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The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network
Founded November 1991
Origins Formed, in response to the Dili massacre, to restore independence to East Timor[1]
Staff John M. Miller,[2] National Coordinator[3]
Area served Indonesia and East Timor (Timor-Leste)
Focus Protecting human rights, justice and self determination in Indonesia.
Revenue Donations
Website ETAN homepage
Its founding goal achieved in 2001, ETAN updated its mission statement

The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) is a nonprofit US organization supporting human rights throughout East Timor and Indonesia. ETAN was founded in 1991 to support the right to self-determination of Timor-Leste. In 2001, that goal was significantly realized when the people of East Timor voted for independence. Since then ETAN has focused on building on its success in support of justice and self-determination in Indonesia.



An ETAN 'die-in' reenacting, and in protest of, the Santa Cruz Dili massacre

The human rights organization ETAN has a 15-year record of successful advocacy for the people of Timor-Leste and Indonesia.

From the ETAN website: "The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) was founded in November 1991 to support genuine self-determination and human rights for the people of East Timor in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 1960 United Nations General Assembly Resolution on Decolonization, and Security Council and General Assembly resolutions on East Timor."[4]


History of Timor

Colonial Timor

A small country in Southeast Asia, comprising the eastern half of the island of Timor, the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco, the country of Timor has a history marked not only by the colonization common to Southeast Asia, but repeated violence against democratic and independence movements.

Trade with Portugal began in the early 16th C. Timor's colonial history lasted over 400 years, from the Portuguese colonization of the mid-16th C., to 1975 - Imperial Japan having briefly occupied East Timor from 1942 to 1945. East Timor declared itself independent from Portugal on 28 November 1975.

Indonesian invasion and occupation

Nine days after the 1975 declaration of independence, East Timor was invaded and occupied by Indonesian forces and incorporated into Indonesia. The subsequent occupation (1974-1999) saw an estimated 102,800 conflict-related deaths (approximately 18,600 killings and 84,200 'excess' deaths from hunger and illness).

On 30 August 1999, in a UN-sponsored referendum, East Timor voted, by an overwhelming majority, for independence from Indonesia. Again, immediately following a vote for independence, violence was used to quash the democratic process of independence. Militias organised and supported by the Indonesian military commenced a scorched-earth campaign, killing approximately 1,400 Timorese and displacing 300,000 people to West Timor, and destroying the country's infrastructure. The International Force for East Timor (INTERFET) was deployed to the country and brought the violence to an end. The United Nations took over administration for a transition period, establishing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate events of the occupation period.[3][5][6] East Timor was internationally recognised as an independent state in 2002.

Dili Massacre

A crowd of several thousand on its way from a memorial service to a nearby graveyard was attacked by 200 soldiers, killing over 250 funeral goers, in what was later called the Dili Massacre, or Santa Cruz massacre, on 12 November 1991. Although it was only one of many incidents of violence committed by the Indonesian military, and one of four mass killings - the other three being at Quelicai, Lacluta, and Kraras - its scale, timing, and press coverage made it a rallying cry for the independence movement and created supporters abroad.[3][7] It politicized many, and galvanized pro-independence East Timorese. A burgeoning East Timor solidarity movement grew in Portugal, Australia, and the United States. US ties with Indonesia were cut in 1991 and further in 1999, and not restored until 2005.[8][9][10]

Formation of ETAN

"ETAN was founded following the November 12 Santa Cruz massacre of more than 270 peaceful protestors in a cemetery in Dili, Timor-Leste. The few western reporters present exposed the brutality of the occupying Indonesian military. ETAN was founded to support Timor-Leste’s right to self-determination and to end U.S. military and political support for the illegal occupation." - ETAN website[4]

Demonstrations are a worldwide response, of which ETAN is a part, to the invasion and occupation of East Timor by Indonesia[11]

Activism work

ETAN has co-produced the West Papua Report with the West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT)since November 2007.[12]

In spring of 2007, East Timor held its first national elections since independence; civic groups in East Timor, seeking help in monitoring the election process, requested aid from ETAN, which formed the Solidarity Observer Mission for East Timor (SOMET)Observer Project in response.[13]

Political positions

ETAN opposed president-elect Obama's proposed appointment[14] of Admiral Dennis C. Blair for Director of National Intelligence, saying "His actions demonstrate the failure of engagement to temper the Indonesian military’s behavior and his actions helped to reinforce impunity for senior Indonesian officials that continues to this day"[15] Blair met with General Wiranto in Jakarta in April 1999, less than a week after displaced people taking refuge in a church were killed with machetes by militia members backed by the Indonesian military.[15]

ETAN addresses a wide range of Indonesian concerns, including US policy in the region, oil and gas exploitation, reparations and accountability for past and present human rights violations.[16]

ETAN is opposed to the oil and gas deal: Treaty on Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea (CMATS), in the Greater Sunrise area. US national coordinator for ETAN John Miller wrote the Australian government, saying "Australia has put its own and some oil companies’ short-term financial interests over fundamental principles of democracy, the rule of law, economic justice, and respect for national sovereignty.", although he also included an olive branch by saying "It is true that under CMATS, Timor-Leste will receive a greater share of its resources than...(under)...the International Unitization Agreement."[17]


  1. ^ "About ETAN".  "ETAN was founded following the November 12 Santa Cruz massacre of more than 270 peaceful protestors in a cemetery in Dili, Timor-Leste. The few western reporters present exposed the brutality of the occupying Indonesian military. ETAN was founded to support Timor-Leste’s right to self-determination and to end U.S. military and political support for the illegal occupation." - ETAN website
  2. ^ Contact list & Stats Idealist
  3. ^ a b c "15 Years After East Timor Massacre, Calls for Accountability Continue". Past Shows. Democracy Now!. 13 Nov 06. Retrieved 19 Dec 08.  
  4. ^ a b "About ETAN".  
  5. ^ Chega!
  6. ^ "even in the face of strong international demands to bring those who had killed unarmed demonstrators to account, the institutional practices of ABRI/TNI provided the majority of perpetrators who were most responsible with effective impunity." Final Report of the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor (CAVR), on the Santa Cruz aftermath
  7. ^ Santa Cruz Massacre Report, with video footage, of the cemetery shootings that left over 250 dead.
  8. ^ "U.S. Policy toward East Timor".  
  9. ^ "Backgrounder for May 20 Independence".  
  10. ^ Reuters. "Australia should shun Indonesian military: study". China Post. Retrieved 20 Dec 08.  
  11. ^ ETAN site hit map
  12. ^ West Papua Report
  13. ^ "Timor-Leste Votes in 2007". ETAN. December 2006. Retrieved 07 Jan 2009.  
  14. ^ Randall Mikkelsen. "Obama chooses Adm. Blair as intel chief: source". Reutersdate=18 Dec 08. Retrieved 20 Dec 08.  
  15. ^ a b "Op-Ed Contributor: ETAN opposes Adm. Blair as Director of National Intelligence". News Blaze. 6 Dec 08. Retrieved 20 Dec 08.  
  16. ^ "Current Issues Pages". Retrieved 19 Dec 08.  
  17. ^ John Miller. "Submission to Joint Standing Committee on Treaties Inquiry into Maritime Arrangements Treaty with East Timor". Retrieved 19 Dec 08.  

Further reading

See Also / Internal links

External links


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