Timor-Lesté Human Rights


East Timor (Timor Lesté) is a new country. In a dangerous 1999 UN-mandated referendum, East Timorese voted overwhelmingly for freedom from a 25-year occupation by Indonesia. That occupation was marked continually by serious human rights abuses committed by the Indonesian military, documented in the Amnesty International publication "Power and Impunity: Indonesia and East Timor" (ISBN 0-939994-92-5, AI Index 21/17/94). The 1999 vote was followed by massive killings and a refugee crisis orchestrated by Indonesia's military (TNI) and Indonesian-sponsored militias.

Amnesty International Concerns

Each for their own reasons, the Timorese and Indonesian governments resist bringing to justice perpetrators of the serious crimes in Timor-Leste in 1999. The East Timorese government failed to consider the report of the national Commission on Reception, Truth and Reconciliation, (CAVR) which the President presented to Parliament in November 2005. The report, titled "Chega," ("Enough!") is a stellar example of careful research and sensitivity to the horrors that occurred in East Timor. Unfortunately, the governments of Indonesia and East Timor have not acted on the report. The CAVR report is available here.

The U.S. Congress imposed restrictions on funding of the Indonesian military until the very issues above are resolved (accountability for human right abuses in East Timor). The Bush Administration overrode those restrictions citing the so-called "war on terror." Restrictions on military aid to Indonesia is one of the few mechanisms that can force accountability for real crimes committed by Indonesia against the people of East Timor.

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