect Indonesia to keep its promise to release the leader of East Timor, Xanana Gusmao and urge the prompt release of all East Timorese political prisoners, so all can return to East Timor to work for peace and reconciliation which we acknowledge he has already pledged to do.

8) Planning for a smooth economic transition to a new status must begin now. We encourage all parliaments to begin now to look at what resources their governments and inter-governmental bodies can contribute to build East Timor. In the short-term, humanitarian agencies must have unhindered access to the territory as part of the UN transition plan. Standards of living, life expectancy and child health are low and help must be provided to effect improvements.

9) There must be specific attention to protecting Timorese women from the military and militias.

Dili, August 31, 1999

Please note that national delegations should submit their own factual observations of polling day events which they witnessed to UNAMET. Parliamentarians for East Timor Suite 116, 5929-L Jeanne D'Arc Blvd. Orleans, ON K1C 7K2 CANADA Ph. 1-613-822-1227; Fax: 1-613-834-2021; pet@web.net

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