ACTION ALERT AND LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

Act Now! Support East Timor's Self-Determination
Voter Registration Begins, But Free & Fair Vote Not Assured

House and Senate Pass Key Amendments
More Needs to Be Done
Your Calls and Letters Do Make a Difference!

East Timor's August vote on its political status for either autonomy within Indonesia or independence is approaching quickly. Voter registration has already begun. With your support, Congress has increased the pressure on Indonesia to permit a free and fair vote, but more must happen before the East Timorese can cast their ballots freely.

Within the last few weeks, the Senate has passed two amendments (in the State Department Authorization and Foreign Operations Appropriations bills) based on S.Res. 96, supporting intensified U.S. action toward Indonesia to ensure a free and fair vote in East Timor. The House just voted on its own amendment to the State Department Authorization bill.

We need your help to keep up the pressure. The U.S. government must do nothing short of suspending further military and financial aid (both direct and through international financial institutions) to Indonesia until the paramilitary violence in East Timor is stopped.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

CONGRESS (House)

Call the Congressional Switchboard: 202-224-3121. Ask for your Representative's office and then ask for the foreign policy aide. For a current list of congressional e-mail addresses, office and fax numbers, try http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/ or www.congress.org.

CONGRESS (House and Senate)

Congressional delegations are being organized in both House and Senate. Interested offices should call Patrick Kennedy's (D-RI) office in the House and ETAN's Washington office for more information for the Senate. Plans for these trips are progressing quickly, so offices will need to act quickly.

STATE DEPARTMENT

Contact: U.S. State Department, Indonesia Desk: 202-647-2543

Assistant Secretary of State Stanley Roth recently visited East Timor and Indonesia. While there, he warned that if Indonesia couldn't rein in the paramilitaries, its relations with the U.S. would suffer. While his statements were sound, they should have been much more forceful and precise.

BACKGROUND

Indonesian-backed paramilitary groups continue to terrorize East Timor. Their actions have resulted in dozens of deaths in the past few months and over 58,000 internal refugees, according to the humanitarian organization Caritas. Recent paramilitary threats and attacks on UN offices and personnel have further jeopardized the UN-organized vote, and the UN is constantly re-evaluating the situation. It has already delayed the ballot once to August 21 or 22.

The United States has tremendous influence on Indonesia. The Clinton administration and Congress must do more to pressure Jakarta to live up to the promises it made when it signed the May 5 UN-sponsored agreement setting up the vote, specifically to ensure security by stopping and disarming the paramilitary violence and ensuring conditions necessary for a vote free from terror and intimidation.

The Senate unanimously passed amendments to both the State Department Authorization bill and the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill (by a vote of 98-0). The amendments call on the Clinton administration to take increasingly strong action to ensure the disbanding of paramilitaries, as well as other conditions necessary for a free and fair vote. Similar language --based on the Senate amendments and H.Con.Res. 97 -- was included as an amendment in the House version of the State Department Authorization.

Thank you for your continued activism!

If you have questions, check the ETAN/US web site or contact:

          East Timor Action Network
          Washington Office
          110 Maryland Avenue NE #30
          Washington, DC 20002	
          202-544-6911; 202-546-5103 (fax)
          etandc@igc.apc.org


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