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An Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the Certain Seabed Boundaries Agreement of the Republic of Indonesia (RI) and Australia in the Timor Sea region signed in Perth, Australia 1997 by Alexander Downer and Ali Alatas both represents Australia and Indonesia to be declared null, and may not be enforced by Jakarta and Canberra. Besides it has not been ratified,the agreement that contains only 11 Articles and expressly stated in Article 11 that this Agreement will enter into force upon the exchange of the ratification charters.

However, what happened, Australia unilaterally used this agreement and suppressed all activities of the Indonesian traditional fishermen inhumanly and unilaterally “Gugusan Pulau Pasir” or known by Australia as “Ashmore Reef” declared as a nature reserve of Australia. While this EEZ agreement was a continuation of the Australian Fishing Zone that has also claimed unilaterally (illegally) near Rote Island. This Fishing Zone then, unilaterally converted into Australia EEZ.

As a result of the invalid 1997 agreement have resulted in the people of Indonesia in West Timor being impoverished forcibly by Canberra and Jakarta. Among others, thousands of traditional Indonesian fishing boats burnt down inhumanly and unlawfully by Australia. The livelihood of traditional Indonesian fishermen was severely affected but a greater environmental impact caused by the loss of dozens of gas and oil fields belonging to the people of West Timor when annexed by Australia.


Gugusan Pulau Pasir-Ashmore Reefis a group of islands located between the Timor Sea and northern Australian waters at 12 ° 13 'South Latitude (SL) and 123 ° 5' East Longitude (EL), about 120 kilometers from Rote Island, NTT, 840 kilometers from Darwin, Northern Australia and 610 kilometers from Broome, Western Australia

Australia are not entitled to possession of GUGUSAN PULAU PASIR-ASHMORE REEF, located in the south of Rote island. WHY! Because Australia is not able to produce a single legal documents according to the International Law stating that GUGUSAN PULAU PASIR-ASHMORE REEF is part of Australian territory. The Legal facts shown that the real owner of GUGUSAN PULAU PASIR-ASHMORE REEF, which is very rich in minerals, are the Indonesian traditional fishermen; accordingly, ​​the GUGUSAN PULAU PASIR-ASHMORE REEF was part of their house garden and livelihood for generations since at least 500 years ago, or more, before Australia proclaimed herself as a sovereign State in 1901.

Australia only holds an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) on the rights of traditional fishermen signed in 1974 by a low level official of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia and a low level official of the Ministry of Agriculture of Australia. It’s only an MoU, not a treaty and only signed by two very low level Government officials; it is not legitimate. Australia’s entitlement to “GUGUSAN PULASIR-ASHMORE REEF” is only based on the weak 1974 MoU.

Then in 1997, the Australian Government persuaded Indonesia to make another treaty call EEZ and Certain Sea Bed Boundaries in the region and incorporated “GUGUSAN PULAU PASIR-ASHMORE REEF”. Still and all, “GUGUSAN PULAU PASIR-ASHMORE REEF” was part of the agreement so far has not yet been ratified and will never been ratify. More than that, this 1997 agreement may not be ratified again as a consequences of a geopolitical conditions. When the 1997 agreement negotiated and signed, ​​the State of Timor-Leste was still part of the Republic of Indonesia. However, in 2000 there was a very significant geopolitical changes in this region with the separation of East Timor and the 27th Province of Indonesia became an independant sovereign state.

Again, Australia have used an illegitimate MoU 1974 to stop and burnt thousands of Indonesian poor traditional fishing boats in the Timor Sea just to grab West Timorese oil and gas. While on the other hand, ironically Australia refused to use an authorized and legitimate MoU 1996 about Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response to settle the covered up 2009 Montara Timor Sea Oil Spill Disaster. The Covered up disaster that has destroyed the livelihoods of over 100.000 poor Indonesian citizens living in coastal communities .

Historical Fact Notes.!

Australia claimed that the Government of the United Kingdom in 1932 handed over the management of “GUGUSAN PULAU PASIR-ASHMORE REEF” to the Government Australia. Unauthorized and unilaterally annexation of “GUGUSAN PULAU PASIR-ASHMORE REEF” first made by Captain Samuel Ashmore a British nationality when he was about to return to England from Indonesia passed trough “GUGUSAN PULAU PASIR-ASHMORE REEF” in 1811.
And in 1878 the British government unilaterally claimed it as part of the British territory then named it ASHMORE REEF. British Government's actions without the knowledge of the Dutch East Indies government at the time of its territory includes the “GUGUSAN PULAU PASIR-ASHMORE REEF”. Whereas the activity of Indonesian traditional fishermen in “GUGUSAN PULAU PASIR-ASHMORE REEF” as long that can be recorded by world’s anthropologists including Australians has been going on since 1609.

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