'Stop sending weapons to Indonesia'

Wednesday, November 27, 1991

ALFREDO FERREIRA, Fretilin representative in Australia, spoke to REIHANA MOHIDEEN of Green Left on November 22. Following are his comments on recent events in East Timor.

After the massacre of November 12, the Indonesian army, together with the Indonesian intelligence forces, started rounding up all those people they thought would be the organisers of the protest. Information is that between 100 and 300 people were rounded up on the first day after the massacre. These people were taken to the police stations.

During the early morning of November 15, there was a report that 60 to 100 people were taken away and executed in Bemussi. There were eyewitnesses of those killings. Soon after they were executed, a bulldozer pushed all the bodies into a large grave.

The Indonesian offensive that they launched early this year has not stopped. Sometimes, due to communications breakdown, we cannot follow what is happening. But the offensive to capture the Fretilin leadership is still continuing.

The United States is the main supplier of weapons to Indonesia.

Fretilin wants the United Nations to go to East Timor and look into the situation. We also want the United Nations to put pressure on the Indonesians to withdraw their forces. In fact, a resolution along these lines was passed in the United nations in 1976. What we want is to enforce that resolution.

We want the world to realise that by supplying arms to Indonesia they are helping the Indonesian government kill our people. We want them to stop sending weapons to Indonesia.

There has been an international outcry about the recent actions of the Indonesians. The European parliament has passed a resolution to stop military aid to Indonesia and has asked the UN to look into the situation again. The government of the Netherlands is stopping any new investments in Indonesia. The response from Australia hasn't come yet. But we believe that next week Bob Hawke will support a resolution which will ask Indonesia to withdraw their forces from East Timor and encourage a peaceful and acceptable solution.

We think that there will be enough international pressure on Australia to support such a motion. The Timor Gap treaty has influenced Australia against coming out with a strong response so far. This has prevented Australia from playing a useful role in support of the Timorese people.

If the rest of the world is ahead of Australia on this question, it means that Australia will become irrelevant to the process of decolonising East Timor. They will be seen to be supporting one of the most brutal regimes in the world. So I think it is in Australia's interest to take a strong position.

We want a truly independent inquiry into the recent massacres. Australia wants an inquiry from the Indonesian side. This is not at ou ask the criminal to investigate his own crime?

We ask for the support of the Australian people to solve the problems relating to this long war.

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