East Timor Action Network
2002 Annual Report
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For East Timor, 2002 was filled with unparalleled
historic events. In March, the nation’s first Constitution was approved.
Former guerrilla leader and ex-political prisoner Xanana Gusmão was
East Timor’s first president in April. On May 20, United Nations
rule ended and the East
Timorese took charge of their own country. In September, the
Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (its official name – “East Timor”
in Portuguese) joined the UN.
East Timor’s independence captured the attention and imagination of
people worldwide. As the UN flag was lowered and the new country’s flag
raised at midnight on May 19, the survivors of the resistance movement and
the hundreds of thousands killed were honored in a national ceremony held
just outside the capital, Dili. East Timorese remembered their long
struggle in the mountains with the guerrilla forces, in the schools with
the underground student movement, in towns and villages where rape and
torture survivors clandestinely organized, and around the world where East
Timorese exiles educated foreign communities and advocated for their
After Independence Day, East Timorese, Indonesian, North American
(including several ETAN members) and other activists discussed what
international solidarity means for an independent East Timor. The meetings
saw East Timor’s government and civil society representatives agree that
international support remains crucial, without agreeing on what forms it
should take – a sign of a vibrant democracy!
Throughout 2002, ETAN held in-depth consultations with East Timorese
grassroots organizations, asking what our role should be. East Timorese
activists strongly supported ETAN’s work on justice, U.S.-Indonesia
military ties, the refugee crisis and economic and development issues.
They overwhelmingly urged us to make an international tribunal our prime
focus and warned that the need for support for equitable, sustainable
development would only grow. Our East Timorese partners also encouraged
ETAN to expand our work monitoring U.S. institutions in East Timor, and to
facilitate more exchanges of information and people.
2002 also saw some less auspicious events. In May, the newly independent
nation signed the Timor Sea Treaty with Australia, an interim agreement
delineating more narrow sea boundaries for East Timor (and therefore less
of the gas and oil) than would be recognized under international law.
Although additional agreements will be negotiated, Australia is putting
tremendous pressure on East Timor to maintain the current unfair
boundaries, which could result in a loss of tens of billion of dollars in
future revenue for East Timor.
In July, East Timor joined the International Monetary Fund and the World
Bank. East Timor has already come under pressure to take out loans. In
August, the Indonesian ad hoc Human Rights Court on East Timor acquitted
six Indonesian military and police officers of charges of crimes against
humanity committed in 1999, contrary to a wealth of well-documented
evidence. Also in August, East Timor became the third country to sign an
“Article 98” agreement granting immunity to U.S. personnel in East
Timor from International Criminal Court prosecution. In September, all
repatriation assistance programs for the estimated 40,000 East Timorese
still in militia-controlled Indonesian refugee camps ended. And by the end
of the year, more than 1500 East Timorese children, most of them in
Indonesia, will remain involuntarily separated from their parents.
ETAN mobilized grassroots activists to write letters and op/ed pieces,
hold vigils, call and meet with members of Congress, and organize
community events. ETAN chapters in more than 18 cities and 14 states rose
to the occasion, effectively building awareness and support.
Justice and the maintenance of restrictions on U.S.-Indonesia military
ties were ETAN’s major focuses in 2002. We organized a 22-city speaking
tour with Filomena Barros dos Reis, Advocacy Officer for the East Timor
National NGO Forum. Through the tour, ETAN did outreach to women’s
groups and built Congressional support for resolutions calling for an
October’s tragic bombings in Bali, Indonesia, accelerated the Bush
administration’s efforts to resume ties with the Indonesian military.
ETAN took the lead in educating and lobbying members of Congress to
support the maintenance of human rights conditions restricting U.S.
military assistance to Indonesia. While we helped strengthen restrictions
on the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program, the Defense Department
instituted a new “Regional Counter-Terrorism Fellowship” military
training program, which included Indonesia. The fate of restrictions on
the prestigious International Military Education and Training (IMET)
program remains uncertain. ETAN will continue to work with the Indonesia
Human Rights Network (IHRN) and others to ensure the “war on terror”
doesn’t mean renewing ties with the Indonesian military, a force
responsible for numerous acts of state terror against civilian populations
in East Timor, Aceh, Papua and other areas of the Indonesian archipelago.
ETAN launched its first economic
justice campaign in 2002. Working with organizations in East Timor and
elsewhere, ETAN led the International Campaign for a Debt-Free, Structural
Adjustment-Free East Timor. People in 22 donor countries contacted their
governments to press for generous, condition-free grants for East Timor.
