APCET 5 Conference Statement

The Fifth Conference of the Asia Pacific Coalition for East Timor (APCET 5) held in Dili from 16 – 19 May 2004, affirms the success of APCET in: bringing organizations from all over the region together to work in solidarity for the continuing liberation of the people of Timor Leste; developing a spirit of cooperation which contributed to the eventual ending of the Indonesian occupation of Timor Leste and creating an atmosphere in which the struggles of the past can be used to inspire others.

The Fifth Conference of the Asia Pacific Coalition for East Timor: International Solidarity and the Continuing Quest for Justice, held in Dili from 16 – 19 May 2004, affirms the success of APCET in:

  • bringing organizations from all over the region together to work in solidarity for the continuing liberation of the people of Timor Leste
  • developing a spirit of cooperation which contributed to the eventual ending of the Indonesian occupation of Timor Leste and
  • creating an atmosphere in which the struggles of the past can be used to inspire others.

This spirit must continue in order that the current problems of this emerging nation of Timor Leste are addressed so that it can play a successful role in its own development.

We recognize that the struggle of the Timor Leste people is not yet complete: they face grave issues of poverty, economic dependency and political domination by outside forces, and indications of corruption in governance and bureaucracy. Confronting these will involve the strengthening of the capacity of civil society to play a full part in the nation’s development.

It will also involve the rights of the Timor Leste people to develop their own independent institutions, to build a new society free from any external domination.

In order to achieve these objectives, the APCET 5 Conference resolves the following to continue our solidarity with the people of Timor Leste. APCET 5 will:

On Timor Gap:

  • Actively support the resolution of the Australia-Timor Leste maritime boundary dispute by urging the Australian government to:
  • Respect the sovereignty of Timor Leste and negotiate a fair maritime boundary within a period of three years according to contemporary international legal principles.
  • Rejoin international arbitration mechanisms such as the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ)
  • Cease issuing new exploration licenses in disputed areas
  • Place all revenues from fields in disputed areas into an escrow account until a permanent maritime boundary is finalized
  • Demand that the UN take initiatives to mediate and facilitate the maritime boundary disputes between Australia and Timor Leste.

On Indonesia:

  • We are also disturbed that the Timor Leste leadership have succumbed to the pressure by Jakarta to cancel the trial of Gen. Wiranto for his role in the 1999 destruction of Timor Leste.
  • Therefore we urge the Timor Leste leadership to stand firm in the wake of political and military pressure from Jakarta.

On Justice:

  • Assist victims of atrocities through all possible legal and political means including submitting the public indictment papers of APCET 5 to the UN
  • Explore other activities to provide justice to victims in Timor Leste such as the filing of individual cases in Indonesian and Timorese courts
  • Identify and mobilize lawyers who will study the requirements of a Peoples’ Tribunal for Timor Leste

On celebrating solidarity:

  • Propose and help set up a solidarity museum in Timor Leste where APCET affiliates can showcase materials celebrating our solidarity with the people of Timor Leste.
  • The success of East Timor’s independence struggle is a valuable experience for the region to share and is a sign of hope for those still in struggle. APCET 5 will further this objective of raising hope through shared experience by:
  • Forming a Timorese solidarity organization through the creation of a Timorese organizing committee composed of PSMTL, ARKTL, Caritas-Dili, TILAN and other interested bodies. The Timorese organizing committee will formalize their organization by August 2004 with the assistance of the APCET secretariat.
  • Transforming itself into a broader regional solidarity coalition. An ad hoc regional working group will be set up for the new regional solidarity coalition; this ad hoc working group is tasked to prepare the first council of the new regional solidarity coalition within one year.

APCET 5 is also an expression of solidarity with the people of the region who have contributed to the struggle of East Timor, often while enduring struggles of their own.

APCET 5 resolves to take the following actions of solidarity in the region:

On Impunity:

  • To urge Asia-Pacific countries to ratify and implement the Rome Treaty that established the International Criminal Court to stop impunity in the region and to prevent future serious crimes

On Indonesia:

  • To oppose remilitarization in Indonesia, including the presidential candidacy of Gen. Wiranto, and its implications for the region, especially since he still has to stand for trial for crimes against humanity

On Aceh:

  • To call upon both the Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) to resume peace negotiations in Aceh and allow the inclusion of civil society as part of this democratic process
  • To call for amnesty for all political prisoners in Aceh, including the thousands detained during the one year martial law period from May 2003-2004
  • To call upon the Indonesian government to stop the isolation of political detainees by transferring Acehnese prisoners from Aceh to prisons elsewhere in Indonesia

On Burma:

  • To demand the release of Nobel Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and other NLD leaders and the release of all political prisoners in Burma
  • To support the call for tripartite dialogue between the NLD, ethnic nationalities and the Burmese military regime
  • To stop all forms of human rights violations (particularly sexual violations against ethnic women of Burma, and forced labour practices)

On Sri Lanka:

  • To urge the Sri Lankan government to accept and recognize the interim self-governing authority supported by the Tamil people; and the international community to support the immediate resumption of peace talks in Sri Lanka

On Mindanao:

  • To support the struggles and aspirations of the Mindanao peoples, including the Bangsamoro and Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination and self-governance through just, peaceful and democratic processes such as a referendum

On Thailand:

  • To call upon the Thai government to respect the human rights of Pattani people and to ensure protection of human rights defenders and NGOs in Southern Thailand
  • To call for a peaceful resolution to the conflicts in Southern Thailand

On West Papua:

  • To demand that the Indonesian government stop their policy of dividing the Papua province
  • To call upon the Indonesian government and the West Papuan people to resolve the problems of West Papua through peaceful dialogue
  • To call upon the UN Secretary-General to review the UN’s role in the Act of Free Choice (PEPERA) in 1969.

We celebrate 10 years of APCET existence with joy and success, and we are proud that our solidarity has contributed to fulfillment of the dream of an independent Timor Leste. We look forward to the continuing journey of a more challenging time. APCET, as a coalition, or in the capacity of its individual members, will continue to work to strengthen regional solidarity to strive for democracy, justice and the genuine independence of all peoples.

A luta continua!

Adopted by APCET 5
Instituto Reformacao Continua de Profesores
Dili, Timor Leste
19 May 2004

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