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Report of a one-day seminar in Dili, East Timor

16 October 2001

Organized by: The NGO Forum, Yayasan HAK, La’o Hamutuk, FOKUPERS, Caritas Australia, Judicial System Monitoring Programme

PDF files: English | Bahasa Indonesia


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Conference Agenda

16 October 2001

Opening statements: The Need for Justice

Introduction: History of crimes against East Timorese people since the Indonesian invasion and attempts to bring justice (Thomas Freitas, La’o Hamutuk)

Why justice is important (Domingas Verdial, FOKUPERS and Novi Novi, survivor)

Prosecution in East Timor (Christian Ranheim and Nelson Belo, JSMP)

What is the scope of the prosecution of serious crime in East Timor?

What are the major problems with the prosecution of serious crimes in East Timor?

What are the chances of bringing perpetrators to justice within East Timor?

Prosecution in Indonesia (Nug Katjasungkana, FORTILOS and Yayasan HAK)

What are the possibilities for the prosecutions of crimes, committed in East Timor, in Indonesia?

What are the major problems facing prosecution of crimes in Indonesia to date?

What is the future of prosecution crimes in Indonesia?

Prosecution of Crimes under an International Justice Process (Joaquim Fonseca, Yayasan HAK)

What are the possibilities for prosecution under an international justice system? Tribunals, International Courts and alternative models

What is the scope of crimes under an International Criminal Tribunal?

What is the possibility in the future of establishing a Tribunal (problems and possibilities)?

Discussion: What are the possibilities for justice in East Timor?

NGOs give short presentations about what their organizations have done regarding justice initiatives, particularly an international tribunal;

Break up into working groups to discuss and report back on the following questions?

1. Is an International tribunal necessary? Why or why not?

2. if yes, what further things do we need to do?

3. if no, what are the better options?

4. if don’t know, what further information do we need? Facilitators will report back to the group

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United Timorese NGOs Call for an International Tribunal

Press Release Issued By The Judicial System Monitoring Programme

Dili 17 October 2001 -- During a seminar on justice for East Timor, participating Timorese non-governmental organizations (NGOs) unanimously called for the establishment of an international ad hoc tribunal with the jurisdiction to try international crimes committed after the Indonesian invasion in 1975. The seminar named "Justice and Accountability in East Timor: International Tribunals and other options," gave the participants an introduction into the current developments of the East Timorese legal system, the establishment of an ad hoc human rights court in Indonesia as well as analysis of the different perspectives of an international ad hoc tribunal.

The conclusions of the working groups highlighted the necessity of bringing the perpetrators of international crimes to justice, and in particular to hold Indonesian military officers accountable. All NGOs emphasized the need to bring justice to the victims, to avoid further human rights violations in Indonesia and the responsibility of the international community to try crimes against humanity committed during an Indonesian occupation which was never legally recognized by the United Nations.

The organizations confirmed their commitment to conduct a coordinated campaign for justice and accountability both on a local, national and international level. Several groups were established to draft resolutions based upon the conclusions of the seminar.

Participants from international NGOs and international support groups expressed their continued support to representative views of the East Timorese civil society. They further highlighted the responsibility of Indonesia to cooperate with international efforts of bringing the perpetrators of crimes against humanity to justice.

All major Timorese NGOs working on justice related issues were present at the seminar. Similar views have earlier been expressed by the now dissolved National Council and by all political parties during the recent election campaign in East Timor.

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NGO Reports on Activities

The following organizations presented information regarding their activities in the area of justice and in particular an international tribunal:

Yayasan HAK: Collection of evidence, campaign, organization of survivors, monitoring returning militia, monitoring Indonesian process, research, working with ETAN.

Dewan Solidaritas (Student Solidarity Council): Have a program regarding international tribunal, view recent reconciliation with militia as just diplomacy.

FOKUPERS (Communications Forum for East Timorese Women): Have been collecting data from districts, e.g. Novi Novi in Maliana, and distribute information regarding human rights violations.

KSI (Kdadalak Sulimutuk Institute): Completed research regarding reconciliation and conflict resolution, one of the outcomes being that there must be justice.

