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Enemy of East Timor makes an unwelcome visit

Richard Woolcott: Enemy of East Timor makes an unwelcome visit.

The Indonesia Human Rights Committee is outraged that the Institute of International Affairs has invited former Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, Richard Woolcott, to speak at a seminar discussing East Timor and Indonesia. The seminar on the 5 and 6 July is timed to co-incide with the visit of East Timor's leader Xanana Gusmao to Wellington*. Xanana will also address the seminar.

"Why do they want to listen to a thoroughly discredited person like this - an implacable opponent of East Timor's liberation and a leading propagandist for Indonesia during the Suharto years?" asked Maire Leadbeater for the Indonesia Human Rights Committee. "I cannot imagine that he has anything worthwhile to tell New Zealanders about East Timor or Indonesia. "

"Richard Woolcott has a deeply shameful record. He betrayed the people of East Timor way back in 1975 when he persuaded the Australian government to give Indonesia 'the big wink'- the go ahead to invade. In an infamous cable from Jakarta Woolcott told his government not to criticise Indonesian border incursions and to keep in mind the sea bed resources of oil in the Timor Gap - a stand he himself described as 'pragmatic rather than principled'."

" In the face of mounting evidence of genocide in East Timor Mr Woolcott continued to try to hoodwink Australians and New Zealanders that we should put a "stable and united" Indonesia first. His pro-Indonesia advocacy helped to prolong East Timor's agony, but in the end it could not defeat the people's desire and will for freedom. "

"To Woolcott East Timor's independence was simply a 'lost cause' and he went on defending the Indonesian annexation as late as last year."

"There is new evidence emerging of military support for militia violence in West Papua and military provoked violence in Maluku and Aceh. Will Wooloctt ask us to ignore these atrocities too? His presence here will do nothing for the people of East Timor or for all the people in Indonesia who struggle for democracy and for self-determination."

for further information: Maire Leadbeater - phone 09-376-9098 or cell 025-436-957

*NZ Institute of International Affairs in association with the Asia Society of New York "The Consequences of the Crisis over East Timor for Indonesia and the Rest of the Asia-Pacific Region including Australia and New Zealand." 5-6 July VUW Law Faculty

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