and Report from first demonstration at Indonesia Mission
to the UN
Human Rights Protest at Indonesian U.N. Mission Press Release
- Dec 9, 1991.
Emergency Action Coalition on East Timor
On Tuesday, December 10, representatives of organizations
involved with human rights and social justice will take their
concerns about continuing repression in East Timor to the
Indonesian Mission to the United Nations. If a requested 1:00
p.m. meeting with Indonesian officials is not granted, the
representatives will picket outside the Mission from 1:00 to
2:00. At 2:00, human rights activists will conduct a press
conference in front of the Mission, which is at 325 East 38
urge Indonesia to allow outside
investigators to visit East Timor, so that
witnesses can speak without fear and the
world can learn what really happened in Dili
on November 12. The killings and arrests
must stop, and East Timor must determine its
own political future. The United Nations and
the United States are also responsible.
As part of International Human Rights Day, the organizations
will express strong opposition to recent killings in East Timor,
which has been occupied by the Indonesian military since
December 7, 1975. In that time, close to 200,000 of the
territory's 700,000 people have been killed.
On November 12, 1991, Indonesian troops fired U.S.-supplied
M-16s into a memorial service in Dili, the capital of East
Timor, killing 100-200 people. Several foreign journalists
(including Allan Nairn of the New Yorker magazine and Amy
Goodman of WBAI radio) witnessed and filmed this slaughter,
which has generated widespread outrage, including a U.S.
Congressional resolution, a cutoff of Dutch aid to Indonesia,
boycotts by Australian Labor unions, and calls for an
investigation by the European Community and many other entities.
Indonesian officials deny responsibility, blaming the massacre
at various times on the mourners, Portugal, human rights
workers, or the media, and calling for the "extermination" of
Timorese people who express discontent with Indonesia's military
rule. The Indonesian government is conducting an internal
"investigation," but has refused to allow United Nations, press,
non-governmental, or other impartial observers to investigate
the November 12 slaughter. Authoritative sources report
continuing killing and imprisonment of witnesses.
Charles Scheiner, of National Mobilization for Survival,
expressed the human rights concerns: "We urge Indonesia to allow
outside investigators to visit East Timor, so that witnesses can
speak without fear and the world can learn what really happened
in Dili on November 12. The killings and arrests must stop, and
East Timor must determine its own political future. The United
Nations and the United States are also responsible: the U.N.
should enforce 1975 and 1976 General Assembly resolutions which
invalidate Indonesian rule in East Timor; and the United States,
which supported the Indonesian invasion from the beginning,
should suspend military and economic aid to Indonesia, which
receives more than $50 million of our tax dollars every year."
In addition to Mobilization for Survival, the delegation will
include representatives from the War Resisters League, the
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, the National
Committee for Radiation Victims, the Campaign for Peace and
Democracy, Sane/Freeze International, and several other human
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REPORT: DEMO AT INDONESIAN U.N. MISSION DEC. 10.
by Charles Scheiner
On December 10, 17 demonstrators picketed and leafletted
outside the Indonesian Mission to the United Nations in New York
City from 1 to 2 pm. The peaceful demonstrators, carrying signs
saying "Stop the Killing," "No More Massacres," "Indonesia out
of East Timor,' and "Stop U.S. Aid to Indonesia" also chanted
and called out to passers-by.
Although press had been alerted, no media showed up. The
Indonesian Mission, which had been asked a week earlier for a
meeting at this time, was clearly bothered by our presence.
Although they refused to let me in the door at 1:00, at 1:45
someone came out to invite me in, and I had a cordial
conversation with a Third Secretary who gave me some press
releases and explained that nobody there was authorized to
discuss substantive matters. The Ambassador is away until the
16th, and the ranking Minister/Counselor had decided to stay at
the U.N. during the lunch break (not surprising, since she knew
we were coming).
The picketers, who came from the Westchester People's Action
Coalition (WESPAC), the War Resisters League, Mobilization for
Survival, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom,
SANE/Freeze International Office, and other groups, are
committed to further public action in support of East Timor and
to pressure the U.S. government to oppose Indonesia's
The leaflet which was distributed had Anthony Lewis' "Realism
and Evil" column on one side, and the following text on the
International Human Rights Day.
There are no human rights for people in East Timor, which
the Indonesian military has brutally occupied for sixteen
years. On November 12, the Indonesian army shot their
U.S.-supplied M-16's into an unarmed, peaceful, memorial
They killed over 100 mourners and severely beat several
foreign journalists. Since then, they have killed and
arrested dozens of witnesses. They still refuse to allow
impartial international investigators into East Timor to see
Since 1975, Indonesia has been responsible for the deaths of
200,000 people -- one-third of the population -- in East
Their Mission to the United Nations is at 325 East 38
Street, New York City, 10016. Visit, write, or call them at
Demand that they stop arbitrary murder and imprisonment of
people in East Timor. The United States provides Indonesia
with $50 million each year, including weapons and military
Our government has not questioned their occupation and
genocide. Write Secretary of State James Baker III, 2201 C
Street, NW, Washington DC 20520. Insist that the U.S.
support U.N. resolutions calling for Indonesian withdrawal
and internationally-supervised self-determination for East
Timor's political future.
