Daily News Miner
October 12, 1996
TWO SHARE NOBEL PRIZE FOR WORK IN EAST TIMOR
The New York Times
WASHINGTONÑA Roman Catholic bishop and an exiled independence campaigner were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize Friday for their work to end years of oppression and violence in East Timor, a former Portuguese colony that was invaded and annexed by Indonesia in the 1970s.
In honoring the Timorese laureates, Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo and Jose Ramos-Horta, the Norwegian Nobel Committee issued a blunt attack on the Indonesian government, accusing it of
"systematically oppressing the people" of East Timor.
In its award citation, the committee said "it has been estimated that one-third of the population of East Timor lost their lives due to starvation, epidemics, war and terror" during the Indonesian occupation.
The Indonesian government expressed its "regret" at the awards today. While not directly criticizing Bishop Belo, the spiritual leader of most of the 750,000 people of East Timor, the government issued a statement that accused Ramos-Horta of being "clearly involved in inciting and manipulating the people."
Ramos-Horta, who fled East Timor only days before the Indonesian invasion in 1975 and now lives in exile in Australia, is the principal international spokesman for the Timorese independence movement.
Belo continues to live in East Timor, even though many of his followers believe that his life is in constant danger because of his blistering public attacks on the Indonesian military, which he has accused of murder and torture.
"There is always fear," he said in an interview in 1993.
"We lack the freedom to speak, to walk where we want, to have different opinions. If people talk, they know they will be interrogated. They will be tortured. "
East Timor makes up onehalf of the island of Timor in the remote, isolated southeastern corner of the vast Indonesian archipelago.
[pictures of BELO and RAMOS-HORTA]