The following was faxed to the U.N. Ambassadors of all the Security Council countries, together with IFETıs August 30 letter to the Secretary General.

International Federation for East Timor (IFET) letterhead
September 15, 2000

Dear Excellency,

As you know, the situation for East Timorese refugees and others in West Timor is increasingly perilous.

We appreciate the strong resolution unanimously passed by the Security Council last Friday, and encourage you to continue your efforts to protect people there. They are in great danger, since virtually all international aid workers have withdrawn following last weekıs murders.

We, like you, are troubled by the Indonesian government's defiance of the international community with its effort to discourage the Security Council from sending a mission to Indonesia and East Timor. We hope that you will press ahead, and not be deterred by elements of the Indonesian government who condone the violent, illegal and bloody militias who continue to terrorize people in West Timor.

A year ago, the IFET Observer Project was among many who urged the United Nations to take strong action to control pro-Jakarta militias who were wreaking havoc in East Timor. Throughout August and early September, we reported to the U.N. on the threatened and then actual destruction they were inflicting on the East Timorese people. Unfortunately, the international community waited while the Indonesian government stalled -- first denying the problem, then purporting to handle it themselves by martial law. It was only when the Security Council took the initiative to send a mission and act on its findings that the Indonesian government began to cooperate, and InterFET was finally able to bring peace to East Timor -- after 3/4 of the population had been displaced and 3/4 of the buildings burned or razed.

We are in a similar situation today, and the international community is again being manipulated by the Indonesian military. We must insist that you not abandon the 100,000 East Timorese people in West Timor once again. They have spent the last twelve months as miserable refugees because the United Nations hesitated in 1999. Hesitation at this time could mean their deaths.

In addition to proceeding with your mission, we urge you to begin the process of establishing an International Tribunal to try those guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity in East Timor. We have attached a letter we sent to the Secretary General on August 30, spelling out how such a tribunal will deter current and future militia violence. The murder of three UNHCR workers the week after we wrote the letter is a sad postscript.

A tribunal is essential to restore the rule of law to a corner of the world which has suffered so greatly from illegal military and paramilitary violence over the past quarter-century. As members of the human community, the people of East Timor deserve at least that much.

Thank you for your consideration and perseverance.


Charles Scheiner
U.N. Representative

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