KKPP (Kelompok Kerja Pendidikan Pemilu - Working Group for Electoral Education): Strong emphasis on including "victims" in the process.

NGO Forum: Networking and strengthening this process and distributing information.

The Bishop Belo Centre for Justice and Peace: Research into strengths and weaknesses of the different options

APCET (Asia-Pacific Coalition for East Timor): Support a people’s tribunal alongside a campaign for an international tribunal.

Caritas Australia: Will support an information and awareness campaign in East Timor, campaign in Australia and help generate support in international catholic networks.

ETAN (East Timor Action Network / U.S.): Priority is perpetrators from 75-99, international communities must also take responsibility for the crimes, involvement in civil cases in the U.S.

IFET (International Federation for East Timor): Large international network of organizations campaigning for an international tribunal, wish to work with and seek direction form the East Timorese people.

La’o Hamutuk (East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis): Monitoring, networking and next Bulletin will be on justice.

JSMP (Judicial System Monitoring Programme): Monitoring and dissemination information on the progress of the Special Panel for Serious Crimes.

This is a brief outline. For further information, please contact organizations directly.

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Reports back from working groups

Question 1) Is an International Tribunal necessary? Why?

Group 1: Yes, because:

» it is very important in order to uphold humanitarian values

» in order to uphold the dignity and values of humanity

» every person has the right to justice

» it will form a unified common struggle without differentiating ethnicity, religion or race as well as economic or political affiliations.

» it could be an education/learning to other nations, in order not to commit similar crimes

» it can serve as a protection for minorities (and to build a movement to prevent future annihilation).

Group 2: Yes, is necessary

» Because it guarantees a better life for people with a prospect of justice

» Ensure law and justice in East Timor

» Protection of values of humanity

» Collect data

Question 2) If yes, what further things do we need to do?

 Group 1: Build the participation of the people

» Raise consciousness of the people regarding the importance of justice, by means of a campaign

» Role of NGOs to influence government policies

» Collect proof/documentation of the crimes

» Build a network with other organizations (regional & international)

» Work towards getting the issue of an International Tribunal included in the constitution

» Build a strong protection system (e.g. establishing an organization)

» Take advantage of upcoming events to build a campaign around this issue, such as:

Group 2:

» Initiate a campaign focussing on an international tribunal

» Raise awareness/knowledge of victims of the importance of an international tribunal; also for the general public

» Campaign and lobby at international level (31/10, 10/12 and 7/12 solidarity days for East Timor)

» Influence members of the Constituent Assembly to include an international tribunal into the constitution as a national obligation

» Hold dialogue between the victims and the autonomy leaders

Question 3) If no, what are the better options?

Group 1: A ‘People’s Tribunal, only if an International Tribunal doesn’t materialize.

Group 2:

» To support the Commission on Reception, Truth and Reconciliation

» To hold a people’s Tribunal

» To collect data, which should be systematised and secured

» To keep the UN Commission on human rights in East Timor post UNTAET

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Notes from group 3 (internationals)

1. That Indonesian military and officials must be held accountable.

2. Some ideas in relation to this are:

a. Demand accountability form the Indonesian Government and cooperate with Indonesian human rights groups regarding continuing human rights abuses, now in Aceh and West Papua.

b. Campaign similar to "Who is your neighbour?" i.e. identifying the high ranking perpetrators, where they are now, what positions they hold etc. and publicising it.

c. Collation, archiving and publication of evidence and stories, by supporting local NGO’s already collecting and collating information. (discussed the collection of stories/evidence in Guatemala)

d. Form resolutions from this seminar and commence lobbying, e.g. with the SRSG and Deputy SRSG.

e. Supporting the call for an International Tribunal by local NGO’s.

f. At UN Security Council meeting 31st October, issue a statement of solidarity

g. Learn from the mistakes of previous Tribunals and make sure they are not repeated in East Timor.

