Indonesia denies visas to East Timorese


Indonesia denies visas to East Timorese

By Christine Faithful

DARWIN — A small group of Australian-resident East Timorese were refused visas to visit East Timor when they applied at the Indonesian Consulate here on November 4. The consulate gates were locked by police.

This is not the first instance of the consulate black-listing people. Previously, when an East Timorese supporter went by herself to the consulate, she was arrested and charged with trespass.

The Indonesian black list became public when a man, whose name was similar to that of a Darwin activist, was thrown out of Bali in January 1993. The consulate admitted then that activists are placed on the black list.

A United Nations Secretary General's report in September on the progress of talks between Portugal and Indonesia states that the two foreign ministers agreed that "access to East Timor for UN and human rights and humanitarian organisations, as well as visits by East Timorese living abroad should be continued and expanded".

The Australian-resident East Timorese required visas because they hold Portuguese passports. The refusal of visas is a clear breach of the undertaking to the UN.

East Timorese living in exile are demanding that the Indonesian occupation forces leave East Timor by mid-1995, with UN peace-keeping forces taking up positions by March 1995 to oversee the process of self-determination. We do not accept the present situation continuing past the 20th anniversary of the Indonesian invasion.
[Christine Faithful is the coordinator of Friends of East Timor in Western Australia.]