The Current Situation: As everyone knows, the crisis in East Timor increases dramatically each day. Nearly a quarter of the population have been driven from their homes, many have been forcibly removed to Indonesian West Timor, others have fled to the hills. The number of completely innocent and unarmed people who have been killed by the militias is rising daily while the internally displaced lack food and water and live in constant fear for their lives.
The violent backlash against the popular vote in favor of independence had been warned about, but no one could have predicted the savage attacks against the region's two bishops and others of the Church. Both Bishop Belo and Bishop Do Nacimento have been physically assaulted, their houses burned down, and Bishop Belo forced into exile.
Indonesian promises to rein in the terror have proven worthless and U.S. pressure on Jakarta has clearly failed to achieve results. Nothing short of an international peacekeeping force can end this massacre that approaches the near-genocide suffered by these same people almost a quarter century ago. This is not to request U.S. troops, as military forces in East Asia are more than capable and ready to move. What is urgently neded is for Washington to bring maximum pressure on the Indonesian regime to allow a force of international peacekeepers to enter the territory and stop the killing.
Action Urgently Requested: Call the White House (202-456-1414) and your Representatives and Senators today, insisting that the Administration dramatically increase its pressure on Jakarta, allowing for a regional peacekeeping force to enter East Timor immediately, to secure the peace and provide the necessary humanitarian food and medical assistance.