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Dartmouth Town Resolution
Resolution passed by the town of Dartmouth

About the Dartmouth HS ETAN chapter
How you can organize locally and form an ETAN chapter

Letter that went to all the Dartmouth selectmen before presentation of the resolution -

December 21, 1998
Town of Dartmouth

Dear Esteemed Selectman:

The activists of the East Timor liberation cause wish to first thank you for your valuable time regarding this matter. The purpose of this letter is to briefly outline the goals of this initiative so as to answer any preliminary questions regarding the matter and save time at the actual presentation. As you have undoubtedly noticed from the literature that should have been provided to you, this is not a typical issue handled by town politics. In fact, many would call it a waste of time and effort. Indeed, we, the student activists, have no preconceptions of what this resolution will accomplish in terms of concrete reform. What we do see this as is a building block, a necessary first step in bringing heightened awareness towards the actions of the Indonesian Government. Locally, we hope this trend of intolerance will manifest into further town and regional actions. This, we hope, will put pressure on congressional representatives and then in turn on the executive branch of this country. Eventually, we hope to have Indonesia's actions publicly condemned and have East Timorese activist and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta received at the White House. This, we believe, would be the breaking point of the Indonesian atrocities, as was the case in the matter of British-IRA negotiations.

The matters stated above involve political matters as complicated as they are grave, and no doubt much thought must accompany you as you, the selectmen of this community, decide what, if any, actions are necessary to be taken by this community. While pondering, I urge you to remember several things.

First of all, the continued U.S. support, involvement, and inaction in this situation. As stated in the information packet, the actions of the United States range from casually looking the other way to actually selling arms and training to Indonesian troops for use in East Timor. As United States citizens, we cannot stand for such gross and outrageous abuses of our tax-supported armed services in aiding and abetting campaigns of terror against innocent civilians.

Secondly, you must put aside the notion that this is not the realm of local politics, or issues of this scale are not within reach of small town lobbying and campaigns. Historically, local actions have often matriculated into national policies and issues. Though perhaps naive, we firmly believe that the actions of a few can effect the many. As aforementioned, a very feasible route toward national change may occur, stimulated by the actions of towns like Dartmouth.

Finally, we now allude to the quote situated atop the page: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." The immortal words of the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we now must remember not just our obligations as citizens, but as human beings. Dr. King rightly saw how the perpetuation of injustice would lead to the disregard of basic human rights everywhere, including our own nation. The actions of the Indonesian government show an imminent and volatile threat to our own rights as people. As both human beings and Americans seeking to further the ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we must take it upon ourselves to stand up for our fellow human beings. I entreat you, fathers and mothers of Dartmouth, to support this very worthy cause.

The Dartmouth High School ETAN Chapter

Dartmouth Town Resolution

Whereas Indonesia violently invaded East Timor on December 7, 1975, nine days after East Timor declared its independence from Portugal;

Whereas 60,000 East Timorese died in the first weeks of the illegal Indonesian occupation;

Whereas 200,000 people of a population of less than 700,000 (nearly one-third of the population) have died as a result of the Indonesian occupation;

Whereas Indonesia's occupation has been one of arbitrary arrest, rape, torture, and summary execution as documented by Amnesty International and the United States State Department and there have further been reports of forced birth control and forced abortions in East Timor;

Whereas the violent and brutal Indonesian occupation is ongoing as evidenced by the massacre, conducted by the Indonesian military, of an estimated 273 East Timorese protesters on November 12, 1991 in Dili, East Timor and by the reports concerning the village of Alas, East Timor in which it is suspected that dozens of East Timorese were killed by the Indonesian military between November 9 and November 19, 1998 and the village remains sealed off to this day preventing outside contact so as to confirm such abuses perpetuated upon the East Timorese.

Whereas the United Nations has condemned the Indonesian occupation in ten separate resolutions;

Whereas after Indonesia grandly announced a major troop withdrawal from East Timor in June of 1998, thousands of fresh Indonesian troops would arrive in East Timor in August of 1998;

Whereas East Timor's 1996 Nobel Laureates Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo and Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta have affirmed the severity and brutality of the ongoing Indonesian occupation;

Whereas the United States has played a negative role, in supporting the Indonesian occupation, militarily, economically, and diplomatically; now therefore be it

Resolved: That the town of Dartmouth condemns the brutal human rights abuses perpetrated upon the East Timorese by the Indonesian government and military; and be it further

Resolved: That the town of Dartmouth supports East Timor's right to self-determination and supports an internationally supervised referendum on East Timor's political future, so that the East Timorese may determine their own political future; and be it further

Resolved: That the town of Dartmouth calls upon the United States to rectify its involvement in regards to this injustice by 1. Taking a more active, determined and defined leadership role in supporting East Timor's right to self-determination and basic human rights 2. Demonstrating clear and outspoken support for East Timor from President Clinton, Secretary of State Madeline Albright, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Stanley Roth and the State Department 3. Receiving Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta at the White House, so as to support the East Timorese in their struggle for human rights as people and self-determination as a nation; and be it further

Resolved: That the town of Dartmouth calls for a UN monitored troop withdrawal of all Indonesian soldiers from East Timor, and be it further

Resolved: That the town of Dartmouth requests a permanent UN human rights observer in East Timor; and be it further

Resolved: That the town of Dartmouth demands Indonesia to free Xanana Gusmao and all the other estimated 200 East Timorese political prisoners; and be it further

Resolved; That the town of Dartmouth asks its Congressional Representative, James P. McGovern to cosponsor H.R. 4874 (The International Military Training Transparency and Accountability Act) sponsored by Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ); and be it further

Resolved; That the town of Dartmouth requests East Timorese, including members of the Maubere Resistance Movement, participation in the UN sponsored tri-partite dialogue between Portugal and Indonesia regarding the political future of East Timor; and be it further

Resolved: That the town of Dartmouth calls upon President William Jefferson Clinton, the State Department, Madeline Albright, Stanley Roth, our United States Senators, the Honorable Edward M. Kennedy and the Honorable John Robert Kerry and our Congressional Representative, the Honorable James P. McGovern to take active leadership roles and strong, determined and steadfast action in advocating and seeking to realize these resolutions; and be it further

Resolved: That the town of Dartmouth encourages and advocates surrounding communities and cities to pass similar resolutions supporting East Timor; and be it further

Resolved: That the town of Dartmouth supports and advocates that our State Representative John Quinn support any future state legislation condemning the illegal Indonesian occupation of East Timor and supporting East Timor's right to self-determination and basic human rights, including any such legislation sponsored by Rep. Antonio Cabral (D-New Bedford); and be it further

Resolved: That the town of Dartmouth advocates that our State Representative John Quinn and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts support the East Timorese and take the leadership steps necessary to ensure that the United States government supports, acts upon and works to realize such said resolutions; and be it further

Resolved: That the Town Clerk be and hereby is requested to forward a copy of this resolution to President Clinton, Secretary of State Albright, Assistant Secretary of State Stanley Roth, President Habibie of Indonesia, the Embassy to the United States of the Republic of Indonesia and to the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation and Nobel Laureates Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo and Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta.