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Postelection Statement on East Timor Elections, Sept. 22, 1999

The carefully planned campaign of violence and terror carried out by the Indonesian security forces and their militia surrogates in East Timor and in West Timor over the past several weeks has spread throughout Indonesia. Carter Center observers have gathered first-hand evidence of systematic efforts by the Indonesian military, police, local government officials, members of Timorese pro-autonomy groups, and armed militias to harass and terrorize refugees from East Timor who have taken refuge in Bali and several cities on the island of Java, including the Indonesian capital of Jakarta.

Reports from East Timor indicate that the Indonesian security forces and paramilitary militias continue to loot, burn, and destroy houses and infrastructure throughout the territory, including areas outside Dili. The capital city of Dili was already laid waste by these activities. A steady stream of refugees continued to cross the border into West Timor over the past week, and armed militias control refugee camps in Atambua, Kupang, and on the island of Alor, frustrating the efforts of both domestic and international relief agencies.

Carter Center staff and observers, forced at gunpoint by militia and Indonesian police to evacuate Dili on Sept. 5 and now reporting from various locations in Indonesia and Darwin, Australia, have confirmed the following through eyewitness accounts from reliable sources:

  • Indonesian police officers and militiamen murdered at least one refugee from East Timor who was travelling Sept. 13 by sea from Kupang to Bali. A group of armed police officers wearing the t-shirts of Kontingen Lorosai (the special police contingent sent to East Timor to oversee security for the consultation) dragged two Timorese refugees from their room on the passenger ferry "Anu" and beat them severely before taking one of the refugees away. A self-proclaimed member of the Aitarak militia entered the room a short time later and boasted to the wife of the missing man, "I wouldn't bother looking for your husband because I killed him myself."
  • Refugees from East Timor continue to be harassed, intimidated, and forced to flee from places in which they have sought refuge in the cities of Denpasar, Surabaya, Malang, Solo, Yogyakarta, and Jakarta. Indonesian military and police, with the assistance of local government officials, members of the FPDK (a pro-autonomy umbrella organization), and suspected militia members, have ordered churches, hotels, boarding houses, and neighborhood residents to report the presence of Timorese refugees and have threatened those people who shelter refugees.
  • Prominent Indonesian officials have made public statements designed to arouse public sentiments against East Timorese refugees and residents in Java. Several hundred Timorese refugees and students have been driven out of Yogyakarta and other Javanese cities over the past several days, and many have sought shelter in Jakarta.

In Bali, Indonesian police and military officials have visited places where refugees are sheltering and threatened that a "sweeping operation" is underway to arrest and drive refugees out of their places of refuge. Indonesian soldiers and FPDK members also have approached and threatened Timorese residents in neighborhoods with a high concentration of refugees, barring access to banks, shops, and telephone bureaus. Soldiers, FPDK members, and militiamen have even carried out open acts of intimidation in popular tourist areas such as Kuta and central Denpasar.

The Carter Center East Timor Observation Mission
Emerald Hotel, 81 Cavenaugh St., Darwin, Australia
Tel. 61-8-8981-7771, Rm.112 - Fax. 61-8-8981-7760

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