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BWA appeals to governments for help in East Timor

WASHINGTON (BP)–The Baptist World Alliance has condemned the bloodshed in East Timor, much of which is now being directed at religious leaders, and has appealed to the governments of Australia and the United States as well as the United Nations to do all they can to help.
The East Timor statement said the BWA is concerned for human rights and is responding to a strong appeal for help from the Baptist Union of New South Wales, Australia.
Phil Skinner, general superintendent, and Gerry Ball, president of the Union, asked the BWA “to encourage swift action by the member states of the United Nations to protect the vulnerable people of East Timor.”
“We trust you share our view that the international community cannot stand idly by while this tragedy unfolds,”they said.
In a Sept. 10 letter to President Clinton of the United States and Kofi Annan, U.N. general secretary, Denton Lotz, general secretary of the BWA, said, “we are shocked and horrified at the tragic repression and indiscriminate killing of civilians by the Indonesian militia in East Timor.”
Lotz praised both Clinton and Annan for the peace initiatives they had already made and for the pressure they were putting on the Indonesian government to prevent the uncontrolled killing by the militia.
Lotz pointed out to the U.N. general secretary the bloodshed “is a result of a U.N.-sponsored referendum for independence and autonomy, and therefore it is equally important for the U.N. to see to it that this bloodshed stops immediately.”
“All initiatives to restrain the militia and the Indonesian army from indiscriminate acts of looting, killing and repression are necessary,” he told Clinton.
Lotz praised Australian Prime Minister John Howard for “taking the leadership” in calls for an end to the East Timorese human carnage and shared with him the concern expressed by the Australian Baptist leaders. Lotz said he supports Howard’s call for a U.N. peace-keeping force and the BWA is committed to work with all non-governmental agencies through Baptist World Aid (BWAid).
Already Baptists are involved in helping the East Timorese refugees who have fled to other parts of Asia.
BWAid will channel funds and its work on behalf of the suffering people in East Timor through its Australian partner, ABWAid.
Donations should be designated for “East Timor” and sent to: Baptist World Aid, Baptist World Alliance, 6733 Curran Street, McLean, VA, 22101; Email: [email protected]; Contacts: Paul Montacute or Lee Hickman. A U.S. tax receipt will be issued.