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ICFTU warns Indonesia
6 September 1999
INTERNATIONAL CONFEDERATION OF FREE TRADE UNIONS (ICFTU)
World Union urges UN Secretary General to send Peace Keeping Force into East Timor
Brussels September 6 1999 (ICFTU OnLine): The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, has written to Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General urging him to take whatever action is necessary to ensure that the Security Council send "an effective, international or regional peace keeping force" into East Timor to protect its citizens and prevent the situation deteriorating into genocide. The ICFTU says in its letter that the peace keeping force must be "able to guarantee, by any and all necessary means" the lives and security of East Timorese civilians.
The ICFTU, which represents 124 million trade unionists in nearly 150 countries, says that a UN force must act urgently to disarm and disband armed militias and arrest and bring to trial all those responsible for the accelerating bloodbath.
On September 3 the UN's own High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, characterised the situation as one of "extra-judicial killings, displacement of populations, destruction of property, illegal detention and intimidation, with Indonesian security forces reacting in a wholly inadequate manner". The ICFTU says that it is now becoming clear that Indonesian armed forces (TNI) are, at best, allowing the killings, and at worst, giving substantial and organised assistance, within the highest levels of the TNI, to the armed militias.
It appears that the militias are working towards the cancellation of the August 30th referendum, in which the East Timorese voted for independence by an overwhelming majority. The ICFTU says that it is crucial that the United Nations act to ensure that the will of the people is carried through.
The ICFTU has also written to Indonesian President Habibie and to Defence Minister and TNI Commander in Chief General Wiranto, warning them that unless peace is restored, the ICFTU will be using its status with multilateral financial institutions and Indonesia's major donors and trading partners to urge them to suspend budgetary support and all other non-humanitarian aid to Indonesia until human rights are guaranteed in East Timor, and the Indonesian Parliament votes to implement the results of the August 30 referendum.
The ICFTU is also contacting its affiliates throughout the world, particularly those in countries which have Permanent Member status in the UN Security Council, requesting them to press the above demands with their respective national governments.