Carminda Licerio and

Australian Embassy Makati

Internationally coordinated protest @ Australian embassy:
Militants back East Timor demand for fair maritime border

As part of an internationally coordinated series of protest actions, militants rallied at the Australian embassy today to demand that Australia establish a fair maritime border according to UNCLOS and international law. Similar to the dispute over the West Philippine Sea, East Timor is contesting claims by Australia on the oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea.

Members of Partido Manggagawa (Labor Party-Philippines) and Philippine Airlines Employees Association-International Transport Workers Federation held a solidarity action at the Australian embassy in Makati today to signify support for the just demand of East Timor. The protesters shouted “Australia: Don’t be a bully in the Timor Sea like China in the West Philippine Sea!”

Similar actions at Australian embassies or Australian government bodies are slated in East Timor, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and the US from March 22 to 24.

Just before East Timor gained independence as a country, Australia withdrew from the UNCLOS and thus there has been no maritime border fixed between the two countries except for provisional arrangements dictated by the latter.

At stake in the dispute is control over oil and resources which are currently exploited by Australia but which will lie within East Timor’s jurisdiction as per UNCLOS. East Timor demands control over the resources so it can be used for their national development.

Among the slogans highlighted in today’s protest are:
Hands off East Timor’s oil!
Australia: Median line now!
Australia: Heed international law, Draw maritime border with East Timor!
Australia: Be fair and just, Draw maritime border with East Timor!

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Source: hronlineph.com
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