October 25, 1996
|Jose Ramos-Horta, exiled East Timorese resistance leader and 1996 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, responds to viewer questions and comments.|
Kaur of Kanata, Ontario, Canada asks:
No doubt the Nobel Peace Prize has clearly focused the world's attention on the island of East Timor and the political and socio-cultural struggle for self-determination.
However, to capitalize on this attention, as surely it will fade from the focus of the international press (especially the U.S. national press), what are some of the immediate actions/statements that can take place to leverage your current situation? And what must be needed soon after this?
Plus why has there been so little focus on the U.N. resolutions on East Timor?
Indeed, the Nobel Peace Prize has served to greatly boost the international public focus on the East Timor issue. However, even before that there has been a consistent interest in the issue. East Timor has been of interest to media, academics, human rights activists, Church people, artists and so on. This will continue, and increase as a result of the Nobel Peace Prize. It will further fuel international public opinion support for East Timor.
We will use any opportunity provided by the Nobel Peace Prize award to further expose the East Timor situation, and to promote the National Council of Maubere Resistance (CNRM) proposal for a peaceful solution presented in 1992, which has enjoyed substantial (and growing) support.
I insert a summary here for your information.
Phase One (one to two years): Indonesia-Portugal talks under the auspices of the U.N. Secretary General, with East Timorese participation, to achieve an end to armed activities in East Timor; release of political prisoners; reduction of Indonesian military personnel; removal of armaments; expansion of International Committee of the Red Cross activities; reduction of Indonesian civil servants; population census; access by U.N. Specialized Agencies for restoration and protection of the environment, resettlement, district development, women and children care and public health and immunization; restoration of all basic human rights, removal of restrictions on Portuguese and Tetum languages; setting up of an independent Human Rights Commission; appointment of a U.N. Secretary General Resident Representative in East Timor.
Phase Two -autonomy- (five years): This is a transition stage of autonomy in which East Timorese would govern themselves democratically through their own local institutions. This would require: Democratic election of a local Assembly with a five-year mandate under U.N. supervision and assistance. Only East Timorese may vote and be elected; election of an East Timorese Governor for a five-year term by the Assembly; Assembly powers would include, among others, legislation concerning international trade relations, investment, property, and immigration; withdrawal of all Indonesian troops and further reduction in Indonesian civil servants; a U.N.-organized territorial police force, placed under the command of the Governor, the territory is to have no army. Phase two may be extended by mutual consent between Indonesia and the East Timorese population expressing its views through a referendum.
Phase Three - self-determination: Covers preparation for a self-determination referendum, to be held within one year of the commencement of this phase, whereby the population may choose between free association or integration into Indonesia, or independence.