BACK DOOR Newsletter on Timor Loro Sa'e: Monday May 14 2001


This email contains a summary of a few of the items added to the website during the week
(ending Monday May 14)

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  MAY 2001 NEWS, ARTICLES & REPORTS  Updated  May 13
  APR 2001 NEWS, ARTICLES & REPORTS  Updated  May 12

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Access the following recently added May items at:

May 11 STL: Peter Galbraith: Timor Gap negotiations Slow But Certain  News from ETimor added May 13

May 10 Woodcroft-Lee: Debates on East Timor Society and Economy  Reflections updated May 12
"I spent a little over 8 weeks in Timor Lorosa’e, working for an Australian NGO at Tibar west of Dili. ... Because there were a number of Australians at Tibar, we naturally attracted Australians and other expats, so I had a bit of an opportunity to observe their attitudes in unguarded moments. ... My observations of the following is cause for concern:
* A total lack of cultural and political awareness on the part of some expats; * A reluctance on the part of some aid organisations to get on with the business of involving local staff in the running of the organisation; * An apparent disregard of proper industrial relations; and * The ‘foreigners know best’ attitude.
I wish to highlight what the people of Timor Lorosa’e have to put up with." Trish Woodcroft-Lee, volunteer in East Timor

May 10 Reut: Portugal lawmakers censure E. Timor administration  News added May 13
"UNTAET was exemplary in accomplishing its mission to maintain security and socio-economic stabilisation in the territory, ... But its administration is costly and not very efficient and has not brought about the prompt preparation of Timorese bodies for future administration,” report compiled after a visit by a Portuguese parliamentary commission

May 9 GLW: UN lets Indonesian military off the hook  Article added May 9
"The East Timorese people have been extremely patient over these last 18 months both in coping with the trauma and subsequent disruption of their lives caused by the TNI-directed destruction, as well as having to cope with the large, well-paid and arrogant foreign presence of the UN here. However, this patience is wearing thin.  Without organised, consistent pressure from the East Timorese people and their international supporters, those who laid waste to East Timor will get away with their crimes unpunished." Vanya Tanaja

May 9 SBS: Australias East Timor secret  TV documentary added May 13
"In an extraordinary investigation, reporter Mark Davis returns to East Timor to disclose disturbing new revelations about Australia’s secret intelligence information prior to the country’s independence referendum. ... A senior officer has now revealed for the first time that Canberra knew the Indonesian Army had plans to destroy East Timor and murder independence supporters, and failed to alert those most at risk." SBS Dateline (Australia)

May 8 JP: Atambua sentence: Ever elusive justice on  Editorial added May 10
"International condemnation came swift and fast on Friday as soon as a district court in Jakarta sentenced six pro-Indonesia East Timorese to between 10 and 20 months in jail for their roles in the September murder of three United Nations humanitarian aid workers. ... As people in this country and abroad must realize by now, it is one thing for Indonesia to carry out due process of law and completely another whether this process ensures the delivery of justice, which is the very objective of this whole exercise." Jakarta Post editorial

May 8 Catholic aid agency CAFOD calls for war crimes court on East Timor  Release added May 10
“It is clear that there is no political will in Jakarta for any serious steps to be taken against those who commit human rights atrocities. Jakarta’s efforts on this front have lost all credibility. ... One of the best steps towards the development of democracy in the long-run is the promotion of justice and the rule of law. CAFOD is concerned that groups being seen as clearly above and outside the law will affect the development of democratic principles in both East Timor and Indonesia, and will only promote the use of violence in both societies. ... It is time for the international community to realise that we can best support these fledgling democracies by bringing to justice those guilty of such atrocities. Indonesia cannot and will not do this itself, and it is time for the establishment of an international tribunal on East Timor.” Catherine Sexton, CAFOD Programme Officer for East Timor

May 4 CNS: Pressure will bring Timorese refugees home, says former JRS head  News added May 10
“The allies of Indonesia can help by direct contact with the Indonesian government or its military, imploring them to take that control, [of the militias] ... There is no process of accountability for the perpetrators of the violence, and in those camps are many militias, ... Without the help of the international community, these camps will not be liberated from the control of the militias, ... The East Timorese people were my first teachers in the field of humanitarian aid [in 1975]. And my first lesson began with that bad smell produced by the false dichotomy ... between principle and pragmatism, ... Being pragmatic does not exclude being principled, righteous and respectful of human rights, ... Foreign policy based solely on pragmatism makes for poor governance," Jesuit Father Mark Raper, former head of Jesuit Refugee Service

May 3 IT: War Crimes in East Timor  Letter to the Irish Times [Dublin] added May 10
"Any international war crimes tribunal for East Timor will serve several purposes. It will let the Indonesian people know the full extent of the savagery and horror of what was done in their name. And it will let them and the world know the Indonesian military for what they are - a gang of murderers and criminals. They won’t just become international pariahs, but become pariahs in their own country. Last but not least, for those of us who saw many members of our families die, it will give us some comfort at the thought that those responsible will one day have to face justice and answer for what they did." Jose Lopes

