Swedish East Timor Committee 
Gabriel Jonsson, Chairman


Petition to the United Nations
Special Committee on Decolonization

5 July 2000

We welcome the UN role in the decolonization process for East Timor. The resounding vote for independence in the popular consultation held on August 30 effectively heralded the end of the struggle for a free East Timor. However, the legacy of the brutal 24-year long Indonesian occupation and the effect of the violent aftermath of the consultation will last for a long time. We believe that to give the world’s newest nation a good beginning it is necessary for the international community to pressurise the Indonesian government to expedite this process.

Two urgent tasks in the process of nation-building are to establish the truth behind the violence during 1999 (and between 1975 and 1998, although perhaps in a later stage) and to repatriate an estimated 100,000 (or more) East Timorese still remaining in West Timor. Without a just solution to these two issues, we cannot expect progressive developments either within East Timor or with East Timor’s relations with Indonesia. We believe that the establishment of a court in Indonesia would be a most important contribution to democratization, but it would have to be an internationally recognized court to guarantee fair trials. With so many East Timorese still in West Timor it is hard to imagine the formation of a new nation without tension. Reports about developments in East Timor during the seven-month period of UNTAET rule underline that further problems must not be added to complicate an already huge task of national construction.

East Timor, through the mass media, has become a well-known issue. In Sweden, solidarity work for East Timor has intensified during the past few years and it has been remarkably successful. The Swedish foreign minister welcomed encouraging reports while condemning the outrages and atrocities during 1999. Furthermore, the Swedish government worked for an extension of the EU arms embargo against Indonesia (which expired on January 17). Finally, the Swedish government has provided emergency aid as well as development aid to East Timor after the August 30 popular consultation.

To summarise, given recent developments in East Timor, we would like the Commission to highlight the following issues:

The establishment of an internationally recognized court in Indonesia to charge the officers and officials responsible for the violence during 1999

The immediate repatriation of East Timorese nationals still remaining in West Timor

The need for support from the international community for nation-building.

Thank you.

Charles Scheiner National Coordinator
East Timor Action Network/US
P.O. Box 1182
White Plains, New York 10602 USA
For information on East Timor write info@etan.org

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