Our country needs money to help our own people, not to kill
others far away. Write your Congressperson at House of
Representatives, Washington, DC 20515, and Senators Daniel
Moynihan and Alfonse D'Amato, Washington, DC 20510. Call
them at (202)224-3121. Urge them to suspend all aid and
weapons sales to Indonesia until East Timor is safe and
on Dec.11. wrote:
First, a report on the demo at New York. About fifteen
people showed up. We picketed and leafleted outside the
Indonesian mission to the UN for about an hour. Prior to the
demo, Charlie Scheiner had requested a meeting with the
Indonesians but could not get a response. After about 45 minutes
someone from the mission came out and asked for Charlie. Charlie
talked to them for something like fifteen to twenty minutes but
they didn't say much. He thought they were upset that we were
having the demo.
Read reflections on ETAN's
REALISM AND EVIL
"Abroad at Home" column on the New York Times op-ed page by
Anthony Lewis, December 6, 1991.
ago this week Indonesian troops invaded East Timor, a Portuguese colony on
an island north of Australia. They crushed the local independence movement,
which was about to take over as Portugal left, and annexed the territory.
The United States turned a blind eye to that bloody act, and to years of
murderous repression that followed. So did the other major powers. Indonesia
had a free hand, and used it cruelly. Of the 750,000 people in East Timor,
between 100,000 and 200,000 were killed or died of hunger and disease.
Why have we done nothing about such massive inhumanity? Why have we not put
pressure on Indonesia, a recipient of much American aid?
Whenever I asked such questions over the years, State Department officials
told me that it was not "realistic" to object loudly and strongly to
Indonesia's butchery in East Timor. That would only anger President Suharto
and his Government, they said. The best hope was quiet diplomacy -- not to
get Indonesia out of the territory but to persuade it to behave more
The effectiveness of that "realistic" policy was demonstrated last month in
Dili, the Timorese capital. At 8 A.M. on Nov. 12 Indonesian soldiers fired
without warning into a group of young people marching into a cemetery to
protest other killings. The Roman Catholic Church said that more than 100
This massacre was different from others in East Timor in one important
respect: Western journalists were there and saw it. Two American writers
walking alongside the marchers were themselves injured. A courageous British
television cameraman filmed the whole thing. The footage, which was shown in
part by CBS in this country, is grisly viewing.
Indonesian authorities said the soldiers had fired "in fear of their lives."
But that and other evasions were unpersuasive in the face of testimony by
witnesses that it was a deliberate, unprovoked massacre.
President Suharto appointed a commission to investigate. But a commission of
Indonesians is hardly likely to persuade anyone of its good faith.
What is needed right now -- urgently needed -- is obvious. It is to have
observers from the outside world on the scene in East Timor to check on the
human rights situation and prevent any further loss of life.
The need is urgent because reports filtering out since the massacre say that
military repression and brutality are worse than at any time since the 1975
East Timor is small and far away. Indonesia has counted on that -- counted
on the world not caring. It has closed the territory to outside visitors for
most of the times since 1975.
The United States of all countries should care, and act. For it has had a
responsibility from the beginning.
The day before Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975, President Ford and his
Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, were in Jakarta, the Indonesian
capital, while on an Asian tour. Mr. Kissinger knew that the Indonesians
might well move on East Timor, but he chose not to warn them against
invading. Brent Scowcroft, who was President Ford's national security
advisor then, later explained why:
"It was fundamentally a matter of recognizing reality. ... It made no sense
to antagonize the Indonesians. ... East Timor was not a viable entity."
The Indonesian forces used arms received from U.S. aid in the invasion --
which violated American law. That was pointed out to Mr. Kissinger in a
cable sent to him from the State Department while he was abroad. When he got
back, he excoriated his aides for letting the cable go out.
"I know what the law is," Mr. Kissinger told a meeting of top State
Department officials on Dec. 18, 1975, "but how can it be in the U.S.
national interest for us to ... kick the Indonesians in the teeth?"
So far, such "realism" has permitted the death of up to 200,000 people in
East Timor. More are dying all the time.
Indonesia has no legitimate reason to be in East Timor at all -- no more
than Iraq had to be in Kuwait. American policy should be to end the
occupation. But the immediate requirement is to get international observers
on the ground and stop the killing.