Solidarity with Timor-Leste in Germany: contribution throughout the years from a personal point of view
Monika Schlicher Stiftung Asienhaus, GERMANY
After the Santa Cruz massacre in 1991, the solidarity movement in Germany for the fight for Timor as well as the movement against the Suharto regime continued to grow.
In 1995, dictator Suharto came to Germany. NGOs, such as Amnesty International, Asienhaus, Südostasien-Informationsstelle, IMBAS, BUKO and Watch Indonesia! organised a protest against the human rights violations committed by the regime in Indonesia as well as in East Timor.
We at Watch Indonesia! invited members of the Timorese resistance, Clandestinos from Renetil and survivors of the Santa Cruz Massacre exiled in Portugal as well as Indonesian activists to join the protest. The protest disrupted Suharto’s visit. He was really enraged about it. So the protest of the Timorese was not only happening in his capital Jakarta, like the year before at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, but also in Europe.
Our campaign was very successful: There was a lot of media coverage, and politicians also took notice. We continued to fight for human rights in East Timor and Indonesia.
. we campaigned against the arms trade to Indonesia
. we invited activists and resistance leaders to meet with politicians and political foundations in Germany
. we actively lobbied in parliament for the recognition of human rights violations in Indonesia and East Timor,
. we made many press releases, publications and presentations to raise public awareness on a larger scale.
To make an impact, it was important to work and join forces with other solidarity groups in Europe and around the globe. In Germany, we put an end to Suharto’s reputation as a smiling friendly general. Now his regime was seen a serious violator of human rights and illegally occupying East Timor.