30 October 1998: José Ramos Horta to Lloyd Axworthy

In late 1998, Nobel laureate José Ramos Horta wrote to Canadian foreign minister Lloyd Axworthy, who he had recently met. He passed along leaked Indonesian military documents that “show a direct connection between ABRI and the paramilitary groups responsible for a great number of the human rights abuses in East Timer, a fact always denied by the Indonesian military.” The documents circulated again in January 1999 in Ottawa as Canada took up a seat on the UN Security Council.

Ramos Horta called for international action, in this case from the international financial agencies that were bailing out Indonesia after its 1998 economic. Saying Indonesia was spending a million dollars a day on occupying East Timor, he called for financial pressure: “It is morally and politically unacceptable that the world community should waste resources in funding a regime that cannot be trusted and that has been misusing billions in an extravagant military adventure.”

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