Doc. 8519

17 September 1999

East Timor

Motion for a recommendation

presented by Mr Martins and others

This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and only expresses the views of the members who have signed it

1.       The people of East Timor are facing a humanitarian catastrophe resulting from acts of violence which are provoking thousands of deaths, several hundred thousands of displaced persons and two hundred thousand persons are in danger of starving to death.

2.       This situation of horror takes place after the referendum held on
30 August 1999, under the auspices of the UN, in which the Timorese decided, by an overwhelming majority, to vote in favour of independence.

3.       The referendum – held according to a tripartite accord from 5 May 1999, celebrated between the UN and the Governments of Portugal and Indonesia – was recognised as free and fair by the UN Secretary General, by the Presidents of the Republic of Portugal and Indonesia and by the international community.

4.       After the announcement of the referendum results and its international recognition, systematic operations of terror and death took place, with severe violation of fundamental human rights such as the right to life, personal integrity and safety, perpetrated by armed militia, Indonesian police and military forces.

5.       The UN has already recognised, in a deliberation approved, unanimously, by the Security Council, that systematic, far-reaching and flagrant violations of the international law regarding humanitarian issues and human rights were committed in East Timor, which demand that those responsible should be brought to justice.

6.       Human rights violations include the persecution of well known members of the catholic Community, the killing of several priests and nuns and the persecution of the Bishops of Dili and Baucau, the burning of their residences and Episcopal and religious buildings.

7.       Not even the premises and goods of UNAMET were spared and the conditions for freely providing information for the international press were even less ensured.

8.       The horror of the criminal actions and the destruction and fires in the cities of Dili and Baucau led the population to run away to the mountains or to be forced to go to deportation camps in Western Timor.

9.       The humanitarian situation has dramatically affected the most vulnerable groups, especially the elderly and children.

      Taking these events into consideration, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe:

10.       Strongly condemns the acts of terror and inhuman violation of human rights, which have been practised in East Timor and holds Indonesia accountable for the existing situation, making an appeal towards the immediate end to this tragedy;

11.       Rejoices with the 1264/1999 deliberation, unanimously adopted by the UN Security Council, which foresees the establishment of a multinational force to restore peace and safety in East Timor, to support the UNAMET and to facilitate the humanitarian relief operations, according to the principles of the United Nations Charter;

12.       Urges the UN to establish the necessary institutional resources to hold accountable before the international penal justice those responsible and the actual perpetrators of the crimes committed against humankind in East Timor;

13.       Welcomes the free choice towards independence of the Timorese people and addresses an appeal towards the recognition of the new state of East Timor;

14.       Recommends that the Committee of Ministers and the governments of the member countries of the Council of Europe urgently help to reinstate the full respect for human rights, namely, the return of the displaced persons, the implementation of democracy and the necessary conditions for development with the reconstruction of East Timor.

Signed1:

Martins, Portugal, SOC

Assis Miranda, Portugal, SOC

Carvalho, Portugal, UEL

Dias, Portugal, SOC

Luís, Portugal, SOC

Niza, Portugal, SOC

Pereira Coelho, Portugal, EPP/CD

Pereira Marques, Portugal, SOC

Pocas Santos, Portugal, EPP/CD

Roseta, Portugal, EPP/CD


1        SOC: Socialist Group

      EPP/CD: Group of the European People’s Party

      EDG: European Democratic and Reformers Group

LDR: Liberal, Democratic and Reformers Group

      UEL: Group of the Unified European Left

      NR: not registered in a group