Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2000-02-16-Speech-3-125"

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"Mr President, Mr President-in-Office, Commissioner, economic clout cannot be the only factor that determines the European Union’s status in the world. One of the EU’s distinguishing features is our systematic approach to human rights, as exercised both within the Union and by our partners. The European Parliament has been at the forefront of the battle to promote and defend human rights, and it has succeeded in overcoming the limits imposed by self-interest and “national interests”, which are sometimes reflected in the positions adopted by the Member States and even by other European Union institutions. We can therefore safely say, for example, that the European Parliament has never allowed the situation in East Timor to be forgotten, which could have been the greatest obstacle to finding an equitable solution for its people, who always opposed occupation by Indonesia. By the same token we have recently opposed arms sales to Indonesia, a stance that the Council unfortunately did not take into account. But it is not just a question of preventing or putting a stop to sickening instances of aggression perpetrated by individuals or institutions against those in a weaker position. It is vital that when violations are committed, the perpetrators should not be able to act with impunity, whoever or wherever they may be – in Indonesia or Angola, in Cuba, China or Burma, whether the perpetrators are civilians or soldiers, humble foot-soldier or general or even a minister. Justice needs to be done in Indonesia. Justice needs to be done in East Timor. President Wahid needs our support to cope with the difficult situation he is faced with. The specific reference in this resolution to East Timor, on the initiative of the PPE Group, is a timely one. Someone must be held to account for the events that took place there, some of which I saw with my own eyes as a representative of this House; they cannot go unpunished. It is impossible to talk about East Timor without mentioning the tens of thousands of Timorese refugees living on Indonesian soil in inhumane conditions, under the control of Indonesian soldiers and militias, and being used as bargaining chips. This is an intolerable situation which must cease as a matter of urgency."@en1

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