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East Timorese students petition Indonesian parliament

Media release - June 16, 1997

The 'East Timorese Students Movement for Peace' (METLP) distributed a document addressed to the Head of the Parliament of Indonesia on Monday 16 June. In conjunction with this, a rally of East Timorese students has been organised at the regional Parliament in Surabaya at 10.00 am.

The document, signed by Renato da Costa, General Coordinator, and Zeto Felix da Costa, General Secretary of the Java-based 'East Timorese Students Movement for Peace', and issued in Portuguese and Bahasa Indonesia, in essence makes the following points:

1. Denounces the social and political manipulations of Indonesia aiming at supporting its claim that the majority of the East Timorese people have chosen integration with Indonesia.

2. Claims that the majority of the East Timorese people continue to struggle hard for their right of self-determination.

3. Denounces the lack of seriousness and political will to find a solution to the East Timor issue, in fact something easy to solve, which has become a major international conflict. This is highly detrimental to the people of East Timor, who experience great suffering.

4. The petition also acknowledges the high cost to Indonesia and the suffering of its people stemming from prolonging the irrational East Timor conflict.

5. The main reasons for the lack of a solution are: a. the impotence of Portugal; b. the lack of seriousness of the Indonesian government, which acts in an arrogant, inflexible, unrealistic and inconsistent manner;

6. The document denounces the use of violence by the Indonesian government to silence the aspirations of the East Timorese people. It asks why is a referendum not permitted, given that the people and the Resistance have long appealed for this easy way out to solve the problem?

7. It also denounces attempts by Jakarta to present the East Timor problem as one of social, race, religious or economic nature.

8. It asks why if economic development in East Timor is progressing as well as Indonesia claims, why do East Timorese youths have to seek refuge in foreign embassies, to, as Jakarta claims "get a free ticket abroad"? If there would be the alleged prosperity, people could buy their tickets, if indeed that were their motivation in attempting to flee the country.

The East Timorese Students Movement for Peace state the following position and demands:

1. Support for the tri-partite dialogue under UN secretary-General auspices, demanding that the question of a referendum to decide the territory's future be immediately addressed;

2. Support for the All Inclusive East Timorese Dialogue (AIETD), but demanding the inclusion of student representatives, and not only integrationists on the Indonesian side;

3. Strongly denounces the sponsoring of violent groups by the Indonesian authorities, such as GARDAPAKSI, TENTARA TIGA BULAN (Three Months Army) and others,as well as recruiting unemployed East Timorese in Jakarta for violent actions on behalf of Indonesia;

4. Rejection of any form of war in East Timor;

5. Support for dialogue as a means to resolve the conflict;

6. stoppage of all present activities of natural resource exploitation in East Timor.

To conclude, the Petition reiterates the following demands to the Indonesian Government:

End of the East Timor war;
Withdrawal of Indonesian military presence;
Implementation of UN and AIETD resolutions;
Holding a referendum in East Timor.