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East Timor News Digest 25 - November 11-17, 2002
Transition & reconstruction
Lusa - November 15, 2002
Dili -- The UN will respect its engagement with East Timor and
has no plans for an anticipated reduction or withdrawal of its
civilian team and peacekeeping forces, Dili's UN ambassador said
Thursday in New York.
Jose Luis Guterres, in comments to reporters after a Security
Council meeting, said all participants in the session had backed
"the continuation of the UN presence and its peacekeeping
operations" in East Timor.
"I believe they all defend the idea that the established program
and calendar be maintained without alteration and as approved",
Before the Security Council meeting, there had been diplomatic
speculation that given Dili's successes in consolidating its
institutions and security that the UN might be tempted to scale
down its engagement ahead of time.
The current UNMISET mission, headed by Indian diplomat Sharma
Kamalesh, has a mandate through mid-2004. Diplomats said it would
likely be extended by the Security Council at a meeting in May.
Thursday's Security Council meeting ended without any resolution
or formal statement on East Timor, but diplomats told Lusa such
had no special significance.
Jakarta Post - November 15, 2002
Yemris Fointuna, Kupang -- With the deadline for the closure of
refugee camps here drawing near, 121 East Timorese families have
registered for the government-sponsored resettlement program.
The head of the operation dealing with the refugees, Lt. Col.
Pieter Lobo, said on Thursday the East Timorese families would be
resettled on Sumba island in East Nusa Tenggara.
"There is the possibility many other families will follow suit
given that the closing date for registration is drawing near,"
For the last two years, the government has been asking the East
Timorese refugees who poured into East Nusa Tenggara in 1999 to
choose between repatriation and resettlement. They have been
given until the end of December before the government closes down
the refugee camps scattered across the province.
An estimated 250,000 East Timorese fled their homes to escape the
widespread violence that occurred after the territory voted for
independence in a UN-administered referendum in 1999.
The government has promoted the resettlement program through a
number of East Timorese leaders who have opted to retain their
"We sent these figures to the refugee camps to persuade their
fellow East Timorese to join the resettlement program. The
figures also are expected to inform their people about what their
new homes will look like," Pieter said.
A joint team comprising representatives of the UN High
Commissioner for Refugees and the local and central governments
visited Sumba recently to observe the island's readiness to
receive the East Timorese refugees.
"Hearing that people on the island will welcome the refugees, we
will start transferring the East Timorese to the resettlement
area immediately," Pieter said.
The government also has encouraged those who wish to return to
East Timor by providing them with an incentive in the form of
Christmas and New Year's donations amounting to Rp 1.5 million
(US$165) per family. On Thursday, 21 more families left Kupang
for their homes in East Timor.
There are about 30,000 East Timorese refugees remaining in camps
across East Nusa Tenggara. East Timor President Xanana Gusmao
visited the refugees earlier this month to call on them to return
Transition & reconstruction
UN to stick by its engagement, timetable
Refugees join resettlement program
Ultimatum to East Timorese: why should you stay?
Transition & reconstruction
Lusa - November 15, 2002
Dili -- The UN will respect its engagement with East Timor and has no plans for an anticipated reduction or withdrawal of its civilian team and peacekeeping forces, Dili's UN ambassador said Thursday in New York.
Jose Luis Guterres, in comments to reporters after a Security Council meeting, said all participants in the session had backed "the continuation of the UN presence and its peacekeeping operations" in East Timor.
"I believe they all defend the idea that the established program and calendar be maintained without alteration and as approved", Guterres said.
Before the Security Council meeting, there had been diplomatic speculation that given Dili's successes in consolidating its institutions and security that the UN might be tempted to scale down its engagement ahead of time.
The current UNMISET mission, headed by Indian diplomat Sharma Kamalesh, has a mandate through mid-2004. Diplomats said it would likely be extended by the Security Council at a meeting in May. Thursday's Security Council meeting ended without any resolution or formal statement on East Timor, but diplomats told Lusa such had no special significance.
Jakarta Post - November 15, 2002
Yemris Fointuna, Kupang -- With the deadline for the closure of refugee camps here drawing near, 121 East Timorese families have registered for the government-sponsored resettlement program.
The head of the operation dealing with the refugees, Lt. Col. Pieter Lobo, said on Thursday the East Timorese families would be resettled on Sumba island in East Nusa Tenggara.
"There is the possibility many other families will follow suit given that the closing date for registration is drawing near," Pieter said.
For the last two years, the government has been asking the East Timorese refugees who poured into East Nusa Tenggara in 1999 to choose between repatriation and resettlement. They have been given until the end of December before the government closes down the refugee camps scattered across the province.
An estimated 250,000 East Timorese fled their homes to escape the widespread violence that occurred after the territory voted for independence in a UN-administered referendum in 1999.
The government has promoted the resettlement program through a number of East Timorese leaders who have opted to retain their Indonesian citizenship.
"We sent these figures to the refugee camps to persuade their fellow East Timorese to join the resettlement program. The figures also are expected to inform their people about what their new homes will look like," Pieter said.
