|East Timor||BISHOP SAYS GOVT SHOULD ACT MORALLY ON TIMOR|
Australia's decision makers should weigh the moral questions in deciding whether or not to commit Australian peacekeeping troops to East Timor, says Australian Catholic Social Justice Council Chairman Bishop Kevin Manning.
Bishop Manning appealed to Catholic Social Teaching, citing the implications of the Just War Theory in assessing the issues. He said that all of a list of six conditions must be met before reaching a conclusion that military action is morally acceptable.
He said: "Australia should consider seriously participation in a United Nations peacekeeping force in East Timor and not unilaterally send a peacekeeping force to East Timor. It is the duty of the Government of Indonesia, which Australia recognises, to protect all of its citizens. If Indonesia is not capable or not willing to do this, the international community has a duty to intervene. It is the United Nations that has the authority to make decisions regarding the international police actions of the international community."
The Bishop has called on the Australian Government to redouble its diplomatic activity and to seek a non-violent solution to the current situation in East Timor. He called on the Indonesian Government in turn to insist that its police and military personnel actively protect the lives and rights of the people of East Timor.
- ACSJC 1:31pm 6/9/99