‘Don’t forget crimes – end impunity’ Timor message for Jokowi

A past human rights demonstration in Dili. Image: ETAN

Report from Pacific Media Watch

Human rights advocates have appealed to President Joko Widodo to “end impunity and consolidate democracy” on the eve of his first visit to Timor-Leste today.

The group ANTI (Timor-Leste National Alliance for an International Tribunal) sent a copy of this appeal to Pacific Media Watch from Dili, saying: “We welcome the President of Indonesia to Timor-Leste, but cannot forget cases of crimes against humanity.”

The letter said:

“Although we still cry and be sad from the unhealed wounds to our bodies, we are also glad to receive the visit of the President of Indonesia with a commitment to look for a solution for the serious crimes committed during the illegal occupation from 1975 to 1999. We hope that this visit can serve as an initial step to resolve crimes against humanity which have not yet had final accountability.

“Cruel acts and inhuman treatment committed by the Indonesian military against Timor-Leste’s people have not yet been erased from our memories. The principal leaders of these serious crimes are still free, repeating similar violations in West Papua, Maluku and other places in Indonesia. The Indonesian people now have a President without a military history, but former officers who were involved in serious crimes still have power and influence in the Indonesian government, which closes every route toward justice for serious crimes.

“Many reports, including the Chega! report, relate information about various violations by the Indonesian military against the Timorese people. These violations include torture, killings, forced disappearances and denying civil, political, economic and social rights.

“For 24 years, there were uncountable violations. For example, after destroying Falintil’s support base in 1978, Indonesian soldiers and their Timorese collaborators forced the civilian population into concentration camps. Everybody involved knows how difficult that situation was. During this concentration, noncombatants were not allowed to farm or produce food for themselves and their families. People starved and suffered severe malnutrition, and many died. People were deprived of food, education and health, creating structural poverty which continues today.

“Although processes for some serious crimes have been conducted in Dili and Jakarta for 1999 cases, there has never been justice and no legal solution has been found for people, victims or the international community. Of the perpetrators who designed and commanded these crimes, only two Timorese went to prison, and many continue to live free from a credible trial, such as Prabowo Subianto, Wiranto and other generals who have so far avoided justice processes.

“We know that the democratic process in Indonesia continues to progress because people and journalists freely raise the cases of 1965-1967 to the public. We hope that Indonesian government is willing to pursue other past crimes under national and international laws and mechanisms. We continue to urge both states – Timor-Leste and Indonesia, as well as the United Nations – to discuss the Chega! report, along with the Commission of Truth and Friendship (CTF) in order to start to implement the recommendations in the report, in particular the establishment of a Commission for Missing People. It has been nearly ten years and the two Governments have not yet been serious in fulfilling their obligations as per the CTF recommendations. We do not forget the many promises from the international community that it will establish an international tribunal when the two states fail to end impunity for serious crimes.

“We trust that Sr. Joko Widodo respects the law, democracy and human rights, and we ask how we can work together to overcome the tremendous challenges which are preventing the people of Timor and Indonesia from achieving these goals.

“As human rights activists, we and the Timorese people, together with activists and people from Indonesia, continue to advance democracy in Indonesia and justice for Timor-Leste’s people.”

Thank you.
Dili, 25 January 2016

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