BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor      home    March news

"The Japanese government should also call for clarification, as part of any investigation into crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in East Timor, of the responsibility borne by countries which provided financial assistance, weapons and diplomatic support to the Indonesian government and military, and were therefore indirectly involved in the massive human rights abuses perpetrated in East Timor." Japan NGO Joint Petition on UNCHR 57th session

Japan: NGO Joint Petition on UNCHR 57th session

[The following joint petition (original: Japanese) signed by a number of Japanese NGOs was submitted to Minister of Foreign Affairs Yohei Kono by representatives of the Free East Timor Japan Coalition on March 14, 2001. ]

JOINT PETITION TO FOREIGN MINISTER YOHEI KONO

- RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE 57th SESSION OF THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION


March 14, 2001

The Chairmanís Statement on East Timor issued by the UN Human Rights Commission at its 56th session on April 25, 2000 recognized the need for a comprehensive investigation into violations of fundamental human rights and crimes against humanity committed in East Timor before, during and after the 1999 referendum, but concluded only that the Commission would continue to monitor the progress of Indonesiaís domestic investigations, in view of the desire expressed by the Indonesian government to deal with the issue Internally. The Indonesian government, however, has made almost no progress toward bringing those responsible for these crimes to justice, a failure recently noted  by UNTAET head Sergio de Mello and East Timorís transitional Foreign Minister Ramos Horta during their visit to Jakarta on February 23.

We therefore call on the Japanese government, as a member state of the Commission, to call for the following at the Commissionís upcoming 57th meeting when statements are taken on the human rights situation in East Timor, and when the drafts of resolution or chairmanís statement on East Timor are discussed:

1. The establishment of an international tribunal to prosecute crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in East Timor

As Indonesiaís occupation of East Timor was never recognized by the UN, human rights abuses committed by the Indonesian army and police in East Timor during the occupation are by definition an international problem, and should therefore be tried within an international framework. It is now clear that satisfactory investigations and trials cannot possibly be conducted in Indonesia due to obstruction by the Indonesian army and by the conservative majority in Indonesiaís parliament. Indonesia has also refused all extradition requests made by UN investigators, despite signing a Memorandum of Understanding with UNTAET envisaging mutual cooperation in legal, judicial and human rights related matters.

In view of this situation, and recalling
1) the recommendation of the UN International Commission of Inquiry in January 2000 that the UN and international community fulfill its responsibilities to the East Timorese by establishing an international tribunal, and
2) UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and UN Human Rights High Commissioner Mary Robinsonís public statements that the UN would consider setting up an international tribunal if the Indonesian governmentís domestic prosecution process failed, the Japanese government should call for an international tribunal to be established.

2. The prompt repatriation of East Timorese refugees still in West Timor

The repatriation of the 100,000 to 130,000 East Timorese refugees still in West Timor has slowed almost to a halt since the murder of three UNHCR staff in West Timor last September. The UN has called repeatedly for the militias in West Timor to be disarmed and removed from the refugee camps, and a UN Security Council investigative team which visited West Timor in November last year found that militias continued to obstruct the repatriation process. Indonesian authorities, however, have done nothing but restate that the militias have already been officially disbanded and the security situation has returned to normal, taking no effective action to disarm and disperse the militias.

In view of this situation, the Japanese government should call for effective international action to ensure the free and prompt repatriation of East Timorese refugees from West Timor.

It should also call on the Indonesian government to disarm and disband East Timorese militias operating in West Timor refugee camps and other parts of Indonesian territory, and to take all necessary steps to ensure the free and prompt repatriation of East Timorese refugees from West Timor and free movement of East Timorese refugees within Indonesian territory.

3. The clarification of the international communityís share of responsibility for human rights abuses committed in East Timor

The Japanese government should also call for clarification, as part of any investigation into crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in East Timor, of the responsibility borne by countries which provided financial assistance, weapons and diplomatic support to the Indonesian government and military, and were therefore indirectly involved in the massive human rights abuses perpetrated in East Timor.

It is of the utmost importance that human rights abuses committed in East Timor be investigated within an international framework and that perpetrators be punished, not only for the people of East Timor, who now embark on the task of nation-building as a free people after four centuries of foreign domination, but also for the people of Indonesia, who currently face a period of great turbulence as Indonesia moves toward democracy.

The Japanese government, as the host of the first meeting of donor countries to East Timor in 1999, and at subsequent meetings of donor countries, has made many appeals to the international community for aid to East Timor. We hope that, as one aspect of this aid, it will do whatever it can to ensure that justice is finally done for the East Timorese.
 
 

Signed:

Free East Timor Japan Coalition
(Sappro, Sendai, Tokyo, Nagano, Nagoya, Osaka, Okayama, Zentsuji, Kure, Shimonoseki, Nagasaki, Oita, Japan Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace)
N-WIP (Nagasaki Womenís International Peace Commission)
Shimin Gaikou Centre (Citizensí Diplomatic Centre for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples)
Amnesty International Japan
Amnesty International Sonoda Group
Catholic Yokohama Diocese Council for Justice and Peace
Catholic Urawa Diocese Council for Justice and Peace
Japan NGO Network on Indonesia (JANNI)
Network for Indonesian Democracy, Japan (NINDJA)
Hand of Peace
Peacenet News
Young Womenís Christian Association of Japan (Japan YWCA)
Young Womenís Christian Association of Osaka (Osaka YWCA)
APEC Monitor NGO Network
East Timor Desk Catholic Bishopsí Conference of Japan Asia Pacific Resource Center (PARC)

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