6 year Anniversary


Jersay
#1
Now I can't find a link any more. But on September 6th, 2000 it will the sixth anniversary of the killings of three U.N Human Rights Workers in West Timor. One was a Ethiopian, a Bosnian and another an American.
 
Jersay
#2
By South-East Asia correspondent Simon Ingram
The killings of the aid workers in West Timor have again underlined the dangers and complexities of the UN mission.

From the outset of the international community's intervention in East Timor, the vengeful and unruly pro-Jakarta militias have posed the severest dilemma for foreign soldiers and aid agency staff, often forced to operate in the most vulnerable of situations.

In the months immediately after the deployment of an Australian-led peacekeeping force last September, the militias seemed initially to be an overblown menace.

But although their forays across the border into East Timor were few, their desire for revenge against those they blame for the loss of the territory was never in any doubt.

Intimidation

Aid workers and Western journalists visiting the teeming refugee camps in West Timor, where the militia ruled unchallenged, were regularly threatened or beaten up.



The militias are trying to stop refugees going back to East Timor

As a result, attempts by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to send tens of thousands of East Timorese refugees back home were slow and fraught with danger.

A year on, the process is far from complete, and in recent weeks there have been ominous signs of a resurgence in militia activity, seen most notably in the deaths of two UN soldiers in skirmishes close to the border.

But the political imperative of retaining Indonesian goodwill has meant the UN could rely only on Jakarta's own assurances that it was doing all it could to restrain the militia.

Pressure on Jakarta to act

Direct intervention across the border was virtually ruled out as an option.

The militia rampage through Atambua has shown graphically that such assurances are worth little.

Indeed, reports that Indonesian security forces did little if anything to protect the UN staff will strengthen the widespread conviction that the government of President Abdurrahman Wahid may be incapable of controlling developments on the ground.

Even so, there will now be massive pressure on Jakarta to take firmer action against the militia. Whether such an option exists for an enfeebled central government is another matter entirely.

The UN has decided to pull out of the West Timor border town of Atambua after pro-Indonesia militiamen went on the rampage, killing at least three.
Three other UN workers are reported missing.

Hundreds of machete-wielding militiamen rioted in the border town of Atambua, burning down the UN refugee agency's office and other buildings. They also set UN vehicles on fire.



Four helicopters from the UN peacekeeping force in East Timor rushed to Atambua and airlifted all the remaining foreign aid workers there to East Timor.

Bodies were recovered from the UN office in Atambua, the chief representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Indonesia, Rene Van Rooyen, told the BBC.

There have been conflicting reports over the exact number of casualties. Some reports say another two people remain missing.

UN officials in Geneva have confirmed that at least three of the staff members are dead.



This tragedy underlines the dangers faced by unarmed humanitarian workers serving the UN

Kofi Annan
Witnesses said militiamen beat the foreign UN workers to death and burned their bodies, one of them after being dragged out into the street.

The violence coincided with the opening of the UN Millennium Summit in New York, where world leaders are discussing the UN's peacekeeping operations.

UN targets

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan departed from his prepared inaugural statement to inform the 150 kings and presidents of developments and ask for a minute's silence in tribute.

The rampage started during a protest at the killing of a militia member on Tuesday.



We have begun to realise that the Indonesian Government is unable to guarantee our safety

UNHCR spokesman Jake Morland
Gangs of armed men were reported to have been searching houses and hotels in Atambua to hunt down other international aid workers.

UN staff have often been targeted by the militias, who blame the international community for the loss of neighbouring East Timor. It voted overwhelmingly for independence from Indonesia in a referendum a year ago.

Atambua is one of the main refugee centres for East Timorese who fled the violence which erupted after the vote.



Atambua's camps house thousands of refugees from East Timor


More than 600 people died and more than 200,000 fled into West Timor when pro-Jakarta militias rampaged through East Timor, with the alleged connivance of Indonesian officers.

