Letter: East Timor

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East Timor

Sir: The supposed withdrawal of Indonesian troops from East Timor (reports, 28/29 July) is meaningless unless United Nations observers are allowed to go there and monitor events in this much troubled land. Following the Dili massacre, in which more than 270 young East Timorese were shot dead, Indonesia promised a reduction in troop numbers. In fact they increased the level of their military in the territory. Indonesia cannot pretend to play honest broker in a country that it has illegally occupied and where it has carried out systematic genocide against the people.

The East Timorese resistance, under the leadership of Xanana Gusmao, has said it would be prepared to let bygones be bygones and put down Indonesia's invasion and occupation as a "historical mistake". Surely a reciprocal response from the West's favourite dictator, President Habibie of Indonesia, would be to open East Timor to the scrutiny of such institutions as Amnesty International and the UN Commission for Human Rights with free access for all.


East Timor

Ireland Campaign, Dublin