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IFET Warns of West Papua-East Timor Parallels
13 June 2000
International Federation Warns of West Papua-East Timor Parallels in Letter to Indonesia's
Warning of ominous parallels between the situation in West Papua and events last year
in East Timor, Charles Scheiner, United Nations Representative of the International
Federation for East Timor (IFET), urged Indonesia's President Abdurrahman Wahid to
"stop militia terror while it can
still be controlled" in West Papua.
The militias, Scheiner said in a letter sent to President Wahid on his visit today
to the United Nations, "operate with the logistical and political support of the
Writing on behalf of IFET's 39 organisations, Scheiner urged Wahid to "use every nonviolent
at your disposal to assert authority over the military and police in Papua, and to
terminate violations of human rights perpetrated with the cooperation or complicity
of your government's armed forces."
The letter also urged Wahid to arrest militia leaders and remove them from the refugee
camps in West Timor, and thereby allow the 100,000 East Timorese people there to
freely choose their future homeland."
While taking no position on the West Papuan independence, the letter called the 1969
UN- supervised 'Act of Free Choice' "a blot on Indonesian and United Nations history,
a fraudulent, unrepresentative charade which should be discarded in the new era of
Indonesian democracy, along
with other totalitarian policies of the Suharto regime."
Indonesia annexed Dutch New Guinea (West Papua) as Irian Jaya in 1963. The UN recognised
Indonesia's claim in 1969, after it and Jakarta administered the so-called Act of
Free Choice in which about 1000 Indonesian-selected delegates -- out of a population
of 800,000 Papuans -- agreed under pressure to become a province of Indonesia.
In the months leading up to last August 30 vote in East Timor, the International Federation
Timor sent 140 non-partisan observers to East Timor to observe the UN-administered
consultation process. IFET was formed in 1991 to support the self-determination process
for East Timor at the United Nations. It now has 39 member groups from 23 countries.
Contact: Charles Scheiner, IFET.
Index page on West Papua