/** reg.easttimor: 3059.0 **/

** Topic: Irish Times/Timor **
** Written 4:40 AM Sep 20, 1999 by etisc@indigo.ie in cdp:reg.easttimor **
From: "East Timor Ireland Solidarity Campaign" <etisc@indigo.ie>

Source The Irish Times

Monday, September 20, 1999

UN voters' register may disclose war crimes

From Conor O'Clery, in Darwin

When UN officials return to East Timor they will bring with them a complete record of every registered voter in East Timor. This will prove invaluable in reversing the plan to displace people and hide possible crimes against humanity.

The Red Cross said yesterday that some three-quarters of the population of East Timor had been displaced and the rest were refugees in West Timor. Thousands are believed to have been killed by pro-Jakarta militiamen and elements of the Indonesian army.

The register of voters was compiled by officials of the UN Mission in East Timor (Unamet) over two months prior to the August 30th referendum when over 450,000 East Timorese voted by 79.5 per cent for independence. This unique record, possibly the most comprehensive documentation of any population group in the Asia-Pacific region ever, was computerised in Darwin, Australia, a Unamet source told The Irish Times.

When the militias besieged Unamet stations around the former Portuguese colony in the days after the vote, civilian police, including a number from Ireland, helped destroy all records of dealings with the local population, the source said. The records of the Unamet compound in Dili were also destroyed and a hard disc copy was taken to Darwin. In a statement in Jakarta the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that an urgently needed major relief operation to help the displaced people appeared impossible in the short term. It said 600,000 people were internally displaced and some 200,000 refugees were in West Timor and neighbouring islands.

In 1995, East Timor's population was estimated at around 850,000 people. The statement quoted ICRC delegation head in Jakarta, Mr Toni Pfanner, who made the comments to other Asian Red Cross leaders after a recent visit to West Timor. "In his briefing Dr Pfanner said that due to the extremely unstable security situation in East and West Timor, he does not believe that the muchneeded major relief operation will be possible in the short term," said the statement issued by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

He said tens of thousands of people were hiding in the jungle in East Timor. The ICRC has two aircraft loaded with relief supplies in Darwin, and in Surabaya, Indonesia's second city. There are also two ships in the same cities with more food and a 300-bed field hospital. The aid would be shipped to East Timor as soon as the situation allowed.

Dr Pfanner says that East Timor has basically been destroyed, that there is no infrastructure left. As the ICRC's equipment, warehouse, cars and other materials were all destroyed or confiscated, the organisation will have to bring all the necessary logistical systems into East Timor before any major operation can commence." Ten tonnes of emergency food rations were dropped to refugees in East Timor on Saturday, although a second planned drop was aborted due to bad weather, the Australian aid agency AusAid said. A spokesman, Mr Matt Francis, said the UN hoped to drop tens of thousands of "daily humanitarian rations" into East Timor in coming days.

The World Food Programme was due yesterday to bring in its own Hercules aircraft from South Africa, specially equipped to conduct "high-altitude snow drops". The WFOP hopes to deploy the aircraft quickly to drop small packets of high protein biscuits, which rotate when floating down and fall without risk of injuring people below.

East Timor Ireland Solidarity Campaign Suite 16, Dame House 24-26 Dame Street Dublin 2 Telephone 00 353 1 671 9207/ 677 0253 /623 3148 Mobile 087 286 0122 Fax 00 353 1 671 9207 Timorese Community in Ireland 00 353 1 453 1462 web http://indigo.ie/~etisc/ Offices in: Dublin Belfast Laois Galway Claremorris

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