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Protection of Conscience Project

Service, not Servitude

United Nations, US officials accused of oppression in East Timor

East Timor (2000)

Sean Murphy *

Dr. Robert Walley of MaterCare International visited East Timor earlier this year to assess maternal health needs in the wake of the Indonesian withdrawal and UN intervention in the country. He spoke with physicians (there were only 23 in the country, and no native specialists) and two bishops, as well as representatives from the government-in-waiting (CNRT committee) and UN organizations. The conduct of the latter caused him some concern, reported in a letter to Catholic Insight magazine in October, 2000.

I met with officials at WHO and CNRT, the latter headed by US officials, and was struck by how aggressive they were in imposing their views and their values on the people. The Timorese doctors I met felt themselves oppressed, and expressed concern about the secretive nature of the activities of WHO and the CNRT committee. They asked for help in developing a separate Catholic system which would provide care in accordance with the values of the Timorese people.1

1. "Urgent letter from Dr. Robert Walley for help". Catholic Insight, October, 2000, Vol. VIII, No. 8, p. 4. (Reproduced with permission.)


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