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East Timor News Digest 1 January 1-31, 2008
News & issues
Agence France Presse - January 21, 2008
Dili Most child street vendors work the streets daily selling
snacks, soft drinks, cigarettes and sweets with a profit of about
US$10 to US$15 a day.
Fifteen-year-old Dominggos Obe hawks colorful shaved ices from a
three-wheeled cart in East Timor's capital, one of a stream of
youths arriving here from his poor hometown seeking a better
Obe, who sports dyed yellow hair and gaudy earrings, left his
home in Oecussi, about 12 hours by ferry or bus from Dili, in
July 2006 after his laborer father said he could no longer
support him. "'Later, when you have money, you can continue your
schooling,' my father told me," Obe said.
Obe's boss is an Indonesian in West Timor who pays him US$40 a
month, but charges him US$8 a day to rent the cart. "If I am
lucky and can get more than that, the rest is for me," said the
teenager, who sleeps in a tent at a church, one of the camps for
displaced people set up after East Timor's 2006 unrest.
The exodus from Oecussi began in earnest after the unrest in
April and May 2006, which saw East Timor, already one of the
world's poorest nations, suffer further as rival security
factions clashed and spilled blood on the streets.
The violence killed 37 and forced more than 150,000 people to
flee their homes, with most still living in camps despite the
presence of international peacekeepers and UN police deployed to
restore and maintain calm.
Oecussi is an impoverished area of some 2,700 km2 surrounded by
Indonesia's West Timor Province. The quirk of its existence is
historical: Oecussi was the arrival point of Portuguese Dominican
missionaries to Timor in the middle of the 16th century, from
where they spread their Roman Catholic religion.
Though the colony was integrated into Indonesia without protest
in 1976, politically it remained closely connected to East Timor
and became part of it upon independence in 2002.
Rice is more expensive in the enclave US$25 a sack compared to
US$10 in Dili, the children say because of transportation
costs. Importing is difficult as nearby countries also seek to
buy rice, UN officials have said.
In the sleepy seaside city of Dili, the scores of Oecussi teens
are easy to find. Many pass in front of the seafront palace of
Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao by day, and groups sleep by the
national police headquarters by night.
Octo Tout, 15, left high school in Oecussi last September and
said he wants to "make it" in Dili, though he clings to the hope
that one day he can return to school, and then become a soldier.
"I hope that one day someone from the government will come, give
us attention and help us to return to school," he said.
Tout arrived here with two brothers and together they work the
streets daily selling inexpensive items such as snacks, soft
drinks, cigarettes and sweets. Tout's 17-year-old brother
completed elementary school but his younger brother, 14, had no
schooling at all.
The three came to Dili with US$60 from their widowed mother and a
three-wheeled cart, and rent a room for US$15 a month.
"My mother wasn't able to pay for our school anymore," Tout said.
"I'm sad, because I can't continue my education like other
children and so I've lost the chance for a better future, but I
have no other choice," he said.
With a profit of US$10 to US$15 each day, the three can send
around US$150 home to their mother each month.
Typically the money children send home supports not just their
immediate but also extended families, which tend to be large in
the mainly Catholic nation.
The pressure they feel to send all available cash is great and
though the amount they earn can be high by national levels, it
does not go far in Dili, where expenses quickly add up.
Justinho Babo Soares, from the Oratori Dom Bosco Catholic
foundation, the only organization focused on helping street
children here, said the government should pay more attention to
their plight and help them get back to school.
The children from Oecussi, however, pose a special challenge, he
"With children from Oecussi... we have tried to put them in
school or give them training but it doesn't work because they are
already too used to having money and so they go back to selling
on the street," Soares said.
"This is because of the condition of their families, which are so
poor that [the teenagers] feel they have to help support them,"
East Timorese President Jose Ramos-Horta said parents should play
a role in bringing their children in from the streets, but he was
working on the issue.
"Tomorrow and in the future, I will continue to look out for them
and tell these children that the president will do his best so
that they will no longer be on the streets," he said.
Reuters - January 17, 2008
Tito Belo, Dili East Timor's president urged Timorese to pray
for Suharto, the former Indonesian president who ordered the
brutal invasion of East Timor in 1975 and who now lies critically
ill in hospital.
Suharto, now 86, who ruled Indonesia for more than three decades,
has been fighting for his life for nearly two weeks, and is now
on a ventilator following multiple organ failure.
Doctors treating Suharto in a Jakarta hospital appeared less
optimistic on Thursday than a day earlier and said he was still
on a ventilator, with signs of systemic infection persisting.
With Suharto now so sick, his legacy is being widely discussed.
His rule was marked by rapid economic growth and political
stability, but was also marred by massacres, human rights abuses,
and endemic corruption.
"It is impossible for us to forget the past, but East Timor
should forgive him before he dies and I ask people to pray for
Suharto as former president of Indonesia," said East Timor
President Jose Ramos-Horta, some of whose family were killed
during the occupation.
East Timor suffered heavily under Indonesia's rule, and only won
independence after Suharto was forced to step down in 1998.
Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 at the end of Portuguese
rule and annexed the territory later that year, maintaining a
heavy and sometimes harsh military presence.
More than 200,000 people a quarter of the population are
estimated to have died in fighting, famine and disease that
followed the invasion and during Jakarta's occupation.
Ramos-Horta said he would not visit Suharto in hospital, but
added he would ask Pope Benedict to pray for the former leader
when he visited the Vatican on Friday.
Predominantly Roman Catholic East Timor voted to break away from
23 years of Indonesian rule in a violence-marred vote in 1999 and
became fully independent in 2002.
"Suharto made many things positive for Indonesia, such as
improving the economy and development, but he also made many
mistakes such as massacres in Indonesia and East Timor," Ramos-
The East Timor president reiterated his view that the tiny
nation's best interests, and its relations with Indonesia, would
not be helped by setting up an international court to try those
accused of atrocities.
East Timor and Indonesia set up a truth commission to probe the
bloody events surrounding the 1999 independence vote. The body,
modelled on South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission,
has no power to prosecute, prompting criticism from rights groups
that it serves to whitewash the atrocities.
Separately, a rights activist for a group representing victims'
families called for greater justice. "There should be no impunity
for Suharto and his friends. Suharto and other Indonesian
generals should be held responsible for murders in East Timor,"
Edio Saldanha, told Reuters.
But with the former general in critical condition in hospital, it
looks increasingly unlikely he will ever face trial for human
rights abuses or graft.
The head of the medical team, who on Sunday gave Suharto a 50:50
chance of surviving, said there was still an equal chance of a
recovery or deterioration in the former general's condition.
"But we are optimistic. Pak Harto still has a strong will to
live," Mardjo Soebiandono told a news conference, referring to
Suharto by his popular name.
Djusuf Misbach, a neurologist treating Suharto, said the former
president was still showing responses, but because he was sedated
it was difficult to assess that.
[Additional reporting by Telly Nathalia; Writing by Ed Davies;
Editing by Bill Tarrant.]
News & issues
Timorese teens work the streets as violence rises
East Timor president asks nation to forgive Suharto
100,000 IDPs still displaced nearly two years on
News & issues
Agence France Presse - January 21, 2008
Dili Most child street vendors work the streets daily selling snacks, soft drinks, cigarettes and sweets with a profit of about US$10 to US$15 a day.
Fifteen-year-old Dominggos Obe hawks colorful shaved ices from a three-wheeled cart in East Timor's capital, one of a stream of youths arriving here from his poor hometown seeking a better life.
Obe, who sports dyed yellow hair and gaudy earrings, left his home in Oecussi, about 12 hours by ferry or bus from Dili, in July 2006 after his laborer father said he could no longer support him. "'Later, when you have money, you can continue your schooling,' my father told me," Obe said.
Obe's boss is an Indonesian in West Timor who pays him US$40 a month, but charges him US$8 a day to rent the cart. "If I am lucky and can get more than that, the rest is for me," said the teenager, who sleeps in a tent at a church, one of the camps for displaced people set up after East Timor's 2006 unrest.
The exodus from Oecussi began in earnest after the unrest in April and May 2006, which saw East Timor, already one of the world's poorest nations, suffer further as rival security factions clashed and spilled blood on the streets.
The violence killed 37 and forced more than 150,000 people to flee their homes, with most still living in camps despite the presence of international peacekeepers and UN police deployed to restore and maintain calm.
Oecussi is an impoverished area of some 2,700 km2 surrounded by Indonesia's West Timor Province. The quirk of its existence is historical: Oecussi was the arrival point of Portuguese Dominican missionaries to Timor in the middle of the 16th century, from where they spread their Roman Catholic religion.
Though the colony was integrated into Indonesia without protest in 1976, politically it remained closely connected to East Timor and became part of it upon independence in 2002.
Rice is more expensive in the enclave US$25 a sack compared to US$10 in Dili, the children say because of transportation costs. Importing is difficult as nearby countries also seek to buy rice, UN officials have said.
In the sleepy seaside city of Dili, the scores of Oecussi teens are easy to find. Many pass in front of the seafront palace of Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao by day, and groups sleep by the national police headquarters by night.
Octo Tout, 15, left high school in Oecussi last September and said he wants to "make it" in Dili, though he clings to the hope that one day he can return to school, and then become a soldier. "I hope that one day someone from the government will come, give us attention and help us to return to school," he said.
Tout arrived here with two brothers and together they work the streets daily selling inexpensive items such as snacks, soft drinks, cigarettes and sweets. Tout's 17-year-old brother completed elementary school but his younger brother, 14, had no schooling at all.
The three came to Dili with US$60 from their widowed mother and a three-wheeled cart, and rent a room for US$15 a month.
"My mother wasn't able to pay for our school anymore," Tout said. "I'm sad, because I can't continue my education like other children and so I've lost the chance for a better future, but I have no other choice," he said.
With a profit of US$10 to US$15 each day, the three can send around US$150 home to their mother each month.
Typically the money children send home supports not just their immediate but also extended families, which tend to be large in the mainly Catholic nation.
The pressure they feel to send all available cash is great and though the amount they earn can be high by national levels, it does not go far in Dili, where expenses quickly add up.
Justinho Babo Soares, from the Oratori Dom Bosco Catholic foundation, the only organization focused on helping street children here, said the government should pay more attention to their plight and help them get back to school.
The children from Oecussi, however, pose a special challenge, he said.
"With children from Oecussi... we have tried to put them in school or give them training but it doesn't work because they are already too used to having money and so they go back to selling on the street," Soares said.
"This is because of the condition of their families, which are so poor that [the teenagers] feel they have to help support them," he said.
East Timorese President Jose Ramos-Horta said parents should play a role in bringing their children in from the streets, but he was working on the issue.
"Tomorrow and in the future, I will continue to look out for them and tell these children that the president will do his best so that they will no longer be on the streets," he said.
Reuters - January 17, 2008
Tito Belo, Dili East Timor's president urged Timorese to pray for Suharto, the former Indonesian president who ordered the brutal invasion of East Timor in 1975 and who now lies critically ill in hospital.
Suharto, now 86, who ruled Indonesia for more than three decades, has been fighting for his life for nearly two weeks, and is now on a ventilator following multiple organ failure.
Doctors treating Suharto in a Jakarta hospital appeared less optimistic on Thursday than a day earlier and said he was still on a ventilator, with signs of systemic infection persisting.
With Suharto now so sick, his legacy is being widely discussed. His rule was marked by rapid economic growth and political stability, but was also marred by massacres, human rights abuses, and endemic corruption.
"It is impossible for us to forget the past, but East Timor should forgive him before he dies and I ask people to pray for Suharto as former president of Indonesia," said East Timor President Jose Ramos-Horta, some of whose family were killed during the occupation.
East Timor suffered heavily under Indonesia's rule, and only won independence after Suharto was forced to step down in 1998.
Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 at the end of Portuguese rule and annexed the territory later that year, maintaining a heavy and sometimes harsh military presence.
More than 200,000 people a quarter of the population are estimated to have died in fighting, famine and disease that followed the invasion and during Jakarta's occupation.
Ramos-Horta said he would not visit Suharto in hospital, but added he would ask Pope Benedict to pray for the former leader when he visited the Vatican on Friday.
Predominantly Roman Catholic East Timor voted to break away from 23 years of Indonesian rule in a violence-marred vote in 1999 and became fully independent in 2002.
"Suharto made many things positive for Indonesia, such as improving the economy and development, but he also made many mistakes such as massacres in Indonesia and East Timor," Ramos- Horta said.
The East Timor president reiterated his view that the tiny nation's best interests, and its relations with Indonesia, would not be helped by setting up an international court to try those accused of atrocities.
East Timor and Indonesia set up a truth commission to probe the bloody events surrounding the 1999 independence vote. The body, modelled on South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, has no power to prosecute, prompting criticism from rights groups that it serves to whitewash the atrocities.
Separately, a rights activist for a group representing victims' families called for greater justice. "There should be no impunity for Suharto and his friends. Suharto and other Indonesian generals should be held responsible for murders in East Timor," Edio Saldanha, told Reuters.
But with the former general in critical condition in hospital, it looks increasingly unlikely he will ever face trial for human rights abuses or graft.
The head of the medical team, who on Sunday gave Suharto a 50:50 chance of surviving, said there was still an equal chance of a recovery or deterioration in the former general's condition.
"But we are optimistic. Pak Harto still has a strong will to live," Mardjo Soebiandono told a news conference, referring to Suharto by his popular name.
Djusuf Misbach, a neurologist treating Suharto, said the former president was still showing responses, but because he was sedated it was difficult to assess that.
[Additional reporting by Telly Nathalia; Writing by Ed Davies; Editing by Bill Tarrant.]
IRIN News - January 31, 2008
Dili It was in October 2007 that 27-year-old Guillermina Freitas Corte Real entered Timor Leste national hospital in Dili, the capital city, for gall stone surgery.
Her initial anxiety was the medical procedure, but she soon became terrified of developing a severe post-operative infection. "It was a completely unsanitary environment," she told IRIN, "because all these goats, pigs and chickens were wandering freely around the hospital."
The livestock belonged to some 1,500 to 2,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) who have been encamped on the grass, paths and corridors of the national hospital for nearly two years.
"They pose a significant health and security risk for patients and IDPs alike," according to Angela Sherwood, public information officer for the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The hospital's IDPs are only a small portion of some 100,000 (nearly one-tenth of the nation's population) who are still displaced throughout Timor Leste. They include 30,000 in 53 camps sprinkled throughout Dili.
IOM manages 36 of the Dili sites, including the hospital, with Catholic Relief Services and the Timor Leste Red Cross managing the rest.
