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Operation FABER

Australia: 19 June – 15 September 1999

AO: East Timor and the territorial sea of Indonesia adjacent to East Timor. (12NM from low water mark).

Deployed: 45 Military Liaison Officers (MLO) and over 250 officers Australian Federal Police (AFP) by 2000.

History: The former Portuguese colony known as Portuguese Timor was occupied by Indonesia from 1975. In 1999, after 25 years of Indonesian rule, Indonesia agreed to a United Nations sponsored referendum for independence shortly after Indonesia’s first democratic elections.

The United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) was established to organise and conduct the vote at the end of August 1999. The Security Council Resolution of 11 June 1999 authorised ‘the deployment within UNAMET of up to 280 civilian police officers to act as advisers to the Indonesian Police in the discharge of their duties and, at the time of the consultation, to supervise the escort of ballot papers and boxes to and from the polling sites’. The resolution also authorised ‘the deployment within UNAMET of 50 military liaison officers to maintain contact with the Indonesian Armed Forces in order to allow the Secretary-General to discharge his responsibilities under the General Agreement and the Security Agreement’.

UNAMET saw the referendum of the East Timorese people to vote for Independence or Integration into Indonesia. UNAMET was to see the peaceful transition of a UN monitored election. The Election result was an overwhelming 4 to 1 vote for Independence from Indonesia – the first free and fair elections the people of East Timor had ever had. However, in the lead up to the election and once the result was declared, the Indonesian Military and pro-Indonesian militias including the Aitarak Militia, launched a campaign of violence, rape, murder, looting and arson throughout the country. Many East Timorese people were killed and almost half a million were displaced from their homes.

It was necessary for the UN to temporarily abandon the UNAMET mission. Most Australian Military Liaison Officers and Police personnel were recalled back to Australia.

As the violence remained uncontrolled, Indonesia agreed to the deployment of a multinational peacekeeping force. A United Nations Security Council resolution authorised the International Force in East Timor (INTERFET) which was the Australian Government initiative to re-install law and order to East Timor. Subsequently the Australian led INTERFET force began arriving in East Timor from 16 September 1999.

VEA: Schedule 3 (9 Jun – 15 September 1999), Schedule 2 (from 16 September 1999).

Veterans’ Entitlements Determination dated 9 November 1999: Non-warlike Service - member of the ADF assigned for service during any period 19 June 1999 to 15 September 1999 with OPERATION FABER.

Veterans’ Entitlements Determination dated 21 June 2000: Warlike Service member of the ADF on OPERATION FABER during the period 16 September 1999 to 23 February 2000.

Awards: Australian Active Service Medal (AASM) with Clasp 'EAST TIMOR' ; Australian Service Medal (ASM) with Clasp 'EAST TIMOR' ; UNAMET Medal.

AASM 1988 ASM 1988
AASM with Clasp
ASM with Clasp