DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY     September 13, 1999     vol. 10, no. 173

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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Bishop Arrives at Vatican over weekend, meets with Pope Today; Archbishop Tauran accuses Indonesia of Genocide

        LONDON, SEP 10 (ZENIT).- Bishop Carlo Belo today accused members of the Indonesian military of participating in the violence against the Catholic community of East Timor, according to the Italian ANSA news agency.

        In the course of a brief stop at Heathrow airport in London, Bishop Belo said that the soldiers sent by General Wiranto to the province, officially to protect the population, "dress up as militiamen at night and fire on the towns." Bishop Belo is en route to Rome, and will meet with the Pope, probably on Monday.

        The Bishop also mentioned the attack on his residence in Dili, which has been destroyed. "The diocesan offices and residence have been destroyed," he explained. "They have killed priests. I have to speak with the Pope." He concluded by saying that it is already too late for the international community to try to control the situation with economic sanctions against Indonesia. ZE99091006

        Meanwhile Catholic World News reports from Rome that the brutal fighting in East Timor has become a case of "genocide," according to the Vaticanís top foreign-relations officials.

        Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, the Vatican's Secretary of State for Relations with States, told a Vatican television audience that the "absolutely flagrant violence against the most fundamental human rights" of the Timorese represents "a regression for humanity." Speaking on the evening of September 9, the archbishop reported that at least 40 humanitarian workers have been murdered, as well as hundreds of other innocent people. He added that churches, convents, and seminaries have been destroyed, with priests and religious forced to flee into the mountains. "This is a very direct attack on the Catholic Church," he said.

        Archbishop Tauran called on Indonesian government officials in particular, and world leaders in general, to take immediate action to stem the violence. "Faced with such a tragic, and such a gross violation of human rights, no one has the right to remain indifferent," he said.

        The archbishop disclosed that the Vatican has been working through diplomatic channels to encourage prompt intervention, and has backed plans for the creation of an international force which might "guarantee a minimum of law and order on Timorese territory."

Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

September 13, 1999       volume 10, no. 173


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