A joint team comprising representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the local and central governments visited Sumba recently to observe the island's readiness to receive the East Timorese refugees.
"Hearing that people on the island will welcome the refugees, we will start transferring the East Timorese to the resettlement area immediately," Pieter said.
The government also has encouraged those who wish to return to East Timor by providing them with an incentive in the form of Christmas and New Year's donations amounting to Rp 1.5 million (US$165) per family. On Thursday, 21 more families left Kupang for their homes in East Timor.
There are about 30,000 East Timorese refugees remaining in camps across East Nusa Tenggara. East Timor President Xanana Gusmao visited the refugees earlier this month to call on them to return home.
The Sun-Herald - November 17, 2002
Andrew West -- Under the threat of deportation, the Lay family celebrated the eighth anniversary of their arrival in Australia at their Fairfield home yesterday.
The Immigration Department has written to about 1,800 East Timorese asking them to show cause why they should be allowed to remain in Australia. Many of the refugees have been in Australia for up to 10 years.
If Australia deports them, they will return to a country with 70 percent unemployment, where about half the buildings are still in ruin from the Indonesian-backed militia rampage of 1999. According to the United Nations, the average annual income is about $2 a day.
The refugees' lawyers argue the East Timorese fall into a special category because they have been kept in legal limbo for a decade.
Most arrived soon after the massacre by Indonesian troops at the Santa Cruz cemetery in December 1991, and the Government issued them with open-ended visas, rather than permanent residency, because some may have been entitled to Portuguese citizenship.
But earlier this year they began receiving letters from the Immigration Department. For most, it was the first time they had heard from Immigration officials since their initial processing.
Over the past decade, they had settled into work, paying taxes, learning English and raising families.
"These people have basically become Australians," said lawyer Liz Biok, who represents the International Commission of Jurists. "They have fitted very well into Australia, have not caused any social problems and, as any of their employers will tell you, are very hard workers."
Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock claims the East Timorese are simply being treated like any other would-be refugees from poor countries.
A spokeswoman for Mr Ruddock said the people affected were going through the application which included appeal rights. She said the reason some of them had been in Australia for so long was that they had refused to go to Portugal, where they had dual citizenship.
Instead they had fought the Australian Government, starting under Labor, to recognise them as refugees, all the way to the High Court.
When East Timor was declared independent and their connection with Portugal was severed, the Government began processing their applications afresh, she said.
Henrique Lay, wife Maria, daughters Elizabeth and Margaret, and son Paul yesterday celebrated the eighth anniversary of their arrival in Australia. But hanging over the anniversary was the spectre of deportation.
They have received their second letter from Immigration officials, rejecting their claim for permanent refugee status.
The Lays escaped East Timor in November 1994, after Mr Lay's brother was murdered by the Indonesian special forces unit, Kopassus. Mr Lay, 58, was also arrested, then tortured so badly that his left leg was permanently disabled. He now hobbles with a cane.
Mrs Lay, 55, was assaulted in ways that are simply too traumatising for her to recall publicly.
Immediately after arriving, the Government issued them with bridging visas and work permits, although Mrs Lay's brother, an Australian citizen running a small western Sydney supermarket, initially supported them financially.
The children also enrolled at Lurnea High School for intensive English lessons and later studied at Prairiewood High.
Paul, 23, works in optical dispensing for Essilor Australia. Elizabeth, 26, works as a kitchen hand at a Catholic nursing home in Surry Hills. Seven months ago she married another East Timorese refugee, Kian Ting Jong, 27, a fabric cutter in a clothing factory, who also faces deportation.
The three of them help support Mr and Mrs Lay and their youngest daughter, Margaret, who attends a special school for young people with learning problems.
Most worrying for Elizabeth is that she and Kian are expecting their first child next year. They had hoped to baptise their baby at Mary Immaculate Catholic Church in Bossley Park, where the family worships weekly, and raise the child as an Australian.
"It would be very hard for me to raise a baby in East Timor," Elizabeth Lay said. "There are not enough doctors and not much of a future. Australia has become our home."
Refugee advocates remain pessimistic. The Immigration Department has rejected every one of 476 cases it has so far assessed, leaving another 1,130 East Timorese with little hope.
Ms Biok said among the refugees were elderly East Timorese who had even helped Australian soldiers stationed on the island during World War II. She says the East Timorese should be treated like the Chinese students who fled to Australia in 1989 after the Tiananmen Square massacre. Former prime minister Bob Hawke issued them with a special class of visa, which the government later converted into permanent residency permits.
Lusa - November 11, 2002
Dili -- Australia is using East Timor's vulnerability as one of the world's poorest nations to gain leverage in negotiations on the carving up of oil resources in the Timor Sea, Dili's prime minister said Monday.
Mari Alkatiri told Lusa that Canberra is trying to put the ratification of the Timor Gap treaty and a utilization agreement for the Greater Sunrise gas field "in the same bag".
The Timor Gap treaty, signed between the two countries on May 20, paves the way for a joint petroleum development zone between the two countries. Under the deal, Timor will receive 20 percent of revenues in the zone, and Australia the remaining 80 percent. Greater Sunrise lies 20 percent in Timor's existing maritime boundaries and 80 percent in Australia's -- according to Canberra -- and Dili is seeking the utilization agreement for the field to harmonize tax regimes and administration of the lucrative gas field.
