13 March 2010

President calls Amnesty International "fringe elements"

In a speech to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 11 March 2010, Timor-Leste President Jose Ramos-Horta attacked fellow Nobel Peace Laureate Amnesty International, calling them "fringe elements in this amorphous international community." Why is the President so bitter toward peaceful human rights activists who helped his country achieve independence, while he readily pardons people indicted or convicted of serious crimes, who killed to enforce the illegal, brutal Indonesian occupation?

Here are links to a few documents issued this week to give some context:

8 March 2010: Amnesty International press release: Timor-Leste President would support international tribunal

9 March: Jakarta Globe Article: Indonesian Military Doubts Talk of E. Timor Military Tribunal

10 March: JRH press release: The President denies AI press release
This was issued in three languages, and the Portuguese is different from the other two:
English: http://www.presidency.tl/eng/pr/prl/mar2010/10.PPR.About%20AI_ENG.doc
Portuguese: http://www.presidency.tl/por/pr/prl/mar2010/10.CPR.Sobre%20AI_POR.doc
Tetum:  The President's website doesn't include Tetum, we posted it at http://www.laohamutuk.org/Justice/JRH/JRHdeniesAI10Mar10Te.pdf

11 March: JRH speech to UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva: Timor-Leste: The Decade of Peace and Prosperity
Speech:  http://www.laohamutuk.org/Justice/JRH/JRHSpeechHumanRightsCouncil11Mar2010.pdf
JRH press release: http://www.presidency.tl/eng/pr/prl/mar2010/12.PPR.Visit.Geneva_EN.doc
UN Press release: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=9900&LangID=E

17 March: Amnesty International wrote to President Ramos-Horta explaining their perspective.

21 March: The Timor-Leste National Alliance for an International Tribunal and the Ermera group of Victims and Victims' Families issued statements expressing their unhappiness with the President's claim that no Timorese want and international Tribunal. They tried to greet the President when he returned to Dili airport but were not allowed to.

23 March: The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) from the USA wrote an open letter to President Jose Ramos-Horta

In Geneva the President justified the illegal release of Maternus Bere:
As it turned out, and not surprisingly, there was not a single soul lighting a candle in protest at the gates of the said embassy where the alleged mass murderer had been sheltered while awaiting medical evacuation.

Perhaps the 100 or so people who lit candles in front of the Indonesian embassy, on 6 September, the 10th anniversary of the Suai Church Massacre, are soulless. Decide for yourself, or click here for more information.

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