De australske biskopers appell om Øst-Timor

East Timor - A Call to Prayer and Action

(A Statement from the Bishops' Committee for Justice, Development and Peace)

The Australian Catholic Community has viewed the catastrophic events in East Timor in recent days with horror and a growing sense of outrage and shame.

Just one week ago, the East Timorese people celebrated the announced result of a decisive act of self-determination which unambiguously signalled the will of the people to be independent. The subsequent tragic events, including systematic slaughter, intimidation, violent crime and massive internal dislocations - a form of "political cleansing" - have engulfed East Timor in a manner that is difficult for us to fully comprehend.

Indonesia's leadership has lost control over what has become an orchestrated reign of terror instigated with the connivance of certain elements in the military.

The time for a United Nations mandated peacekeeping force is now. Australia must join this international effort and provide a key leadership role. To do anything less is a betrayal of the long history that we share with one of our closest neighbours. In the words of Cardinal Clancy, "the wound inflicted on our reputation will not be healed".

The heroic Bishop Belo has drawn attention to the plight of refugees and the need for Australia to provide safe haven. We cannot ignore this plea from one who for the present is now himself a refugee. Just as Australians responded so generously to the plight of Kosovo refugees, we call on the Australian Government to open our borders and provide sanctuary.

In solidarity with our East Timorese sisters and brothers, we hear the cry of pain. We ask all people of goodwill to heed that cry. We invite Australian Catholic and all believers to pray for a peaceful and rapid resolution that restores human dignity to the suffering people of this emerging nation.

Caritas Australia and its partner agency, Caritas East Timor, are the official agencies of the Catholic Church responsible for emergency assistance in east Timor. They will have the capacity to continue their key role. Please support them financially as a practical display of Australian solidarity at this most critical time.

av Webmaster publisert 10.09.1999, sist endret 10.09.1999 - 20:09