"Australia is not treating Timor as an equal and thinks because we desperately need [oil] resources that we will settle for 20 percent, to their 80 percent", said Alkatiri, referring to the Timor Gap treaty. "Obviously, this is not the case. Naturally we need resources and therefore the treaty, but we will in no way allow our need to weaken our negotiating position", said Dili's head of government.
Alkatiri said Dili is still committed to ratifying the Timor Gap treaty and concluding the Greater Sunrise utilization agreement by December 31. Delays in wrapping up both pending deals were due to "obstacles we have encountered on Australia`s part", added Alkatiri. The Timor Gap treaty is a "provisional accord" and "a document that does not establish maritime frontiers, but a joint exploration zone", said Alkatiri, adding that as such, the treaty has "nothing to do with the utilization agreement".
"This treaty must be ratified as it is. The utilization accord is essentially technical ... But the truth is that there is still a question of frontiers to settle", said Alkatiri, adding that Dili had already adopted a line drawn between the two nations as a basis for its boundary claim, whereas Australia's is based on its continental shelf.
Meanwhile, Australia's opposition Democrat Party says it opposes the ratification of the Timor Gap treaty, saying maritime borders with East Timor must be defined within five years. If there is no agreement by this deadline, say the Democrats, the International Court of Justice should decide on the matter.
Australian Financial Review - November 12, 2002
Jason Koutsoukis -- The $3.5 billion Bayu-Undan natural gas project between Australia and East Timor received a major boost yesterday when a joint federal parliamentary committee recommended ratification of a joint ownership treaty.
The treaty will give project operator Phillips Petroleum the required certainty to proceed with the second phase of the project.
Phillips is contracted to supply 3million tonnes of LNG a year to the Tokyo Electric Power Company and Tokyo Gas for 17 years from January 2006.
Australia has agreed to grant East Timor 90 per cent of the royalties from Bayu-Undan, which would see up to $5.5 billion flow to East Timor over the life of the project.
The chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, Julie Bishop, said ratification of the treaty was clearly in Australia's interest.
"The treaty provides a framework of legal and fiscal security to ensure the continued development of the resources of the joint petroleum development area," Ms Bishop said.
"Provision of these conditions is paramount if East Timor and Australia are to access the benefits of investment in the exploitation and exploration of the designated area."
Expected revenue to Australia from the Bayu-Undan fields is $2 billion over the life of the project.
|Justice & reconciliation|
Jakarta Post - November 15, 2002
Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara -- Armindo Soares Mariano, caretaker of UNTAS -- an East Timorese refugee organization -- disclosed here on Friday that East Timorese President Xanana Gusmao would not be granting amnesty to pro-Indonesia militiamen who fled to East Nusa Tenggara following the popular ballot in 1999.
Armindo said Gusmao, after his election to the presidency, had stressed the importance of the legal process against crime, including those by pro-Indonesia militiamen before and after the ballot.
"Gusmao's plan to give amnesty to the pro-Indonesia militia -- thus encouraging their repatriation -- has been thwarted by a United Nations official dealing with human rights issues," he told Antara.
Armindo revealed that after his visit across the border to East Nusa Tenggara before being elected president earlier this year, where he had reportedly promised amnesty, Xanana had been reprimanded by the UN official. He also said that he had heard about in absentia trials being organized in East Timor against pro-Indonesia militiamen in exile.
Radio Australia - November 13, 2002
[East Timor has marked the eleventh anniversary of the Santa Cruz massacre. Hundreds of people were killed in the Dili cemetery on November 12, 1991, when Indonesian forces opened fire on some 2,000 peaceful demonstrators. The East Timorese marked the day with a mass and flown the nation's flag at half mast. The anniversary also coincided with the first national public hearings at East Timor's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.]
Presenter/Interviewer: Quinton Temby, Dili
Speakers: Father Jevito Araujo, vice chair of East Timor's Truth and Reconciliation Commission; Jose Estevao Soares, former pro- autonomy leader and now Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner; Pat Walsh, a United Nations advisor to the Commission
Temby: A mass in the Motael church yesterday commemorated the Santa Cruz massacre for the first time in an independent East Timor. It was a funeral procession from here 11 years ago that turned into an historic protest, and was lethally suppressed by the Indonesian military.
From now on November 12 is a public holiday in East Timor. This year it also marked the first public hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Broadcast on national radio, thirteen men and women testified of gross human rights violations over the 24 years of Indonesian occupation. Many for the first time publicly named the people who abused them.
An elderly man described the death from starvation in the mountains in 1978 as people sheltered from aerial bombing. A young woman showed the child she had after being gang raped by military and militia in the attack on the Suai church on September 6, 1999.
Atanacio da Costa described how he was tortured in April 99 by militia with knives and machetes. He removed his shirt to show the stab wounds.