ETAN worked with members of Congress and non-governmental organizations to
press Secretary of State Colin Powell and Congressional appropriators to
provide adequate, unconditional support for the new nation. Our work
helped ensure enough assistance for East Timor to avoid loans during its
first year of independence, but we will need to renew the pressure next
year. We continue to monitor international financial institution
activities in East Timor, including the World Bank’s administration of
two trust funds of donor money.
On Independence Day, ETAN
congratulated the East Timorese and promised to continue working for
justice, refugee return, sustainable development and an accurate
accounting of the U.S. role in supporting Indonesia’s invasion and
Funding this important work remains challenging. As ETAN looks forward to
2003 and an increasingly closer partnership with East Timorese
organizations, we are exploring innovative approaches to be able to
continue our work. Please read the following highlights of ETAN’s 2002
activities and generously renew your financial, activist and other support
of our work.
As East Timorese civil society and their government have repeatedly
stated, the need for international solidarity didn’t end with
independence. Challenges remain — the need for an international tribunal
and a humane resolution to the refugee crisis; other challenges are newer
– economic justice, people-centered sustainable development and genuine
self-determination in the face of powerful, often U.S.-led political,
economic and military pressures.
A luta continua – the struggle continues!
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Strengthening U.S. government policy
- Held our ninth annual “ETAN Lobby Days” in June. Forty activists
from 17 states, with friends from Maluku and Aceh, met with 115
Congressional offices. ETAN’s activist lobbyists built support for
an international tribunal and sustainable development for East Timor,
and for maintaining human rights conditions restricting U.S. military
assistance for Indonesia.
- Helped draft and campaigned for numerous letters
from members of Congress to the Bush administration and Indonesian
government officials, on matters including U.S.-Indonesia military
ties, undue UN pressure on East Timor’s new government, keeping East
Timor debt-free, and an international tribunal for East Timor.
- Helped draft and assisted in passage of House
resolutions congratulating the people of East Timor on their
independence and urging administration support for justice and the new
country. The House resolution also contained language on restricting
U.S. military assistance for Indonesia.
- Provided members of Congress with suggested questions for use during
Senate and House hearings with Pentagon and State Department
- Wrote and circulated sample
questions for local activists to ask candidates during November’s
- Worked with the East Timor National NGO Forum to raise the issue of
justice and Indonesian military impunity with U.S. administration
officials, including the Ambassador-at-Large
for War Crimes Issues. These contacts helped put justice for East
Timor on the administration’s agenda.
- Drafted strong recommendations for the U.S. State Department
regarding the 58th session of the UN
Human Rights Commission in Geneva in March and monitored
- Wrote and circulated a detailed
critique of Indonesian non-compliance with the legislated “Leahy”
human rights conditions placed on military assistance for
resumption of military assistance for Indonesia during the foreign
operations and defense department appropriations processes in
Congress. ETAN’s work with U.S. religious and secular organizations,
Indonesian rights groups and members of Congress led to strengthened
conditions on FMF, a new restriction on the licensing of lethal
defense articles for Indonesia, and Congressional efforts to maintain
- Called every House member and delivered information packets to every
Congressional office detailing why the current restrictions on
military assistance to Indonesia must be maintained.
- Built support for House
and Senate resolutions calling for an international tribunal for
East Timor. By the end of the Congressional session, the House
resolution had 64 sponsors, the Senate version 12. Similar legislation
may be reintroduced in the 2003 Congress.
- Held discussions on East Timor with officials from the State
Department, National Security Council, U.S. Agency for International
Development, World Bank, UN and Pentagon.
- Organized a coalition of organizations and worked with members of
Congress to urge the Bush administration to make a generous,
condition-free grant at the May East Timor donors’ conference.
Future pressure will be needed, as U.S. grants are considered
- Briefed Congressional staff prior to trips to East Timor and
Indonesia and helped organize a House briefing on Indonesia and lack
of accountability for 1999’s devastation of East Timor.
- Successfully advocated for continued high levels of U.S. assistance
for East Timor, including a $25 million appropriation in Congress for
reconstruction and nation-building.
- Scheduled Congressional meetings for visiting East Timorese
- Worked with the East Timorese government, members of Congress, State
Department and INS officials to protest new onerous restrictions on
East Timorese applying for U.S. visas. This baseless policy has
hampered educational and cultural exchanges with East Timor. The
administration has indicated a willingness to change the policy.
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Keeping up the Pressure
- Monitored the West Timor refugee
situation and protested the Indonesian government and
International Organization for Migration September
1 cut-off of repatriation assistance for East Timorese refugees.
