/** reg.easttimor: 3329.0 **/

** Topic: AFP: Amnesty says 35 Timorese were killed on refugee ship **
** Written 9:14 PM Sep 23, 1999 by Joyo@aol.com in cdp:reg.easttimor **
Subject: AFP: Amnesty says 35 Timorese were killed on refugee ship

Amnesty says 35 Timorese were killed on refugee ship

DARWIN, Australia, Sept 24 (AFP) - Thirty-five East Timorese refugees were killed and their bodies dumped overboard from a ship carrying them from the territory to West Timor, Amnesty International said Friday.

"There is credible evidence that 35 East Timorese were killed on September 11 on board a ship, the Dobon Solo, which was leaving Dili for Kupang that day," the human rights watchdog said in a report released here.

"The identities of those kileld are not known but all are believed to be young men."

According to eye-witness accounts, the bodies were thrown overboard.

The Amnesty report documents human rights violations against tens of thousands of East Timorese, including other unconfirmed killings of refugees on boats.

It said independence activists continued to be hunted down at checkpoints and in house-to-house searches.

In Kupang and Atambua in West Timor the mostly Aitarak militia were regularly checking camps, houses and local hotels for human rights workers and pro-independence supporters.

"Militia and members of the Indonesian army continue to intimidate, threaten and attack the displaced East Timorese with total impunity," Amnesty said, adding that there were well-sourced reports of killings and abductions in Atambua.

Several international humanitarian workers, including UNHCR staff, had also been attacked during attempts to visit refugee camps in West Timor, it said.

Refugees were also facing intimidation, threats of arrest and constant military surveillance in Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Bali and Flores.

"In a climate of rising xenophobia, East Timorese are easily identifiable for discrimination and attack."

Amnesty called on the international community to step up pressure on the Indonesian government to allow assistance and protection for East Timor refugees.

** End of text from cdp:reg.easttimor **