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Peters urged to call for release of Report

Winston Peters urged to call for release of Timor Leste Truth Commission Report

3 December, 2005

The Indonesia Human Rights Committee has called on the Foreign Minister and the Prime Minister to urge the Government of Timor Leste to release the report of the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation

The 2,500 page report of the independent truth commission has just been presented to Timor Leste's parliament and it does not spare the western nations who gave military and diplomatic backing to Indonesia as well as the role of arms corporations that profited from the sale of weapons to Indonesia. The report recommends that these nations and corporations pay reparations to the victims of human rights violations as part of their duty to "uphold the highest principles of world order and peace."

President Xanana Gusmao is reluctant to release the report, presumably for fear of offending Timor Leste's neighbours. However, New Zealand should indicate that it is in support of truth and not afraid to face up to its complicity in the Indonesian invasion and occupation of Timor Leste.

New Zealand gave Indonesia military training and vital diplomatic support throughout the whole period of the Indonesian occupation. New Zealand tailored its responses carefully to avoid all but the mildest criticism of Indonesia's action at the time of the invasion. In 1978 while a brutal war was at its height New Zealand declared that the occupation was "irreversible". New Zealand did not vote for a single one of the ten UN resolutions supporting the right of the Timorese people to self-determination.

The report also recommends that those responsible for war crimes in Timor Leste are brought justice. This would help to end the dangerous culture of military impunity in Indonesia and would support the people of West Papua who continue to live under conditions of harsh military oppression.

New Zealand should add its weight to the calls of human rights groups in Timor Leste, Indonesia and around the world who are calling for the release of the report and for justice for all the victims of human rights abuses.


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