Civil unrest in 2006
Most of the IDPs were forced from their homes in April and May 2006 when widespread civil unrest was triggered by the dismissal of 594 military officers, almost half the nation's defence force, and the subsequent military confrontation with the nation's police force.
Unemployed and disillusioned youth, many in gangs, further inflamed the situation. Underlying the conflict were long-term economic and political tensions which some say pitted 'loromonu' Timorese westerners against 'lorossae' Timorese easterners in the country. By the time the conflict ended some 150,000 people had been displaced, and 6,000 homes destroyed in Dili alone, according to UN estimates.
"Our first priority is to move the IDPs from that hospital," Jacinto Rigoberto Gomes, Timor Leste's secretary of state for social assistance and natural disasters, told IRIN, "and to resettle all the others who are displaced." He conceded it would not be easy.
Joaquim da Costa, a camp manager and IDP at the hospital, told IRIN, "My home was destroyed... They didn't just burn the houses, they destroyed the foundations as well. Like most other IDPs, he said he was reluctant to return home, fearing further violence.
Orlando De Oliviera, another IDP at a Dili transitional shelter built by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) echoed da Costa's sentiment: "I am scared to return home," he told IRIN. "Only after the government resolves the crisis will we go back."
How to end the crisis?
According to the IDPs themselves, there are three basic components to ending that crisis.
One is that the government resolve issues with a renegade former defence force officer, Maj Alfredo Alves Reinado, who defected and remains at large.
A second is settlement of the grievances of the "petitioners" those 594 defense force personnel who had been dismissed. According to the UN special representative for the Secretary- General in Timor Leste, Atul Khare, many of the petitioners have legitimate grievances that need to be addressed by the government. Until such time, they remain a potentially disruptive force.
The third is that the government provide the IDPs with adequate financial compensation to rebuild their homes or help them move to other locations and regain livelihoods.
Khare told IRIN the issue of resettlement was extremely complex. He said it involved land and property rights issues, the dampening of continued community hostility towards the IDPs and ensuring that the compensation package for IDPs did not create new tensions between them and poor Timorese who were receiving inadequate assistance.
According to Jacinto Rigoberto Gomes, the government is planning compensation of some US$3,000-US$4,500 for IDPs, which is the equivalent of three-to-four year's pay for a police officer. "There is the need to avoid creating a situation in which the non-IDPs in a community feel they are being discriminated against because assistance is being exclusively offered to the returning IDPs," Khare told IRIN.
The UN humanitarian coordinator and deputy special representative of the Secretary-General in Timor-Leste, Finn Reske-Nielsen, said: "For many IDPs it is simply not an option for them to return to their neighbourhoods as the people there don't want them back." In addition, he said: "Six thousand of their houses have been burned and only 450 transitional shelters have been built to date. [due principally to the government not promoting their use]. "There is nowhere to go back to."
Even if an IDP wants to go home and still has a house there, said Reske-Nielsen, "there might be someone else living there and the question arises of who is the rightful tenant."
Unanswered questions about land ownership
According to Khare, there are many unanswered questions about land ownership and alternative land availability that need to be resolved. "The questions of land and property regimes are absolutely unclear," he said, and added that he hoped legislation on such issues could be adopted by the middle of 2008, although the litigation of thousands of individual cases would take far more time.
Timor Leste government official Jacinto Rigoberto Gomes told IRIN: "The government has allocated US$15 million [about 18 percent of the budget] for the recovery needs of the IDPs," but said, "while it's a large amount it will only support 50 percent of needs." He added: "It is unclear yet when they will begin expenditures and on what exactly they will be made."
"You cannot define how the $15 million will be spent until plans are developed and you have an all-party consensus," Khare said. "My hope is that most of the money will be used for relocation or return."
Ending of blanket food aid
One immediate incentive to get IDPs to return home is the ending of the government's blanket food assistance programme in the Dili camps. Not just all 30,000 IDPs (in Dili) have been provided with food aid but thousands of others as well.
Beginning in February, food rations will be cut in half, and in April, they are to end completely, except for the targeting of particularly vulnerable people.
The common consensus is that the IDP problem is priority number one in Timor Leste, but the common mantra is that resolving the problem will take time. As one aid worker remarked with a wry sense of humour: "If the government can't move chickens, goats and pigs from the hospital, what chance is there of moving the IDPs from there?" (bj/cb)
ABC News Online - January 24, 2008
East Timor's fugitive rebel leader Alfredo Reinado has refused to attend a scheduled court hearing to face murder and other charges related to a deadly outbreak of violence in 2006.
Mr Reinado escaped from jail in the capital, Dili, in August 2006 and has been on the run ever since.
His trial has been delayed until March 3, after he failed to show up in court to face multiple charges, including eight counts of murder, relating to the violence in 2006 that plunged the country into crisis.
East Timor's state secretary for security, Francisco De Costa Gutteres, has told Radio Australia's Stephanie March the government thinks the situation with Reinado can still be resolved peacefully.
"One positive thing that I see from Alfredo is his willingness to submit to the dialogue," he said. "He decided everything should be resolved through the dialogue."
The prosecutor played the court a one hour video featuring Mr Reinado wearing a military uniform and denouncing the government led Task Force set up to resolve his case.
Mr Reinado has communicated through his lawyers and the media that he will not face justice until the government meets certain demands, including reinstating him and his followers back into the military. It's the second time the trial has been postponed.
Australian Associated Press - January 23, 2008
East Timor's fugitive rebel leader Alfredo Reinado has refused to attend a scheduled court hearing on Thursday to face murder and other charges related to a deadly outbreak of violence in 2006.
Reinado's lawyer Benevides Barros said the rebel leader would not submit to the judicial process until the government met several demands.
Reinado escaped from jail in the capital, Dili, in August 2006 and has been on the run ever since.
He had led rebel soldiers after the former government sacked more than a third of the country's defence force earlier that year, sparking unrest that left 37 people dead and drove 100,000 from their homes.
Barros said Reinado wanted to continue dialogue with the government to discuss issues of military discrimination and political issues that caused the 2006 crisis.
But Reinado would only participate in discussions if they took place in a military encampment set up in a location of his choice, with security provided by a neutral third party.
Reinado is also asking for a letter from the government recognising that he and his followers are still in the military. He also wants his case heard by a military court, and refuses to allow foreign judges or foreign prosecutors to participate.
"He said he doesn't think the civil court will understand the military things," Barros said. "The other issues he raised is because he doesn't trust the civil judges and prosecutor he knows the court will put him in jail without a fair trial."
The court issued an arrest warrant for Reinado following his escape from prison, but last year President Jose Ramos Horta called off the warrant following a bungled attempt by the Australian military to arrest the rebel in Same, 50km south of Dili. Five of Reinado's followers died in the mountain raid.
The judge presiding over Reinado's case later accused the president of violating the constitutional separation of powers by waiving the arrest warrant, saying the action was illegal.
Last week, Commander of the Australian troops in East Timor Brigadier John Hutcheson said he would follow the orders of the state and the president, and would not execute the arrest warrant.
"The government is doing a very good job in dealing with Major Alfredo Reinado. He is not, in my mind, a security threat and it is a political issue to be resolved," Hutcheson said.
Ramos Horta recently set May this year as a deadline to resolve issues with Reinado. He said the deadline was not definitive.
The Australian - January 18, 2008
Mark Dodd East Timor Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao has threatened to arrest local journalists, claiming inaccurate news reporting in the troubled territory is contributing to national instability.
Mr Gusmao told reporters they faced arrest if they persisted with reporting as fact rumours and other unsourced claims.
The former president and veteran pro-independence leader slammed local media over recent interviews with Major Alfredo Reinado, an army rebel and key figure in the 2006 unrest that brought the tiny nation to the brink of civil war.
"You have to exercise more responsibility towards the environment of stability or instability," he said.
"We (government) close our eyes when in the cause of small and big things (stories) you go and interview Alfredo (Reinado). Perhaps because of these things, instability may emerge in the country because of you (so) we will arrest you."
Mr Gusmao said 2008 was a year of reform in East Timor and that would include the local media. The Australian understands Mr Gusmao was particularly incensed by false reports that two people had been killed during civil unrest in the Caicoli neighbourhood in Dili.
"The TV and radio report that people have died, and you (media) just report it without going and asking," Mr Gusmao said. "If we talk about reforming society, we must also talk about reforming you (media)."
|Truth & Friendship Commission|
Australian Associated Press - January 29, 2008
Karen Michelmore, Jakarta A truth commission into the violence in East Timor in 1999 risks becoming a "diplomatic charade" unless it delivers a strong and independent finding, a new report warns.
The International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) report found the joint Indonesia-East Timor truth body was "deeply flawed," falling short of international standards and the local justice needs of both countries.
The East Timor-Indonesia Commission of Truth and Friendship (CTF) was established by the presidents of the two countries three years ago in a bid to establish a "conclusive truth" about the 1999 violence to help repair relations. It held six public hearings over the past year and is due to hand down its report early this year.
"The CTF appears to have been established more out of concern to enhance bilateral diplomatic relationships than to contribute substantively to truth telling or national reconciliation between the peoples of Timor-Leste and Indonesia," said the report, titled Too Much Friendship, Too little Truth.
The truth body, which favours friendship with Indonesia over prosecution, has long been criticised by human rights groups concerned it will recommend amnesties for alleged perpetrators of human rights abuses and cloud the history of the violence.
East Timor suffered heavily under Indonesia's 24-year rule, and only won independence after President Suharto was forced to step down in 1998.
Numerous investigations have found that up to 1,500 people were killed, hundreds of thousands were displaced, and about 70 per cent of the nation's infrastructure razed when militia groups linked to Indonesian security forces rampaged across East Timor before and after the historic vote. But the ICTJ report said many witnesses at the public hearings presented an "alarming version of events".
Several alleged perpetrators of violence, including the former head of Indonesia's armed forces General Wiranto who was indicted by a Dili court in absentia in 2003 for alleged crimes against humanity told the hearings no gross human rights violations had occurred in East Timor. Many blamed the carnage on a long-running internal conflict inside East Timor.
The ICTJ said the truth body only heard from 13 victims among the 56 mostly accused perpetrators and senior officials who testified at public hearings. "Recognition has been widespread that the hearings have failed to reveal the truth," the report said.
"(The) CTF has not yet delivered substantive transitional-justice benefits, and its public hearings have seriously compromised the goals of truth and reconciliation. (To ensure) that it will be remembered not just as a diplomatic charade but as a useful transitional-justice mechanism, the commission must produce a report that can separate falsehoods from truth and propose strong and independent recommendations."
The ICTJ said the CTF could still make a positive long-term contribution, calling on the body to "take all possible efforts to rectify the public record by correcting apparently untruthful evidence given at CTF hearings" and to name dishonest witnesses in its final report.
It also urged the commission not to recommend any amnesties, and to seek input from victims in formulating its final recommendations.
ABC News Online - January 25, 2008
Anne Barker Recent monsoonal rains and wind have caused serious damage to homes, buildings and crops across East Timor. There are fears the damage could threaten food supplies in the already vulnerable nation.
Relief authorities in East Timor say wet season rains have caused serious damage in 11 of the country's 13 districts.
Heavy winds have damaged homes and buildings, crops and houses have been flooded, and there has been damage from rock falls and landslides. At the same time, plagues of locusts have destroyed crops in East Timor's west, and localised conflict in three districts has added to the country's troubles.
A national disaster operations centre has been set up to coordinate the relief effort. Among the biggest fears is the threat to food security and locust control has been named as an emergency priority.
There are also fears that more monsoonal storms forecast in the next few weeks will worsen the situation.
Radio New Zealand International - January 28, 2008
East Timor's Prime Minister wants international peacekeepers in his country to move away from security duties and focus instead on mentoring and training.
There are almost 800 New Zealand and Australian troops working on security duties in East Timor.
Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao thanked the troops for their efforts during a lunch at the barracks in Dili on Sunday. He said he was happy with the current number of troops, because it is the quality of the soldiers that counts, not the quantity.
"I believe that right now you can see you can get the difference of the environment. When they came it was so difficult, now it's so calm," he said.
Australian Brigadier General John Hutcheson agreed the environment in East Timor was becoming safer, allowing troops to shift focus towards community engagement and repairing East Timor's infrastructure.
However, Brigadier Hutcheson said there was still a need for the International Stabilisation Forces to remain in East Timor to guarantee that peace prevailed.
UN to address food shortage
The United Nations and aid agencies would meet in East Timor this week to discuss how to manage food shortages brought on by recent monsoonal storms and locust infestations.
The ABC reports East Timor was facing another food shortage after a series of monsoonal storms, floods and landslides that have killed three people and caused problems in 11 out of 13 districts.
A UN spokesman said one solution being considered is food-for- work in areas that are experiencing food shortages. He said the agencies would also look at longer-term controls.
Australian Associated Press - January 18, 2008
East Timor's prosecutor general will not investigate claims the country's prime minister was behind deadly unrest that erupted in 2006, saying the allegations are "too political".
Former prime minister Mari Alkatiri has called on current Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao to resign, amid claims he orchestrated the violence that plunged the country into crisis.
Alkatiri quit as prime minister in June 2006 after a request Gusmao, who was then the president, amid claims Alkatiri and some of his ministers gave instructions to arm civilian militia during the crisis.
But last week, rebel leader Alfredo Reinado alleged Gusmao was the "mastermind" who had fomented the 2006 unrest, which left 37 people dead and drove 100,000 from their homes.
Gusmao has refused to respond to Reinado's claims, saying he won't engage in a war of words with the rebel leader.
Prosecutor General Longuinhos Monteiro has told local media his office will not be investigating Reinado's claims about Gusmao's alleged involvement in the unrest because they are "too political".
He said his office would see how the situation with Reinado progresses before initiating any investigation.
East Timor's current President Jose Ramos Horta told ABC radio it was up to the prosecutor general, the ombudsman, and the parliament to investigate the claims. He said he would not ask for Gusmao's resignation.
Ramos Horta met with Reinado last Sunday in Maubisse, 70 kilometres south of the capital Dili. Reinado is refusing to disclose details of the meeting, saying it is up to Ramos Horta to inform the public. Ramos Horta's office have confirmed the meeting took place, but are yet to comment on the details.
Last December, Gusmao announced he would give Reinado "one last chance" to engage in dialogue after the rebel army leader failed to turn up to a meeting.
Security forces have previously failed to apprehend Reinado a key figure in the 2006 unrest who escaped from jail in August that year in the hope of starting a dialogue.
