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EastTimorConflict Essay Research Paper EastTimorConflictBackgroundThe invasion of

East-Timor-Conflict Essay, Research Paper



The invasion of the Indonesian military on December the 7th 1975 produced an armed conflict. After the invasion followed the annexation on 17th of Juli 1976. About a third of 690,000 inhabitants died through hunger and sickness. The US-American Scientist Noam Chomsky said the Indonesian occupying forces is guilty for the maybe highest deathrate related to the total population since the Holocaust . For your engagement for a peaceful solution of the conflict the East Timorese bishop Carlos Belo and the abroad acting speaker of the resistance movement Jos Ramos-Horta were awarded for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996.

1949 the Indonesian Republic were founded as an independent country on until then Dutch colonial region in South East Asian. This included West Timor but not East Timor, which wasn t under Portuguese administration. The overthrow of the dictatorship in Portugal through the carnationrevolution (1974) followed a process of decolonisation of all Portuguese oversea provinces: The Frente Revolucion ria de Timor Leste Independente (FRETILIN; Revolutionary Front for an independent East Timor) became the most important political force. It was an independence movement in the style of the 70s. Since shortly after the FRETILIN proclaimed the independence at the end of October the Indonesian military marched in East Timor and put down every form of resistance. During the first years after the invasion it got numerous armed struggles and the Indonesian military also take action against the civil population. Today the native population expresses their protest against the occupation of their country above all with political demonstrations.

On December 12th 1991 it came to the most serious incident of the young time. During a funeral obsequies in Dili the capital of East Timor Indonesian soldiers shot 273 people how a Portuguese fact-finding commission found out later. This event went trough media as Dili-Massacre because an accidental present western camera team could capture the happenings. One year later in November 1992 the long-standing leader of the East Timorese resistance movement Xanana Gusm o restrain the Indonesian military. He had to serve a 20 years long imprisonment. The East Timorese population is confront with the immigration of people of nearby islands, which supports the Indonesian government within the scope of the national resettlement program (transmigrasi). These settlers control increasingly the economical life of East Timor. The natives, who were dispossessed after the annexation, must earn their living as labourer. The United Nations didn t accept the annexation of East Timor so far. Just after marching in both the plenary assembly and the Security Council of the United Nations sentenced the Indonesian invasion. Sanctionthreats against Indonesia didn t contain a requestion for a retreat. Portugal as excolonial power plays an important part. Article 297 of the Portuguese conclusion says the responsibility of Portugal is fixed, but in the political praxis the engagement of Portugal is confined to formal Protests. It didn t do something energetic yet.

Present situation:

On August the 30th 1999 98.6 per cent of registered voters exercised their democratic right in a UN-organised referendum, considered by the Indonesian authorities as “free and fair”. Defying eight months of intimidation by Indonesian-armed militiamen, mostly transmigrated from West Timor, the population stood in long queues at the ballot sites, in some cases waiting hours in the sun after walking kilometres to the nearest polling station. The five days, which mediated until official results were announced, were days of tension, with frequent militia attacks in Dili and other spots in the territory. But on the morning of September the 4th the UNAMET (United Nations Assistance Mission to East Timor) leader, Ian Martin, announced the results, minutes after the United Nations’ Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, had done the same in New York. 21.5% of the voters had chosen to accept the Special Autonomy offered to the territory by Indonesia, while an overwhelming majority of 78.5% reffused it. This is laying the path to independence. Hardly anybody partied in Dili, though, or in the rest of the territory; celebrations were held abroad, though, in Australia, Portugal, the United States, Ireland, England, Mozambique, even Indonesia, wherever a Timorese community is to be found. But inside the new Nation, just four hours after the official announcement, the defeated militia gangs started to set East Timor on fire. BBC, CNN, and other international TV stations broadcasted to the world images once seen in other war scenarios – fire of automatic weapons, houses set on fire, innocent civilians seeking shelter in the schools, the churches, the neighbouring mountains. International media reports mentioned 145 deaths in Dili only, in the 48 hours following the announcement. On September, 5th and 6th, most international observers, journalists and the civilian personnel of UNAMET were evacuated from the territory, either by chartered planes or the Australian Air Force. On the afternoon of September, the 5th, four Indonesian ministers – including Defence and Foreign Affairs holders, General Wiranto and Mr. Ali Alatas – and one secretary of State paid a 4-hour visit to Dili – though they never left the airport “for security reasons”. On the evening of that same day, the UN Security Council, gathered on an emergency meeting in New York, once more abstained from sending in a peace-keeping force. The Indonesian authorities claimed to be able to restore peace and tranquillity, though 20.000 men already stationed in the territory failed to do so until now, and were even reported to have participated, in some cases directly, in the new mass killings started on September, 4th. TV, photographic and oral evidence from UNAMET staff and international media wasn’t enough, so the Council decided to send a “fact-finding mission” to Jakarta.

On the morning of September, the 6th, the home of Nobel Peace Prize winner, Ximenes Belo, was set on fire. The bishop sought refugee in Baucau, though he was impotent to save the hundreds of refugees in his frontyard, now facing death or deportation to West Timor, like so many before them. More than 1,000 refugees were sheltered at the UNAMET compound in Dili, and the UN convoys were shot at in the road to the airport. On the verge of independence, East Timor is facing a new genocide.