site menu spacer Fall River, Massachusetts, to Passes Resolution Condemning Indonesian Occupation of East Timor

The city of Fall River, Massachusetts passed a resolution in support of self-determination for East Timor on Tuesday, January 26. It is one of a series of towns in the state to do so. Below is the press release ETAN issued before the vote and the text of the resolution. The vote in the City Council was unanimous.

For immediate release January 25, 1999
Contact: Kevin Costa, (508) 673-8212
John M. Miller (718)596-7668

Fall River, Massachusetts, will consider a resolution in support of human rights and self-determination for Indonesia-occupied East Timor on Tuesday, January 26th. The resolution was introduced by City Councilmember Steve Walsh and will be considered by the full council at Wednesday evening, at the Fall River government center. A public hearing will begin after 7 p.m. and the full council is expected to vote after 8 p.m.

The proposed Falls River resolution condemns the Indonesia's 1975 invasion and ongoing occupation of the former Portuguese colony. It calls on the U.S. government to take "a more active, determined and defined leadership role in supporting East Timor's" rights and urges support for State Rep. Antonio Cabral's and State Sen. Marc Pacheco's legislation which would regulate Massachusetts contracts and investments with companies doing business with companies in Indonesia. It also urges direct East Timorese participation in onging UN talks on the territory. These talks, between Portugal and Indonesia, are scheduled to resume later this week.

Brookline passed the first Massachusetts resolution on East Timor, May 27, 1998. Dartmouth, Massachusetts'. Board of Selectmen passed a similar resolution in support of East Timor on December 21, 1998. Tisbury, Westport, Fairhaven and Littleton have passed also passed resolutions in recent weeks in an growing campaign by Massachusetts communities to go on record against Indonesia's illegal occupation.

Last July, the Cambridge City Council approved a resolution which regulates city contracts with companies involved in the ongoing Indonesian occupation of East Timor. The City of Cambridge will no longer do business with any companies which have sold military equipment to Indonesia, or have been drilling or prospecting for oil or natural gas in East Timorese waters.

Since Indonesia's invasion of East Timor in 1975, an estimated 200,000 East Timorese--or one-third of the population--have died as a result of the Indonesian occupation. Violations of human rights, including rape, extra-judicial execution, torture, and disappearances, continue in East Timor.

Text of FALL RIVER (Massachusetts)
Sponsored by Steven M. Walsh

WHEREAS, Indonesia violently invaded East Timor on December 7, 1975, nine days after East Timor was granted its independence from Portugal; and

WHEREAS, the Indonesian military invasion and occupation is responsible for the death of more than 200,000 East Timorese, a genocide of at least one-third of the original 1975 East Timorese population; and

WHEREAS, the government of Indonesia persists in its unlawful military occupation of East Timor and in the commission of systematic human rights violations against the East Timorese people, including arbitrary arrest, rape, torture and summary execution as documented by Amnesty International and the United States State Department and further reports of the systematic violation of East Timorese women's right to life and security of person through forced birth control and forced abortions; and

WHEREAS, the violent and brutal Indonesian occupation is ongoing as evidenced by the November, 1991 massacre, conducted by the Indonesian military, of an estimated 180 East Timorese protesters and more than 100 witnesses of the murders, in Dili, East Timor, and by 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

WHEREAS, the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Security Council have approved ten resolutions among other things deploring the Indonesian aggression, calling on the Indonesian government to withdraw its forces from East Timor without delay, and recognizing and reaffirming the East Timorese people's inalienable right to self-determination and independence.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the City of Fall River calls upon the United States to rectify this injustice

1 By taking a more active, determined and defined leadership role in supporting East Timor's right to self-determination and basic human rights, and by demonstrating clear and outspoken support for East Timor from the President and the Secretary of State and the State Department;

2. By receiving East Timor's 1996 Nobel Laureate Dr. Jose Ramos Horta at the White House;

3. By declaring the right of States, cities and towns to measure the moral character of its business partners in determining with whom it seeks to have business relationships by supporting the restrictive purchases of goods, services, or commodities from any company or corporation, that conducts business with Indonesia; and be it further

RESOLVED that the City of Fall River calls upon the United Nations to include the East Timorese in the UN sponsored dialogue between Portugal and Indonesia regarding the political future of East Timor, and be it further

RESOLVED that the City of Fall River calls upon President William Jefferson Clinton, Vice President Albert Gore, the State Department, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Stanley Roth, our United States Senators Edward M. Kennedy and John Forbes Kerry, and our Congressional Representatives Barney Frank and James McGovern to take active leadership roles and strong, determined and steadfast action in condemning the illegal Indonesian occupation of East Timor and supporting East Timor's right to self determination and basic human rights, and be it further

RESOLVED that the City of Fall River encourages Senator Thomas Norton, Representatives Robert Correia, Michael Rodrigues, David Sullivan, and all Massachusetts state senators and representatives to support legislation filed by State Representative Antonio Cabral (D-New Bedford) and State Senator Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton) which would regulate Massachusetts contracts and investments with companies doing business in Indonesia; and be it further

RESOLVED that the City of Fall River encourages and advocates surrounding cities and towns to pass similar resolutions supporting East Timor; and be it further

RESOLVED that the City Clerk be and hereby is requested to forward a copy of this resolution to President Clinton, Secretary of State Albright, President Habibie of Indonesia, the Embassy to the United States of the Republic of Indonesia, the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation, State Senate President Thomas Birmingham, Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives Thomas Finneran, and East Timor's 1996 Nobel Laureates Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo and Dr. Jose Ramos Horta.