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Summary of the Presentations by the Working Groups

By Joaquim Fonseca

There is a consensus that there should be an international tribunal. This consensus has been arrived at by the different groups for many different reasons including:

• To uphold the values of humanity

• To guarantee the rights to justice

• For the historical record

• To deter similar future crimes

• To foster reconciliation

To act upon this consensus, we have discussed some short term and some long term goals.

In the long term (this list is not in any order of priority) we need to:

• Collect, catalogue and protect evidence.

• Organise groups of survivors and the families of victims.

• Sensitise the community on the importance of accountability for past crimes for ensuring justice and the rule of law, now and in the future.

• Campaign at local, national and international level. In the short term (not in any particular order of priority) we need to:

• Develop a system of data/evidence collection

• Prepare a statement to give to Dennis McNamara, Deputy SRSG, prior to his visit to Indonesia.

• Prepare a statement for the next Security Council meetings on the 27th and 31st October.

• Call upon international solidarity in support of the establishment of an International Tribunal.

• Look at the prospects of inserting a provision in the constitution guaranteeing justice in the future.

• Lobbying and campaigning.

• Prepare for the international donors meeting in December.

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Seminar participants

Natercia Coelho, DFA
Deng Giguento, CRS
Maria Afonso, Caritas Australia
Angelina De Jesus, Caritas Australia
Paulo Anuno, FOSEO
Lily Amaral, CRS
Seiara Ikili, MSF
Inge Lempp, NGO Forum
Jose Antonio Rai, FOSEO
Salvador Silva, USAID/OTI
Orlando Edo, IKIPPA
Zulmira C., NGO Forum
Adao Da Costa, ALIZN/EDCTC
Yhocehces Epf, Enomiri
Ruth Hugo, Human Rights Unit UNTAET
Charles Scheiner, La’o Hamutuk, IFET
Frank Elvey, Oxfam
Johnny Viegas, Oxfam
Mouzinho D.A., Lorosae Star
Adelio Tilman, Caritas Australia
Tonette Velasco, CIIR
Jill Sternberg, Peace and Democracy Foundation
Maria Z. A. Soares, Caritas Australia
Rosentina Da Costa, Caritas Australia
Sr. Bernadita, SPC, Centre for Peace and Development
Carla Ferreira, OIKOS
Lita Guterres, OIKOS
Lito Exposto, Yayasan HAK
Tone Sair, PARO
Cecilio, Bia Hula
Sidomio, Freitas IRI
Jesuina Moniz, IRI
Vasco Da Gama, FDM
Joao Pesoinho, Human Rights UNTAET
Sr. Afania José, Yayasan Canossa
Kerry Brogan, Human Rights Unit UNTAET
Pamela Sexton, La’o Hamutuk
Natalino F.D.C, KKPP
Vernasio Geralta Lopo, Jesuit Refugee Service(JRS) 
Francisco de Jesus JRS
Augusto de Rosa fa Guintio
Joao da Silva Sarmento, DSMTT
Noemio Alves, CDHTL
Joann Kingsley, Interim Office, CRTR
Kendelle Clark, Interim Office, CRTR
Samuel Belo, AOG
Manuela L. Perriera, FOKUPERS
Domingas Verdial, Novi Novi (FOKUPERS)
Ubalda Alves, FOKUPERS
Baque Senge, HI
Titi Irawati, Yayasan HAK
Teresa Barros, APSC
Jude Conway, APSC
Andrew de Sousa, La’o Hamutuk
Joanita Madeira, Caritas Australia
Fernando Pires, Caritas Australia
Nug Katjasungkana, Yayasan HAK, Fortilos
Abilio Belo, Student
Imaculadia da Eruz, FOSEO
Zeca S. Exposto, Radio Rakentoia
Lindo Miranda, Ponto Radio Rakentoia
Takahashi Shigehito, Catholic Bishops Conf. of Japan
Solange Rosa, Oxfam
Seineke Martin, Caritas Australia
Jenny Newton, Caritas Australia
Christian Ranheim, JSMP
Nelson Belo, JSMP
Hannah McCaughey, Yayasan HAK
Joaquim Fonseca, Yayasan HAK
Thomas Freitas, La’o Hamutuk
Henrique Osolio, UNTIL
Sabino G. Fhun, Aksi Penplitian Mahasiswa
Guilermina Dos Santos, SAHE
Abel Santos, SAHE
Jorge N., Lian Maubere
Josephine Dyer, ICMC
Janet Gunter, Care/Independent

