Subject: HRW: Suspend All Non-Humanitarian Aid Until Militias Brought UnderControl
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 1999 07:15:18 -0700 (PDT)
From: (TAPOL)

Received from Joyo Indonesian News

"What are the donors waiting for? Unless these thugs are put behind bars, many more people are going to be killed, and the whole referendum process could literally go up in smoke."

Sidney Jones Asia Director of Human Rights Watch

East Timor: Suspend Aid Until Militias Brought Under Control

(September 1, 1999, New York)—In the wake of a new militia attack near United Nations headquarters in Dili, East Timor on Wednesday night, Human Rights Watch called for immediate suspension of all military training and assistance programs to the Indonesian army until there is some evidence that it is making a serious effort to bring its proxy militias under control. The international monitoring organization called for all non-humanitarian aid, both bilateral and multilateral, to be halted as well and only resumed when some of the key militia leaders responsible for violence are behind bars.

"What are the donors waiting for?" asked Sidney Jones, Asia director of Human Rights Watch. Jones noted that the militias have been terrorizing East Timor with absolute impunity for nearly eight months. "Unless these thugs are put behind bars, many more people are going to be killed, and the whole referendum process could literally go up in smoke." she said.

Nearly 99 percent of the eligible voters in East Timor turned out for the historic referendum on Monday, despite widespread violence and intimidation by the Indonesian army-backed militias. The results of the referendum are expected to be announced next week, and many people in East Timor are worried that the militias will try to burn the ballot papers. The ballot boxes are all under guard in a museum in the Comoro district of Dili, close to the headquarters of UNAMET, the United Nations Mission in East Timor.

The violence on Wednesday seems to have started around 4:00 p.m. when members of the Dili-based Aitarak militia attacked a group of independence supporters, many of them people displaced by earlier violence, just outside the U.N. compound. In that attack, one person identified by a local journalist as Jorges Francisco Bonaparte, nineteen, died from machete wounds. There were conflicting reports as to whether he was a militia member or an independence supporter. The militia also set fire to a nearby house and kiosk.

Some seventy members of the Indonesian Mobile Police Brigade (Brimob) who were accompanying a U.N. convoy from Maliana district to the UNAMET compound, were able to bring the situation under control.

East Timorese reached by Human Rights Watch called the attack part of a concerted "psy-war" against UNAMET. From the outset, the militias have accused the U.N. mission of supporting the pro- independence side, and they are clearly worried that the huge turnout on Monday will produce a vote in favor of an independent state.

In an earlier, post-referendum attack, an East Timorese UNAMET worker was killed in the coffee-growing district of Ermera, possibly along with two others although their deaths remain unconfirmed. Journalists in East Timor have also been targeted.

The accusations against UNAMET are being echoed in Jakarta's newspapers, with an editorial in the leading Muslim paper, Republika, on Tuesday accusing the U.N. of trying to undermine the Indonesian nation. It accused Australia and the U.S. in particular of wanting East Timor independent for their own strategic purposes.

For more information: Sidney Jones (New York) (w) +1 212 216 1228

Related Material More Deaths Inevitable in East Timor Unless Donors Act, August 99

TAPOL, the Indonesia Human Rights Campaign 111 Northwood Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey CR7 8HW, UK Phone: 0181 771-2904 Fax: 0181 653-0322 email: Internet: Campaigning to expose human rights violations in Indonesia, East Timor, West Papua and Aceh

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