Reinado led rebel soldiers after Alkatiri's government sacked more than a third of the country's defence force that year, sparking factional violence.
Radio Australia - January 16, 2008
There's been another twist in East Timor's increasingly bitter internal politics, with former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri demanding that current prime minister Xanana Gusmao resign. Dr Alkatiri's demand follows claims from rebel leader Alfredo Reinado that Mr Gusmao orchestrated deadly unrest in 2006, in which at least 20 people died and hundreds of homes were destroyed. After those riots the then President Gusmao sought Dr Alkatiri's resignation, accusing him and several of his ministers of helping to arm civilian militias during the crisis.
Presenter - Steve Holland. Speaker - East Timorese president, Dr Jose Ramos-Horta.
Ramos-Horta: I have been talking with Mr Alfredo Reinado for over a year in trying to find a resolution to his situation and never before Mr Reinado told me anything about Mr Xanana Gusmao, the involvement with him or with anyone in enciting the crisis in 2006.
Holland: So it's just a case of political bickering?
Ramos-Horta: I would say so but on the other hand I received a letter from the President of Fretilin about this with these allegations more or less a month ago, and I have passed on to the Prime Minister, Mr Xanana Gusmao for him to clarify as is fit. The President of Fretilin also sent it to the Attorney General and the Ombudsman of Human Rights. It is up to the Prosecutor General to decide what to do with it. It is up to the providor, the Ombudsman to decide what to do with it, and then besides that we still have the parliament. Fretilin can raise issues in the parliament and they can get parliamentary commission to investigate the allegations by Mr Alfredo Reinado.
Holland: So from what you've told me you won't be asking the Prime Minister for his resignation?
Ramos-Horta: No absolutely not because I cannot do it because this is an allegation by one individual in a very vague manner. The allegation does not include similar to what happened two years ago with Mr Alkatiri and Mr Rojello Batu. This issue, the crucial issuee that really causes controversy here, anger, anguish, is the issues of assigning weapons to civilians. Yes the Prosecutor General in 2007 already dropped the case against Dr Alkatiri, that he was not aware, there's no evidence that he was aware of the weapons distribution by his minister of interior. In the case of Rogerio Lobato of course it was found that he was guilty and sentenced to seven and a half years prison. And the argument here at the time by the then president Xanana Gusmao is that well, in such a matter of such gravity the prime minister should resign straightaway because there are situations elsewhere in the world with much less gravity the prime minister take responsibility and resign. So that is the issue here. The allegations by Mr Alfredo Reinado amount to really rumours and no more than allegations, and any case do not involve the same issues like weapons distribution. However the best forum for this to be heard is the parliament, and of course the public has to know the truth and Fretilin is in the parliament, very heavy and very happy there. They could very well propose that the issue be debated and a commission be established to look into the allegation made by Mr Alfredo Reinado.
Holland: So there will be investigations?
Ramos-Horta: No I don't know, it's up to the Prosecutor General, up to the Ombudsman, up to the parliament.
Holland: And how does this situation affect the political stability of the country?
Ramos-Horta: Well I have to say I'm here, I travel all over the country almost non-stop, going from town to town, village to village. I have encountered thousands of people, even in areas that are supposedly Fretiliin-strongholds, thousands of people turn up and the main question they always ask is roads, that's the number one issue, second education, health, agriculture, employment, all of that. I have hardly heard anyone raising issues about Mr Xanana's involvement in one way or another in the crisis, I haven't heard anymore the discussions about constitutionality of this government or so on.
Melbourne Age - January 14, 2008
East Timor's former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri has called on current Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao to resign, amid claims he orchestrated deadly unrest that erupted in 2006.
Alkatiri resigned as prime minister in June that year after a request from then President Gusmao, based on allegations that Alkatiri and several of his ministers gave instructions to arm civilian militia during the crisis.
His government had earlier sacked more than a third of the country's defence force, sparking factional violence that left 37 people dead and drove 100,000 from their homes.
Many of the sacked soldiers joined the rebellious former military police chief Alfredo Reinado, who last week alleged Gusmao was the "mastermind" who had fomented the unrest.
"I think that it is time for Xanana to resign from his post because he has established a precedent in 2006 based on allegations without fact," Alkatiri said on Sunday.
Alkatiri said the people of East Timor were waiting to find out the truth behind the crisis. Gusmao should resign and submit to justice, he said. "Nobody in this country is untouchable," Alkatiri said.
He said a task force set up to investigate the 2006 crisis was a sham and would never return and adverse finding against Gusmao. President Jose Ramos-Horta should also be pushing for Gusmao's resignation, Alkatiri said.
"Ramos-Horta, as foreign minister, was very supportive of Xanana to force me to resign. Now he is president of the republic and he has to do the same."
Local media last week reported that Gusmao was refusing to respond Reinado's claims, saying he did not want to engage in a "war of words". (AAP)
Adnkronos International - January 24, 2008
Dili East Timor's laws should be translated into the local Tetun language to give people a better understanding and respect for the law, according to one of the country's legal experts.
In an interview with Adnkronos International (AKI), Warren Wright, editor of the East Timor Law Journal, commended the Asia Foundation's access to justice program which is translating the laws. But he claimed that this action was not enough.
"Access to the law in a language that one understands is a fundamental democratic right that has not always been a salient feature in East Timor," Wright told AKI.
"Through laws, citizens get to know their legal rights and obligations in relation to each other and to the state, as well as the nature of the legal conflict resolution mechanisms."
However, Wright stated that more needs to be done to make the laws accessible to East Timor's one million people, half of whom cannot read or write.
"It is still also necessary to inform ordinary people about the meaning of the laws. The government should carry out public information campaigns about important new laws, and how they affect society," he said.
The Asia Foundation's program includes a public legal information campaign. The program uses talkback radio programs, public meetings in rural areas, and posters and brochures to educate citizens about the country's evolving legal framework.
Among the new Tetun-language publications is a reference volume for the court of appeal, an explanation of court responsibilities, and brochures explaining key provisions of the new penal procedures code.
Most of East Timor's laws were written in Portuguese, the language of the former colonizer. Portuguese and Tetun are two official languages in East Timor but the former is now only understood by, and associated with, a tiny political elite residing in Dili.
The language barrier in understanding the laws mirrors similar difficulties faced by East Timorese in obtaining jobs in public administration, where Portuguese is often required.
Most of the young, educated East Timorese studied in Indonesian- run schools during Jakarta's 24-year long occupation of the former Portuguese colony.
The language issue has often been mentioned as one of the main reasons for the alienation of the young and the violence that still pervades East Timor.
Jakarta Post - January 25, 2008
Indonesia The government of Timor Leste has yet to conclude arrangements for Indonesians wishing to reclaim their assets deserted in the country post the 1999 secession referendum, East Nusa Tenggara Deputy Governor Frans Leburaya said Thursday.
He said Jakarta was awaiting initiatives from Timor Leste to allow such asset redemption for Indonesians, who fled to escape riots and massacre ensuing the referendum.
Leburaya also said the Indonesian government was close to completing the construction of houses for Timor Leste refugees, with full completion slated for 2009.
"Every refugee needs to be relocated to a decent location or join the transmigration program in Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Maluku or other regions," he said.
Bloomberg News - January 18 2008
Michael Heath East Timor faces renewed violence unless it reorganizes the army and police, the International Crisis Group said, almost two years after clashes between security force factions drove 155,000 people from their homes.
"The government has a chance while international troops maintain basic security and the United Nations offers assistance -- to conduct genuine reform in the security sector," John Virgoe, the Brussels-based group's Southeast Asian project director, said in an e-mailed statement.
East Timor's police suffer from low status and an excess of political interference, according to the group. The army still trades on its heroism in resisting the 24-year Indonesian occupation and hasn't found a new role.
Violence in the former Portuguese colony, also known as Timor Leste, erupted in March 2006 after then-Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri fired a third of the armed forces for desertion, prompting clashes that resulted in the deaths of 37 people and forced about 15 percent of the population from their homes.
Australian-led peacekeepers and UN police were deployed in May 2006 to help restore stability in the country, which borders part of Indonesia on an island north of Australia.
East Timor experienced more unrest in August last year when the Fretilin party was excluded from government for the first time since East Timor gained independence from Indonesia in 2002.
Former President Xanana Gusmao assembled a three-party coalition without Fretilin following elections held on June 30.
"The security sector's problems are both a cause and a symptom of wider political conflict," Robert Templer, the group's Asia program director, said in the statement. "Unless there is a non- partisan commitment to the reform process, the security forces are likely to remain politicized and volatile."
The new government must move quickly to overhaul the security forces because international goodwill isn't inexhaustible and there are already signs of "donor fatigue," the group said.
It also warned against the government's plan to transfer responsibility for border management from the police to the army. It said the move may lead to increased tension along the poorly demarcated border with Indonesia, which has a heavy military presence on the frontier.
Agence France Presse - January 18, 2008
Dili East Timor risks erupting in violence again if its government and the UN fail to quickly reform the country's security forces, which remain vulnerable to political abuse, a think-tank warned Friday.
The International Crisis Group (ICG), which monitors conflict- torn nations, said that the army here is still trading on its reputation for heroism in resisting the Indonesian occupation but has not yet found a new role.
"The police suffer from low status and an excess of political interference," the Brussels-based group warned in its report. "There is no national security policy and there are important gaps in security-related legislation."
East Timor finally won independence after a 24-year occupation by Indonesia in 2002. Factions from the army and police waged battled on Dili's streets four years later, leaving at least 37 people dead and forcing about 15 percent of the one million- strong population to flee their homes.
International peacekeepers and UN police were deployed after the violence and remain on patrol, but the situation remains fragile with most refugees still packing makeshift camps by night.
A particular issue needing attention by the Timorese, ICG said, is who does what in the forces, with lines dangerously blurred between the police and army.
While police typically have primary responsibility for internal security, "the Timorese police have not been given the resources, training and backing to fulfil this role effectively, and national leaders have been too ready to call in the army when disorder threatens."
The potential for political actors to use the army and police for their own purposes remains high and new legislation was needed to clarify who has the lead role in security sector police, the ICG said.
While the government still needed to conduct a comprehensive security review that the UN Security Council called for, it could meantime take constructive steps such as increasing salaries, improving donor coordination and addressing legislative gaps.
"The government has a chance while international troops maintain basic security and the UN offers assistance to conduct a genuine reform of the security sector, but it will have to move quickly," John Virgoe, the ICG's South East Asia project director, said in a statement accompanying the report.
International goodwill was not inexhaustible and signs of donor fatigue were already emerging, the report said.
The international community must also do a better job of coordinating its own support to the security sector and responding as the Timorese carry out their reforms, it said.
Inter Press Service - January 18, 2008
Thalif Deen, United Nations The Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG), which monitors some 60 crisis-affected countries worldwide, has appealed for UN and international assistance to revitalize East Timor's fledgling police and armed services in order to avoid a potentially violent civil conflict in that relatively new nation state.
"There is no national security policy, and there are important gaps in security-related legislation," says a new ICG report released Thursday. "The police suffer from low status and an excess of political interference."
The study says the East Timorese army still trades on its heroism in resisting the 24-year-old Indonesian occupation but has not yet found a new role. It has also been plagued by regional (east-west) rivalry.
"There is a lack of transparency and orderly arrangements in political control as well as parliamentary and judicial oversight with respect to both forces," the study warns.
John Virgoe, ICG's South East Asia project director, says: "The government has a chance, while international troops maintain basic security and the United Nations offers assistance, to conduct a genuine reform of the security sector, but it will have to move quickly."
Four years after East Timor, officially called Timor-Leste, gained independence in May 2002, its police and army were battling each other in the streets of the capital, Dili. The April-June 2006 crisis "left both institutions in ruins and security again in the hands of international forces".
The crisis was precipitated by the dismissal of almost half the army and caused the virtual collapse of the police force.
John M. Miller, national coordinator of the New York-based East Timor & Indonesia Action Network (ETAN), told IPS the breakdown in Timor-Leste's security forces was pivotal in the 2006 crisis. The fragmented approach to Timor's police and military by international donors contributed to this, he charged.
"They and Timor-Leste's leaders must accept their responsibilities in contributing to the crisis and learn from it," Miller said.
Key questions which were not clearly reviewed at independence must be examined, he added. These include whether or not Timor needs a military, as envisioned by the resistance coalition prior to the referendum.
If Timor is to have a military, he said, its purpose and use must be looked at carefully, and follow the constitution. Police and soldiers must be adequately trained for whatever role they are expected to take on. The politicization of both institutions must end. "None of this is likely to happen with wide consultation throughout Timorese society, as envisioned by the UN Security Council in its call for a Security Sector Review," Miller said.
That this consultation has yet to take place must concern all who wish the best for Timor-Leste, he added.
"The decision to institute conscription should be abandoned. It is unnecessary and coercive and not in keeping with a nation that has placed human rights principles at its core," Miller said.
A six-member delegation from the Security Council, headed by South Africa, issued a 10-page report in December following a visit to East Timor.
The report said the larger challenges in the security sector including the need to improve interaction between the security institutions, strengthen the legal framework, increase operational capabilities and enhance civilian oversight should be addressed in the context of the security sector reform process.
The study quoted President Jose Ramos-Horta as saying: "It would take time to develop a professional police force, and UN assistance would be needed."
The Security Council mission was "of the view that Timor-Leste will continue to need UN assistance in a number of areas in the foreseeable future."
The report also recommends that the current UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), a successor to the former UN Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET) established in May 2002, should be continued when its mandate expires in February 2008.
Meanwhile, the ICG report says that UN police and Australian-led peacekeepers maintain security in a situation that, while not at a point of violent conflict, remains unsettled.
If the new government is to reform the security sector successfully, it must ensure that the process is inclusive by consulting widely and resisting the temptation to take autocratic decisions.
A systematic, comprehensive approach, as recommended by the Security Council, should be based on a realistic analysis of actual security and law-enforcement needs.
"Unless there is a non-partisan commitment to the reform process, structural problems are likely to remain unresolved and the security forces politicized and volatile," the report says.
The ICG also points out that the problems in East Timor run deep. Neither the UN administration nor successive Timorese governments did enough to build a national consensus about security needs and the kind of forces required to meet them.
The government that took office in August 2007 has an opportunity while international troops maintain basic security and the UN offers assistance to conduct a genuine reform of the security sector, drawing on the experiences of other post-conflict countries.