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Access the following recently added April items at:

April 2001 LHB: Funding East Timor's Reconstruction  Overview added May 12
"People in East Timor have many questions about the hundreds of millions of dollars that have flowed into the country since September 1999. Most have little idea where the money is going. ... there is a pervasive perception that, given the levels of funding, there has been insufficient progress in the rebuilding of East Timor. ... " The La'o Hamutuk Bulletin Editorial

April 2001 LHB: Equipment In Good Working Order Should Stay In East Timor's After UNTAET Leaves  Editorial added May 12
"There is no consistent policy regarding the disposition of equipment and material purchased for UN peacekeeping missions. In past missions, the equipment has sometimes remained in the country after the UN's departure. La'o Hamutuk urges the UN member states, who through the UN collectively "own" this equipment, to make it available." The La'o Hamutuk Bulletin Editorial

April 2001 LHB: Report from UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Facilitates Indonesia's Impunity  Editorial added May 11
"On 6 February 2001, Mary Robinson, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, released a report on the situation of human rights in East Timor. ... The report should provide information on and analysis of matters relating to the investigation and prosecution of crimes against humanity committed in East Timor during Indonesia's occupation of the territory. In this regard, it fails miserably. ... The people of East Timor -- as well as all those struggling for democracy and human rights within Indonesia -- deserve much better: truth and justice." The La'o Hamutuk Bulletin Editorial

April 2001 LHB: CivPol-Community Relations in Need of Repair  Editorial added May 12
"La'o Hamutuk calls upon CivPol commanders and UNTAET officials to refrain from making racist and inflammatory statements such as those of Commander Gent. In this spirit, Commander Gent should publicly retract and apologize for his words. ... Foreigners who have been here only a few months and don't know the language, history or culture cannot understand this society better than those who were born here." The La'o Hamutuk Bulletin Editorial

April 2001 LHB: Money Matters: Questions of Priorities and Process  Editorial added May 12
"International supporters of East Timor, working with local organizations, can play an important role in securing more funds, and greater control over the funds by the East Timorese people. In this regard, international advocates can lobby their governments to provide more genuine support (in terms of funds and political power) for East Timor. UNTAET can begin to support this human rights activism by ending the practice of closed-door discussions about budget matters." The La'o Hamutuk Bulletin Editorial

Apr 2001 Estafeta: Will East Timor See Justice?  Article added May 9
"Eighteen months have elapsed since the Indonesian military and its militia proxies devastated East Timor. A quarter century has passed since the U.S.-supported Indonesian invasion of East Timor began an occupation which killed one-third of the population and kidnapped, raped, tortured and terrorized hundreds of thousands more. Uncountable crimes against humanity have been committed in East Timor since 1975 by Indonesian forces, with the complicity of the world’s “great powers.” It is a record which cries out for justice." Charles Scheiner, National Coordinator, East Timor Action Network/US

Apr 4 DN: RealAudio of Interview of Xanana and Kirsty Sword Gusmao  Interview & excerpt added May 10
[excerpt: 18 min 56 secs into interview]
"DN: What about real War Crimes tribunals for the Indonesian military? Where does that now stand Xanana Gusmao?
XG: I don't know. We hope that the international community can do the job. You can understand we are in a very difficult phase, in a very difficult transition to independence. We know that we will face other difficulties in the last period of independence, and we believe that if the international community follows the example of the United States court about Lumintang it will not only help us East Timorese, but essentially to help the democratisation in Indonesia, because I believe that the Indonesian society also is waiting a chance of clarifying all the problems in the past.
DN: The Indonesian government says they'll try the people who they feel committed crimes but they are yet to do this. Do you think an international war crimes tribunal should be set up?
XG: It is the job of the international community. We East Timorese, and East Timor is a very small country and, we cannot be ambitious to be, to be a model of justice, but we hope the international community can do that. I believe that the (?) project of searching all the genocide crimes in East Timor from 1975 can give to the international community enough proof of the involvement of certain generals. Now, international community is more looking at August and September 1999 events and forget all the past from 75 from the invasion."

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Access details of Canberra Events at:

Community Update
The Kangaroo Valley - Remexio Partnership
Christine Nobel:
Kangaroo Valley Hall, NSW
18th May

Book Lovers Bonanza!  Canberra’s Support for East Timor Continues!
A Second Hand Book Sale in aid of East Timor
Jenni Kanaley:
Catholic Bookshop, Favier House, 1 Ballumbir St Braddon.
Saturday May 26 from 9am

Free public lecture: East Timor & the Region: The opportunities & perils ahead
Leighton Hall, The Scientia, University of New South Wales, NSW
Wednesday, May 30, 2001 at 5.00pm for 5.30pm

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Access the following recently added links at:

La’o Hamutuk, Instituto Timor Lorosa’e ba Analiza no Monitoring Reconstrucao

La'o Hamutuk: East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis

Mary MacKillop Institute of East Timorese Studies

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