Protest at award to Alatas
By Belinda Craig
The Australian-East Timor Association has written to recipients of the Order of Australia, urging them to take a stand against the award having been presented to Ali Alatas, Indonesia's foreign minister.
"Mr Alatas represents a brutal regime that is guilty of genocide — a regime that demonstrates an implacable determination to deprive the East Timorese people of the elemental rights of speaking their own languages and maintaining their own culture", says the letter. "To this day the constant repressive measures of the Indonesian regime result in arbitary arrests, extrajudical executions, disappearences, torture and political imprisonment."
The AETA encouraged "the present holders of the Order of Australia to make a positive stand that fosters an acceptable solution to the East Timor conflagration." It asked them to pressure the goverment by writing letters to newspapers and to the governor general, prime minister of foreign minister, asking that Alatas' award be withdrawn.