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What's Up with East Timor???????

category dublin | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Wednesday April 13, 2005 19:50author by ET

JRH @ UCD, Demonstration supressed in Dili!

April 9, 2005 - East Timorese demonstrators attacked at Santa Cruz cemetery

April 13 - East Timor's Foreign Minister Speaks at UCD

April 9, 2005 - East Timorese demonstrators attacked at Santa Cruz cemetery

Around 200 East Timorese protesters were attacked this morning (April 9) by East Timorese police, including special branch paramilitary forces. The protesters had gathered at the Santa Cruz cemetery, the site of the 1991 demonstration and massacre by Suharto’s military, to commemorate the massacre but also to protest the decision by the government of Xanana Gusmao and Mari Alkatiri to invite President Yudhoyono to visit East Timor. Yudhoyono was scheduled to visit Santa Cruz cemetery.

The police stated that the demonstrators had no permit for a demonstration at the cemetery, although a law requiring such permits had not yet been passed by parliament. After seizing banners and using force to disperse the demonstration, the demonstrators relocated to the offices of the Socialist Party of Timor. They are now sealed off inside the offices of the PST which have been surrounded by police and vehicles from the Rapid Response Unit. The Secretar-General of the PST, Avelino de Silva, told APISC that he had tried tghree times now to enter his office but had been stopped.

Meanwhile inside the offices, students and youth from activist NGOs and from the Socialist Youth Organsaition are putting up a banner outside the office which reads: “No Impunity – Justice for the Victims”.

Now inside the PST office, Tomas Freitas, from the Lao Hamatuk organization, told APISC contacts in Darwin that the demonstration was protesting against the East Timorese government’s policy of “reconciliation” with the Indonesian government, because it involved dropping the demand for an international tribunal to judge human rights violators during the period of the Indonesian occupation.

“Democracy is dead in East Timor,” Avelino told APISC Covenor, Max Lane, by phone. “In Jakarta you can demonstrate against SBY, but they have made him a god here. They have allowed no banners anywhere protesting SBY’s visit but have forced people to put up welcome banners everywhere. When people gathered outside our office just a while ago, they too were dispersed by force.”

For further information contact:
Tomas Freitas: 670 - 724 5063
Avelino da Silva: 670 - 723 7664

MEANWHILE IN DUBLIN

Jose Ramos Horte 1996 Nobel Peace Prize winner, and present Foreign Minister of East Timor, spoke at UCD on Tuesday.

It has been hard to take this peace prize seriously since it was awarded to Henry Kissinger in the '70's. A scepticism enhanced by Peace Prize winners Trimble and Hume welcoming the 2nd. largest arms manufacturer in the world - raytheon - to Derry as part of the "peace process". JRH seems to be beating a similar path.

His speech, consciously ambigious, was one of apologetics for the U.S. invasion of the Iraq. He charactertured the pacifist position by refering "to their Commander-in-Chief, the Dalai Lama who say war never again" (the last three words are actually a quote from Pope Paul 6th.)

He then attempted to take on those who hold an anti-war position who say that war is only valid if it has UN sanction. He refered to the Vietnamese non-UN sanctioned intervention in Cambodia to stop genocide as a precedent for the U.S invasion of Iraq. Go figure?

He also stated he recently spoken at the UN proposing Indonesia as a permanent member of the Security Council. The Indonesian military remain the genocidal unit they have always been, there was negligible reform when Suharto sidetepped (hardly stepped down) out of power.
The permanent members remain responsible for 90% of the worlds arms trade, hardly non-interventional propping up dictators.

JRH position on independence for West Papua has also changed since morphing form dissident to diplomat.

Yes, one can empathise that East Timor remains between a rock (the military dominated Indonesia) and a hard place (oil thieving Australians) that gives them little room to manouvere. But at least be honest about it!

The report at the beginning of this post is of concern - not only because of the denial of freedom of expression in East Timor. More significant is the East Timorese government's complicity with the Indonesian government (add US powerbrokers) agenda to let the Indonesian generals responsible for massacres in East Timor, West Papua, Aceh & Indonesia not to be held accountable for their brutality. A compromise Mary Robisnson wasn't so keen on making that led to her unpopularity withthe U.S. and push out of the UN Human Rights position she held.

People change and that's OK - but if you want to go on being a consultant to mass murder, open arms companies in Derry or become an apologist for the non-UN sanctioned US invasion of Iraq, maybe one should return the peace prize and help restore its credibility.


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