The militia gangs, originally from East Timor, are now based in refugee camps, which are still home to more than 100,000 people.

Last month, the UNHCR suspended its entire aid programme in West Timor after two of its staff were badly beaten and one man was almost killed by militia members in the refugee camps.

Aid suspended

The UNHCR resumed operations after receiving guarantees of protection from the Indonesian government.

Last week militiamen attacked civilians and UN peacekeepers in West Timor while East Timor was celebrating the first anniversary of the referendum.

A UNHCR spokesman in Kupang, the capital of West Timor, said: "We have begun to realise that the Indonesian Government is unable to guarantee our safety.

"I believe that they [the militiamen] are acting alone, unconnected with the Indonesian Government," the spokesman, Jake Morland, told the BBC.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) says preparations are under way to evacuate some 80 aid workers - international and local staff - from Kupang.

Indonesia has been under strong international pressure to put on trial those responsible for the East Timor violence or face the threat of an international tribunal.

news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/912464.stm (external - login to view)
 
Jersay
#3
Family: Slain U.S. aid worker was left exposed to danger in Timor

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September 9, 2000



SAN JUAN, SEPT 8 (AP) - Their son is dead - and the family of the American relief worker slain in a militia-led rampage in West Timor wants answers from the United Nations and Indonesia: Why was Carlos Caceres allowed to work without protection even after he received a death threat?



"They should have got him out of there," the victim's father, Gregorio Caceres, told The Associated Press from his home in Jacksonville, Florida, on Thursday.



A mob led by militiamen stormed the U.N. office Wednesday in Atambua, West Timor, and killed three U.N. aid workers - including Caceres, 33, who was born in San Juan.



Witnesses said militiamen beat and stabbed the three foreign men before mutilating their bodies and burning them in the street. Other U.N. workers were cut by machetes and axes but escaped.



Earlier Wednesday, Caceres sent an e-mail to a friend, a U.N. security official in Macedonia, saying he had heard that "a wave of violence would soon pound Atambua. ...



"We sit here like bait, unarmed," he wrote. "We are waiting for the enemy."



Caceres had expected to be evacuated weeks before, said his father, who last saw his son on a Christmas visit in Florida. Caceres last telephoned his father Aug. 26.



"I was in fear for him. He told me, 'Dad, as we speak there is danger. ... He told me he was going to evacuate himself and his co-workers from that location to another location because of the danger," Gregorio Caceres said.



"One of the questions I have for the United Nations - and I spoke to them yesterday and today - I asked: He knew he was in danger and he told me he was going to be evacuated. What happened?"



The father said a Geneva official of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees told him the United Nations had evacuated its workers two weeks earlier and only sent them back after the Indonesian government promised its soldiers would ensure their safety.



UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski noted the aid operation has been repeatedly shut down after attacks by militia gangs on its staff and buildings in recent months and that several workers received death threats.



"There's always, for us, the dilemma of striking the right balance between helping the people in need and putting our own staff at risk," Janowski said. "In Atambua on Wednesday this balance was upset and we suffered the worst incident in UNHCR's history."



The UNHCR had received warning of possible trouble and was assured by Indonesian security forces that agency staff would be protected. But witnesses said Indonesian troops stood by during the attack.



World leaders at the Millennium Summit at the United Nations castigated Indonesia, an embarrassment to visiting Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid.



Carlos Caceres had told his family that he knew some militia leaders were close to Indonesian army commanders. He said he once saw a militia leader giving an order to Indonesian troops, called TNI. He also said that the Indonesian military had ignored him when he said he had received a death threat from a militia leader.



"Despite the fact that over 70 TNI and police personnel were present at the scene, it is known that one refugee was beaten ... by militia elements," Caceres told his family.



When Caceres tried to protect the refugee - his job as a protection officer - a militia leader he identified as Manek told Indonesian troops to escort him away.