One of the commissioners is Jose Estevao Soares, who was a founding member of the pro-autonomy movement. On hearing the testimony, he brought a handkerchief to his face and said: I was pro-autonomy, please forgive me.
Soares: "My reaction was just simply translated into that simple word, forgive me, forgive us. Forgive me, forgive us, as a pro- autonomy. And I think that it was not enough."
Temby: While the commission has no judicial power, the information it collects may be used for prosecutions in the future. Pat Walsh is a United Nations advisor to the commission.
Walsh: "I think it's really an opportunity for victims who've suffered so horribly to express their experience publicly for the first time, without fear of recrimination. I mean, some of these people suffered badly when they were 12 or 13 years old in 1975, 76 at the hands of the Indonesian military. For the first time, in all the years that have intervened, they've had this inside them, this terrible feeling, this anger, no-one's ever been able to acknowledge what they've been through, let alone to offer them professional assistance in the form of counselling or whatever. And here finally they're able to talk before the Commission that wants to hear them, that wants to honour them."
Temby: The importance of listening is emphasized by Father Jovito, the vice-chairperson of the commission. He's disappointed by the lack of government interest in the hearings.
Araujo: I'm not happy, because as one of the victims said, that they could not even give us one minute, five minutes to listen. They keep themselves busy. A lot of people in this new country, everyone won't want to talk. Nobody wants to listen. So I think from this I learned how important in this new country that many people need to learn to listen, especially those who are in power. They need to listen."
Associated Press - November 12, 2002
Dili -- About 1,000 protesters Tuesday demanding that the Indonesian soldiers who shot to death 200 people at a rally 11 years ago be brought to justice.
The November 12, 1991, massacre at the Santa Cruz cemetery, in the capital, Dili, was secretly caught on video and broadcast around the world. It galvanized opposition to Indonesia's brutal rule of East Timor.
A few low-ranked soldiers were prosecuted over the shootings. But no senior officers have ever faced justice.
The demonstrators, many of whom were survivors of the shootings or relatives of victims, gathered for an emotional church service and then marched through the city.
East Timor broke from Indonesia in 1999 after a UN-sponsored referendum. After two years of UN administration it gained its nationhood on May 20.
Some of the protesters held up photos of Indonesia's former dictator Suharto, who ordered the 1975 invasion of East Timor. Others had pictures of former Indonesian military chief Gen. Wiranto, who was in charge of the armed forces in 1999 and has been blamed for the deaths of about 1,000 people at the hands of Indonesia's army and its militia supporters at the time of the vote.
Several UN officials have called for an international war crimes tribunal, akin to those for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, to bring to justice those responsible for the bloodshed.
Lusa - November 12, 2002
Dili -- East Timorese students and human rights groups called Tuesday for an international court to judge those responsible for human rights abuses during the Indonesian occupation of Timor, on the anniversary of a massacre in which over 100 people died.
At a rally commemorating the twelfth anniversary of the massacre in Dili's Santa Cruz cemetery, students and members of NGOs carried placards of ex-Indonesian president Suharto and the former commander of Jakarta's armed forces, General Wiranto.
An international war crimes tribunal for the two senior officials was demanded by the protesters. A crowd of about 2000 gathered to hear Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri and the speaker of the Dili parliament, Francisco Guterres, recall the significance of the Santa Cruz massacre in Timor's independence struggle.
Alkatiri told the crowd that the demonstration preceding the massacre "represented the courage of Timor's youth". The events of November 12, 1992 had shocked the world and were a key moment in Timor's independence fight, said Alkatiri.
Speaking for President Xanana Gusma, who is currently overseas, Francisco Guterres said the events at Santa Cruz would always remain in Timor`s history. He added that the slayings of unarmed civilians proved that "the liberation struggle was a long and difficult battle".
|Human rights trials|
Associated Press - November 11, 2002
Jakarta -- Prosecutors on Monday sought the minimum 10-year jail sentence for a former Indonesian army chief officer charged with crimes against humanity in East Timor in 1999.
Lt. Col. Endar Priyanto was the army chief in East Timor's capital, Dili, when pro-Indonesia militiamen attacked the house of independence leader Manuel Carrascalo. About 150 villagers had sought refuge there. Carrascalo's son and 11 others were hacked to death with machetes in the April 17 attack.
"The defendant was proven to have committed crimes against humanity and gross human rights abuse in East Timor," said chief prosecutor Chalere.
"He had allowed the attack to happen ... and therefore, he deserves a 10-year jail term," added Chalere, who uses a single name like many Indonesians.
Priyanto is one of 18 Indonesian military and police officials charged with being responsible for the violence that swept across the half-island before and after the territory broke from Indonesia.
More than 1,000 civilians were killed and 250,000 were forced to flee their homes when the army and its militia proxies rampaged after a UN-sponsored independence referendum that saw the territory break from Indonesia.
Under Indonesian law, prosecutors are obligated to press for a minimum jail sentence of 10 years for people accused of crimes against humanity.
The prosecution request for the shortest possible sentence underscores claims by rights activists that the trials of those responsible for violence are a sham.