"But international goodwill is not inexhaustible," says the report, pointing out that "there are already signs of donor fatigue. So it needs to act fast."
|East Timor media monitoring|
TVTL news coverage
F-FDTL soldier recognizes police officers who attacked Ruak's residence: An active Timorese Defense Force (F-FDTL) soldier, Damiao da Silva, yesterday testified at the Dili District Court that he recognized police officers who were involved in the attack on F-FDTL Commander, Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak's residence. During the trial, da Silva said he saw there were some police officers shooting at his commander's residence, but he did not know about the exact involvement of Abilio "Mausoko" Mesquita. Da Silva said that during the attack, he was wounded on both his armpit and neck. Da Silva was testifying in the trial for the former police officer, Mausoko who was suspected of being involved in the attack on the F-FDTL commander's residence during the crisis in 2006.
RTL news coverage
Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister meets Lasama: The Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister, Wu Dawei, met with the Parliamentary President Fernando "Lasama" Araujo yesterday to discuss Chinese aid for Timor-Leste. Lasama said the Chinese Government has helped this country in agriculture and other sectors to assist with the nation's development. Lasama said the meeting was very important to identify which areas need to be developed. Lasama added that the Chinese Government has pledged to continue helping Timor- Leste.
Retraction - No offer of money from UNDP to TLPC: The story printed yesterday claiming that the Untied Nations Development Program (UNDP) was to provide USD800,000 worth of funding for a project to purchase newspapers from the Timor-Leste Press Club (TLPC) has been retracted due to serious errors in the article. The Coordinator of Timor-Leste Media Independent Development Initiative Project, Miguel Caldera, has corrected the story stating that no such arrangement has been made between TLPC and UNDP. During the meeting between TLPC and UNDP, from which the erroneous article was based upon, discussions were had over possible UNDP support for all media in the nation. No specific finances were discussed.
Mari Alkatiri - 'Early elections should be considered': The Secretary General of Fretilin Mari Alkatiri said that there should be serious consideration given to holding early elections in 2009. Mr. Alkatiri said that if there is no anticipation that elections may be held early, Fretilin will rally the population to force the current government to step down. "This is not a threat to the Majority Alliance in Parliament (AMP). But this is Fretilin's right, and the peoples' need," said Mr. Alkatiri on Wednesday (30/1) in the National Parliament (NP), Dili. (TP)
Fretilin decries CNRT Xanana adulation: A member of parliament (MP) from Fretilin, Francisco Miranda said that Fretilin disagrees with the political statement of the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) which bestows undue adulation on Prime Minister (PM) Xanana Gusmao. According to Mr. Miranda, such adulation is very dangerous for the process of democracy in Timor-Leste. "As citizens of this country, we should give honor to all political leaders. But to glorify one leader above all others is dangerous for the process of democracy," said Mr. Branco in the NP, Dili. Mr. Branco was responding to the political statement of CNRT in the NP that Xanana's contribution to the liberation of the country has been bigger then any other individuals. (TP)
Nelson Correia - 'Alfredo's case all politics': The President of the Social Democratic Party Nelson Correia has said Alfredo's case is no longer a military case as it has become quite political. As such, it is difficult to define Alfredo's status and to know if the case requires a political or military solution. (DN)
IDPs reject Government's food reduction: IDPs in the airport camp have rejected the Government's plan to reduce food rations. The IDPs have made a request to the Government to continue food aid. "If the Government's decision to reduce the food rations is implemented, we will demand that the Government show us immediately who the author of the military and political crisis has been," said Mateus de Costa Belo, Spokesperson for the IDP camp. He also warned that such action would cause civil unrest such as strikes and roadblocks. (DN)
Baucau - IDPs demand food aid: IDPs in Baucau have asked the Ministry of Social and Solidarity to provide food aid and other assistance as there have been no food distributions in Baucau for 8 months. "We escaped to the district because of the crisis, not because we wanted to. We have lost all of our possessions. We are asking for assistance because we are victims, not beggars. The Government has to give consideration to our suffering," said the IDPs in a statement sent to Diario Nacional. (DN)
ISF - Only PNTL and UNPol can arrest Alfredo: The Commander of the International Security Forces (ISF) John Hutcheson has said that the ISF has no mandate to capture Alfredo or his group. However, if the courts need to capture him, they can ask the UNPol and PNTL forces for assistance as they do have a mandate to capture him. (DN)
UN examines TL report on child prostitution: The United Nations Commission on the Rights of the Child has examined the report by the Government of Timor-Leste on child prostitution, child trafficking, child pornography and child soldiers. The Commission stated that Timor-Leste needs a comprehensive judicial board to guarantee the promotion and protection of the right's of children. (DN)
UN Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS to visit Timor-Leste: The UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS for Asia and the Pacific, Dr Nafis Sadik, is planning to visit Timor-Leste on 6-7 February to discuss the dangers of HIV/AIDS and to promote the use of prophylactics to guard against the disease. Dr Sadik's will visit senior Government officials in health and education. (DN)
TLPC sends protest letter to PNTL: Journalists from the Timor- Leste Press Club (TLPC) sent a protest letter yesterday to the PNTL Commander, Afonso de Jesus, claiming that members of the PNTL had used undue and unwarranted force in beating one TLPC member, Nelson da Cruz. The PNTL had also threatened the AFP Journalist with a gun. The protest letter was signed by the President of TLPC, Domingos Saldanha and the Secretary-General of TLPC, Paulino Quintas. "We understand that while Nelson da Cruz had broken a rule, he should not have been physically abused. There are other ways of resolving this conflict," said the letter. The protest letter had also requested that the PNTL members conduct themselves with professionalism. (STL)
TVTL news coverage
CNRT - Request for Xanana to respond to allegations: The National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) MP Eduardo "Dusae" Barreto presented a political statement to parliament over a video recording allegation by Alfredo Reinado Alves against PM Xanana Gusmao. Dusae said PM Gusmao should respond to the allegations in parliament, as the video recording has been widely distributed within the community.
Gusmao should explain whether he is responsible for the country's crisis as he is accused of being in the video. Parliamentary Deputy President Vicente Guterres said that in a democratic nation everyone has the right to express their claims and that there are many mechanisms PM Gusmao can use to respond to the allegations, including directly addressing the NP.
RTL news coverage
NP requests PM and Alfredo to present themselves: The National Council of Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) has asked PM Xanana Gusmao to present to the National Parliament his response to the allegations made by Alfredo. CNRT stated in a political statement that along with the PM, the former Minister of Defence Roque Rodrigues, the Commander of Defence Forces of Timor-Leste (F- FDTL) and other F-FDTL commanders which have relations with Alfredo and the petitioners, should present themselves to the NP. Furthermore, CNRT has also asked for the presence of Alfredo Reinado and the petitioners' spokesperson, Gastao Salsinha. (TP, STL, DN and TVTL)
New commander for ISF: Brigadier General Jams Baker has replaced Brigadier General John Hutchison as the Commander of the International Security Forces (ISF) on Tuesday (29/1). Brigadier Baker said that ISF will continue to collaborate with the government of Timor-Leste in security areas and will respect any decision made by the government on security issues. Furthermore, Brigadier Hutchison said that to date, the Timorese people have collaborated well with the ISF to ensure the stabilization of the country. "F-FDTL and PNTL are working well, even though there are still problems with professionalism." said Brigadier Hutchison. (TP, STL and DN)
UNDP supports TLPC with US800.000: The Timor-Leste Press Club (TLPC) has held the first meeting with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Representative Miguel Fontez, to discuss collaboration between the two groups on newspaper distributions throughout the country. According to the plan, UNDP will purchase newspapers from each printed media through TLPC to the amount of US$800,000 over a two-year period. UNDP has asked TLPC to translate the Media Law and present it to all journalists in the country. This meeting is a positive sign that UNDP and TLPC will sign an Accord of Cooperation in March 2008 on this collaboration. The Vice President of TLPC Jose Belo said that with Government and UNDP support, TLPC will organize newspaper distributions to communities across the nation. (TP)
China to build F-FDTL Headquarters: The Government of China will build one hundred houses for F-FDTL after completing the Office of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Presidential Palace in Timor- Leste. An Accord between the Government of Timor-Leste and the Government of the People's Republic of China was signed on Tuesday (29/1). "The Accord signed with China will support building of the F-FDTL Headquarter in Metinaro along with more than a hundred houses for veterans," said Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao. Not including the construction of the F-FDTL Headquarters, Chinese contributions to Timor-Leste to date total more than USD42 million. (DN)
Timor Telecom fails to cover the nation: The NP Member from CNRT, Cecilio Caminha, said that Timor Telecom has not succeeded in Timor-Leste as its networks do not yet cover the whole nation. "This company has had a contact with the Government of Timor- Leste for five years. Why is it then that the Timor-Telecom network does not yet cover some districts?" said Mr. Caminha on Tuesday (29/1) in the NP, Dili. Mr. Caminha also said that he is encouraging the Government to provide opportunities for other telecommunication companies to compete for national coverage. "If there are no other telecommunication companies, Timor Telecom will not perform as well." he added. (DN)
CPD-RDTL asking Fretilin not to condemn Xanana: The Popular Council of Defence of Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (CPD- RDTL) is asking the leaders of Fretilin and Alfredo Reinado not to condemn Prime Minister Xanana as the author of the 2006 crisis. CPD-RDTL considers the attitudes of Fretilin leaders immoral in criticizing Xanana publicly. (STL)
IDPs Jardin - We want to return home: The coordinator of IDPs in Jardin Colmera IPD camp, Leopoldo Pinto, said that the majority of IDPs in the camp want to return home as they have suffered enough. Mr. Pinto said that the only problem still faced by the IDPs was that of Alfredo Reinado and the petitioners. "As soon as their problems are solved, I believe that the problems of IDPs can also be easily resolved," said Mr. Pinto on Tuesday (29/1) after meeting Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao with other IDPs in the Ministry of Solidarity in Dili. (STL)
Hermenegildo 'Kupa' - need to establish military academy: The President of Millenium Democratic Party (PMD) and the Spokesperson of the Progressive Democratic League (LDP), Hermenegildo 'Kupa' has said that in creating a professional institution in F-FDTL, the government should establish a military academy. "In any nation, a military academy is very important to produce professional soldiers for the defence of the country. So, a military academy is needed in this country," said Mr. 'Kupa' on Monday (28/1) in Dili. (STL)
TVTL news coverage
Fretilin accuses the Alliance Government of failing to defend the State: President of Fretilin Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo has accused the current government of being irresponsible in defending and empowering institutions of the state. "Alfredo Reinado is walking freely in the mountains even though he is indicated for crimes against the state. Security forces could not provide security as each institution is under different directions. Furthemore, IDPs can not return home as there is no security for them," said Mr. Lu-Olo on Thursday (24/1) in Hotel Timor, Dili.
Reinado intends to cause a revolution: Judge Ivo Rosa of the Dili district Court said the military uniforms and weapons used by Alfredo Reinado and his groups in a video recording shown by the Public Prosecution shows he wants to revolt against the state. Paulo Remeidos, legal advisor for Reinado said rejects the video recording, as it does not fit with the facts and has no relation to the allegations against his client. However, Prosecutor Felismino Cardoso said the video recording does contain facts relevant to the allegation, especially in relation to military uniforms and weapons used by Reinado and his group.
RTL news coverage
The American Embassy in Timor-Leste launches a new assistance package for Timor-Leste to respond the consequences of 2006 crisis: The Ambassador of USA in Timor-Leste, Hans Klemm said the friendship between the US government and Timor-Leste is based on supporting Timor-Leste and strengthening democracy. Furthermore, Ambassador Klemm said that the US will also support the government of Timor-Leste to provide security for its people.
US, ready to support government to solve Alfredo problem: The United States of America (USA) has signalled its readiness to support the government of Timor-Leste to solve the problems of Alfredo Reinado and the petitioners. The Ambassador of USA in Timor-Leste, Hans G. Klemm declared that the USA will offer support when needed. "We will continue to support the President Jose Ramos-Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao to continue the process of dialogue to find a good solution for the problems in Timor-Leste," said Ambassador Klemm on Thursday (24/1) in Pantai Kelapa, Dili. (TP)
High level committee will strengthen security: The High Level Coordination Committee has decided to strengthen security situation in the whole territory of Timor-Leste to increase calm and peace. "The Trilateral meeting held between us and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao is to strengthen security in Timor-Leste between Defence Forces of Timor-Leste, the National Police of Timor-Leste, the International Security Forces (ISF) and UNPol and to discuss how to create a secure and stable situation for the people," said State Secretary of Security Francisco Guterres on Thursday (24/1) in the Government Palace, Dili. The High Level meeting was also attended by the Special Representative of Secretary-General (SRSG) for Timor-Leste Atul Khare. (TP)
Alfredo's trial moved to March 2008 The trial for Alfredo Reinado has been adjourned until March 2008 due to Alfredo Reinado not appearing in court. During yesterday's hearing, the Court saw a video with Alfredo Reinado. He is been indicted for his alleged role in the crisis of April and May 2006. (TP and DN)
Alkatiri warns Timor-Leste will become failed state: The Secretary-General of Fretilin Mari Alkatiri has compared Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao's leadership to that of a dictator and has warned that Timor-Leste will become a failed state. "Fretilin has called his leadership to come to an end," said Mr. Alkatiri in the Fretilin press conference on Thursday (24/1) in Hotel Timor, Dili. Mr. Alkatiri also said that Fretilin has proposed to the Secretary-General of United Nations Ban Ki-Moon during a visit in December that Fretilin should have a high level place in solving the problems of the country. "Those problems include security, justice, Reinado, the petitioners, IDPs, public administration reform, and the reform and restructure of the F-FDTL and PNTL," said Mr. Alkatiri. (TP)
LDP, asking PR to dissolve the Task Force: The Progressive Democratic League (LDP) has joined other political parties in asking the Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta to dissolve the current Task Force on Reinado and establish a new one with new and independent members. The Spokesperson of LDP Hermenegildo Lopes 'Kupa' said that the current Task Force is politically influenced. LDP is asking President Ramos-Horta to dissolve the current one a form a new one with members who are not politically influenced. (TP and DN)
Alfredo's CD my be evidence to bring down Xanana: Fretilin is now considering a video featuring Reinado, shown in the Dili District Court yesterday, as evidence that will remove the current Government. Fretilin considers that the allegations contained within the video are the same as those made by Vicente 'Railos' against Mari Alkatiri that forced the former Prime Minister to resign from his position in 2006. "It's clear that Reinado's video is evidence for Fretilin, as Railos' video became evidence to force Alkatiri to resign, both allegations are the same," said President of Fretilin Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo in Hotel Timor, Dili. However, Fretilin has expressed concern that the Prosecutor-General Longuinhos Monteiro has ignored Reinado's allegation for the reason that it is too political. Mr. Lu-Olo said that when Fretilin was in Government, all NGOs and independent institutions screamed for justice, but when injustice occurs, nobody in the current government says a thing. (TP)
Ana Pessoa says leaders should have principles of the truth: The Fretilin Member of the National ParliamentAna Pessoa said leaders have to adhere to principles' of truth to solve the current problems of Timor-Leste. "The nation's problems, such as, Reinado and the Petitioners, IDPs and other development problems will be solved positively when all the institutions and leaders of the nation, including Fretilin sit together and find cohesion," said Ms. Pessoa on Thursday (24/1) in the National Parliament in Dili. (DN)
TVTL news coverage
TL-Malaysia: signing maintenance on the vehicles of F-FDTL: The government of Timor-Leste will sign an accord with the Malaysian governmentfor vehicles maintenance on Wednesday (23/1) in the Government Palace in Dili. The State Secretary of Defence Julio Thomas Pinto said that the objective of the Accord is to obtain vehicle maintenance and training on maintenance. (DN, STL, TP and TVTL)
RTL news coverage
Alfredo Reinado will not appear in his second trial in the court: Alfredo Reinado Alves said that he will not appear in court today for his second trial as the judicial system of Timor-Leste does not follow the public's interest, rather it only follows and fulfills the political interests of certain people. Reinado also said that the Court is not impartial in dealing with people who were directly involved in the 2006 crises as they have still not been charged. Reinado said he will not appear in court until the country's legal system is improved as he wants a military court with Timorese judges.
