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Government Should Take Action On Militia

Government Should Call In The Indonesian Ambassador To Insist That Indonesia Rein In The Murderous Militia

The Indonesia Human Rights Committee has written to the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs to urge that they 'carpet' the Indonesian Ambassador, and insist that the Indonesian Government end the outrage of militia intimidation and violence in both West and East Timor.

"The lives of East Timorese people and their protectors are at risk," said Maire Leadbeater speaking for the Indonesia Human Rights Committee. "It is time for some blunt talking and for hard questions about the role of the Indonesian military in supporting the ongoing violence. Calling in the Ambassador would be an appropriate way to signal our urgent fears for the safety of everyone in the border area."

"The Government seems to want to play the game by the diplomatic rule book but the situation just goes on getting worse. No-one wants to tackle the almost certain involvment of the Indonesian military and the Prime Minister has been at pains to assure the world that there has been no direct evidence of military involvement in the death of the Nepalese peacekeeper."

"However, last week the Deputy commander of the UN Forces said that the security situation was at its worst, and there are grave fears that the situation will deteriorate as the first anniversary of the independence ballot approaches (August 30)."

"Independent observers say that the Indonesian military are the 'hand in the glove' for the murderous militia, and that it is the military who continue to provide the funding, training and the arms of the militia. Observers have named two training camps close to the West Timorese border town of Atambua. There was strong circumstantial evidence to suggest that the Indonesian military may have been involved in the death of the New Zealand peacekeeper."

"The United States Ambassador to Indonesia Mr Gelbard has explicitly called on Indonesia to withdraw two Indonesian Army battalions - 744 and 745 - suggesting that they were responsible for much of the insecurity along the border and for intimidation and violence in the refugee camps. "

"It is time for a major escalation in New Zealand's diplomacy."

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


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