31 August 2016

Commemorating East Timor Referendum Day 30 August 1999 - 2016 and the International Day of the Enforced Disappearances

ETLJB 31 August 2016

Source: A-N-T-I Aliansi Nasionál Timor-Leste ba Tribunál Internasionál
Sekretariadu; Asosiasaun Hak, kontaktu;lanarradel@gmail.commoniz@jsmp.minihub.orgatino@laohamutuk.org,

Press Release

Commemorating Referendum Day 30 August 1999 - 2016 and the International Day of the Enforced Disappearances

“We remember the past to continue to fight against impunity in Timor-Leste and in the world.”

The Timor-Leste people commemorate this day - 30 August - as the 17th anniversary of Referendum Day (1999-2016). This historic day led to our independence, which came with a lot of suffering over time, due to serious crimes systematically committed by the Indonesian military. After achieving independence, the people of Timor-Leste chose to live within a democratic state based on rule of law.  Unfortunately, once independent, the State of Timor-Leste started to focus more on physical development and there has been as yet no credible justice for serious crimes committed against the Timorese people. The Timor-Leste leaders has been no political will of the justice issue for serious crime problems in past as foundation of right and democratic state. 

Furthermore, the 30th of August is also International Day of Enforced Disappearances; we commemorate with the family members who have been disappeared and who still live in great suffering. Many families continue to scream and demand the return of their family members who were disappeared during the conflict period. Survivors, human rights activists and international people committed to humanity continue to wait and demand accountability for the criminals, and also justice for all survivors including victims and the families of victims.

Until now, after a decade, impunity still exists with its clear consequences. The reality shows that the Indonesian government has protected these criminals from accountability for the crimes they committed in Timor-Leste.  Worse still, the Indonesian Government has given opportunities to occupy important positions to the perpetrators of serious crimes actors. This shows that impunity is flourishing in the Indonesian government, which in turn gives space for the crimes that happened in the past to be repeated.

Through both of these important commemorations, ANTI wants to appeal for and urge for:

  1. Both governments (Timor-Leste and Indonesia) with society to establish a Commission for the Disappeared to work on the issue of forced disappearances during Indonesia’s illegal occupation. In this way, we can reintegrate the persons who were forcefully removed from their families by the Indonesia military. 

  1. The United Nations to place on their agenda and discuss the report of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry and Indonesia’s KKP-HAM, especially the recommendation for an international tribunal for serious crimes cases in Timor-Leste. To date, there has been no fair domestic mechanism to guarantee justice for the people of Timor-Leste, the international community, or especially the victims’ families. 

  1. The UN Security Council to maintain the decision against impunity based on accusations of Special Panel for Serious Crimes in 2003, and to look for an effective mechanism to ensure credible accountability for the actors of these crimes, particular of the accused ex General Wiranto;

  1. The state of Timor-Leste to sign and ratify the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances so that we can begin to process the cases of the disappeared, and to ensure we do not repeat the same thing in the future.

  1. The Indonesian Government to respect the principles of human rights, to not close the way for justice for serious crime cases, especially to resolve all cases of enforced disappeared persons in Timor-Leste, so that we can strengthen bilateral relation between the nations of Timor-Leste and Indonesia in the future, based on universal human rights values.

  1. PDHJ and Indonesia’s Komnas-HAM to work seriously on the agreement the two organizations have established that focuses especially on cases of disappeared persons, so that we can look for these persons disappeared during the Indonesian military occupation.  

  1. The Timor-Leste Government, especially the Ministry of Defense and Security to use the recommendations from Chega! as a reference point for the commitment plans of both security forces. In this way, we will not repeat the crimes committed by the Indonesian military during the occupation.

Dili, 29 August 2016

Sisto dos Santos
Coordinator of ANTI Board

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