Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/1999-09-15-Speech-3-149"

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"Mr President, I was a member of the European Parliament’s delegation which observed at first hand the referendum in East Timor which took place on 30 August. There, I was able to acquire up-to-date information and to witness the bravery and conviction of the people there and the extent of their resistance. They have resisted 24 years of Indonesia’s violent occupation; they have suffered and died for wanting to be themselves. They have never given up the struggle nor bowed their heads. As the international community finally woke up to Indonesia’s oppression, the idea that freedom was on its way grew in their minds. They registered in droves and 98.6% turned out to vote. They did so in a disciplined way, visibly happy, trusting the international community’s guarantees, thinking that they would be able to freely express their will and that this would be respected. The demonstration of the people’s desire for independence was clear, broad and unequivocal. The following day was not the peaceful day that it should have been. Indonesia did not want to fulfil the formal commitment it gave in New York to guarantee security. This is why thousands of deaths were recorded, hundreds of thousands of refugees left without protection, starving, many of them wounded or ill. Twelve days of genocide is too long to wait for the international community to reciprocate the trust placed in it by the Timorese – and also in us, Members of the European Parliament. The people of Timor have the right to expect that the aggression to which they have been subjected, just because they legitimately demonstrated their will, should stop immediately. They have the right to expect that those responsible for these crimes, both morally and physically, are charged and brought before an international court. Not even the churches and those who sought refuge in them were spared, and it became clear that the militias, rather than just created by the Indonesian armed forces, have been inspired, trained, armed and even joined by them. I saw all this with my own eyes. Humanitarian aid must be guaranteed, and the European Union must play a leading role in this. The European Union must support reconstruction and participate, in joint action with the Commission, in the development process of the new independent state, which must be recognised immediately. What all of this entails, of course, is the immediate dispatch of an international peacekeeping force to Timor, and the withdrawal of Indonesian soldiers when this force arrives. Time is at a premium, as rumours abound to the effect that every day, boats are leaving Timor full of passengers and arriving at their destinations without them. Why should there be mass graves? We share responsibility for what has happened, for what is taking place and for what will happen in East Timor. ( )"@en1

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