INDEPENDENT NEWS

Landmark NZ documentary on East Timor gets showing

Published: Thu 29 Jul 1999 12:50 AM
Matt Robson MP hosts showing of Punitive Damage in Beehive Theatrette tonight.
'It is my pleasure and honour to host this land mark documentary on the case of New Zealander Helen Todd winning punitive damages against the Indonesian military for the death of her son, Kamal. I remember hearing of the now infamous Dili Massacre in 1991 and being absolutely outraged and horrified for the people of East Timor. It was very sad to hear a New Zealander was one of the victims.
'It is also very sad that very few New Zealanders know of the atrocities which regularly occur to one of our nearest neighbours, East Timor. I believe this film will help educate and inform people of this tragedy and hope it inspires some action.
'Don McKinnon has repeatedly been asked by myself and Phil Goff to investigate the death of Kamal Bamadhaj but has done little more than raise the issue in diplomatic conversations with Indonesia's Foreign Minister, Ali Alatas. In fact Australia has done more to investigate the deaths of New Zealanders than our governments has, by investigating the deaths of 5 journalists, including New Zealander Gary Cunningham murdered by Indonesian military in 1975. While Ali Alatas maintained that they were caught in cross fire, it is now generally accepted that they were targetted and murdered deliberately to incite fear into other journalists trying to show the world of the horrors occurring in East Timor at the hands of the Indonesian military.
'Punitive Damage is a story of personal tragedy, and of triumph in exposing the atrocities committed in East Timor. The court case also creates an important precedent in a growing global trend to bring international human rights violators to trial.
'Amnesty international have been working hard to let the public know about such injustices occurring around the world and I am proud to be hosting this event as their Parliamentary representative.
'The atocities in East Timor continue today. Rogue militias are still terrorising the people and have support from the Indonesian military. The referendum is likely to be delayed as this violence is interfering with people's ability to register to vote in the referendum on their autonomy. We must support their right to vote' said Matt Robson MP.
ENDS

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