The Tragedy of East Timor

Rolando B. Modina


East Timor is a tragedy. It is a small country with no strategic military value. In the eyes of the world’s power brokers, East Timor is nothing. More importantly, it is a tragedy because what Indonesia did and is still doing in East Timor is a gross violation of basic human rights—the basic right of a people to live in peace and self-determination. This paper examines the many difficulties East Timor is facing amidst the presence of key actors such as the UN, ASEAN and the European Economic Community. It argues that for the East Timor case, only a political solution, and not a military one, is viable. The international support for Indonesia by governments motivated by economic and practical considerations is detrimental to the cause of the East Timorese people. As the paper concludes, East Timor is a case where people matter the least.


East Timor; UN; ASEAN; human rights; EEC; self-determination

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