Prosecutors have asked for similar sentences for all 18. So far, six of the defendants have been acquitted. Only Abilio Jose Osorio Soares, the last Indonesian governor in the province, was found guilty and sentenced to three years in prison.
Priyanto's hearing will be resumed next week to hear the defendant's plea.
East Timor gained full independence in May, after a period of transitional rule by the United Nations following Indonesia's brutal 24-year occupation.
Melbourne Age - November 12, 2002
Jill Jolliffe, Dili -- Witnesses at East Timor's truth and reconciliation commission have described atrocities going back to 1975 involving Indonesian soldiers, militia groups -- and the Fretilin Party that liberated the newly independent nation.
In special hearings marking the anniversary of the 1991 Santa Cruz massacres, the commission has opened "truth-telling" session where victims tell their stories.
Villagers from the 13 districts of the new republic gave what was often painful evidence. Madalena Pereira, of Letefoho, a petite woman in black, told how she was 12 in December, 1975, when Indonesian soldiers captured and raped her.
She was then held in sexual slavery for several years at the Koramil command post in her village. She bore two children from the rapes. One child died.
"Many people have said to me 'prostitute whose child has no father'," she told the meeting, "and to this day I live alone, suffering, with my child and no husband." Teresinha da Silva of Aileu directed her accusations against Falintil, the Fretilin liberation army. She said that during the 1975 civil war Falintil imprisoned her in a camp where hungry people were punished if they sought food outside. She described the fatal stabbing of her husband and an old woman named Domingas.
She also described events surrounding the imprisonment of Fretilin's founding president, Francisco Xavier do Amaral, by his successor, Nicolau Lobato, in late 1976.
Ms da Silva described how during the purge "Fretilin forces shot dead six people whose identity I didn't know", adding that they were buried in a grave dug beforehand. She said 23 members of her family died around this time.
Under legal precautions taken by the commission, names of those accused were deleted from her testimony.
Fretilin leaders, including Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, have publicly admitted to the torture of dissidents in the 1970s.
|Economy & investment|
Radio Australia - November 14, 2002
A lack of foreign investment rules has been highlighted as the main factor restricting economic growth in the newly independent East Timor.
East Timor's Australian-born First Lady, Kirsty Sword-Gusmao, says there have been plenty of enquiries from potential investors.
She is in the South Australian capital, Adelaide for a national conference of the Institute of Public Administration.
However, she says the setting of foreign investment laws is a major priority as East Timor struggles with massive unemployment of around 80-percent: "At present there is no foreign investment law, but it is being debated in Parliament and is due to be passed, I believe in February, March next year."
"So that will obviously clarify to potential investors, what the rules of engagement are if you like and encourage them to invest in East Timor, which will have huge benefits for recovery of the local economy."
|East Timor press reviews|
UNMISET - November 15, 2002
Dili -- STL front page carried a photo of President Xanana Gusmco, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Josi Ramos Horta and Bali Governor, Dewa Beratha. The caption reads, "Mr. Xanana, Horta and Governor of Bali visited the site of last month's bombing and laid wreaths at the site".
Prime Minister, Mari Alkatiri, has said that the fighting spirit of the heroes of the Santa Cruz Massacre, November 12 1991, is an example of the sacrifices made for the independence of East Timor. He added that the heroes gave their lives for the freedom of Timorese.
Vice-Minister for Internal Administration, Alcino de Araujo Barros has denied holding two government positions. Mr. Barros was reacting to allegations by MP Maria Paixao of PSD.
President Xanana Gusmco has urged heads of the Falintil-FDTL and TLPS to take firm action against the officers involved in the beating up of two TLPS Traffic Officers last Friday. He demanded that those found responsible for the attack should be brought to justice.
Member of Parliament Clementino dos Reis Amaral says the decision by the Australian Government to deport Timorese refugees currently in that country is unfortunate.
Member of Parliament Arlindo Margal has noted that after this country achieved its independence, the followers of the Christian faith have tended to take distance from the Church. "Before independence the Church was seen as one of the sanctuaries for those who were involved in the clandestine movement", Mr. Arlindo said. He added that this is probably caused by the fact that now Timor- Leste is no longer in the situation of war.
Dili District Administrator Ruben Braz said that the Administration plans to relocate street vendors still operating from the former Central Market. He cautioned that the site is no longer designated for such business. The former central market is now a National Expo Park.
In a separate story, Mr. Braz is quoted as saying that he appealed to all Dili residents not to let their domestic animals such as pigs and horses wander loose on the streets.
It is reported that former district military commander, Kuswani, former Liquica district police commander, Adios Salova and former Liquiga Administrator, Leonito Martins, suspects in the serious crimes trial were sentenced to 10 years imprisonment by the Jakarta Ad-Hoc Tribunal.
Chairman of Dili Court, Aderito P. Tilman said that in order to develop and uphold the rule of law in Timor-Leste, any court decision should be obeyed, respected, and implemented.
Member of Parliament, Mariano Sabino Lopes of PD urged the Government to reflect upon the difficulties of people in the economy. The Government, he said, should prioritize what should be done to really address the people's interest.