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Letter to UNTAET Deputy Transitional Administrator

17 October 2001

TO: Mr. Dennis McNamara

Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, United Nations Transition Administration in East Timor

RE: Meeting on Justice for East Timor

Dear Dennis,

We write to you in relation to your planned visit to Indonesia to discuss various issues with the Indonesian Government, in particular, the issue of justice for East Timor, with the Indonesian new Attorney General.

Two years after initial steps were taken by the Indonesian government to prosecute those responsible for serious violation of humanitarian law in East Timor, very little progress has been made. Furthermore, recent developments in Indonesia show little prospect of any further measures being taken within the Indonesia system for such necessary prosecution to take place.

The international community continues to have faith that the Indonesian Government will put its commitment into practice. However, at this point, faith is not enough and the Indonesia government must be questioned by the international community as to when it will honour the process it set out to establish and follow it through to its end.

Therefore, we would ask you to question the new Attorney-General as to what concrete steps will be taken on this matter in the near future, and what are the benchmarks and time periods for determining whether such steps have been effectively carried out. At the same time, Indonesian Government needs to be reminded that its inaction on this matter, is not only undermining the process of justice in Indonesia itself, it is also significantly hampering the justice process within East Timor.

The East Timorese leadership have expressed their views on how, in the aftermath of the Indonesian occupation, the country should deal with its past and those views have been taken by the international community as representative of the feelings of the East Timorese community. However, little space has been provided for the broader East Timorese community to voice their opinions and feelings on this crucial issue. In response to this situation, and the current stalemate in both the Indonesian and East Timor formal justice processes, NGOs and community groups felt that it was imperative to consolidate actions already underway to hold those responsible to account.

On Tuesday 16 October 2001, concerned NGOs and community groups held a joint meeting in Dili to discuss ways to ensure that there be justice for East Timor. One of the outcomes of this meeting was a resolution that it is an International Tribunal that would be the most viable means of holding those senior government and military officials to account. Being aware of your planned visit to Indonesia, another outcome of the meeting was the resolution to bring to your attention our strong views and lasting commitment to ensure that those known Indonesia figures who have documented involvement the attempted genocide of the East Timorese will face justice.

This letter will be followed by a more detailed report of content and resolution of the meeting. All those NGOs and community groups who participated in the meeting would be very interested to hear from you after you return from Indonesia to share your impressions on the meeting and future development.

We wish you the best in all your endeavours.

Yours sincerely,

Ubalda Alves, FOKUPERS
Joaquím Fonseca. Yayasan HAK
Tomás Freitas. La’o Hamutuk

(Representatives from the 16 October meeting)

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Letter to United Nations Security Council from NGOs

Fax:+ 670 390 313324
Dili, Timor Lorosa’e

24 October 2001

TO: The Members of the Security Council of the United Nations
United Nations Headquarters, New York.

RE: Urgent Steps to Establish Justice for Crimes Against Humanity in East Timor

Dear Members of the Security Council,

We are writing to you in relation to the serious plight of the entire justice process surrounding the prosecution of those responsible for the gross and systematic violation of international humanitarian law in East Timor.

After the conclusion of the national election process in East Timor, many refugees, as predicted, are returning to East Timorese soil. Present amongst those returning are known and recognized militia members. The East Timorese stand ready and willing to enter the process of reconciliation with one another, to join arms to face the difficult task of building their new nation together. As ready as the East Timor are to embark on this process of nation building and reconciliation, they acutely aware that any such process is built on a rule of law, and is founded in justice.

The East Timorese belief in justice and the rule of law, however, has not been meet by the measures taken thus far, both under UNTAET in the form of the Serious Crimes Unit and the process in Indonesia itself.

