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The following press release was distributed in Bahasa Indonesia and English in Dili on July 4 by the East Timor Alliance for an International Tribunal, in connection with a rally, march and demonstration to the residence of the United States Ambassador to East Timor, where a party to celebrate U.S. Independence Day is scheduled.



Happy Independence Day of the United States of America

(July 4, 2005)

From: East Timor National Alliance for an International Tribunal

Allow us, East Timor civil society organizations that form the East Timor National Alliance for an International Tribunal, to congratulate the United States on its 229th Independence Day. We celebrate this day to remember the freedom that the United States gained from colonialism, a colonialism that oppressed its people. After attaining independence, the United States developed into a great nation that is well known throughout the world, because of its long-standing claim to represent freedom, democracy and human rights.

On this historic day, we would like to remind everyone that there are actions of the United States government that violate the same principles that are so highly regarded by the people of the United States.

As members of East Timorese society, we witnessed and experienced serious human rights violations. In struggling for justice feel that is important for the people and the Government of United States to support processes for justice both for us as the people of Timor Leste and for the International Community.

However, we have not yet seen the United States demonstrate substantive support for justice for the crimes that we experienced in 1999, as well as throughout the Indonesian military occupation, even though those crimes clearly violated international law. We emphasize that justice is essential to our development as a democratic nation.

The United States government is increasing its support for the Indonesian military (TNI), which continues to perpetrate serious human rights abuses. Many TNI officers who committed or commanded serious crimes that destroyed East Timor in 1999 are still officers; many have even been promoted since then. Military operations that are rife with human rights abuses continue, as does the Indonesian military structure that allows for military interference in civil affairs.

At this time, we continue to learn of new human rights violations by TNI in Indonesia, particularly in Aceh and West Papua. We are also dismayed by reports of human rights violations by U.S. and allied troops in Iraq and other countries. The United States Government is still not taking action to end impunity and support world peace.

On this happy day, allow us to convey our congratulations to the people of the United States by encouraging them and their government to return to the basic values of respecting human rights and deriving their mandate from the consent of the governed which are the foundation of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. We urge the United States to

  • Support efforts to establish an International Criminal Tribunal for East Timor by the United Nations, with responsibility to try perpetrators of serious crimes.
  • Cease military aid, training and weapons sales to the TNI, and urge the Indonesian government to respect human rights in Indonesia and stop protecting perpetrators of serious crimes, as well as to find peaceful solutions to the crises in Aceh and West Papua.
  • Together with the international community and the United Nations, fight to end impunity for serious human rights violations around the world and to create peace.

Thank you.

For more information see Human Rights & Justice page and U.S.-Indonesia Military Assistance page




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