UN report says Indonesia killed 180,000 in E.Timor
CANBERRA (Reuters) – Indonesia killed up to 180,000 East
Timorese through massacres, torture and starvation during its
24-year occupation, a U.N. investigation has found, an
Australian daily said on Thursday.
Napalm and chemical weapons were used to poison food and
water and some victims were burned or buried while still alive,
and others sexually mutilated, the Australian newspaper quoted
the U.N. report saying.
It said 90 percent of the 180,000 deaths — almost a third
of the pre-invasion population — were caused by starvation and
disease, saying starvation was used as a weapon.
“Rape, sexual slavery and sexual violence were tools used
as part of the campaign designed to inflict a deep experience
of terror, powerlessness and hopelessness upon pro-independence
supporters,” the paper quoted the commission saying.
The 2,500-page report by the United Nations’ Commission for
Reception, Truth and Reconciliation is based on interviews with
8,000 Timorese, refugees in Indonesia’s West Timor, Indonesian
military papers and foreign intelligence sources.
“Widespread and systemic executions, arbitrary detention,
torture, rape and sexual slavery was officially accepted by
Indonesia,” the study said.
“The violations were committed in execution of a systematic
plan approved, conducted and controlled by Indonesian military
commanders at the highest level.”
Indonesia State Secretary Yusril Ihza Mahendra said on
Thursday East Timor and Indonesia had already agreed to work
together for reconciliation and solving problems.
“Therefore, there is no need to look at the past because it
won’t help … Better to look at the future,” he told reporters
when asked about the report.
“If we want to be fair and honest, Western countries had
colonised Asia-African countries even worse.”
The report said Indonesian soldiers and police were
responsible for about 70 percent of the 18,600 unlawful
killings or disappearances between the invasion in 1975 and a
vote for independence in 1999.
The Australian did not say who caused the other 30 percent,
but pro-independence guerrillas fought Indonesian forces
throughout the occupation of the former Portuguese colony.
Indonesian forces “consciously decided to use starvation of
East Timorese civilians as a weapon of war,” the paper quoted
the report — called Chega! (Enough! in Portuguese) — saying.
“The intentional imposition of conditions of life which
could not sustain tens of thousands of East Timorese civilians
amounted to extermination as a crime against humanity.”
The East Timor government has yet to release the report,
which it received in October, but is expected to hand it to
U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan this week, the Australian
The report recommends reparations by Indonesia, and
countries that provided backing for its military during the
years of occupation, including Australia, Britain and the
Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 after Portugal
abruptly quit the harsh, mountainous area just north of
When Timorese voted to break away in 1999. it triggered a
wave of violence by militias backed by Indonesian army
The U.N. estimates about 1,000 East Timorese were killed in
the violence, in which most of the towns were also destroyed.
Only a handful of people have been punished.