Occupation, ‘Aid’ and ‘Development’ – MKOTT Timor Sea Declaration

MKOTT (Movement Against the Occupation of the Timor Sea) Declaration to the Australian Government

Dili 23 February 2016

For more than 40 years, Australia has thirsted over oil and marine resources in the Timor Sea which belong to Timor-Leste according to international law and principles. From the beginning, Australia has justified their desire with a variety of arguments. For example, in 1972 Australia made a treaty with Indonesia to define their seabed border. Australia still uses the outdated “continental shelf” argument to rationalize their occupation, domination and theft from Timor-Leste’s people.

In 1974, Australian oil companies discovered the Greater Sunrise gas field. To make it easier to reap resources from Sunrise and elsewhere in Timor-Leste’s territory, Australia supported Indonesia’s 1975 invasion of Timor-Leste which killed nearly 200,000 people.

When Timor-Leste won independence from the illegal Indonesian occupation in 1999, Australia still desired the Timorese people’s resources, and coerced Timor-Leste to accept some Australian rights to the Elang-Kakatua, Bayu-Undan and Greater Sunrise fields. They also pressured Timor-Leste to surrender its rights to the Laminaria-Corallina and Buffalo oil fields, which are in an area claimed by both countries.

Many Australian people believe that your Government has been generous to our people, but this is a misconception. Since 1999, Australia has provided approximately US$1.7 billion in military and civilian assistance for Timor-Leste through bilateral and multilateral mechanisms. During the same sixteen years, the Australian government has received nearly $5 billion dollars in revenues from oil and gas fields which rightfully belong to Timor-Leste. The more than three billion dollars Timor-Leste has “given” to Australia makes us your largest aid donor, not the other way around.

Timor-Leste continues to endure injustices from Australia’s occupation of the Timor Sea, and therefore the Movement Against the Occupation of the Timor Sea (MKOTT) asks the following of the Australian Government:

1. Australia should respect the sovereignty and dignity of the nation of Timor-Leste, as it does for other nations in the world.

2. Australia should return to the mechanisms for resolving maritime boundary disputes of the International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

3. The Government of Australia should negotiate with the Government of Timor-Leste in good faith.

4. Australia should not continue to use the “Continental Shelf” argument which is no longer valid under international law.

5. Australia, as a large nation, should not use its economic and political power in the region to continue to take advantage of the Timorese people’s future.

Viva Timor-Leste!

Viva the Maubere People!

Down with Australia’s Occupation of the Timor Sea!

[This message was distributed via the east-timor news list. For info on how to subscribe to this and other ETAN e-mail lists, send a blank e-mail to info@etan.org. To support ETAN see http://etan.org/etan/donate.htm ]

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