Carrascalao - New task force should be formed for Alfredo's case: The President of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Mario Carrascalao has stated that a new and improved independent Task Force is needed to solve the Alfredo Reinado and petitioners' problems. According to Mr. Carrascalao the recent Task Force has no credibility and neutrality to solve such case. "... to have a good solution, the Task Force should be formed with independent persons to find common ways between two paths," said Mr. Carrascalao on Wednesday (23/1). (TP and DN)
Allegation to Alkatiri and Xanana - same form, vague objective: The Fretilin Member of the National Parliament (NP) Joaquim dos Santos said that the allegation by Alfredo Reinado against the Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao as the author of 2006 crisis and Mari Alkatiri as the weapons distributor are old. He said the two allegations are the same as old allegations. He said the reasons for him repeating them are not clear and as allegations, they have a vague objective. (DN)
Pope Bento XIV happy with a calm situation in Timor-Leste: President (PR) Jose Ramos-Horta ha met Pope Bento XVI and briefed him about the situation in Timor-Leste and his efforts to have reconciliation in the country. PR Ramos-Horta said that the Pope expressed contentment with the situation and encouraged Timor- Leste to continue the process of dialogue and the national reconciliation. (DN)
Arsenio Bano - 'Xanana needs to respond to Alfredo's allegations': Fretilin Vice President Arsenio Bano said that PM Xanana Gusmao might not be arrogant, but he should respect people by responding to the allegation made against him by Alfredo Reinado. Mr Bano's comments follow President Ramos-Horta's intention to reconcile Fretilin with the Majority Alliance Party to solve national problems. "Fretilin proposed a grand inclusive government last year but was rejected but now we are being called upon to help solver the challenges, said Mr. Bano on Wednesday (23/1) in the NP. He also said that the problems of Alfredo Reinado, the Petitioners and the IDPs will not solved within a year as promised by a recent government campaign. (DN)
Arsenio Bano - Benevides, politician or lawyer?: Vice President of Fretilin Arsenio Bano said that the lawyer of Alfredo Reinado, Mr. Benevides Barros seemed to be a politician by giving constant political statements to the public. Mr. Bano was responding the comments made by Alfredo's lawyer, Benevides Barros who asked some parties to use his client to create confusion and instability in the country. (DN)
Nascimento - Task Force's work should explain to the people: The Parliamentary Member from the Democratic Party, Adriano Nascimento said that the government needs to explain the work of the Task Force working to solve the Reinado and the Petitioners problems. Mr. Nascimento said that as a representative of the people, the NP should know the work of Task Force which has taken 5 months but gives no sign that the problems Alfredo Reinado and the Petitioners are going to be solved. (DN)
TVTL news coverage
Alfredo not to appear at his second court hearing: Former Military Police Commander Major Alfredo Reinado said that he will not appear at his second court hearing in Dili District Court as he is preparing himself for dialogue with the government. Alfredo's lawyer, Benevides Barros said that his client, Reinado does not mean to not respect the court's decision, but he is preparing to have dialog with the Government in a short space of time.
SRSG Atul Khare visits UN project in Oecusse: Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Timor-Leste Atul Khare on Tuesday (22/1) held an official visit to Oecusse district to see the activities of various development projects, such as water sanitation, hospitals and schools funded by WFP, UNDP, UNICEF, and UNOPS. "I came here to see the activities of development projects in Oecusse. The programs of UNMIT, UN agencies, and local and international NGOs are always getting a positive response from the community since they are involved in the projects," said the SRSG Khare. SRSG Atul Khare also met with the local leaders to get their opinions about the work of the UN agencies in Oecusse. (STL)
Alfredo, petitioners and government commit to dialogue: The State Secretary for Defence Julio Thomas Pinto said that Alfredo Reinado, the petitioners and the government have committed to continue the dialogue process. As the state decided previously, the only way to solve Alfredo and the petitioners' problems is through dialogue. (STL and DN)
Opposition pressuring Xanana to present to the NP: The opposition parties in the National Parliament (NP), PPT and KOTA, are pressuring Prime Minister (PM) Xanana Gusmao to present on the allegations of Alfredo Reinado that Xanana is the 'intellectual' author of the 2006 crisis. "As the PM of Timor-Leste, Xanana Gusmao has to tell all people about the accusation by Alfredo Reinado which said that he is the 'intellectual' author of the 2006 crisis," said Manuel Tilman in his political declaration on Tuesday (22/1) in the NP, Dili. Furthermore, Adriano Nascimento from the Democratic Party (PD) asked PM Xanana to reveal the actions of the Task Force for the cases of Reinado and the petitioners. (STL and DN)
Bishop Basilio surprised by the presence of the ISF in Baucau: Bishop Basilio Nascimento from Baucau Diocese said that he is surprised with the presence of the International Security Forces (ISF) who are walking around Baucau district. "I am surprised when in see soldiers walking around. There was no helicopter in Baucau when the nation was in crisis. Now all is calm, there are Australian helicopters flying around us. I get no explanation from the government, political parties or the NP why there are Australian soldiers all around in the country. Previously, they were only in Dili. I don't know who decided this," said Bishop Basilio on Friday (18/1) in Baucau. (TP)
NP to look into possibility of calling Xanana: The Vice President of the NP Vicente Guterres declared that the NP will look into the possibility of calling on current PM Xanana Gusmao to respond to opposition pressures related to the accusations made against him by Alfredo Reinado's. "We'll find time to discuss with parties' leaders in the NP whether we can invite PM Xanana Gusmao to come to the NP or not," said Vice President NP Guterres in the NP, Dili. NP member from Democratic Party (PD), Adriano Nascimento, also said that PM Xanana should give a political statement to the public to avoid confusion amongst the people (TP, TVTL and DN)
Afonso de Jesus - People in districts are calm: The Commander- Designate of the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) Afonso de Jesus said that the people in thirteen districts around the country are living in calm thanks to the security situation which is guaranteed by the United Nations Police (UNPol), PNTL and the community of Timor-Leste. Commander Afonso de Jesus said that the security situation has been calm thanks to the cooperation of the community with the PNTL in the New Year. (DN)
US rejects providing uniform to Alfredo: The Ambassador of the United States of America in Timor-Leste Hans Klemm rejected the rumour that the recent US Ambassador in Timor-Leste was providing military uniforms to Alfredo Reinado and his group. "The uniform might be the same as the uniform worn by the US military, especially the marine corps, but this is just a coincidence," said Ambassador Hans on Tuesday (22/1) in a press conference in Farol, Dili. Ambassador Hans asked the media to show a strong commitment to the truth and report responsibly. (DN)
SRSG Atul Khare - the Timorese should be responsible for their environment: The Special Representative of Secretary-General (SRSG) for Timor-Leste, Atul Khare, said that Timorese people should be environmentally responsible to help avoid natural disasters. "We can only assist you for a short time. You have to be responsible for the environment," said SRSG Khare when participating in the ceremony of planting seedlings on Monday (21/1) in Bonuk sub-village, Ainaro District.
It is expected that the planting programme may help avoid natural disasters in the next five to ten years in Timor-Leste. To protect the environment, UNDP is giving 7000 seedlings to the community in sub-village Bonuk, Leolima village, sub-district Hatu-Udo in Ainaro District, to be planted in the seven-hectare community planting fields.
RTL news coverage
The President of the National Parliament (NP) appeals to all sectors of society to contribute to solving the problems of the country: The President of the National Parliament (NP) has appealed to all sectors of society to contribute towards solving the problems of the country. The problems of Alfredo Reinado, the petitioners and IDPs are national problems that require the conscience and contribution of all sectors, including political parties.
Atul Khare - The Timorese should be environmentally responsible: The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Timor-Leste, Atul Khare, said that Timorese people should be environmentally responsible in order to help avoid natural disasters. "We can only assist you for a short time. You have to responsible for your environment. We have to force ourselves to end the problem of deforestation," said SRSG Khare while participating in the ceremony of planting plants on Monday (21/1) in Bonuk sub-village, Ainaro District. It is expected that the planting programme may help Timor-Leste avoid natural disasters in the next five to ten years. (TP)
UN raises US$22 million for Timor-Leste: The Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) of the United Nations Mission in Timor-Leste, Finn Reske-Nielsen, said that in 2007 UN organizations in Timor-Leste raised US$22M for the development of the country. DSRSG Finn also said that US22M was provided by the international community. "The fund has enabled the government to provide food and humanitarian assistance to the Internally Displaced People (IDPs)...," said DSRSG Finn on Thuursday (17/1) in Obrigado Barracks, Dili. DSRSG Finn was responding to a journalist's question about UN support in 2007. (DN)
Screening of the F-FDTL is a positive step: The decision of President (PR) Jose Ramos-Horta to screen the Defence Forces of Timor-Leste (F-FDTL) is a positive step that will help solve the political and military crisis of the country. "... PR Ramos- Horta, as the Supreme Commander of F-FDTLL, has made this decision to help find a solution to the problems of the petitioners, including Alfredo Reinado," said Duarte Nunes, a member of the National Parliament (NP). (DN)
Branco - 'Threatening journalists reveals a dictator's attitude': From a political statement in the NP, a NP member from Fretilin, Francisco Miranda, stated that the attitude of Prime Minister (PM) Xanana Gusmao is similar to that of a dictator who intends to curb press freedom, in light of his threatening comments to journalists. "If he feels offended by a media publication, any citizen of this country may bring such a case to the court, but threatening is not acceptable," said Mr. Miranda on Monday (21/1) in the plenary session of NP in Dili. However, the NP member from the Social Democratic Party (PSD) said that Fretilin are just "playing politics" and Fretilin should only complain if the Alliance Government starts putting journalists in jail or sanctioning them. (DN and TP)
Reinado - 'People can decide whether I'm a rebel or not': Alfredo Reinado said that only the Timorese people can decide whether he is a rebel or not, not internationals, since he has never stood against them or their nations. According to Reinado, contextually the internationals are the rebels because they have exploited the opportunity presented by the crisis. Alfredo declared that he is not a rebel as long as he has not committed any action against the people. (STL)
Tilman - NP may invite Xanana to give his opinion on Alfredo's CD: A member of the NP from KOTA, Manuel Tilman, said that he is asking the NP through the President of the NP Fernando Lasama to invite PM Xanana Gusmao to give his opinion on Alfredo's CD which has spread widely in Dili and in which the PM was accused of being the author of the 2006 crisis. 'We all know that Xanana used to be the leader of the army, the clandestine movement and the diplomatic front, and then brought us a referendum to achieve independence. That's why I request through the NP President that we invite PM Xanana to explain the political truth," said Mr. Tilman on Monday (21/1) in the NP, Dili. The Vice President of the NP, Maria Paixao, said that the suggestion will be discussed. "There are many CDs from Alfredo's, not only accusing Xanana, but also accusing other people, including PM Mari Alkatiri. We might ask all of them to come and explain the truth to the NP," said Ms. Paixao. (DN)
Administrative reform, government signing an accord with UNDP: PM Xanana Gusmao on Monday (21/1) signed an accord with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to support the Ministry of State Administration in their project to reform public functions. "We are working on a program and need to improve the capacity of public servants. The accord is signed so that UNDP could assist the government's work," said PM Xanana in Dili. The project is signed for five years, between the government of Timor-Leste and UNDP, until 2012 and entails supervising public servants to help them to deliver give good services to the people and the nation. (DN, TP and STL)
Reinado - UNMIT has no right to interfere in internal problems: Alfredo Reinado said that the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) has no right to intervene in the internal problems of Timor-Leste as the nation has its own laws and appropriate models to solve problems. "UNMIT has no right to condemn me as a Timorese because Timor-Leste is a democratic nation which has its own law to implement, it is not made by internationals," said Alfredo on Thursday (17/1) in Suai in responding to an UNMIT statement that suggests that Alfredo should submit himself to the justice. Reinado was responding to the comments made by UNMIT, which asked that he submit himself to the justice. (STL)
Basic Training for F-FDTL to NATO's standards: The Department of Defence (DD) has decided that the basic training for the F-FDTL will follow NATO's standards. State Secretary for Defence Julio Thomas Pinto said that in conducting the basic training, the DD will look at the countries belonging to NATO. "We will use NATO's standards as Timor-Leste is familiar with the standards used by Portuguese forces," said Mr. Pinto on Saturday (19/1) in his office in Dili. (STL)
Bishop Ricardo - Church will not get involved in Task Force: Bishop Ricardo from the Diocese of Dili said that the Church will not be involved with the government Task Force to solve Alfredo's problem as it is considered a political problem. (STL)
Salsinha - Horta pledges a screening of the petitioners: The Spokesperson of the petitioners Gastao Salsinha stated that President of the Republic Jose Ramos-Horta has agreed with the Petitioner's proposal to have a screening for the petitioners. "... the decision is the President's as the Supreme Commander of the F-FDTL; if he accepts that we are to have a screening as military people then we will take it a sign that we are still regarded as military," said Salsinha on Thursday (17/1) in Suai. (STL)
Bishop Basilio - 'People need unambiguous leaders': Bishop Basilio Nascimento of Baucau Diocese said that if the accusation of Alfredo Reinado has enough truth to remove current Prime Minister (PM) Xanana Gusmao then it would be good to establish a new government to avoid ambiguity in the running of the country. Bishop Basilio said that it is better to live in an atmosphere with no ambiguity because otherwise Timor-Leste could fall into another crisis. (DN)
Reske-Nielsen - Hard work is needed if IDPs are to go home: The Deputy Special Representative of Secretary-General (DSRSG) of United Nations in Timor-Leste Finn Reske-Nielsen said that returning the IDPs to their homes or community will be very difficult. DSRSG Finn said that it would require a long period of time. "On the humanitarian aspect, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) will give strong support to the government plan to bring the IDPs back home," said DSRSG Finn on Thursday (17/1) in Obrigado Barracks, Dili. DSRSG Finn also said that in 2008, the priority will also give to support the government's national recovery plan. (DN)
Martins - Political drama, leaders make people lazy: The President of Socialist Party (PST) Nelson Martins said that the political drama of the leaders makes the Timorese people lazy throughout the country. Mr. Martins said that the accusations leveled at each other by the leaders makes the people know that the crisis is caused by the failure of leaders. (DN)
IDPs returning home, Security to be provided 24/7: The Commander of the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) of Dili District, Pedro Belo, said that PNTL Dili district will provide 24 security when the IDPs return home. Commander Belo said that the most affected areas in Dili will be prioritized and there will be no tolerance to criminals and those who hide them. (DN)
RTL news coverage
Reinado asks the Supreme Commander to set up a new commission to replace the Task Force team: Fugitive rebel leader Alfredo Reinado Alves has asked President Jose Ramos Horta, who is also the Timorese Defense Force Supreme Commander, to set up a new commission to replace the Task Force set up by the Government. Reinado and the petitioners' spokesperson, Gastao Salsinha, made the request after they were not able to meet with President Jose Ramos Horta in Suai yesterday. Reinado and Salsinha said the Task Force set up by the Government is not able to resolve their problems, because they work for political interests.
