|East Timor||PEACE FORCE NEEDED NOW TO 'HELP MY DYING PEOPLE': BELO|
'My people are dying, intervene before it is too late', Bishop Belo told reporters yesterday in the Vatican. He spoke of the urgency of forming an international peacekeeping force and guarantee the despatch of humanitarian aid.
He said that the land of East Timor has been put to 'fire and sword' by the pro-Indonesia militias that violently oppose the results of the referendum, with the direct participation of the Indonesian army.
The population voted for independence - he continued - but now they have been deprived of this right'.
"Around 80,000 have been deported to West Timor, and in all probability about 100,000 are hiding in the mountains," he explained.
He said that the Catholic Church is being targeted because it represents an indisputable moral force.
"Prior to the referendum, the Bishops of East Timor invited the population to vote according to their conscience, and this was not acceptable. Not to mention that Jakarta never accepted the fact that the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize was assigned to me. The attack on my residence in Dili, was an act of revenge against the bishop," he said.
Commenting on the tragic events of the last few days, Bishop Belo underlined that it is undoubtedly a 'planned strategy', aimed at eliminating a population. For this reason there is the necessity to mobilise the international community, that until now has been rich with words but poor with facts. Bishop Belo also urged US President Bill Clinton, defined as the 'guardian of the world', to not just sit and watch.
He concluded by reminding that the role of the Church is to give voice to the voiceless and preach forgiveness, but also to defend justice and the poor.
MISNA 11:03am 15/9/99