On concerns of some members of Parliament on the nomination of Alcino Barros as Vice-Minister of Internal Administration, STL quoted PM Mari Alkatiri as saying that it is better for the members to learn more how to interpret the Constitution.
On the question of deficits faced by the Government, Member of Parliament Clementino Amaral of KOTA party said that the Government should have a strategy on how to lobby donor countries that have promised to help develop Timor-Leste.
It is reported that residents of Ainaro district demand to reclaim their land, taken by Indonesian Government for 24 years, to be used for development. They said that it was taken without any agreement.
Aniceto Guterres, the President of the Commission of Reception Truth and Reconciliation said that all sides should be objective when it comes to violent actions in Timor Leste over the last 24 years. "We cannot simply say that all refugees still living in West Timor were involved in violence." said Mr. Guterres.
Timor Post quoted President Xanana Gusmco as saying that former pro-integration leaders in Indonesia accept the current reconciliation initiative by the Government of East Timor.
Minister of Finance, Maria Madalena Boavida said that the deficit of US$ 2 million faced by the Government was due to the fact that many people do not pay their electric bills and fees for other services.
President Xanana Gusmco said in a press conference upon his arrival back to Timor Leste yesterday that his official visits to Thailand and South Korea were considered as an opportunity to learn the economic and political experiences of these two countries.
During the same press conference, President Xanana Gusmco said that firm action should be taken against those who hit the police [during last week's clash].
National Parliament President, Francisco "Lu-Olo" Guterres, has appealed to the Timorese people to be patience as his Government works towards development. Lu-Olo, said East Timor was in a difficult economic situation and it will take time for the government to deliver the economic expectations of the people.
Timor post reports that six Falintil-FDTL Officers, suspected of beating up two local traffic police officers last Friday, appeared in Dili Court for hearing. The FDTL Officers were remanded.
November 14, 2002
Suara Timor Lorosae -- Government of Malaysia, for the six times, gave the opportunities to TLPS to get training in Malaysia for improving the skills and also in the area of police management. This time 23 Timor-Leste police officers have the opportunity to take police course for a month in Kuala Lumpur. Upon their return, the officers will be assigned to the districts as commanders. Ten of them will work as close protection officers.
On Wednesday Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri stressed that Border Control case should not be exploited as a big issue. Mr. Alkatiri said, "The judicial system is very important for this nation. The system will function well if it is supported by good human resources (Judges, Public defenders and Police). These three components are important to establish so that the judicial system in this nation would be trusted by the people, reported STL.
On the question of Timorese refugees deportation from Australia, Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri said," Let them reside there." In the same article, Mr. Alkatiri requested his counterpart John Howard to allow the refugees, who have been living in Australia for the past 8 to 9 years, permanent resident.
Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri stated that the Government plans to relocate the burial sites of those killed during Indonesian occupation. Mr. Alkatiri mentioned that government's priority is to allocate the sites of Falintil commanders. On the issue, Mr. Alkatiri also said that the Government will discuss it with Indonesian government on the next joint commission meeting.
STL reported that former eight Falintil members were taken to court for causing disturbances. Around 8 people involved in the stealing of animals in Beasu, Viqueque district have been arrested and detained in Becora prison.
Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports, Armindo Maia appealed to Timorese students in Portugal not to return to Timor-Leste before completing their studies.
Former militia leader Eurico Guterres stated that he and members of pro-integration group received the amount of around US$500, from General Wiranto. Guterres also said that the General also paid Bishop Belo and Manuel Carrascalco.
Administrator District Dili, Ruben Braz de Carvalho stated that according to CNRT structure, Dili District was divided into 48 sub-districts.
National Parliament Vice-President, Jacob Fernandes, said that in order to attain information on numbers of those killed on November 12, 1991, the Timorese should work closely with Indonesian Parliament.
The Government of Australia donated AU$24,000 dollar to Timor- Leste government. The donation was received by Minister of Finance, Maria Madalena Boavida and witnessed by Prime Minister Alkatiri.
It is reported that 5 TLPS has been promoted to higher rank in Oecusse district.
Attorney General, Longuinhos Monteiro expressed that the government of Timor-Leste has not yet indicated a police officer to be nominated as INTERPOL member reported Timor Post.
Recent clashes in Baucaau occurred due to jealously among brick vendors.
In the Portuguese language page of this daily, Lusa reported that President Gusmco was scheduled to participate in a ceremony to pay tribute to the victims of Bali bombing and lay a wreath of flowers on the site of last month tragedy. President Gusmco and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Josi Ramos-Horta spent the night in Bali on their return visit from Thailand and South Korea.
In a separate article the same daily reported that the President met with pro-integrationists during his overnight stay in Bali. The three leaders intended to meet with Mr. Gusmco during his visit to West Timor, but could not make it due their tight scheduled. The three: Mateus Maia (former President of the Municipal Council) Francisco Osorio (brother of former governor, Abilio Osorio) and Martins Fernandes requested the meeting.
Aniceto Guterres, the president of the Commission of Reception Truth and Reconciliation departed to Bali on Wednesday to participate in the meeting. The President is expected back in the country on Thursday afternoon.