They said only the Supreme Commander is able to resolve their problems, not the Government. Reinado said that if the state considers them civilians, they will form a new military force in this country.
Horta - 'Deadline for solving Alfredo, petitioners' case is May': President (PR) Jose Ramos-Horta said that May 2008 is the deadline for solving Alfredo and the petitioners' problems. "It is not definitive yet, but all parties should be prepared to work on this from now until May," said PR Ramos-Horta on Thursday (17/1). (DN)
Reske-Nielsen - 'UN congratulates PNTL for arresting 73 people': Deputy Special Representative of Secretary-General (DSRSG) in Timor-Leste Finn Reske-Nielsen congratulated the police who captured 73 people alleged to be involved in prostitution and drugs in five bars in Dili on Tuesday (15/1) night. DSRSG Finn explained that the arrests were made because the alleged activities have a negative effect upon the country. (DN)
'Operation Lafaek' good for the future of our youth: Member of the National Parliament (NP), Duarte Nunes, said that the NP supports the capture of 73 people in 5 bars in Dili by Dili PNTL as a positive step for the future of Timorese youth. "We all know that people whose intentions are bad destroy the future of the younger generation and give the country a bad name. So, the NP gives its support to the operation of the PNTL," said Mr. Nunes in the NP on Thursday (17/1) in Dili. (DN)
Arsenio - 'The President shouldn't try to gag Alfredo': Vice President of Fretilin and Member of NP Arsenio Bano said that Fretilin are pressuring PR Ramos-Horta to release publicly his discussion with Alfredo Reinado so that the public are informed, otherwise he is gagging Reinado and compromising the truth. "There should be the truth. If Alfredo said that Xanana is the author of 2006 crisis, let Alfredo tell the truth and Xanana should then justify himself," said Mr. Bano on Thursday (17/1) in the NP in Dili. "The people of Timor-Leste and the NP should know what is discussed by Pr Ramos-Horta and Alfredo. Whether the PR is going to give amnesty, send Alfredo back to the F-FDTL or submit him to justice, people should know about it. Or is it just a trap?" added Mr. Bano. (DN)
ICG - government needs to reform F-FDTL and PNTL: The government of Timor-Leste and the UN Mission in Timor-Leste should revitalize efforts to reform the F-FDTL and PNTL in order to decrease civil conflict in the country. Based on the new report of the International Crisis Group (ICG), it seems that to move the country forward the security institutions' reformation is key. ICG also reported that until now there is no clear authority line between defence forces and the police and there is no national consensus about the type of defence force needed and what its job should be. ICG said that the government has to conduct an immediate analysis of comprehensive security reform as recommended by the Security Council of the United Nations. (TP)
Horta - Jakarta will embassy if international tribunal established: PR Ramos-Horta is arguing strongly against the recommendation of organizations which are asking the state to establish an international tribunal in Timor-Leste to judge the cases of 1999. "I have not accepted your recommendation about establishing an international tribunal ever since I was Minister of Foreign Affairs. Even though you step over me until I die, I will never accept it," said PR Ramos-Horta on Thursday (17/1) when meeting with Forum of NGOs in Caicoli, Dili. PR Ramos-Horta said that it is impossible to establish the international tribunal in Timor-Leste as there is no support from the Security Council. (TP) High Level meeting continues discussing country's problems
The High Level Meeting between the state and the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) on Thursday (17/1) continued to focus on the problems of the IDPs, Alfredo Reinado and the petitioners. The meeting was held in Palacio das Cinzas and was attended by SRSG Atul Khare, PR Ramos-Horta, Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, President of NP Fernando Lasama, Brigadier Taur Matan Ruak, General Prosecutor Longuinhos Monteiro, State Secretary for Security and Defence Francisco Guterres and Julio Pinto. PR Ramos-Horta said that the High Level meeting was held to decide how the organs of state could disseminate general information about solving the problems in the country," said PR Ramos-Horta on Thursday (17/1) in Palacio da Cinzas Caicoli, Dili. The President of the NP Fernando Lasama said that the thanks to the meeting the government and UNMIT can start to move forward the process of solving problems and regaining peace and calm. (TP)
Mandate doesn't work, Alfredo doesn't go to the court: The lawyer for Alfredo Reinado's case, Benevides Barros, said that PR Ramos-Horta has already told all relevant national and international institutions to not execute the arrest warrant given by the judge. Mr. Barros also said that Alfredo Reinado will not appear in court on January 24 this year as the arrest warrant on him is still valid. Fretilin is calling on Alfredo to take the accusation to the court. "Fretilin supports Alfredo is his legal stand, but does not support Alfredo and the petitioners' actions. Our support is that if Alfredo has all the evidence, then come down. It is time to go through the legal process and the Constitution," said Jose Manuel, a member of Fretilin. While the President of the Court of Appeal Claudio Ximenes said that if there is a strong reason then the arrest warrant will be withdrawn, if not then all should follow the decision made by the judge. (TP and STL)
TVTL news coverage
F-DTL to withdraw from the government offices: The Timorese Defense Force (F-FDTL) Commander, Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak, said that his soldiers who were deployed to secure Government buildings in the capital of Dili will soon be withdrawn, because the situation in the capital has returned to normal. The Commander said F-FDTL soldiers deployed in the country's east, in areas such as Lospalos and Uatolari, have been withdrawn and the task of providing security has been handed over to the national police. Matan Ruak made the comments yesterday after meeting with President Jose Ramos Horta at the Presidential Palacio das Cinzas. Ruak said that during the meeting, they discussed Reinado, the petitioners and IDPs'.
PNTL 'Lafaek Operation' arrests 73 people in 5 bars in Dili: The National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) arrested 73 people for alleged prostitution and drug-related offences from five bars on Tuesday night (15/1) in Dili. The PNTL Task Force Commander Pedro Belo said that the 'Lafaek Operation' resulted in 73 arrests, including 20 Timorese who were suspected of being involved in drug use and prostitution.
RTL news coverage
Fretilin's youth pressure the Court of Appeal to investigate the author of the 2006 crisis: Fretilin's youth are pressuring the Court of Appeal to investigate immediately the author of 2006 crisis that led to the deaths of many people and the destruction of hundreds of houses. The Spokesperson of the youth, Paulino Soares, declared that the video is the corroborating evidence that Xanana Gusmao was the author of the 2006 crisis. "Xanana gave a speech and divided the country into east and west, which resulted in a crisis with many victims," declared Paulo on Wednesday (16/1) in a press conference in Quintal Boot, Dili.
General prosecutor won't get involved in the Alfredo video: The General Prosecutor Longuinhos Monteiro said that he has received a letter from the President of Fretilin Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo about Alfredo's CD which accused Prime Minister (PM) Xanana Gusmao of being the author of the 2006 crisis. Mr. Monteiro said that the Public Ministry will not get involved in this case as it is a political issue. (TP and DN)
ISF expands its role in TL: The International Security Forces (ISF) in Timor-Leste recently expanded their role to help people in various areas in the country. The ISF has of late not only been guaranteeing security and stability, but it has also been providing humanitarian and engineering assistance, among other things, to help address people's needs in the country. "Our role has expanded to include giving humanitarian assistance to the people," said Commander of the ISF John Hutchison. (TP)
'Lafaek Operation' results in the arrest of 73: The PNTL 'Lafaek Operation' resulted in the arrest of 73 people in 5 bars in Dili who were suspected of being involved in drug use and prostitution in 5 bars on Tuesday night (15/1) in Dili. PNTL Dili District Commander Pedro Belo said that the intention of the 'Lafaek Operation' was to arrest 73 people, including 20 Timorese who are allegedly involved in prostitution and drugs. (DN, RTL, and TVTL)
Guterres - IDPs returning home as Alfredo and petitioners' case will be solved: The representative of the IDPs from Motael Camp, Francisco Guterres, said that the government's plan to help the IDPs to return home is good. Mr. Guterres said since the problem of Alfredo and the petitioners will be solved, the IDPs will return home since the country is no longer in a military or political crisis. (DN)
Fretilin's youth want investigation into the author of 2006 crisis: Fretilin's youth are pressuring the Court of Appeal to investigate immediately the author of 2006 crisis that led to the deaths of many people and the destruction of hundreds of houses. The Spokesperson of the youth, Paulino Soares, declared that the speech of President Xanana Gusmao on TVTL on 23 of March 2006 caused conflicts and violence in Dili. Many people, including military men, were victims of that speech. "For this reason we need the Court of Appeal to investigate the video where Alfredo accuses Xanana of being the author of the 2006 crisis. We also ask the President to take action on this constitutionally. Mari Alkatiri resigned because of a video played in Australia. So we say that Alfredo's video could be the evidence and we ask PM Xanana Gusmao to resign and dissolve the government," declared Paulo on Wednesday (16/1) in a press conference in Quintal Boot, Dili. (DN, TVTL and RTL)
Ramos-Horta asks Taur Matan Ruak to help solve Alfredo's case: President (PR) Jose Ramos-Horta is asking F-FDTL Commander Brigadier Taur Matan Ruak to cooperate with state institutions and help solve the problems of Alfredo, the petitioners and IDPs. President Jose Ramos Horta made the statement after having a weekly meeting with Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak on Wednesday (16/1) in Palacio da Cinzas, Dili. (STL)
TVTL news coverage
The ISF will not arrest Alfredo Reinado: The Commander of the International Stabilization Forces (ISF), Brigadier General, John Hutcheson, said they will not carry out the arrest warrant issued by the court to capture rebel leader, Alfredo Reinado Alves and his followers. The commander said they will not implement the arrest warrant issued by the court because they do not want intervene in the internal problems of the country. Hutcheson made the comments yesterday during a press conference held at the ISF base in Caicoli, Dili.
RTL news coverage
70 victims natural disaster in Lautem have no emergency assistance: Seventy victims of natural disaster in Lautem, namely heavy rainfall and storms over the last week, have not yet received any emergency assistance from the government. The Social officer of Lautem district has been gathering data on the victims, yet still no emergency assistance has arrived.
President Ramos-Horta asked all of the stakeholders in the country to watch out as the peace is not stable: President Ramos-Horta asked the different bodies that make up the country to watch out as the peace is not stable. President Ramos-Horta said that the instability comes from fragile institutions and the lingering effects of the violence of the crisis.
ISF sends soldiers to Suai, but not a show of force: The Commander of the International Security Forces (ISF) in Timor- Leste John Hutchison said that he has sent soldiers to Suai, Covalima district, to provide security; in western and eastern parts of the country. Brigadier Hutchison said that the people in Suai had been informed prior to the deployment and added that the ISF is trying to contribute to development in the communities. Brigadier Hutchison also said that since the security situation of the country as a whole has been calm, it is now important to encourage peace in the communities. (STL)
Timor-Leste still needs the UN mission: The President of the Millenium Democratic Party and the Spokesperson of the Progressive Democratic League, Hermenegildo "Kupa", said that the presence of the United Nations (UN) is still needed even though its mandate will end in February 2008. "I think this nation still needs the UN mission, UNMIT, to continue its mission in Timor- Leste. Their presence is needed in the case of Alfredo and the petitioners. We would not be able to solve the problem without their presence in the country if the dialogue were to end in deadlock. We do need a UN presence, but we also need to know what the mission's goals are, it shouldn't just be extended," said Mr. 'Kupa' on Tuesday (15/1) in Hotel Timor, Dili. (STL)
Borges - Horta-Alfredo dialogue is constitutional: The Member of the National Parliament from the National Unity Party (PUN) Fernanda Borges said that the position of President (PR) Jose Ramos-Horta to build dialogue with Alfredo Reinado and his groups is constitutional. "Based on the constitution, the PR is obliged to stabilize the situation of the country. Since Alfredo's case is about national stability, the PR has the right to intervene," said Ms. Borges on Tuesday (15/1) in the NP, Dili. (STL)
SRSG Atul Khare asks CNE to improve its technical work: Before working on elections for local chiefs this year, the Special Representative of Secretary-General (SRSG) for Timor-Leste and the head of UNMIT, Atul Khare, advised the National Commission of Elections (CNE) to improve its technical work. "In my opinion, there are no successful elections in the world which are prepared in a short space of time... The elections went peacefully and were free and fair, because of the contribution of CNE and others, including political leaders. In comparison with other nations, the contribution of every part of the country guaranteed the quality of the elections in Timor-Leste. You could say that CNE's success made the UN proud of Timor-Leste," said the SRSG Atul Khare on Tuesday (15/1) at the ceremony launching CNE's book in Hotel Timor, Dili. This year Timor-Leste will hold elections for local chiefs and UNMIT has identified who they will provide to support CNE in the coming elections. (STL and TP)
AMP asks Alfredo to bring Xanana's case to court: A Member of the NP from the Alliance asked Alfredo Reinado to go to court and present his evidence that former President Xanana Gusmao is author of the 2006 crisis. MP Cecilio Caminha from CNRT said that as a representative of the people, he is asking Alfredo to provide evidence to back up accusations made against Xanana Gusmao in his video and elsewhere. "100% I am provoking Alfredo. I am provoking him to come to court to present the evidence that he has. Better to declare it court than just shout and confuse people. I am not standing up for Xanana, but I don't want CNRT's name spoiled," said Mr. Caminha in the NP, Dili. (TP)
Xanana - 'If there's instability in TL, we will arrest the media': Prime Minister (PM) Xanana Gusmao threatened that he would arrest the media if instability occurs in the country. PM Xanana asked the media to work responsibly based on the prevailing atmosphere. "You are responsible for the atmosphere in the country, whether it feels stable or unstable... you used too visit Alfredo, and you would close your eyes to others. That is why, if there is instability, in this country, we will arrest you," said PM Xanana on Tuesday (15/1) in the Ministry of Solidarity in Caicoli, Dili. The PM asked the media to be professional and to cross-check its information before disseminating it to the public. (TP and DN)
'Only government can explain court decision on Alfredo': The Commander of the International Security Forces (ISF) in Timor- Leste, John Hutchison said that the ISF mission in Timor-Leste will not involve itself in all the problems being faced by the country, but will follow the correct processes to guarantee the security and stability of Timor-Leste. Commander Hutchison also said that ISF mission should do its job as requested by the government of Timor-Leste, and that it has a commitment to maintaining stability in the country. (DN)
TVTL news coverage
Horta confident that the Task Force can resolve Reinado issue: Following the recent withdrawal of the National Movement for Peace and Justice (MUNJ) from the Task Force team set up by the Government, President Jose Ramos Horta still firmly believes in the Task Force's ability to resolve Alfredo Reinado and the petitioners' problems. Horta said he will soon contact the Catholic Church and ask them to appoint a church representative to be a mediator in the dialogue. Horta also said Reinado and the petitioners are victims of the political crises of 2006 and he called on them to continue holding dialogue with the Government.
