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East Timor Committee going into recess

24 February, 2000

MEDIA RELEASE: East Timor Independence Committee, Auckland going into recess

The East Timor Independence Committee, Auckland, resolved at the weekend to go into recess.

Now that East Timor is in transition to independence it is appropriate that we refocus our work here. Our members want to stay involved with the people of East Timor and to support aid and development initiatives. But this is a job already being effectively undertaken by other organisations. The new Timor Lorosae Support Group for example, has been incredibly successful in its initiative of sending water pumps to East Timor - many of our members have already joined forces with this new group.

Stuart Sontier of our group will continue with his tremendously successful initiative of sending refurbished computers to East Timor.

We are also pleased to announce that a new group is in formation - 'The Indonesia Human Rights Committee'. This new organisation will be launched in March at a Seminar 'Towards Democracy in Indonesia'. The keynote speaker will be Dr George Aditjondro, leading Indonesian researcher and academic who has led the way in exposing the extent of the Suharto family billions.

The new group aims to forge links with a range of groups in Indonesia who are working for human rights, social justice and democracy.

One of our first tasks will be to lobby for a complete end to New Zealand's military training links to Indonesia. How come there are still four Indonesian officers here completing post-graduate study in military strategy? Our military ties to Indonesia were supposedly suspended last September, but these four officers were allowed to remain.

The issue is not about these four individuals, it is about the message their presence sends - that military repression , or mass murders in Aceh and West Papua should not stand in the way of ongoing smooth relations.

Another major priority is to push for an independent international war crimes tribunal to try those responsible for the genocide in East Timor. We believe it is selling the people of East Timor and the people of Indonesia short if the Indonesian government is let of the hook and allowed to conduct a purely in-house enquiry.

for further information: Maire Leadbeater -09-3769098 or cell phone 025-436-957


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