National Parliament President, Francisco Guterres starts a 23-day visit to Cape Verde, Portugal Brussels and Mozambique. Mr. Guterres departs Dili on Friday and is scheduled to participate in the first forum of Portuguese Speaking Communities Nations (CPLP) in the City of Praia, Cape Verde on the 17th. After meeting with government representatives of that nation he will travel to Portugal and meet with the president of the Portuguese Parliament. He is expected in Brussels on the 24th to participate in the Combined Assembly, which ends on the 29th. From there he will fly to Mozambique and is expected back in the country on December 9.
Members of Parliament voted to suspend the parliament proceeding for 2 months due to the postponement of the recess period of July and September. The proposal was passed with 37 votes in favor defeating automatically a proposal presented by vice-president, Jacob Fernandez of Fretilin party to have breaks between the 2 moths.
It is reported that the Colimau Group has re-emerged in Bobonaro District. The group is now stealing and threaten the population of that area. The police presence months ago curbed their activities.
Police and border control department held a meeting to discuss the immigration law and look into new premises for the department of border control and discuss cooperation among them.
November 12-13, 2002
Timor Post front page carried a photo of the signed agreement on the transfer of security. The caption reads: "Last week UN Police transferred its responsibility to TL Police Services. It is now the obligation of TLPS to maintain the security of the new nation."
This daily reported on 2 members of Falintil-FDTL involved in last Friday's clash with the police who appeared at Dili District Court on Monday.
The Secretary General of the Democratic Party, Mariano Sabino Lopes of PD, said in a special interview with Timor Post, that after 6 month in power, the government has not yet addressed the needs of the people. He also added that laws have not been established for the districts and sub-districts.
The Timor Sea agreement signed by Prime Minister, Mari Alkatiri and his Australian counterpart John Howard on 20 May this year was submitted to the National Parliament on Monday to be reviewed.
Members of Parliament voted on Monday for a new vice-secretary to replace the vacancy left by Rosalia Corte-Real who has been appointed as vice-minister of education. Leandro Isac, Member of Parliament from PSD party, said voting on the replacement had been unfair and illegal because the parliament rules said there is no second vote allowed. [First voting on a proposed Fretilin candidate did not get the number of vote even from the members of the party] reported Timor Post in its Tuesday edition.
Timor Post reported that the government has already spent US $90,000 on an industries location survey on the districts. [STL says the government will use US$90,000 on industries location survey in the districts]
The Secretary General of Federagco Football Timor-Leste, Amandio Araujo Sarmento stated last Monday that a representative of the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA), Datto Paulo is scheduled to arrive in Timor-Leste tomorrow, 13 November. The purpose of his visit is to see and facilitated football in the new country, reported Timor Post.
This daily also reported that a German football coach came to train local football coaches. Timor-Leste football coach, Joco Minta said all the participants liked the all training provided by the German coach.
In today's edition, Timor Post front page carried a photo of participants of the 12 November massacre commemoration. The photo also shows a poster of those allegedly responsible for the Santa Cruz massacre on 12 November 1991. (General Wiranto, Indonesia president, Suharto and others). The caption reads: thousands of youths carry flowers to Santa Cruz after the flag raising in front RDTL's office.
The Prime Minister said the commemoration of Santa Cruz massacre this year is really important to remind the young people about the history of this country. Mr. Alkatiri also stated that Timorese parents must teach their children about the history of Timor-Leste. Mr.Alkatiri also announced that the government will build a historic monument inTimor-Leste honoring those killed in this massacred as a way of passing this history on to the new generation.
Timor Post reported that thousands of youths celebrated a mass and raised the national flag to half mast in remembrance of those who were killed on 12 November 1991.
Also on its front page Timor Post reported on Brigadier General, Taur Matan Ruak's statement that Timor-Leste Police Service and Falintil-FDTL must work together. "We have been meeting to discuss way on how to strengthen our relation between Falintil- FDTL and Timor-Leste Police Service."
UN Police Commissioner, Peter J. Miller told The Timor Post that the recruitment criteria of TLPS for the UN mission in Sierra Leone, Africa, follows the international criteria, established by UN Headquarters in New York.
Suara Timor Lorosae front page reported that the position of the Vatican on Bishop Belo has upset him that he is planning to resign from his post, has upset him. The Vatican wants a re- organization of the catholic institution in Timor-Leste.
STL also reported and covered the same stories about the 11th anniversary of the Santa Cruz massacre.
Suara Timor Lorosae editorial focuses on the 11th anniversary of the 12 November massacre in Santa Cruz, Dili. The editorial points out that the government of Timor-Leste must step up efforts in working together with the Indonesian government to investigate the events of 12 November 1991. The editorial says that to date it is not known the exact number of people killed in the massacre and the whereabouts of their bodies. It suggests that the State stop the rhetoric on the role of the youths in Timor-Leste but find ways to involve them in the development process of the nation. Just having a monument to commemorate 12 November massacre is not enough. It should be commemorated with a conscious in carrying the justice and being active in the democracy process and above all respect the rights of all people living in this country.