RTL news coverage
More than a hundred people come to the office of the president to ask for assistance under the President's Poverty Reduction Programme: More than a hundred people came to the office of the president on Monday (14/1) to ask for assistance. Some of them were protesting against the registration process, claiming nepotism and unfairness. "They are looking for their families and then registering them," said Lucia Rosa, one of the protesters. She said that they should identify the exact number of poor people first before giving them assistance.
National parliament considers Reinado-Horta meeting positive: Even though the National Parliament (NP) did not get the details about the informal dialogue between President (PR) Ramos-Horta and Alfredo Reinado, it still considered it to be a positive step. 'We are all waiting for a solution; we are in the final hour to find a solution and I think that the people agree with the NP, and believe Alfredo's case should be solved," said the President of NP Fernando Lasama. The statement of the President of the NP Lasama was based on the information that a meeting was called to find a final solution for the Reinado issue. (STL)
Fretilin asks Xanana to explain the 2006 crisis: The Member of the NP from Fretilin, Francisco Miranda, called on Prime Minister (PM) Xanana Gusmao to explain the problems of the 2006 crisis, since a video that was distributed across the country labelled him as the author of the crisis. "As representatives of the people we are concerned about the impact of the video because of what it said about Xanana being the author of the 2006 crisis," said Mr. Miranda on Monday (14/1) in Dili. It is important that Xanana should be clear since many people have lost their properties and houses and have become IDPs. The Member of the NP from CNRT, Pedro da Costa, said that the pressure from Fretilin is normal for a democratic state if there is something that destroys the nation's stability it should be brought to court with evidence, as only the court can decide whether it is true or not. (STL)
UNMIT asks Horta to conduct dialogue with Reinado soon: The Special Representative of Secretary-General (SRSG) for Timor Leste and the Head of United Nations Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), Atul Khare, asked President (PR) Jose Ramos-Horta, who just met Alfredo Reinado in Maubisse, to bring about dialogue as soon as possible. "I used to meet PR Horta weekly. We would speak about security in the country and about how to solve the problems of the petitioners and Alfredo's group," said SRSG Khare on Monday (14/1) in the Palacio das Cinzas Caicoli, Dili. Today MUNJ -- who withdrew from the Task Force of the Government went to Suai before PR Horta to have a meeting with Alfredo on Wednesday (16/1). (STL)
Alkatiri asks Xanana to step down: East Timor's former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri has called on current Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao to resign, amid claims he orchestrated the deadly unrest that erupted in 2006. Alkatiri resigned as prime minister in June that year after a request from then President Gusmao, based on allegations that Alkatiri and several of his ministers gave instructions to arm civilian militia during the crisis.
His government had earlier sacked more than a third of the country's defence force, sparking factional violence that left 37 people dead and drove 100,000 from their homes. Many of the sacked soldiers joined the rebellious former military police chief Alfredo Reinado, who last week alleged Gusmao was the "mastermind" who had fomented the unrest.
"I think that it is time for Xanana to resign from his post because he has established a precedent in 2006 based on allegations without fact," Alkatiri said on Sunday. Alkatiri said the people of East Timor were waiting to find out the truth behind the crisis. Gusmao should resign and submit to justice, he said.
"Nobody in this country is untouchable," Alkatiri said. He said a task force set up to investigate the 2006 crisis was a sham and would never return an adverse finding against Gusmao. President Jose Ramos-Horta should also be pushing for Gusmao's resignation, Alkatiri said. "Ramos-Horta, as foreign minister, was very supportive of Xanana to force me to resign. Now he is president of the republic and he has to do the same." Local media last week reported that Gusmao was refusing to respond to Reinado's claims, saying he did not want to engage in a "war of words". (TP)
Alfredo - Ramos-Horta should explain to the people: Former Commander of the Military Police Alfredo Reinado asked PR Ramos- Horta to disseminate information about their informal dialogue in Maubisse on Sunday (13/1) to people. Reinado said that he could not release any details of the meeting because it was agreed that only PR Ramos-Horta should do so. Mr. Benevides Barros, Alfredo's lawyer, said that he will not comment until PR Ramos-Horta makes his statement about the meeting. (TP)
UN asks Alfredo to submit himself to justice: The Special Representative of Secretary-General (SRSG) for Timor-Leste, Atul Khare, said that the UN asks Alfredo to submit himself to justice. SRSG Atul Khare said that the position of UN on Alfredo's case is that he should face justice, and so the UN supports all the efforts of the government to solve the problem.
"I give my support to the task force and their efforts to bring Alfredo to submit himself to justice. Our (UN) position is clear -- everyone should submit themselves to justice, including Alfredo Reinado," said SRSG Atul Khare on Friday (11/1) in the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) Headquarters at Caicoli, Dili. (DN)
UN Concerned about 4000 pending cases in the court: The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Timor-Leste, Atul Khare, said that the UN Mission in Timor-Leste is concerned by the fact that there are more than 4000 pending cases in courts across the country. SRSG Khare said that the cases should be effectively reviewed in a short time to convince people that the justice system works and is acting in their best interests. SRSG Khare also said that the UN Mission in Timor-Leste is committed to continue working in Timor-Leste based on the provisions of its mandate. (DN)
Alkatiri - 'Xanana should face trial': "I never found out whether Xanana was behind or in front of the crisis. I always used to say that there was a great conspiracy. Now they are not getting along, and Alfredo expresses all the truth. No one should believe that in this country some may face trial while others don't. I submitted myself to justice because of a false accusation from Railos. Now Xanana should be encouraged to do the same thing in light of Alfredo's accusation, you can never say that it is irrelevant," said Mari Alkatiri, the Secretary General of Fretilin on Saturday (12/1) in Comoro Airport, Dili. (DN)
RTL news coverage
The government and the National Parliament (NP) reducing the pension for veterans and former combatants is an insult: Veteran Biloi Mali claimed that it is a big insult for the government and NP to reduce the pension for veterans and former combatants. Biloi Mali said that the living conditions for veterans and former combatants are not as good as the living conditions of those with a means of earning a living. Biloi Mali also said now is the time for veterans and former combatants to claim their rights.
Immigration officials to keep out those who are a threat to the nation: The State Secretary for Security Francisco Guterres said that the Department of Immigration plays an important role in protecting the nation by identifying those who are a threat to the nation. The State Secretary for Security also said that immigration officials should identify immigrants who have tourist visas but are working in Timor-Leste and should take administrative action against them.
Head of UN Mission, Atul Khare, supports the Task Force of the government as a peaceful way to solve Alfredo's problem: The Special Representative of Secretary-General (SRSG) for Timor- Leste, Atul Khare, said that UN welcomes the work of the Task Force in bringing about dialogue to enable Alfredo to submit himself to justice. SRSG Atul Khare said it is important that justice and the rule of law are adhered to help security and development in the country. The UN position on Alfredo's case is that Alfredo should be brought to justice and the UN supports the efforts of the government to solve the problem.
Ramos-Horta - F-FDTL and PNTL to act according to constitution: President (PR) Jose Ramos-Horta said that the Defence Forces of Timor-Leste (F-FDTL) and the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) need to act according to the constitution to guarantee the peace and stability of the country. PR Ramos-Horta said that if the two institutions fall victim once more to the political maneuverings of political leaders, there will be new crisis in the country. PR Ramos-Horta also said the PNTL needs to absorb the lessons of 2006 to improve itself. (TP and DN)
February 2008, GNR to train PNTL in discipline: In February, PNTL will receive training from the Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR) of Portugal to improve its discipline. The State Secretary for Security Francisco Guterres declared that Portugal's GNR is preparing a curriculum for the training. "Discipline training is important, it helps officers to act professionally, and people therefore feel calm and secure when the PNTL is in action," said State Secretary Francisco Guterres on Friday (11/1) in the Headquarters of the Unidade de Intervencao Rapida (UIR), Dili, at the ceremony of provisional certification to 29 members of the UIR who had taken their first phase of the training. (TP)
UN supports Task Force, Alfredo should submit himself to justice: The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Timor-Leste, Atul Khare, said that UN supports the work of the task force to bring about a dialogue so that Alfredo can submit himself to the justice. SRSG Atul Khare said that the position of UN on Alfredo's case is that he should face justice, and so the UN welcomes the efforts of the government to solve the problem. "I support the task force and its efforts to ensure that Alfredo submit himself to justice. Our (UN) position is clear: everyone should face justice, including Alfredo Reinado," said SRSG Atul Khare on Friday (11/1) in the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) Headquarters at Caicoli, Dili. (TP and STL)
UNPol to assist PNTL in operation: United Nations Police (UNPol) in Timor-Leste will accompany the PNTL, in particular the PNTL Task Force, in order to allay concerns about the behaviour of the PNTL in Dili and other districts. UNPol Commissioner Rodolfo Tor said that a key part of UNPol's mission is to capacity-build PNTL members so that they are professional. Commissioner Tor also said that UNPol can only handover all police stations to the PNTL once assessments have been made, certain criteria have been met, and the PNTL are logistically equipped to handle such a transfer. "All these things should be considered before UNPol hands over the police station to the PNTL. The decision is not made by UNPol alone; all the stakeholders make the decision," said Commissioner Tor on Friday (11/1) on Friday (11/1) in UNMIT Headquarters at Caicoli, Dili. (TP)
Horta-Xanana glad Fretilin wants to support the state: PR Ramos- Horta said that he and Prime Minister (PM) Xanana Gusmao are happy that Fretilin wants to support efforts to solve the issues of IDPs, Reinado and the petitioners. PR Ramos-Horta said that he met the President of Fretilin, Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo, and that Fretilin wants to help the state and current government to solve the problems of the IDPs, the petitioners and Alfredo Reinado. (DN)
Bishop Basilio - 'The state and Alfredo should be in agreement': Bishop Basilio do Nascimento of Baucau Diocese said that the Church is ready to collaborate with the government to solve the case of the petitioners and Alfredo Reinado. "The Church can help to solve it politically, not morally," said Bishop Basilio in Dili when asked about the Church's point of view on Reinado. Bishop Basilio also said that the government, Reinado and the petitioners must all be in agreement. This means that the Task Force of the government should involve other organizations to find a way towards dialogue. "I believe that the petitioners will not cooperate if the government does not adhere to strong principles in its attempt to solve the problem," added the Bishop. (DN)
Alkatiri - 'Xanana should go to court': "I never wavered from saying that Xanana was behind or in front of the crisis. I used to say previously that this was all a great conspiracy. Now they are not getting along, and Alfredo decides to reveal the truth. It is wrong that some people should go to court and not others. I submitted myself to justice because of the false accusations of Railos. Xanana should do the same now that he has been accused. He cannot say it is not relevant," said Mari Alkatiri, the Secretary-General of Fretilin on Saturday (12/1) at Comoro Airport, Dili. (DN)
Atul Khare - 'It's important to change the mentality of the UIR': SRSG Atul Khare stated in front of PR Ramos-Horta and PM Xanana Gusmao, Minister of Interior Rai Pereira of Portugal, UNPol Commissioner Rodolfo Tor and other members of the government that the Government plans to change the mentality of the UIR are important for its future. "I want the police to do their work based upon law and order, as it determines the whether the public see them as professional, but they must also serve the community with personal integrity," said the SRSG Khare on the ceremony of provisional certification for 29 UIR members on Friday (11/1) in the Headquarter of UIR in Dili. (DN)
Seven Indonesians and two Chinese citizens deported: The Immigration Department Director, Inspector Carlos Jeremias, said that the Government of Timor-Leste through the Department of Immigration deported seven Indonesian and two Chinese citizens. "From the total number of 33 foreign citizens investigated, in the past two days we have deported seven Indonesian and two Chinese citizens to their own countries...some of them were not deported as they paid a fine," said Mr. Jeremias. The deported citizens were found guilty of working whilst in the country on tourist visas. Those foreign citizens who were voluntarily deported will not be allowed to enter Timor-Leste for another two years. (STL)
TVTL news coverage
F-FDTL to withdraw from the government offices: The government is going to withdraw the F-FDTL who are currently providing security to the government offices, and replace them with the PNTL. State Secretary for Security Francisco Guterres said that the government will conduct an assessment before replacing the F-FDTL in February.
140 GNR awarded UN medals: One hundred and forty members of the United Nations Police (UNPol) from the Portuguese Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR) have been awarded UN medals. The medals awarded symbolize the valuable contribution of the GNR to the UN in helping to guarantee security in the country.