The Serious Crimes Unit, firstly, lacks jurisdiction over those perpetrators who remain outside its territorial reach, particularly those with higher command responsibility for the planned execution of the widespread murder, rape, displacement of population, destruction of infrastructure and property. Notwithstanding the limitation the Serious Crimes Unit faces in terms of territorial jurisdiction, it has failed to prosecute even those within its jurisdiction who were widely known to hold command positions, and has actively pursued only those lower ranking individuals. This has created the anomalous result of those lower-ranking individuals pleading guilty on the basis that they were instructed to carry out the crime by their militia commanders, while those very commanders, walk freely back into communities, often into positions of influence, without charge. The East Timorese people’s patience and expectation with this avenue of justice is understandably wearing thin. Meanwhile, the rule of law seems as hard to find at this stage of the process as it was under colonial rule.

Where the Serious Crimes Unit lacked jurisdiction to prosecute those Indonesia military and government officials implicated in the serious violation of humanitarian law occurring in East Timor, faith was placed by the international community in the justice process within Indonesia itself. At this point, we all must face the reality that, likewise, this process is not capable of holding those responsible to account. After initial glimmers of hope, subsequent political turmoil and instability, and ensuing continual revisions to the mandate and scope of any Ad Hoc Tribunal which is to be established, has clearly demonstrated that Indonesia is both incapable and unwilling to take responsibility for prosecuting those culpable for the crimes against humanity in East Timor.

In the face of this dire situation, East Timorese NGOs came together on the 16 October 2001, and unanimously concluded that an international mechanism of accountability for those responsible for the death, violence and humiliation in East Timor must be urgently established. The same conclusion was reached by the International Commission of Inquiry on East Timor established by the United Nations in January 2000. However, with 2002 close at hand, neither process has brought us nearer to realizing this objective. The situation is made even more critical by the coming end of the UNTAET mission. Under the stewardship of UNTAET was the time when the impunity of the past was needed to be replaced by the rule of law and justice, necessary for the nation building process of and reconciliation for East Timor. Instead, we are facing the dark reality of such impunity characterizing our future.

We urge the United Nations not to leave East Timor alone with the consequences of the crimes so terrible that they are characterized as against all humanity. It is time to take immediate steps to establish an International Tribunal for East Timor. This is the only mechanism that could address the current need for justice, the missing element so far, in the process of nation building for East Timor and worldwide respect for human dignity.

Thank you for your considerations of our concerns.

Sincerely yours,

Yayasan HAK
La’o Hamutuk
Bishop Belo’s Centre for Peace and Development
Kdadalak Sulimutu Institute (KSI)
Working Group for Electoral Education (KKPP)
Judicial System Monitoring Programme (JSMP)
East Timor Student Solidarity Council (ETSC)
Student Solidarity Council of Oe-Cusse
Yayasan Timor Nabilan
Nove-Nove Survivors Group (Maliana)
NGO Forum

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Letter to United Nations Security Council from Internationals
P.O. Box 196
Dili, Timor Lorosa’e
Via Darwin, Australia
Fax: +670-3313274
Email: cscheiner@igc.org

24 October 2001

To Members of the United Nations Security Council:

Dear Excellencies:

We are writing as citizens of many countries who currently reside in East Timor (Timor Lorosa’e), working with a variety of organizations. Through our work and our friendships, we have developed close contacts with many people and organizations in this soon-to-be independent nation. We understand and share their feeling that justice has not been served for the crimes against humanity committed here between 1975 and 1999.

On 16 October, we attended a conference in Dili entitled "Justice and Accountability in East Timor," where more than 60 East Timorese from more than 15 organizations came together and unanimously voiced their demand for an International Tribunal to provide justice for East Timor. After evaluating the current UNTAET serious crimes process and the state of justice in Indonesia, the attendees concluded that neither of these venues could lead to meaningful justice, especially as to the higher levels of culpability. They are asking, as are we, for the international community to take responsibility to end impunity for those who occupied and devastated this country.

