May 27 has been designated a national day of solidarity with East Timor. Actions on the day are endorsed by, among others, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), the Australian Council for Overseas Aid, APHEDA (the ACTU's aid agency), Amnesty International, the Mary McKillop Institute of East Timorese Studies, the Australia East Timor Association and Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor.
Rallies and other activities — including workplace actions — are being organised around the country to demand an end to the attacks by terrorist groups armed and supported by the Indonesian military aimed at derailing the progress towards independence in East Timor. Other demands are that the United Nations be allowed to substantially increase its presence to stop the violence and that Canberra suspend military aid to Indonesia until the pro-integration militias are disarmed.
"Australian unions need to do all we can to support the human rights of the East Timorese people. Please join us in sending a signal to the Australian government and the Indonesian military that the violence and intimidation against the East Timorese people must end", said ACTU president Jennie George as she urged participation in the day.
APHEDA has launched an appeal to trade unions and their members to support a fund to buy urgently needed medical supplies and to support literacy and health projects to help build an independent East Timor. Donations can be made by phone on 1300 362 223, posted to Box 3, Trades Hall, 4 Goulburn Street, Sydney 2000, or by visiting <http://www.apheda.org.au>.
For information about activities in your city, contact your state Trades and Labor Council.