An article in the Tetum page says a few victims of the 1999 violence are claiming that the reconciliation process promoted by the government has been focusing only on the militias. It is reported that recently a reconciliation meeting was called by the government and did not include the victim's families.
Security was tight at Dili District Tribunal yesterday when 2 F- FDTL members involved in last Friday's clash appeared at the court for a hearing. This daily reports that unlike any other day, which the court building is attended by a lot of ordinary people, yesterday [Monday] it was full of TLPS and the Task Force.
In the Portuguese page of Timor Post, Lusa reported that the Dili District Court ordered the 2 F-FDTL members allegedly involved in last Friday's clash to a preventive prison. According to police sources the 2 defence force member will remain in the prison awaiting further investigations as well as the identification of other suspects of the attack. The two police officers attacked last Friday are recovering in the United Nations hospital in Dili.
The Muslim community in Dili would like to invite the two Bishops to participate in the end of Ramadan ceremonies.
It is reported that $ US90.000 dollar will be used by the government to establish industries in five districts.
The government of Japan will donate US$60,000 dollar for the government of Timor-Leste to be used for repatriation of Timorese refugees from West Timor returnees in the next 3 years.
It is reported that Commission of Reception Truth and Reconciliation held national public hearing for two days (11 and 12 November). The victims of past human rights violations had the opportunity to tell their stories.
November 11, 2002
Suara Timor Lorosae ran a story about last Friday clashes between F-FDTL and the Police in which Francisco Carlos Alves the UN Police Officer (Brazilian) in charge of the Orientation Unit said if investigations confirms that those officers-police and FDTL- involved in the clash are guilty then they will have to appear before a court. Francisco Alves stressed that police do not play around by getting involved in fights. He said that according to the law, it does not differentiate between police, army and the civil society. The law will act on those found guilty.
In another statement, Francisco Carlos Alves appealled to all Timorese to obey the law and institutions like the police, army and the government.
TLPS commissioner Paulo Martins stressed that Friday's incident was a personal conflict and not an institutional one but the matter will be dealt with by the two institutions. Mr. Martins appeals to all the police officers in Dili to remain calm and to allow the institutions time to resolve the problem. In the same article Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri was of the same opinion as Commissioner Martins that the problem will be resolved by the two institutions.
On Saturday Prime Minister, Mari Alkatiri officially opened the community radio in Gleno, Ermera District. PM Alkatiri said the function of the radio is bring the community together and avoid conflict. It reported a further 8 community radio stations will be established in other districts by Community Empowerment Program (CEP).
The Minister of Internal Administration, Rogirio Lobato, said the Government of Republica Democratica de Timor-Leste only recognizes 442sub-districts (suku) established during the Portuguese period. The Minister added that it won't be until next year that the government will discuss sub-districts created during the independence period. There are currently no regulations regarding this matter.
In the Tetum page of STL, it is reported that Ainaro District representatives are not happy with the people working for the Commission of Reception Truth and Reconciliation (CRTR) in that the district because they were the ones collaborating with the Indonesia army for the killing of many residents. It is claimed that residents of are not going to participate in the commission's work.
A group of ninjas has been established in Uatu-lari, Viqueque sub-district to try to regain possession of their's which were taken away by the pro-Indonesia residents. Regarding this issue, MP Leandro Isac said the government must be active involved with the reconciliation process in that area in order to restore peace following last month problem. Mr. Isac who was part of the delegation to Uatu-lari added that the people involved in this matter are willing to sit and resolve it.
On Sunday residents of Viqueque village held a protest against the aid provided to former clandestine members claiming that only a few received the aid.
It is reported that 10 Timorese police officers will soon travel to Malaysia to undergo a further 6 months training in the area of national security.
In Oecussi District 6 teachers have been assigned to teach 450 primary school students reports STL. The district is claiming teachers' shortage. The Timor Post front page read: Analysis by Julio Pinto; "Elite arrogant party can destroy"
Julio Pinto says Fretilin party can be destroyed though the party leaders comments. Mr. Pinto said the arrogance of the party's leadership can lead to it's own downfall.
In a separate article, Julio Pinto is of the opinion that the police force should be responsible to the President because of the independence of that office. He said that with the police under Internal Administration they will always be perceived as having to bow to a group because (government now under Fretilin).
The Timor Post also carried a photo of last Friday's incident with a caption that reads: Lieutenant Colonel, Falur Rate Lae traveled from F-FDTL headquarters to provide security and calmed the clash.
Member of Parliament, Sabino Lopes of Democratic Party said many politicians have not yet forgotten the problems of the past of 1975.
The Timor Post reported that Timorese students in Portugal conveyed their concern when they learned about last Friday incident through the Portuguese news agency, Lusa. The President of Timorese University Students in Coimbra, Antonio Ramos, said this incident reminds the Timorese people of the problems between Indonesia police and the army, TNI confrontation which led to shootings in the districts of Same and Ainaro when the country was under Indonesia rule. He said the statement made by TMR that it was an isolation case is incorrect because the people see it as two institutions entering into conflict.
The Timor Post reported that illegal gambling (kuro kuro) has begun in the Comoro market.