GENDER-SELECTIVE ATROCITIES IN EAST TIMOR
SEPTEMBER 1999
Updated 11 September 1999

Compiled by Adam Jones, Ph.D.
Research Associate, Department of Political Science
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, Canada
adamj@interchange.ubc.ca
For more on gender-selective atrocities against men, including extensive Kosovo materials, see the "Gender Page" of my website:
http://www.interchange.ubc.ca/adamj

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Stephen Powell,
"INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE BUILDS ON TIMOR CRISIS"
Reuters dispatch, 7 September 1999

[...] A leading campaigner for East Timor independence, Jose Ramos-Horta, said Indonesia was seeking to repeat the "ugly, tragic
years" of 1975-79 when some 200,000 East Timorese died in the aftermath of Indonesia's invasion, "without one single
international witness."

"I have information that many males have been disposed of, have been killed and dumped into the sea," he said. [...]

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Michael Perry,
"DILI BURNS, RESIDENTS FLEE ANARCHY"
Reuters dispatch, 7 September 1999.

[...] Within walking distance of the besieged U.N. compound in Dili, Catholic sisters sheltering 300 refugees, mainly women and
children, said militias had threatened to attack at nightfall. [...]

"The police and military are clearly collaborating with the militias, they are not doing anything, nobody can defend the people.
 We have been threatened yesterday and the day before. Some of our refugees have fled to the hills."

"All the stores are burned and there is lot of looting. The shooting is getting closer. *The militias are shooting at the men in the
hills and behind them the military are also shooting."

"We need help, nobody is here to defend the people."

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John Aglionby
"'TO SURVIVE I KNEW I HAD TO GET OUT'"
UK Guardian, 10 September 1999

[...] Just as he [a prominent pro-independence activist], his wife and  his children were about to leave, a young man ran into the
house telling a terrible story. He had come from the port, where he and some pro-independence friends had been trying to leave
on a ship. The women boarded, but the men were dragged away. Five were stabbed to death in front of him and their bodies
dumped in the sea. [...]

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Lindsay Murdoch
"STACKS OF BODIES WENT UP TO THE ROOF"
The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 September 1999

The destruction of the capital is greater than anybody could imagine. Hundreds of houses are blackened shells. The doors of
government offices are ajar. Banks, cafes, hotels, boarding houses, service stations: all burnt or trashed.

One building - the police station - hides one of the most shocking of many shocking stories that have emerged so far from East
Timor's killing fields.

Two days ago Ina Bradridge, wife of Mr Isa Bradridge, 45, of Ballina, walked the corridors of the station looking for a toilet.

According to Mr Bradridge, who told her story last night after evacuation to Darwin, she happened to glance inside a large
building that she knew was once used as a torture cell for political prisoners.

"My wife told me she saw bodies. Thousands of them. Stacks of bodies went up to the roof. I know it is hard to believe but it is
absolutely true. My wife saw arms and legs and dripping blood."

Now, from the safety of Australia, Mr Bradridge plans to do a lot of talking on behalf of his wife, who can't speak English, in the
next few days.

"They [the Indonesian military] are going to obliterate everybody," he said before boarding one of the evacuation trucks with his
family. The East Timorese have a choice ... they either leave or die."

Leaving Dili to fly out in the same RAAF shuttles that take out the Bainbridges, we drive in silence through the mass
destruction, past street after street of smouldering ruin.

There are looters and thugs carrying pistols who walk with the arrogant swagger of the victor.

But Dili is basically empty. In five days 70,000 people have gone. The bare-footed teenagers with fresh fish tied to their poles are
gone. The clapped-out taxis, the naked kids playing on the debris-strewn beachfront, the old people hawking Portuguese-era
coins who used to bother us at the hotel, the people who used to sit in the gutter every morning and read the local newspaper.
All gone. [...]

We drive past the two-storey Australian consulate, which was abandoned in great haste two days ago after the militia had spent
two days terrorising the diplomats.

The high-iron gate is open and Indonesian soldiers are walking inside. We see the militia in greater numbers along the road from
the consulate, towards the airport. One pushes an empty trolley, his head down, almost running. But it's hard to imagine there's
anything
left to loot.

It is here that for the first time we see ordinary people. Hundreds of women and children are camped out in the grounds of
Dili's main police station. [...]

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Craig Skehan and Malcolm Brown
"REFUGEE PLIGHT COMPARED TO NAZI TERROR AGAINST JEWS"
The Sydney Morning Herald
10 September 1999

[...] One distraught young mother said she witnessed the murder of two refugees on the back of a truck inside West Timor. She
said she saw the two men tied up in a truck by militiamen on a road inside West Timor.

"Suddenly, in front of lots of people, a militia member drew a sword and slowly stabbed one of the people in the truck. Lots of
blood began gushing, flooding the floor of the truck until it began to drip out," she said.

"The other man's hands and feet were tied like a pig and he was thrown like a bag of rice onto the asphalt then thrown into
another truck."

Another man said he watched terrified at the West Timor port of Akapupu, near Atumbua at the northern end of the border, as
militia used machetes to kill men alleged to be independence supporters. They were among East Timorese disembarking from a
ship which had come from Dili.

"Other men had their hands tied and they were put on trucks and taken away," said one source, who is collecting accounts for
presentation to the international community. [...]

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Robert Garran, Richard McGregor, and Don Greenlees
"TEARS FOR THE SLAUGHTERED"
The Australian, 11 September 1999

[...] The rampage [at the U.N. compound] came just after the UN had pulled out 350 international and local staff on evacuation
flights to Darwin, leaving 80 foreign staff in the besieged Dili compound.