- Worked with non-governmental organizations based in the U.S.,
Indonesia and East Timor to raise concerns with the UN regarding East
Timorese residing in Indonesia, especially the children separated from
their parents in 1999.
- Sponsored national
days of action, including April 14, East Timor’s first
presidential election, and May 20, Independence Day. Worked with
grassroots activists to capitalize on media coverage of these events.
ETAN members in 18 cities in 14 states contacted media and organized
vigils or parties for Independence Day. The Madison, WI and Berkeley,
CA city councils passed resolutions that honored East Timor’s
independence and called for an international tribunal, attention to
the refugee crisis, and continued U.S. support for East Timor.
- Helped draft, circulate and publicize two public statements calling
for an international tribunal for East Timor. A legal
community statement garnered more than 60 signatories from 12
countries. A women’s
statement highlighting the many atrocities committed against East
Timorese women and girls garnered more than 125 signatories from 14
countries and 22 U.S. states.
- Organized demonstrations and vigils at the Indonesian Embassy and
consulates and elsewhere to protest the lack of accountability for
East Timor atrocities, ongoing rights violations throughout Indonesia
(including those involving U.S.-based petroleum company ExxonMobil),
and East Timor’s refugee crisis. International, national and local
media covered these events.
- Coordinated the International
Campaign for a Debt-free, Structural Adjustment-free East Timor,
including the release of joint alerts with Jubilee USA and the
international Jubilee network. The campaign urged donor nations to
pledge generous, condition-free grants at East Timor’s May donors’
conference and educated on the economic issues facing East Timor.
testimony to Australia’s Joint Standing Committee on Treaties in
July, supporting East Timor’s right to oil and gas resources within
its sea boundaries as determined by international law, and reminding
the Australian government of the importance of these resources to the
- Organized and participated in protests and audience questions at
public appearances by former
Secretary of State Henry Kissinger; called for accountability for
the U.S. role in Indonesia’s 1975 invasion of East Timor and support
for the military occupation.
- Organized, in consultation with groups in East Timor, international,
national and local responses
to the first verdicts announced by the Indonesian ad hoc Human
Rights Court in August. ETAN protested the court’s acquittal of six
Indonesian security officers through statements, the media, lobbying
meetings and letters to administration officials. ETAN publicized
statements by East Timorese organizations and coalitions.
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Providing Resources and Information
- Hosted a February and March cross-country speaking tour on women’s
issues and justice with Filomena
Barros dos Reis of the NGO Forum and REDE Feto (the East Timorese
women’s network). Speaking events took place in 22 cities in 16
- Issued numerous action
alerts received by tens of thousands across the U.S. Increased the
number of organizations redistributing our alerts.
- Wrote and disseminated media
releases, reports and photographs. ETAN answered media queries and
gave interviews on issues and events including military assistance,
Indonesia’s ad hoc Human Rights Court, a debt-free East Timor,
independence, the UN Human Rights Commission, kidnapped East Timorese
children still in Indonesia, the Bali bombing, Secretary of State
Powell’s Asia visit and the U.S. undermining of the International
- Published three issues of the Estafeta,
our national newsletter, including a special independence edition.
- Worked with the National Security Archive to publicize
documents detailing then-President Ford and Secretary of State
Kissinger’s green light to Indonesia to invade East Timor in 1975.
- Assisted several documentary filmmakers with projects including PBS’s
“The Genocide Factor,” “The
Trials of Henry Kissinger” and “East
Timor: Betrayal and Resurrection.”
- Managed several important East Timor and Indonesia email lists,
providing detailed and timely information for hundreds of
policymakers, journalists and activists. For information on how to
subscribe to these lists, send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Enhanced and expanded our web site (www.etan.org),
a frequently-updated source of news and information about East Timor
and U.S. policy in the region. ETAN also maintains the web sites of La’o
Hamutuk, the East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and
Analysis, and the International
Federation for East Timor.
- Added new videos, books, and other resources to our store. For a
full list of ETAN resources, see www.etan.org.
- Provided information for skilled volunteers seeking placements in
- Hosted, coordinated and promoted speaking events for visitors from
East Timor, including Yohan (Bibi Bulak theater and public education
group), Aderito de Jesus Soares (Sa’he Institute for Liberation and
the East Timor Jurists’ Association), and longtime activist and East
Timorese diplomat Constâncio Pinto.
- Wrote and assisted with op-ed pieces, articles, and letters in
local, national and international newspapers. Articles written by ETAN
appeared in a wide range of newsletters and magazines.