"It was clear that Manek had authority over the TNI and that any order he made was going to be followed," Caceres wrote.



A month ago, Caceres sent an e-mail to his sister Elba, in Miami, noting, "The militia, by the way, hate me."



He implied he was not getting much help in the last message received by his family four days ago. "Here things are difficult, but one keeps working, with or without international support."



Caceres' grieving parents are puzzled by what lured their eldest child and only son so far from home.



His mother, Josefa Collazo, said she once asked him why he didn't work as a lawyer in Miami, where she lives. "He said, 'I like what I am doing: to see how other people are living, to see what they need, and to be able to help them."



Caceres' family moved to Miami in the 1970s. Caceres studied journalism at the University of Florida, then law at Cornell and went to Britain's Oxford University. He earned three doctorates and spoke five languages, including Czech and Russian, which he learned on assignment with the UNHCR in Moscow.



In East Timor, he wrote to sister Elba, he was the only foreigner for miles around Betun, a jungle village near the border.



"I became an instant celebrity. Flocks of people follow me wherever I go, everyone screams 'hello mister" when they see me," he said. "I attempted jogging once, and didn't do it again.



"I couldn't get a second of solitude and everyone started running after me. It was scary because I thought the militia was trying to get me!"
 
Jersay
#4
All I have to say is that three very good men, one American one Bosnian, and one Ethiopian who all decided to work for the United Nations to do good were brutally murdered for no reason whatsoever, just because they wanted to help someone and they worked for the United Nations. The only reason.
 
Jersay
#5
Rampaging mob kills 3 U.N. workers in West Timor



September 7, 2000
Web posted at: 10:11 a.m. HKT (0211 GMT)


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In this story:

World leaders condemn Indonesian inaction

Militias blamed for East Timor violence

First U.N. civilians killed in Timor

Refugee camps criticized

RELATED STORIES, SITES


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


From staff and wire reports

ATAMBUA, Indonesia -- At least three U.N. refugee workers were killed on Wednesday when thousands of East Timorese refugees and pro-Indonesia militiamen went on a rampage in Atambua, Indonesia, a West Timor border town.

One of the slain workers -- Carlos Caceres-Collazo, an American from Puerto Rico -- sent a desperate e-mail to a U.N. security office six hours before the massacre warning that they had heard a mob was en route to destroy the office.

"You should see this office ... Plywood on the windows, staff peering out through the openings in the curtains hastily installed a few minutes ago. We are waiting for the enemy," Caceres wrote.

A Security Council statement said the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees had received advance warning of possible trouble but was assured by the Indonesian security forces that agency staff would be protected.

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The rioting mob also burned two U.N. offices. The remaining 54 U.N. workers in Atambua were evacuated to East Timor by helicopter under the cover of two helicopter gunships, U.N. and Indonesian officials reported.

"There were about 5,000 of them going on a rampage. We tried to stop them, but they were totally out of control," an Indonesian military intelligence officer said. "The mob stabbed them to death inside the headquarters and dragged their bodies to the road and set them on fire."

Sadako Ogata, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said all 105 members of her staff would be out of West Timor by Wednesday or Thursday. She identified the dead as Caceres-Collazo, Samson Aregahegn of Ethiopia, and Pero Simundza of Croatia.

In addition to the three dead, three foreign staffers for the U.N. refugee agency were injured, one of them seriously, police in Atambua said. The seriously injured staffer was a Brazilian woman who was hacked by an ax-wielding attacker.


World leaders condemn Indonesian inaction

World leaders quickly and harshly castigated Indonesia for not doing more to protect aid workers. Witnesses said Indonesian security forces stood by as the mobs torched the U.N. office and beat the workers.

The unprecedented violence -- one U.N. official said it was one of the worst attacks on U.N. personnel anywhere in the world -- cast a shadow over the U.N. Millennium Summit, which opened Wednesday in New York. More than 150 leaders, including Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid, stood for a moment of silence in honor of the victims.