Last night, there were reports of heavy gunfire behind the compound as refugees who had taken cover there attempted to escape
to the hills.

After arriving in Darwin yesterday, British police sergeant Philip Caine expressed the general concern about the East Timorese
left behind, saying: "I was thinking to myself as we were coming out that all I was facing was a hairy ride to the airport – and
they were probably facing death."

The Australian-based National Council for Timorese Resistance said two truckloads of East Timorese women and children were
taken from refugee camps in West Timor in recent days and slaughtered by militiamen. [...]

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Patrick McDowell
"U.N. Compound Menaced in East Timor"
Associates Press dispatch, 10 September 1999

[...] Comparisons to Kosovo and Cambodia have increasingly been made as television footage shows men, women and children,
their hands raised, being herded at gunpoint from burning homes. [...]

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Lindsay Murdoch
"TIME TO PRAY, AND RUN THE MILITIA GAUNTLET"
The Sydney Morning Herald
10 September 1999

Pat Burgess wipes away the tears. He doesn't want to make the life-or-death decision.

The Australian political officer working for the United Nations has just been told that staff and their dependants, including
Timorese, are evacuating from the besieged UN compound in Dili.

But everybody inside knows that if we leave behind 1,500 refugees who have crammed with us into the compound the young
men among them would be accused of being pro-independence and probably killed.

Burgess, like many other UN staff, hates the decision to evacuate that was made on the other side of the world in New York. But
he has no choice. "Tell the young men to run," he tells his interpreter, wiping away more tears.

Burgess knows very well the lies that Indonesia's military and police officers have told the UN for months.

Promises that the Indonesian armed forces and police would not harm the refugees mean nothing. Asked what he thinks will
happen to the women and children, he says: "They will probably rape the women."

Families sit around candles and pray for a long time. Some weep. They talk in whispers. These are intimate moments we do not
want to disturb.

Only the gunshots and distant explosions break the near silence. But as the night wears on we step over babies and children
sleeping on concrete and distribute our remaining food. It is only a few cans of corned beef and some packets of noodles but we
are on our way to Darwin, away from the gunshots, the explosions, the orchestrated terror.

Or so we think.

The men run in the early hours as smoke continues to rise into the air from dozens of fires across the largely deserted town.

So too do many of the young women, particularly the pretty ones. For 24 years Indonesian soldiers in East Timor have violated
the women, for their selfish pleasure, with impunity.

As they run, fresh gunfire erupts. Short, sharp volleys.

Soon some of the men return exhausted after trying to climb the hill that rises almost vertically from the back of the compound.
They report that the Indonesian troops who are supposed to be protecting us from attack fired over their heads, forcing them to
return.

But soon others try other routes and find ways past the troops. With the fittest leading the way, others follow, including mothers
carrying babies, cooking utensils and their few possessions.

As they shuffle into the darkness many of us are deeply concerned, justifying our helplessness by thinking that the East Timorese
have shown remarkable resilience during decades of immense suffering.

We can only hope their instincts will keep them alive. [...]

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"EAST TIMORESE FORCED INTO CAMPS"
BBC Online
10 September 1999

[...] Conditions in the camps [in West Timor] are reported to be very poor.

"They are like Nazi camps," said Adalberto Alves, a Timor resistance spokesman from the Revolutionary Front for an
Independent East Timor.

"They [the refugees] cannot leave the concentration camps. They are receiving food, one meal a day only,as food is being saved
for the women and children," he added. [...] [?]

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"FIDDLING AS TIMOR BURNS"
The Guardian (UK), 11 September 1999

[...] The Catholic church, a key target for Muslim militiamen, vainly denounces a new genocide as its priests, nuns and
congregations are slaughtered, its cathedrals set ablaze. At least 200,000 people - almost a quarter of the population - have fled.
An untold number of pro-independence supporters, especially men, have simply disappeared. Even the 80-year-old father of the
Timorese leader, Xanana Gusmao, was not spared; he was murdered this week, his wife is missing. [...]

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John Aglionby
"HERDED, SIFTED AND CUT OFF"
The Guardian (UK), September 10, 1999

[...] For most of the tens of thousands of refugees now in West Timor, dignity is in short supply. Whether they have arrived from
East Timor by land, sea or air, the welcome is the same. They are whisked off by police and soldiers to camps guarded by
pro-Indonesian militiamen and dumped there for processing.

The first stage is political identification, according to Manuel, an East Timorese who was able to get into the Noelbaki camp
eight miles outside Kupang. He said when people arrived their names were checked off against a list of 20,000 known
pro-Jakarta supporters. If they were on it, or could demonstrate support for Indonesia, they were put to one side.

All the others were taken to another part of the camp. Here the conditions are much worse, with people squashed together with
little food and water.

"Many of the men are then 'taken away for questioning'," said Manuel. "The women have no idea what happens to their
husbands. Many have not returned."

One woman said a militia camp guard told her: "You may have got your country but it will be a land full of widows." The
woman had arrived in Noelbaki with her husband and two children on Monday. She has not seen her husband since. [...]

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Website: http://www.interchange.ubc.ca/adamj
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Adam Jones, Ph.D.
Research Associate, Dept. of Political Science
University of British Columbia
C472 - 1866 Main Mall
Vancouver, B.C., Canada V6T 1Z1
Home phone: (604) 301-1633