|United Nations A/AC.109/2111/Add.1
Distr.: General 30 June 1998
Special Committee on the situation with regard to the Implementation
of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples
East Timor Working paper prepared by the Secretariat
1. The change in leadership in Indonesia on 21 May 1998, when Mr. B. J. Habibie took
over the reins of the Government from President Suharto, was followed by renewed calls for
an early solution to the issue of East Timor. Immediately after Mr. Suharto's resignation,
the National Council of the Timorese Resistance (CNRT) called for the immediate and
unconditional release of Xanana Gusmão and for the organization's "effective
participation" in ongoing United Nations-sponsored talks between Indonesia and
Portugal.1 Student demonstrations were organized in Dili and Jakarta. On 10 June, more
than 3,000 students gathered on the grounds of the University of East Timor calling for a
full and free referendum.2 On 12 June, more than 1,000 East Timorese protested at the
Indonesian Foreign Ministry Office in Jakarta, calling for a referendum, the release of
East Timorese political prisoners and the implementation of United Nations recommendations
on human rights in East Timor. It was reported that police broke up the rally, herding
people onto buses that were driven away under police escort. Three youths were reportedly
injured, while three female students sought medical treatment at a Jakarta hospital.
Military officials have confirmed that many were detained for questioning at a military
camp in Cibubur outside of Jakarta.3
2. On 27 May 1998, Mr. Christopher Smith, Chairman of the United States House of
Representatives Subcommittee on Human Rights met with Xanana Gusmão in the Jakarta
prison. Mr. Smith said he had given President Habibie a letter signed by 15 members of
Congress calling for political prisoners to be freed and a dialogue on the political
status of East Timor. In Canberra, newspaper reports quoted Australian Foreign Minister
Alexander Downer as saying that Gusmão's release would contribute toward resolution of
the East Timor issues and that the East Timorese should be given "a much greater say
in the management of their own affairs".4 On 20 June 1998, a spokesperson for the
Portuguese Foreign Ministry stated "it is indispensable that representatives of the
people of the territory take part in negotiations with the Untied Nations and that its
population takes part in an internationally supervised, democratic referendum".5
3. On 16 June 1998, security forces shot two East Timorese youths in Manatuto, about 63
miles east of Dili, as the two youths were loading wood into a truck. Herman das Dores
Soares, age 21, died en route to the hospital. The following day, hundreds of students and
youths seized the provincial assembly building in Dili protesting the killing and
demanding that the Commission on Human Rights investigate the case. In Jakarta, some 400
East Timorese demonstrated at the Indonesian Justice Ministry. The military has publicly
apologized for the shooting. Agence France-Presse quoted Col. Mudjino, deputy chief of the
East Timor military command, as saying "I have ordered a thorough investigation. We
have apologized to the family, to the bishop and the public in general". He added
that the soldier was being questioned by military police and that action would be taken
against him according to the law.6
4. At the European Union summit held at Cardiff, Wales, on 15 and 16 June 1998, the
Cardiff European Council issued presidency conclusions which included the issue of East
Timor. The document states:
"The European Council discussed the implications of the present situation in East
Timor. It recalls the importance of a just, global and internationally acceptable solution
and reaffirms its support of the efforts being made under the auspices of the United
Nations Secretary-General to that end. It further calls on Indonesia to respect human
rights and fundamental freedoms and calls for the release of all political prisoners,
including those from East Timor, and agreed to continue to press for the early release of
Xanana Gusmão. The European Council underlines the importance of continuing assistance to
East Timor in accordance with the European Union's common position."
5. On 12 June 1998, 12 political prisoners were pardoned by President Habibie.7 A total
of 15 East Timorese political prisoners have been released since Mr. Habibie took over the
presidency in May.8 On 20 June, some 50 members of the East Timorese Students and Youth
Association (Impettu) were allowed to visit jailed leader Xanana Gusmão on the occasion
of his birthday.9
6. On 10 June 1998 at the United Nations, the Spokesman of the Secretary-General said
that the Secretary-General was encouraged by the beginning of a more determined dialogue
towards the resolution of the question of East Timor. He also welcomed the news that
President Habibie had signed a decree for the release of 15 political prisoners and hoped
that it would lead to the release of all other East Timorese political prisoners.10 On 18
June, the Spokesman of the Secretary-General stated that Mr. Alatas, Minister for Foreign
Affairs of Indonesia, had met with the Secretary-General at the request of President
Habibie. The Spokesman said Mr. Alatas had brought some important proposals on East Timor,
which the Secretary-General had considered as "marking an important development in
7. The Indonesia news agency Antara quoted Mr. Alatas as stating that Indonesia was
ready to grant "restricted partial autonomy" to East Timor. Excluded from such
autonomy would be foreign affairs, finances, defence and security. Reports also stated
that President Habibie had rejected a referendum request that had been made by an
independence movement. Government officials in Jakarta argued that such a referendum would
only sharpen the conflict between both sides of the East Timor independence issue.12
8. The visit of the European Union Troika to East Timor was marred by violence on 29
June, after a man was killed in a shooting incident. Reports indicate that the incident
occurred when Indonesian intelligence agents following the envoys' convoy fired at a crowd
of pro-independence demonstrators who had attacked their car, pelting it with rocks. At
least five others were reportedly injured. Another death occurred on 28 June. Reports
stated that Indonesian troops broke up a clash between opposing demonstrators trying to
get to Dili to make their views known to the European Union ambassadors. The ambassadors
from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Austria and the Netherlands
decided to cut short their visit and returned to Jakarta. A statement issued by the United
Kingdom said "we very much regret the death of Orlando Marcelino da Costa" and
"we have asked the authorities to carry out a full investigation into the incident to
ensure that those responsible are made accountable".13
1 Agence France-Presse, 22 May 1998.
2 Associated Press, 10 June 1998.
3 Associated Press, 12 June 1998; M2 Communications, 16 June 1998.
4 International Herald Tribune, 28 May 1998.
5 Agence France-Presse, 20 June 1998.
6 Deutche Presse-Agentur GmbH, 17 June 1998; Reuters, 17 June 1998; Agence
France-Presse, 17 June 1998; The Washington Post, 18 June 1998.
7 Associated Press, 12 June 1998.
8 Agence France-Presse, 17 June 1998.
9 Agence France-Presse, 20 June 1998.
10 Daily press briefing of the Office of Spokesman for Secretary-General, 10 June 1998.
11 Daily press briefing of the Office of Spokesman for Secretary-General, 18 June 1998.
12 Deutche Presse-Agentur GmbH, 24 June 1998.
13 Agence France-Presse, 30 June 1998.
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