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About ETAN

"I think you'll agree with me that the East Timor Action Network (ETAN) not only proved that independence for East Timor was possible but helped make it happen. ETAN harnessed the power of ordinary people in the United States -- people like you and me -- to redirect the policy of the most powerful government in the world. I can't think of a better recent example of grassroots action changing U.S. foreign policy." -- Howard Zinn, Author, A People's History of the United States

"In the United States, the East Timor Action Network was formed... Grassroots efforts resulted in thousands of letters and phone calls to Congress. Military assistance to Indonesia was cut back over its abuses in East Timor against the wishes of successive Republican and Democratic administrations."  -- Amy Goodman, The Exception to the Rulers

Lobby Days May 2000

The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) was founded in November 1991 to support genuine self-determination and human rights for the people of East Timor in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 1960 United Nations General Assembly Resolution on Decolonization, and Security Council and General Assembly resolutions on East Timor.  Our primary focus has been to change US foreign policy and raise public awareness to support justice and self-determination and now genuine independence for East Timor and human rights in Indonesia. In February 2001, ETAN revised its mission statement to reflect East Timor's coming independence.

"To the international solidarity we extend a profound word of thanks from our people. We continue to count on you to receive other forms of support, geared towards alleviating the hardships of our most needy populations and to the strengthening of the ties of friendship among people."
-- President Xanana Gusmao's inaugural speech, May 20, 2002

ETAN has an impressive record of successful advocacy for the people of Timor-Leste and Indonesia.  The depth of ETAN’s experience has provided the organization with the grassroots base, skills, contacts and passion necessary to carry this important mission forward.  The emergence of Timor-Leste as a new nation offers a unique opportunity for the U.S. and the world community to live up to their oft-proclaimed ideals of human rights and democracy.  However, this promise cannot be met without the active solidarity of people in the United States.

ETAN remains unique in the U.S. in its emphasis on support for Timor-Leste and few groups engage in grassroots education and advocacy on Indonesia.  In addition, ETAN plays an essential role by amplifying the voices of East Timorese and Indonesian civil society activists in the U.S. Through its own efforts and in coalition, ETAN provides a much-needed counterbalance to the Bush administration’s military-based foreign policy, in particular its aggressive lobbying for unrestricted assistance to Indonesia’s security forces in the name of the “war on terror.”

ETAN was founded following the November 12 Santa Cruz massacre of more than 270 peaceful protestors in a cemetery in Dili, Timor-Leste. The few western reporters present exposed the brutality of the occupying Indonesian military. ETAN was founded to support Timor-Leste’s right to self-determination and to end U.S. military and political support for the illegal occupation.

In its first year, ETAN succeeded in passing congressional legislation limiting U.S. military assistance for Indonesia. Over the following years, ETAN has conducted more than 15 national speaking tours with Indonesian and East Timorese activists, built a nationwide grassroots network of chapters and individual supporters and helped significantly change U.S. foreign policy. In 1999, ETAN played a key role in organizing the largest international observer delegation to Timor-Leste for their historic independence referendum.  

ETAN’s goals are to ensure the world’s most powerful country respects the human rights of the East Timorese and Indonesians, and to educate, organize and activate people across the U.S. ETAN’s combination of grassroots organizing and political advocacy work has proven to be extremely effective -- the combination of public education, organizing, protest, and grassroots advocacy helped change U.S. policy from one of unquestioning political and military support for the illegal Indonesian military occupation of Timor-Leste to support of the new country.

Mission Statement: (revised May 2005) The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network/U.S. (ETAN) is a U.S.-based grassroots organization working in solidarity with the peoples of East Timor and Indonesia. ETAN educates, organizes, and advocates for human rights, women's rights, societal and economic justice, democracy and genuine self-determination in East Timor. ETAN works for justice for historic and ongoing crimes against humanity, war crimes, and human rights violations in East Timor and Indonesia.

(revised Feb. 2001): The East Timor Action Network/U.S. (ETAN) is a grassroots human rights organization working in solidarity with the people of East Timor. ETAN supports human dignity for all East Timorese by advocating for women's rights, democracy, sustainable development, sound environmental practices, and comprehensive social, legal, and economic justice. To this end, we work to influence the policies of the United States government and international institutions as they relate to East Timor. The history of U.S. support for Indonesia's illegal invasion and occupation of East Timor underlies ETAN's efforts to achieve accountability for those responsible at home and abroad for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed from 1975 on. ETAN is also motivated by the need for continued vigilance to ensure genuine self-determination for the people of East Timor.

What Others Say About ETAN

Special Honors and Awards to ETAN and ETAN activists


John M. iller, President Taur Matan Ruak and Charles Scheiner at awards cermony ETAN's John M. Miller and Allan Nairn, January 5, 2012

Reflections, Reminiscences and Comments on ETAN at 20

Send us your own reflection or reminiscence on ETAN and solidarity

Allan Nairn speaks on ETAN, Santa Cruz Massacre, U.S. Foreign Policy, Occupy Wall Street, global movements, and more

In two talks, Allan Nairn spoke about the successful movement to support East Timor's self-determination and restrict U.S. military assistance to Indonesia and its significance for Occupy Wall Street and today's global movements for justice.Watch the video here

ETAN to Gather in Timor-Leste for Anniversary of Historic Independence Vote (2009)

ETAN Receives John Rumbiak Human Rights Defenders Award (2009)

ETAN Reaffirms and Strengthens Work to Support Timor-Leste (2006)

ETAN Advocacy Days 2005 Report and Pictures

Announcing East Timor and Indonesia Action Network: ETAN Changes Name and Mission Statement; Group’s Current Work and Goals More in Focus (May 2005)

ETAN/U.S. History How the East Timor Action Network was formed and grew in the United States (2002)

10 Years for Justice and Self-Determination -A Decade of ETAN (Spring 2002)

Peace and Change: Solidarity in an Age of Globalization: The Transnational Movement for East Timor and U.S. Foreign Policy (2004)

Open Letter from ETAN to the People of East Timor on Independence (May 2002)

IFET: Role of International Solidarity after Independence (May 2002)

ETAN Annual Reports
; 2002; 2001; 2000; 1999; 1998; 1997; 1996; 1995; 1994; 1993

Annual Reports  in PDF format

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ETAN Contact Information
Local Chapters and Contacts There may be one in your area.
Roster of Speakers in U.S,

Download and distribute ETAN's general leaflet (PDF file)

East Timor/Worldwide Support and Solidarity The word is spreading everywhere.

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Alerts, Media Releases, Key News, Action

Report on ETAN Strategy Conference 2001, January 27-28, 2001 Tempe, Arizona

Read ETAN media releases and statements

Estafeta Online Publication of the East Timor Action Network of the United States

ETAN Statements before the United Nations

ETAN: Statement on Western Sahara Prepared for Delivery to the United Nations Fourth Committee (2009)

ETAN 2000 Petition to the United Nations Committee on Decolonization
ETAN 1999 Petition to the United Nations Committee on Decolonization
ETAN 1998 Petition to the United Nations Committee on Decolonization

ETAN members among observers in Timor for historic 1999 UN vote

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