Sunday, October 11, 2009

Timor-Leste, Towards Independence

Timorese group fought a campaign of resistance against Indonesian forces for the Independence of East Timor , during which many atrocities and human rights violations
by the Indonesian army were reported. The Indonesian army were reported to have trained and supplied militias imported from Indonesia to terrorise the population. Foreign Powers such as the Australian Govt. in obscuring and discouraging media reporting on atrocities committed by Indonesian militias.
Effects of the Dili massacre
The Dili massacre on 12 Nov. 1991 was a turning point for sympathy for pro-independence East Timiorese. A burgeoning East Timor solidarity movement grew in Portugal, Australia, and the United States. After the Santacruz massacre, the Us congress voted to cut off funding for IMET training of Indonesian military personnel. Howeveer, arms sales continued from US to TNI. President clinton cut off all US military ties with the Indonesian military in 1999. The Australian Govt. promoted a strong connection with the Indonesian military at the time of the massacre, but also cut offties in 1999.
The massacre had a profound effect on public opinion in Portugal, specially after television footage showing East Timorese praying in Portuguese, and Independence leader Xanana Gusmao gained widespread respect, being awarded the Portugal's highest honour in 1993, after he had been captured and imprisoned by the Indonesians. In Australia there was also widespread public outrage, and criticism of Canberra's close relationship with Suharto regime and recognition of Jakarta's sovereignity over East Timor. This caused the Australian govrnment embarrassment, but foreign minister Gareth Evans played down the killings, describing them as an aberration , not act of state policy.
International lobying : Portugal tried in vain to use the European loby as most of them had close business link with Indonesialike UK.
In 1996. Bishop Carlos belo and Jose Ramos-Horta, two leading East

In1996,Bishop Carlos Belo and Jose Ramo-Horta, two leading East Timoreseactivists for peace and Independence, received the Peace Nobel Prize. In mid-1990s the pro-democracy People's Democratic party (PRD)in indonesia called for withdrwal from East Timor. The party'sleadership was arrested in july 1996. In July 1997, South African President Nelson Mandela visited Suharto as well as the imprisoned Xanana Gusmao. He urged the freeing of all East timorese leaders in a note reading, "we can never normalize the situation in East Timorunless all political leaders, including Mr. Gusmao, are freed.They are the ones who must bring about a solution ." Indonesia's govt. refused but did announce thhat it would take three months off Gusmao's 20-year sentence.

In 1998,following the resignation of Suharto and his replacement by President Habibie, Jakarta moved towards offeringEast Timor autonomy within the Indonesian state, although ruled out independenceand stated that portugal and the UN must recognize Indonesian Sovereignty.