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Government should be stronger in its condemnation

Indonesia Human Rights Committee,

Box 68-419,

Auckland

25 July, 2000

MEDIA RELEASE: Indonesia Human Rights Committee calls on Government to be stronger in its condemnation of Indonesia for failure to end the militia violence in East and West Timor .

The Indonesia Human Rights Committee is calling on the New Zealand Government to make the strongest possible protest to Indonesia for its failure to curb militia incursions into East Timor. Mr Goff will meet with his counterpart Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab in Bangkok where he must do more than simply 'voice concerns', as he suggested today. New Zealand must see that Indonesia is brought to account for the death of a serving United Nations peacekeeper. The Government must also condemn the ongoing militia intimidation of East Timorese refugees still trapped in refugee camps in West Timor.

"We join with all New Zealanders in mourning the death of a brave young kiwi soldier Leonard Manning, and we extend our sympathy to his family. His death highlights a totally outrageous situation, that can and must be brought to an end by decisive action on the part of the Indonesian government."

"There are strong indications that the Indonesian military continues to back the militia gangs who conduct the border raids and use intimidatory tactics to prevent East Timorese refugees from returning home. There are still 120,000 people held in makeshift camps, subject to constant threats. These murderous militia are the same people responsible for the deaths of thousands of East Timorese in the scorched earth campaign of ' black September' last year. "

"Far from taking a firm stand, Indonesia continues to take a soft approach. Eurico Guterres the notorious long-haired 'rambo' leader of the Aitarak gang which killed and terrorised innocent people in East Timor last year was arrested on charges of possessing weapons, but he is nowl roaming free in West Timor."

"Richard Holbrooke US Ambassador to the United Nations recently castigated Indonesia for failing to end military collaboration with the militia gangs. Now a New Zealander has paid with his life."

"It is time for New Zealand to do some tough talking. New Zealand should push for the UN Security Council to convene to address this issue and Indonesia's culpability for the ongoing militia violence. "

"It is nearly a year since the East Timorese voted for independence. It is quite simply intolerable that Leonard Manning should die while protecting the East Timorese from further persecution."

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


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