East Timor Vote Anniversary - Interviews Available

Published: Mon 28 Aug 2000 01:02 PM
JOHN M. MILLER, (718)596-7668, (917)690-4391; Media and Outreach Coordinator, East Timor Action Network. Miller was an accredited observer with Parliamentarians for East Timor of the August 30 U.N.-organized plebiscite. Miller said, "Indonesia's passage of a constitutional amendment foreclosing prosecution for past human rights abuses is a crippling blow to efforts to hold the Indonesian military accountable for past crimes in East Timor. An international tribunal is needed to give the victims of military and militia violence in East Timor their day in court. Indonesian prosecutors should be invited to join the effort, but it is international law, not the shell of Indonesian law, that must apply."
Miller can also arrange interviews with journalist ALLAN NAIRN, who is traveling but available by phone. Nairn was one of the last journalists to remain in East Timor last September as the destruction of the country escalated. He was arrested and detained by the Indonesian authorities for ten days before international pressure secured his release. He is a survivor of the November 1991 Santa Cruz massacre in Dili, East Timor and an expert on U.S. military assistance to Indonesia.
LYNN FREDRIKSSON, (202)544-6911; Washington Representative of the East Timor Action Network. Earlier this year, Fredriksson testified before Congress about her trip to assess first-hand the security and humanitarian situation in East Timor ( Fredriksson said , "One year after the Indonesian military (TNI) and its militias leveled East Timor, the government of Indonesia either can't or won't stop TNI support for militias violating East Timor's borders, attacking peacekeepers and UN relief personnel, and blocking over 100,000 East Timorese refugees from repatriation. For the U.S. administration to provide any form of assistance to the Indonesian military at this time is to contribute to the unraveling of Indonesia's fragile democratization, to betray its commitment to genuine self-determination in East Timor, and to violate the intent of Congress in withholding aid to human rights abusers."
KAREN ORENSTEIN, 202)544-6911;, co-leader of spring 2000 fact-finding trip to West Timor ( Orenstein said today, "A full year since East Timor's independence vote, over 100,000 East Timorese refugees remain in Indonesian West Timor, many of them trapped in militia-controlled camps. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has recorded over one hundred attacks on humanitarian workers and refugees, including a recent militia assault which seriously injured three staff and led to the suspension of all UNHCR assistance to the camps. The Indonesian government must fulfill its repeated pledges to end Indonesian military support for militias and to disarm and disband them. Militia leaders must be removed from the camps, arrested for the criminals that they are and extradited to East Timor to stand trial."
MATTHEW JARDINE,, (510)643-4507;; co-founder, La'o Hamutuk, The East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis; author, "East Timor: Genocide in Paradise." Jardine said, "While the international community has made strides in helping East Timor, the associated resources are woefully insufficient given the trauma the country has suffered. By making UN Transitional Administration in East Timor a governing mission, rather than an assistance mission, the United Nations and the international community have effectively disempowered the East Timorese and arguably undermined the long-term capacity of the society. What is lacking is a sufficient commitment to justice within the United Nations and among the world powers, one that would ensure that those guilty for East Timor's suffering are held accountable, and thus provide the closure and the compensation needed for East Timor to heal and rebuild."
DR. DAN MURPHY, (651)699-9451 Physician running a clinic in Dili, East Timor. Dr. Murphy is the longest-serving Western doctor in the territory. Murphy returned to East Timor in September with the peacekeeping troops after having been prevented from returning to East Timor by Indonesia a month and a half earlier. Dr. Murphy said, "East Timor has begun to stabilize from last year's total devastation. The challenge is to bring the best health care to the people in the villages. The U.N. transitional administration has yet to show they are up to the task, but the people of East Timor who have suffered so much deserve nothing less."
INGE LEMPE, (773)230-4464,, Accredited International Federation for East Timor observer of last year's vote where she overheard evidence of military direction of the militia. She recently finished working with a local community development organization in East Timor. Lempe said, "The Indonesian militaries 'scorched earth' departure from East Timor leaves -- even a year later -- most East Timorese scratching to make to make a living. The U.N. and other international organizations seem more concerned with their own standard of living, rather than with helping East Timor. Most youth are without jobs and lack skills. Most of the money spent in East Timor goes to foreigners gambling on making a quick buck. The East Timorese feel themselves as onlookers rather than partners with the UN-mission." end
John M. Miller Internet:
Media & Outreach Coordinator, East Timor Action Network
48 Duffield St., Brooklyn, NY 11201 USA
Phone: (718)596-7668 Fax: (718)222-4097
Mobile: (917)690-4391
Web site:
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