- Began organizing a national
speaking tour on economic and international justice issues with
Yayasan HAK Program Director José Luis de Oliveira. The tour has been
delayed until spring 2003 due to new U.S. visa restrictions for East
Timorese men. ETAN continues to protest this new visa policy (see
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Strengthening the movement
- Networked with women’s studies departments, women’s rights
organizations and feminist groups around ETAN’s speaking tour on justice
and women’s issues.
- Traveled throughout the U.S. to increase awareness and strengthen
interest and support in university and community settings. ETAN staff
gave presentations and did outreach in Georgia, Illinois, Kansas,
Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Texas, Washington, DC, Wisconsin
and elsewhere. Led a workshop at the Campus Greens 2002 national
- Worked with Jubilee USA, the international Jubilee network, 50 Years
is Enough Network, Bank Information Center, Development GAP in the
U.S.; Focus on the Global South in the Philippines; and La’o Hamutuk
in East Timor on economic
justice issues. ETAN became a member of the Jubilee USA coalition.
Aderito de Jesus Soares spoke on the keynote panel at the September
Washington, DC “Global Struggles Against the IMF and World Bank”
- Co-founded Kissinger
Watch to promote holding the infamous U.S. war criminal
- Worked with IHRN, School of the Americas Watch, Peace Action,
Amnesty International, Women’s International League for Peace and
Freedom, American Friends Service Committee, and many other local,
national and international peace, religious and social justice groups
to oppose military assistance for Indonesia.
- Leafletted during the April demonstrations in Washington and
November’s demonstration at the School of the Americas.
- Held a national strategy conference in California in January. ETAN
activists from ten states reviewed the current situation in East Timor
and for ETAN, and developed an organizational action plan for 2002.
- Organized a strategy retreat in New York in September to review
organizational and campaign directions.
- Updated ETAN’s chapter
and key contact list and reorganized our steering committee.
- Began working with the NGO Committee on Human Rights at the UN and
the International Commission on Transitional Justice in New York to
more effectively advocate for justice for East Timor.
- Provided information and support to newly interested and existing
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Thinking and acting globally
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Supporting democracy and human rights in Indonesia
- Worked closely with IHRN and other Asia-focused rights groups to
counter the administration’s attempts to make Indonesia a front in
the “war against terror,” raising human rights and accountability
- Assisted a Papuan delegation at the UN, which urged re-examination
of the UN endorsement of the 1969 “Act of Free Choice” used to
justify Indonesia’s annexation of Papua. ETAN
also wrote to the UN requesting a review of the Act.
- Assisted human rights and political leaders from Papua and Aceh to
raise military ties and basic human rights issues with members of
Congress and administration officials.
- Worked with Indonesian civil society, humanitarian and human rights
groups to circulate and publicize their
letter to the U.S. Congress urging maintenance of restrictions on
U.S. military assistance to Indonesia.
- Facilitated a seminar on Aceh at the New School University in New
York in September.
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Financial Report, Calendar Year
At the end of 2002, ETAN/U.S. has two full-time paid staff people,
Washington Coordinator Karen Orenstein and Field Organizer Diane Farsetta,
and one 3/4-time Media/Outreach Coordinator, John M. Miller. We also have
many active volunteers and interns who work without pay. Consequently, we
accomplish much more than most groups with a similar budget. The figures
below consolidate all national ETAN-related work, and are not a formal
financial statement for ETAN, Inc. Local ETAN chapters raise and spend
their own funds.
Financial Report, Calendar Year
Bank charges &
Notes to financial report
1 This report is being prepared in November; many figures
2 Expenses related to grants are the handling fees
charged by our fiscal sponsor.
3 Expenses related to donations are primarily costs of fund
appeal and annual report printing and mailing.
4 The net loss in funds ETAN experienced in 2002 was covered by
funds raised in previous years.
Donations made out to "ETAN/U.S." support our
political advocacy work and are not tax-deductible. Tax-deductible donations
of more than $50 in support of our educational work can be made out to
"The Foundation for International Scientific Cooperation," with
"ETAN/U.S." in the memo line. Donations can be mailed to ETAN’s
Field Office or charged on-line at ETAN’s website, at
ETAN gratefully acknowledges grants during 2002 from eGrants.org, the Leo
J. and Celia Carlin Fund, the Kaplan Foundation, Essential Information, and
the Tides Foundation Rapid Response Fund.
East Timor Action Network/U.S.
read a message from Howard Zinn
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