Jake Morland, a spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner in Kupang, the West Timorese capital, said Wednesday's attack may have been precipitated by the recent anniversary of East Timor's historic August 30, 1999, vote for independence and the shooting death on Tuesday of a militia leader opposed to East Timor's independence.

"This is not the first time UNHCR workers have been singled out by these militia groups," Morland said. "(But) this is the worst attack on humanitarian workers so far."

U.S. President Bill Clinton said he was "deeply saddened" to hear of the deaths. "I urge the Indonesian authorities to put a stop to these abuses," Clinton said.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he had taken up the killings with the Indonesian government "at the highest level."


Militias blamed for East Timor violence

The militias and their military sponsors have been blamed by the United Nations and Wahid's government for carrying out the bloody destruction of East Timor a year ago after its people voted to break free of Indonesian rule in a U.N.-supervised referendum.

Indonesia still controls the western part of the island, where the U.N. refugee agency has been delivering aid to an estimated 90,000 refugees who remain in border camps after fleeing the post-referendum violence in East Timor.

Witnesses said some in the crowd accused the United Nations of not paying attention to their plight in the west.

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata said she was "shocked and profoundly saddened" by the killings.

"These were peaceful, unarmed humanitarians who gave their lives trying to help those who had lost everything in conflict," she added in a statement issued through the Geneva headquarters of the UNHCR.

A resident of Atambua, about 1,300 miles east of Jakarta, Indonesia, said security forces failed to stop the assault. "I heard a lot of shooting, and I saw 20 trucks carrying militias armed with machetes and homemade rifles," he said, adding the mob torched a U.N. car and the contents of the office.

Wahid's office later issued a statement expressing his condolences to the families of the victims and vowing too "find the culprit." The statement said troops and police were being sent to Atambua to help.


First U.N. civilians killed in Timor

The four were the first civilian workers to be killed in Timor. Two peacekeeping soldiers have died in border skirmishes with armed militia infiltrators in East Timor in recent weeks.

About 250,000 people fled East Timor for dozens of border refugee camps in West Timor a year ago after last year's independence ballot. The militia backlash triggered by the east's independence vote continued until international peacekeepers landed in East Timor on September 20, 1999. Since then, nearly 170,000 refugees have returned from West Timor.

The remaining refugees, many of them former Indonesian soldiers, civil servants or militiamen and their families, continue to live in the camps. The U.N. aid operation has repeatedly been forced to shut down after attacks by militia gangs on its staff and buildings in past months.

Timor, an island of Indonesia's East Nusa Tenggara province, was split during the colonial occupation of the Indonesian islands. Dutch spice traders held the western portion of the island, while the Portuguese claimed the east.

Indonesia proclaimed independence from the Netherlands in 1945, but East Timor remained under Portuguese control until 1975, when the European rulers abruptly moved out. Indonesia quickly invaded the territory, prompting a 25-year resistance movement that culminated in last year's referendum.


Refugee camps criticized

Indonesia has been under intense pressure to shut down the refugee camps in West Timor since U.N. peacekeepers took control of the situation in East Timor, but the militias have vowed a violent reaction to any forced repatriation.

Militia activity in the area has been on the rise, including several attacks across the border in East Timor in which at least two U.N. peacekeepers died.

The United Nations and other international officials complain that anti-independence militiamen are using the West Timor camps as border incursion bases and safe havens. Under pressure to stop escalating border violence, Indonesia has repeatedly promised to close the camps.

CNN Jakarta Producer Atika Shubert The Associated Press and

CNN archives
 
Jersay
#6
Yeah a sad story. but i guess it doesn't effect to many people on CC, because well it was in a third world country and it was just U.N workers. The U.N is already corrupt.

And I am being sarcastic because alot of people are sickened by what people do to American soldiers, to normal civilians, but when it occurs against the United Nations and its employees not one mention.
 

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