/** reg.easttimor: 3715.0 **/

** Topic: AI: Testimony by E Timorese Refugees **
** Written 5:58 AM Sep 15, 1999 by fbp in cdp:reg.easttimor **
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>
Subject: AI: Testimony by E Timorese Refugees

East Timorese Testimony Taken by Amnesty International Shows Need for Outside Obeservers

CONTACT: Sean Crowley of Amnesty International USA, 202-544-0200, ext. 302; Web site: http://www.amnestyusa.org


Amnesty International today released terrifying testimony it has taken from two East Timorese refugees demonstrating how widespread the violence remains in East Timor.

The testimony uequivocably demonstrates the need for immediate and unconditional access for humanitarian agencies and independent monitors to the refugees in West Timor and the internally displaced people (IDPs) in East Timor, particularly until a UN peacekeeping force arrives.

Excerpts of the testimony, including from a refugee in Bishop Belo's house in Baucau, follows. Please note that certain names and locations have been deleted to protect the individuals concerned.

Testimony 1 The increase in violence such as murder, capture, terror, intimidation, and burning houses in Dili after the referendum caused me to flee with my family from our house in (...)...We thought the militia wouldn't go into the Bishop's (Belo) house because although the militia had already burned residences in Dili, at least they would still have some respect for Bishop Belo. But we realized just how wrong we were after the Bishop's compound was attacked on September 6, 1999 at 10.45 a.m....

As we began to pack our things to take to Baucau, the militia suddenly began to attack us. Before they entered, they began shooting in. I chanced to see not just the Aitarak ("Thorn") militia shooting us, but also police and military were behind the militia, also shooting in. The refugees inside ran in all directions.

After they broke in they began to burn the Bishop's house with gasoline, beginning with the windows of the library until the chapel windows. Empty water bottles filled with gasoline were thrown into other buildings. Besides that, someone threw two cooking stoves, one into the dining room and one into the front guest room. In the end, fire was burning out of control everywhere.

As the militia entered they forced us to exit the house. At the moment I ran outside, I saw a child shot in the eye...

Next to be attacked was the Sister of Canosian's house. The militia began to shoot in front of the sisters' house while screaming that if all of you (sisters) don't get out of the house we will burn all of your houses along with all of you.

Testimony 2 On Friday, 3 September, I began to feel unsafe, so went for refuge at the (...)...There were only a few refugees there, just pregnant women. I was told not to leave the room, in case someone recognised me. But I was uneasy, so the next day, I asked permission to go home because I hadn't brought anything except the blouse I was wearing and the children...

After quite awhile, I was taken to the house by eight police. One of them said, "You have made a mistake asking for our help; actually security problems are no longer our responsibility..."

A police beside me continued, "Supposing they have begun to murder each other there, we will just have to let it go, we can't take any action because it is no longer our responsibility."

...my house had been completely ransacked; nothing was left. It was all gone; wardrobes, clothes, all of it had been destroyed. Statues of Jesus and the Nazareth family had disappeared, also prayer candles that had been blessed. It was as if they used those candles to burn my house...All our shirts and blouses had been burned. I could take only a few remaining children's clothes that were still in decent condition because at the time we sought refuge we didn't have an opportunity to take anything at all with us.

I saw two people who were tied in a truck by Aitarak militia. In the truck were not only the two tied people, but also militia. Suddenly, in front of lots of people, a militia member in full style slowly drew a sword. As if wanting to indicate his prisoner's acceptance, he slowly stabbed one of the people tied in the truck. Lots of blood began to gush, flooding the floor of the truck until it began to drip out. Th e other person's hands and feet were tied like a pig. They threw this person like a bag of rice onto the asphalt. From the asphalt he was thrown into another truck. I don't know what happened after that because then we left. In the bus I cried when I saw their savagery; that they could do such a thing.

"It could be days before the UN peacekeeping force arrives in East Timor, more than enough time for the Indonesian military and local militias to wipe out thousands more East Timorese scattered throughout the region or forced to relocate to camps in West Timor, " AIUSA Senior Deputy Executive Director Curt Goering said today. "This testimony indicates that the U.S. and the international community must insist that the Indonesian government grant humanitarian agencies and independent monitors immediate access to refugees in East and West Timor. "


etanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetan John M. Miller Internet: etan-outreach@igc.apc.org Media & Outreach Coordinator, East Timor Action Network PO Box 150753, Brooklyn, NY 11215-0753 USA Phone: (718)596-7668 Fax: (718)222-4097 Web site: http://www.etan.org

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

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