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KontraS Condemns Political Violence in Timor-Leste
Early this morning, Timor-Leste’s President Jose Ramos-Horta was shot in a pre-dawn attack on his home in Dili. This attack appears to have been orchestrated by anti-government rebels within Timor-Leste. Fortunately, the wounds do not appear to be fatal.
KontraS, a leading Indonesian human rights organization, condemns this attempted political assassination and any attempt to use violence to bring about political change in a democratic society such as Timor-Leste. Whatever the rebel group’s aims and goals, violent attacks on the democratically elected government is not the appropriate response. The appropriate way to air ones grievances and bring about change in a democracy is through the democratic political process.
KontraS further calls on the government of Timor-Leste to show restraint in its response to these criminal acts. A violent response to these criminal acts will only lead to an escalation in violence. An escalation in violence, however targeted, would risk unnecessary suffering amongst Timor-Leste’s innocent civilian population many of whom are already in dire need of humanitarian assistance. It would also play into the hands of those seeking to destabilize Timor-Leste’s nescient democracy.
KontraS assess that the best response to political violence aimed at destabilizing the government is to reinforce the rule of law by allowing the criminal justice system to deal with these criminals. It will not only bring the criminals to justice, but will help discourage further violence and solidify the stability of the current government as it acts under the legitimacy of democratically implemented law.
Jakarta, 12 februari 2008
KONTRAS (The Commission for “the disappeared” and Victims of Violence)