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Donors Must Link Pledged Funds To Improvements

For Immediate Release October 18, 2000

Contact: Karen Orenstein, 202-544-6911 John M. Miller, 718-596-7668

CGI DONORS MUST LINK PLEDGED FUNDS TO IMPROVEMENTS IN WEST TIMOR

ETAN Calls on Indonesia to Meet Critical Human Rights Conditions before Donors Release Funds

The East Timor Action Network/U.S. (ETAN) today called on members of the Consultative Group on Indonesia (CGI) to postpone disbursement of pledged funds for Indonesia until Jakarta meets several critical conditions pertaining to West and East Timor. The CGI, comprised of the major bilateral and multilateral providers of economic assistance to Indonesia, concluded its donor conference today in Tokyo.

"Given the Indonesian government's shameful unwillingness or inability to control militias who continue to terrorize East Timorese refugees in West Timor, the CGI meeting should have been delayed. Now that it has concluded, it is crucial for Indonesia to be held to strict conditions before receiving pledged funds," said Karen Orenstein, Washington Organizer for ETAN.

"These conditions must include the verified disarmament and disbanding of militia groups in West Timor and the arrest of militia leaders. Indonesia must also guarantee international and local humanitarian aid workers in West Timor safe and unimpeded access to the refugees.," added Orenstein. "An internationally-supervised registration of the refugees should be well underway, so that they can choose without fear or intimidation whether to return to East Timor or settle in Indonesia."

"The U.S. administration must maintain heightened pressure on Indonesia to comply with their promised disarmament campaign rather than trust the latest assurances by senior Indonesian officials. The most effective way to ensure compliance is to put conditions on disbursement of donor funds," stated ETAN's John M. Miller.

Despite repeated promises, the government of Indonesia has failed to disarm and disband Indonesian military-supported militias still controlling refugee camps in West Timor, where more than 100,000 East Timorese have been confined for over a year with little food or medical care. UN Special Representative of the Secretary General to East Timor Sergio Vieira de Mello called Indonesia's follow-through on disarming militias following the September 6 murder of three UNHCR workers "pathetic."

"Indonesia's recent decision to abandon any timetable for disarming the militias, announced while the CGI met, proves once again the refusal of Indonesian security forces to heed the concerns expressed by the U.S. and international financial institutions. Donors now need to back up their strong words with action," said Miller.

Prior to the CGI meeting, the U.S. and the World Bank had said aid could be jeopardized if Indonesia failed to curtail in militias, but those threats were not acted upon, despite Indonesian procrastination and prevarication.

Members of the CGI include the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Asian Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank and bilateral donors including the United States, Japan, Canada, South Korea, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, New Zealand, Denmark and Australia. $5.3 billion was pledged at this year's meeting.

After the murder of international aid workers in early September, nearly all international presence withdrew, and the militias cemented their dominant position in the camps. Almost no refugees are returning to East Timor, medical and food supplies are reported to be running dangerously low, and the rainy season is about to begin.

The East Timor Action Network/U.S. was founded in November 1991 to support East Timorese self-determination. ETAN supports human rights in Indonesia and works for a peaceful transition to independence in East Timor. It has 27 local chapters throughout the U.S.

For additional background, see http://www.etan.org.

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John M. Miller Internet: john@etan.org
Media & Outreach Coordinator, East Timor Action Network
48 Duffield St., Brooklyn, NY 11201 USA
Phone: (718)596-7668 Fax: (718)222-4097
Mobile: (917)690-4391
Web site: http://www.etan.org

Send a blank e-mail message to info@etan.org to find out how to learn
more about East Timor on the Internet
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