BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor      home May news

“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
See also: BD: 'Refugees' & Missing Persons - A collection of recent information, reports, articles and news

Pressure will bring Timorese refugees home, says former JRS head

By Stephen Steele Catholic News Service


WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The international community must pressure Indonesia to ensure the safe return of East Timorese refugees, said the former head of Jesuit Refugee Service.

About 80,000 East Timorese refugees remain in squalid camps in neighboring Indonesia, with the overwhelming majority wanting to return to their homeland, said Jesuit Father Mark Raper at Georgetown University May 3.

Father Raper, Georgetown’s visiting Jesuit chair for the spring semester, said the camps in Indonesia’s West Timor are under the control of the militia groups that were largely responsible for the violence surrounding the 1999 U.N.-sponsored referendum in East Timor.

“The Indonesia government is in crisis and unable to give instructions to its military to control the militias,” Father Raper said during a speech at the Bunn Intercultural Center.

“The allies of Indonesia can help by direct contact with the Indonesian government or its military, imploring them to take that control,” he said.

Further complicating matters is the lack of an adequate judicial system in East Timor and Indonesia to try those responsible for the 1999 violence, he said.

“There is no process of accountability for the perpetrators of the violence, and in those camps are many militias,” he said.

“Without the help of the international community, these camps will not be liberated from the control of the militias,” he said.

Jesuit Refugee Service announced May 2 that it was temporarily suspending programs in one of the larger camps in Kupang, West Timor, following a number of violent incidents, Father Raper told Catholic News Service.

The agency had been providing supplementary food aid and medical services in the Noelbaki camp, where about 700 refugees reside, Father Raper said.

Jesuit Refugee Service is the only humanitarian agency currently providing emergency aid in the West Timor camps, he said.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees suspended operations in West Timor in September following the murder of three of its workers. Six men convicted of murdering the workers—one each from the United States, Croatia and Ethiopia—were sentenced May 3 to 10-20 years in prison by an Indonesian court.

“The UNHCR is still grieving the loss of its three workers. It won’t return without a guarantee of safety for its workers,” Father Raper said.

“It is important that justice be done and that crimes against humanity be identified,” he said.

Father Raper said accountability for these crimes will come through the insistence “that this is a serious issue in the eyes of the Western world,” he said.

The priest said the major crimes were committed in the events surrounding the 1999 referendum and “the killings of the UNHCR workers were a consequence of inaction on the part of the Indonesian military.”

Father Raper, an Australian, was first in East Timor one month prior to Indonesia’s December 1975 invasion of the island. He was working with a team of Jesuits distributing aid.

East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, was in the throes of a humanitarian crisis following the decolonization of Portugal, he said.
During his speech, he said the 1975 invasion was allowed to occur with the tacit approval of the United States and Australia.

“The East Timorese people were my first teachers in the field of humanitarian aid. And my first lesson began with that bad smell produced by the false dichotomy ... between principle and pragmatism,” he said.

“Being pragmatic does not exclude being principled, righteous and respectful of human rights,” he added.

Foreign policy based solely on pragmatism makes for poor governance, he said.

The priest said the unexpected decision of former Indonesian President B.J.  Habibie to call for an East Timorese vote on independence saved Australia and the United States “from its mistaken pragmatism.”

The decision “gave the Timorese their first opportunity ever, other than by militant or passive resistance, to make their own choice,” he said.

END
05/04/2001 2:42 PM ET


Spanish:
El Servicio Jesuita a Refugiados (JRS): Accompañar, Servir, Defender  Added Mar 24
El Servicio Jesuita a Refugiados es una organización católica internacional que trabaja en más de 40 países, con la misión de acompañar, servir y defender los derechos de los refugiados y desplazados forzosos. La misión confiada a JRS comprende a todos los que han sido apartados de sus hogares por los conflictos, los desastres humanitarios o las violaciones de los derechos humanos, de acuerdo con la enseñanza social católica que define como refugiado “de facto” a múltiples categorías de personas. La razón de ser de JRS está íntimamente liada a la misión de la Sociedad de Jesús (Jesuitas), a saber, el promocionar la justicia del Reino de Dios en diálogo con otras culturas y religiones.
International: CP 6139, 00195 Roma Prati, Italy. Tel: +39-06 689.77.391; Fax: +39-06 687.92.83; Email: international@jesref.org
Asia Pacific: Tel: +66 - 2 279 1817; Tel: +66 - 2 278 4182; Fax: +66 - 2 271 3632 Email: asia.pacific@jesref.org
Para pedir información sobre JRS, diríjase a la persona de contacto del Servicio Jesuita a Refugiados en su país de residencia. La oficina internacional de JRS también tiene un servicio de información. URL: http://www.jesref.org

English:
Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS): To accompany, To serve, To advocate  Added Mar 24
The JRS is an international Catholic organisation, at work in over 40 countries, including East Timor and Indonesia, with a mission is to accompany, serve and defend the rights of refugees and forcibly displaced people. The mission given to JRS embraces all who are driven from their homes by conflict, humanitarian disaster or violation of human rights, following Catholic social teaching which applies the expression ‘de facto refugee’ to many related categories of people. The purpose of JRS is intimately connected with the mission of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), namely to promote the justice of God’s Kingdom, in dialogue with cultures and religions.
International: CP 6139, 00195 Roma Prati, Italy. Tel: +39-06 689.77.391; Fax: +39-06 687.92.83; Email: international@jesref.org
Asia Pacific: Tel: +66 - 2 279 1817; Tel: +66 - 2 278 4182; Fax: +66 - 2 271 3632 Email: asia.pacific@jesref.org
Contact JRS contact person in the country where you live. The JRS International office also provides an information service. Homepage: http://www.jesref.org  Timor alerts: http://www.jesref.org/inf/alert/tplatest.htm


See also:
BD: 'Refugees' & Missing Persons - A collection of recent information, reports, articles and news


BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor      home May news
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