AUSTRALIA EAST TIMOR FRIENDSHIP ASSOCIATION SA and the national TIMOR SEA JUSTICE Campaign are sponsoring a protest rally to stop the Australian Government from ripping off $billions of East Timor’s oil and gas revenue by refusing to establish permanent maritime boundaries.
By refusing to establish permanent maritime boundaries the Australian Government is short-changing East Timor out of billions of dollars in oil and gas revenue. This deprives one of the world’s poorest nations of resources urgently needed for its development. As a sovereign nation, East Timor has consistently argued for permanent maritime boundaries and is legally entitled to have them.
According to international law the maritime boundaries between Australia and East Timor should be along the halfway line. Australia refuses to acknowledge this. Two months before East Timor’s official Independence, Australia withdrew from the maritime boundary jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) – leaving East Timor with limited avenues to challenge Australia’s unilateral depletion of contested oilfields.
During subsequent negotiations over oil and gas revenues the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) fitted surveillance devices inside the Timorese cabinet room so it could spy on government negotiators. The resulting temporary treaty is highly unfair to East Timor.
Australia is ripping-off one of the poorest nations in Asia. It’s time we stand in solidarity with East Timor and demand that our own Government resubmits to the ICJ.
The March 21 protest demands the Australian Government:
1. Resubmit to the maritime boundary jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
2. Immediately open negotiations for a permanent maritime boundaries based on the median line principle.
3. Return all revenues taken unilaterally from the Timorese side of the halfway line.