This is not a new request. In early 2000, both the UNCHR-established International Commission of Inquiry and the Indonesian government’s KPP-HAM investigation recommended that high-level Indonesian military commanders be prosecuted, and that an international court would be the only practical way to accomplish this. In the last few months, all 16 East Timorese political parties, as well as the National Council which was East Timor’s legislature until June, have also expressed their support for an international tribunal. As time goes on, it is increasingly clear to everyone that Jakarta cannot or will not prosecute high-ranking military officers, and that UNTAET’s Serious Crimes Unit does not have the leverage to obtain Indonesian cooperation. The Unit also has limited resources, time, and capabilities. Since the atrocities committed in East Timor were of such huge magnitude that impunity is not an option, we are asking the Security Council, as representatives of the people of the world, to establish an effective mechanism to investigate, prosecute and punish those who committed crimes against humanity here.

Since 1999, three Indonesian presidents and the military structures that govern with them have effectively blocked all efforts to hold TNI commanders responsible for the planned, systematic terror and devastation that was inflicted on the East Timorese people. In addition, as the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly repeatedly resolved, Indonesia’s 1975 invasion and 24-year occupation of East Timor were flagrant violations of international law. These crimes were ordered and committed by human beings who should be held accountable, both to prevent their repetition and to send a signal not only to the people of East Timor, but to all humanity, that such behaviour is unacceptable in a civilized world. The international community must focus its energy to compel Indonesian authorities to cooperate with justice.

After two years, the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor is winding down. East Timor will be independent soon. It would compound the crimes already committed here if this tiny, poor nation which has endured so much terror is left on its own to cope with criminals who still hold positions of power in its huge neighbour. The period of U.N. responsibility for East Timor must leave a legacy of justice and accountability if East Timor is to succeed as a member of the world community.

As East Timor writes its Constitution and establishes its own governmental processes, the community of nations expects it to follow the rule of law for its own citizens. The Security Council can set an example, and establish a base for security and justice which will endure.

Sincerely yours,

Jude Conway (Asia-Pacific Support Collective)
Sr. Bernardita (Bishop Belo’s Centre for Peace and Development)
Janet Gunter
Carla Ferreira e Freire (Oikos)
Mayumi Hachisuka (La’o Hamutuk)
Titi Irawati (Forum Solidarity for East Timorese-Indonesia (FORTILOS))
Vijaya Joshi (La’o Hamutuk)
Nugroho Katjasungkana (Forum Solidarity for East Timorese-Indonesia (FORTILOS))
Inge Lempp
Jenny Newton (Caritas Australia)
Sienike Martin (Caritas Australia)
Hannah McCaughey (Australian Volunteers International)
Christian Ranheim (Judicial Systems Monitoring Programme)
Solange Rosa
Charles Scheiner (International Federation for East Timor)
Pamela Sexton (La’o Hamutuk)
Andrew de Sousa (La’o Hamutuk)
Jill Sternberg

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For further information

The East Timor National NGO Forum (FONGTil)
Kaikoli Street, Dili, Timor Lorosa’e (via Darwin, Australia)
+670-3322772 etngocentre@hotmail.com

Yayasan HAK
Hukum, Hak Asasi & Keadilan (Law, Human Rights & Justice)
T-091 Gov. Serpa Rosa St., Farol, Dili, Timor Lorosa’e (via Darwin, Australia)
+670-3313323 yayasanhak@minihub.org

La’o Hamutuk
The East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis
P.O. Box 340, Dili, Timor Lorosa’e (via Darwin, Australia)
+670-3325013 or +61(408)811373 (mobile)

Communcations Forum for East Timorese Women
Rua Governador Celestino da Silva,
Farol, Dili, Timor Lorosa’e (via Darwin, Australia)
+670-3321534 fokupers@fokupers.minihub.org

Caritas Australia
P.O. Box 196, Dili, Timor Lorosa’e (via Darwin, Australia)
Fax: +670-3313274 jennyanewton@hotmail.com

Judicial System Monitoring Programme
Sahe Institute building, Rua da Mozambique I/1-A Palapaso, Dili, East Timor (via Darwin, Australia)
Phone: +61(419)804 600 info@jsmp.minihub.org 

La'o Hamutuk, The East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis

International contact: +1-510-643-4507, lh@etan.org

Website: www.laohamutuk.org