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Indonesia tries to stop address of East Timorese activist

Lusa - March 20, 1997

Geneva – Indonesia and other countries have sought barring East Timorese self-determination activist Jose Ramos Horta from addressing the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) standing in a podium, sources have said.

They said on Wednesday that Indonesia has pressured for Ramos Horta not to be granted the privilege.

Ramos Horta, a 1996 Nobel Peace Prize co-laureate, used to spoke to the commission within the time alloted to a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in the main room, and not from the gallery, where the representatives of the 53 members states of the UNHRC give their speeches.

This year, NGO's and Western countries feel that he should follow the steps of other Nobel Peace Prize winners such as Guatemala's Rigoberta Menchu who have stand at the gallery podium.

East Timor was invaded by Indonesia in 1975 and annexed one year later but the United Nations still regards Portugal as the territory's administering power.

Lisbon has demanded East Timor to be given the right to self-determination.