As part of the ceremony, President (PR) Jose Ramos-Horta said that the PNTL should look at the GNR as a model of how to provide security. At the event, the Minister of the Interior for Portugal, Rui Pereira, said that Portugal will continue to cooperate with Timor-Leste on the board of the UN Mission.
Minister of Interior Rui Pereira of Portugal visits Timor-Leste: The Portuguese Minister of the Interior Rui Pereira of Portugal is visiting Timor-Leste to familiarize himself with the administration of the country and the Guarda Nacional Republicana's work on the island.
RTL news coverage
Interactive Debate about the 1st trimester operational plan of ISF, UNPol and PNTL: The General Commander of the PNTL, Afonso de Jesus, said that the PNTL should provide information about arrest warrants from the courts in order to avoid rumors that PNTL are misconducting their arrest operations.
Deputy UNPol Commissioner Hermanprit Singh said that at the end of January, UNPol will hand over three police stations to the PNTL: Bidau, Mercado Lama and Bairo Pite. During the debate many listeners congratulated the PNTL for the work of the Task Force which has been providing security since Christmas Eve.
The court is obliged to act upon the decision of the President: After it has been published in the Journal of the Republic, the court is obliged to act upon the decision of President when he pardons any condemned prisoners.
The president of the Court of Appeal, Claudio Ximenes, said that the pardon of the President should be classified as either a total pardon or a pardon for a certain number of years.
Xanana - MUNJ resignation doesn't affect the dialogue process: Prime Minister (PM) Xanana Gusmao declared that the withdrawal of the Youth Movement of National Unity (MUNJ) has no affect on the dialogue process between the government, Alfredo Reinado and the petitioners. PM Xanana said that it is the right of MUNJ to withdraw from the Task Force, and it will not affect the process that the Government is working on to solve the problems of the nation. "We are a democracy...it willl not affect the process of dialogue," said PM Xanana on Thursday (10/1) after meeting President (PR) Jose Ramos-Horta in the Palacio das Cinzas in Caicoli, Dili. (TP, DN and STL)
Ramos-Horta - no new task force will be formed: PR Ramos-Horta said that he will not form a new Task Force to replace the Task Force recently formed by the Alliance Government and led by the State Secretary for Security, Francisco Guterres. As the chief of the state, PR Ramos-Horta professed his support for the Task Force to manage the process of dialogue between the government, Alfredo Reinado and the petitioners. (TP)
140 GNR awarded UN medals: One hundred and forty members of the United Nations Police (UNPol) from the Portuguese Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR) have been awarded UN medals. The medals awarded symbolize the valuable contribution of the GNR to the UN in helping to guarantee security in the country. At the ceremony were PR Ramos-Horta, SRSG Atul Khare, PM Xanana, President of the National Parliament (NP), and other officials of the country. (TP, DN, STL and TVTL)
Xanana doesn't react to the accusations of Alfredo and Fretilin: PM Xanana does not want to respond to the accusations made by Alfredo Reinado and Fretilin claiming that he was the author of the crisis. The Alfredo's accusation was made by video and got strong support from Fretilin. "I can say that I received the CD (compact disk) and then gave it to others. I cannot pass judgement on my self and cannot hide anything. I have no comment on the CD because I know nothing about what they are saying," said PM Xanana on Thursday (10/1) in Palacio das Cinzas in Caicoli, Dili. (TP and DN)
F-FDTL to withdraw from the government offices: The government is going to discuss a strategic security plan to withdraw F-FDTL members, who now provide security to the government offices, and replace them with the PNTL. The State Secretary for Security, Francisco Guterres, said that the government will carry out an assessment before replacing the F-FDTL in February. (TP and TVTL) Lasama: Alfredo has no right to give deadlines to the state
The President of the NP Fernando Lasama said that the former Commander of the Military Police Major Alfredo Reinado has no right to give a deadline to the state with regards to solving his and the petitioners' problems. "Alfredo is a citizen and has no right to give a deadline to the state. This state is a sovereign state. It has leaders and is planning to solve the problem," said the President NP on Thursday (10/1) in Caicoli, Dili. (STL and DN)
Horta - 'There's no legal ruling that said Alfredo isn't a major': PR and Supreme Commander of the F-FDTL Jose Ramos-Horta declared that until now there has been no legal ruling to say that Alfredo is no longer a Major, and he is still considered as Major Alfredo Reinado Alves. "The status of Alfredo is only clarified through the process of dialogue. If we intend to turn a military man into a civilian, then it should require a legal process, not just a declaration with no direction," said PR Ramos-Horta on Thursday (10/1) in Caicoli, Dili. (STL)
ISF to provide medical treatment in the districts: The Commander of the International Security Forces (ISF) Brigadier John Hutchison said that the ISF will provide medical treatment to all the districts in the country. Brigadier Hutchison said that medical treatment is an important step for the ISF mission in Timor-Leste to strengthen relations with communities in the country. (DN)
TVTL news coverage
President Ramos-Horta visits Quelicai and Baguia sub-districts in Baucau goes well: The official visit of President Ramos-Horta to Quelicai and Baguia took place without any major problems. The people in the sub-districts welcomed the president, who went to the eastern districts to explain his decision to form the new government.
Police keep three women in detention for the sale of drugs: The Interim General Commander of PNTL, Alfonso de Jesus, announced that the three women from Indonesia who were captured at the border as they brought illegal drugs into Timor-Leste are still in detention. Commander Afonso de Jesus said that the case of the three detained women will be investigated. Mr. de Jesus said that the investigation will attempt to identify the type of drug that they brought into Timor-Leste. The drugs will be sent to Australia for analysis.
RTL news coverage
Houses and plants destroyed in Zumalai sub-district, Covalima: Fifteen houses have been destroyed by heavy rainfall and storms in Lepo village, Zumalai, Covalima. Felix Barros, the chief of the village, said that most of the houses and much of the flora in the village were destroyed by the storm.
ISF setting up transmitters on Matebian: The International Security Forces (ISF) have been setting up transmitters on Matebian mountain to facilitate their communication needs in Timor-Leste. With regards to the worries expressed about the presence of the ISF in Matebian by a FRETILIN member of parliament, the Commander of the ISF, John Hutcheson, said that the ISF has communication difficulties, especially where there are hills, so it needs transmitters to improve transmission of communications. "We sent some of our people to Matebian to set up transmitters to facilitate communication between Baucau and Viqueque, because there are no Timor Telecom transmitters placed there," said Commander Hutcheson.
Ramos-Horta - 'There's only one army': Answering the concerns of many people about the military uniforms used by Alfredo and his movement, President (PR) Jose Ramos-Horta said on his official visit to Quelicai sub-district, Baucau, that there is only one army in Timor-Leste: the Defence Forces of Timor-Leste (F-FDTL) under the leadership of Brigadier Taur Matan-Ruak, which is respected by the world. "There is only one army in this country and it is based in Tasi Tolu, Metinaro and Baucau, led by Brigadier Taur Matan Ruak, with the Chief-of-Staff Lere Anan Timur and Deputy Chief-of-Staff Lieutenant Falur," said the president on Tuesday (8/1) in Quelicai, Baucau. (DN)
'Xanana is the author of crisis' - evidence needed: The Member of the National Parliament (NP) from CNRT, Eduardo Barreto, said that people should not accuse Xanana Gusmao of being the author of the crisis when there is no evidence; just claims made by Alfredo. Mr. Barreto said that if Prime Minister Xanana is the author of the crisis, he should submit himself to justice. "If there were no Xanana, then there would have been no independence for Timor-Leste. We do reject claims that Xanana is a liar. We, the resistance, will stand behind Xanana to defend everyone's dignity," said Mr. Barreto in the NP, Dili. (DN and TP)
Rogerio Lobato needs eight more months for medical treatment: Minister of Justice Lucia Lobato said that Rogerio Lobato will have eight more months for his medical treatment in Malaysia. (DN and TP)
Horta - strong opposition important in executing state budget: Jose Ramos-Horta said that Fretilin makes for a strong opposition in the NP with its fiscal policy experience, and this will help the Alliance government execute the state budget appropriately. "Fretilin makes the Alliance government sweat, because its NP members have experience of fiscal policy and state budgets and that is important to the nation and democracy," said PR Ramos- Horta in his official visit to Quelicai, Baucau. (DN)
MUNJ resignation has impact on the process of dialogue: Adriano Nascimento, a member of the NP from the Democratic Party (PD), said that the resignation of the Youth Movement of National Unity (MUNJ) from the Task Force will effect the process of dialogue between the government, Alfredo Reinado and the petitioners. "I think this resignation is very dangerous for the Task Force and the process of dialogue. The current government may have good intentions, but if the problems are not solved then there will be instability in the country," said Mr. Nascimento on Wednesday (9/1) in NP, Dili. According to Mr. Nascimento, it is time for the younger generations to lead the nation, as the old leaders are no longer capable of solving the nation's problems, as demonstrated by MUNJ's withdrawal. (TP and DN)
PNTL Task Force reactivated, Dili calm: The NP member from CNRT, Aderito Hugo, said that the reactivation of the PNTL Task Force has pleased people in Dili as they can now live more peacefully. All people are proud of the Commander of the Task Force in Dili District for his leadership in providing security to people in Dili 24 hours a day. "I offer my gratitude to Commander Pedro Belo for his leadership. He has made Dili peaceful" said Albertino in Dili Seaport. (DN)
AFP to provide 50 vehicles to the PNTL: Ramos-Horta said that the 50 vehicles which are used by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in Timor-Leste will be handed over to the PNTL to facilitate its work. Ramos-Horta said that on Sunday (6/1) he held a meeting with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Timor-Leste, Atul Khare, to ask that the vehicles of the AFP be transferred to the PNTL. "On Sunday I had a meeting with SRSG Atul Khare to see how UNPol could help build the capacity of the PNTL, by methods such as transferring the 50 vehicles of the AFP to the PNTL," said the president in his official visit to Baguia, Baucau, on Monday (7/1). (DN) Alfredo's lawyer asking that the head of Task Force be replaced.
The lawyer of Alfredo Reinado, Benevides Correia Barros, is insisting that the government replace the Head of the Task Force for Alfredo's case, Secretary State for Security Francisco Guterres, to move the process forward. "I think he should be replaced to allow the process to move forward," said Mr. Barros on Wednesday (9/1) in the Palacio da Cinzas-Caicoli, Dili. According to Mr. Barros, the Head of the Task Force is the one who is impeding the process of solving the petitioners' and Alfredo Reinado's problem. (STL)
Alfredo's case is on ASEAN's agenda: The Minister for Foreign Affairs Zacarias Albano da Costa said that the problem of Alfredo Reinado is a stability concern of the South East Asian Nations. Every discussion that concerns stability will be of concern to AESAN, including the case of Alfredo Reinado, which is now on their agenda," said Minister Albano on Tuesday (8/1) in the Government Palace, Dili. (STL)
TVTL news coverage
MUNJ resign from the Task Force: The Youth Movement of National Unity (MUNJ) resigned from the Task Force formed by the Alliance Government, because they were allegedly never involved in any decision-making about Alfredo Reinado and the petitioners' problems. The Technical Secretary of MUNJ, Lucas Soares, stated that MUNJ joined the Task Force as a permanent member to help solve Alfredo's problem through dialogue.
Mr. Soares also said that MUNJ disagree with the statement of the leaders of the Task Force who said that Alfredo and the petitioners are to be handled as civilians for the moment, because the Task Force is working on the process of dialogue, and the issue of status can be decided after the dialogue is in place.
RTL news coverage
Local houses and hectares of plants in Railaco, Ermera district destroyed: More than one hundred hectares of corn and coffee plants, including 12 houses in Matata village, Railaco sub- district, have been destroyed by rainfall and storms. Gil Lobato Pereira, the chief of the village, stated that corn and coffee plants, along with the houses, were destroyed by more than six hours of rain over the last week. Meanwhile, in Hatolia sub- district, thirty one houses were totally destroyed. The Head of the Social Division of Ermera district, Mario Maia Exposto, said that the division is still awaiting the data concerning the natural disasters in the district. Once they have it, they will report it to the Ministry of Social Solidarity as part of a request for assistance.
Maukatar's victims receive humanitarian assistance: Fifteen heads of families in Kunai, Matai village, sub-district Maukatar, Covalima, received humanitarian assistance from the Ministry of Social Solidarity. The Humanitarian Commission of the Ministry of Social Solidarity provided food, shelter and kitchen equipment to each head of family. On Monday (7/1) the World Food Program (WFP) also distributed rice and beans to each of the heads of the families. The fifteen heads went to the police station when two youth groups from Kunai and Matai village attacked each other and set fire to each others' houses on Thursday (3/1).
Government to use media to disseminate information to the public on global warming: The government will use the media to disseminate information to the public about the impact and importance of climate change. The community is still largely unaware of the impact of global warming and continues to devastate the forest. The State Secretary for the Environment, Abilio Lima, said that the government will use all media outlets to promote community understanding about the importance and impact of climate change.
Fretilin backs Alfredo's accusations against Xanana: Fretilin gave the strongest possible support to Reinado's statement which accused Prime Minister (PM) Xanana Gusmao of being the author of the crisis. The President of Fretilin, Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo, said that the video recording of Alfredo from December 2007 made the same analysis as FRETILIN, namely that Xanana Gusmao was the author of the military and political crisis of 2006.
Mr. Lu-Olo said that the recording is important for Fretilin, because in the video Major Alfredo clearly stated that he witnessed Xanana's behaviour that led to the crisis. "Major Alfredo just states what Fretilin has said before, namely that the author of 2006 crisis is Xanana Gusmao, it is really important," said Mr. Lu-Olo in the Central Committee of Fretilin in a press conference on Tuesday (8/1) in Comoro, Dili. (TP and DN)
Xanana instructs Justice Ministry to see Rogerio Lobato: PM Xanana Gusmao has instructed the Minister of Justice Lucia Lobato to witness first-hand the condition of former Minister of Interior Rogerio Lobato, who is now under medical treatment in Malaysia. Minister Lucia Lobato said she would represent the government and visit Mr. Rogerio in Malaysia, since it is important for people's faith in the justice system that he completes his sentence. Minister Lobato also said that she was informed by the Timorese Ambassador in Malaysia that Mr. Rogerio needs more time to complete his treatment and the government will give more time to Mr. Rogerio for this reason. (TP)
Law needed to combat prostitution: The government needs a law to combat prostitution in Timor-Leste. The Member of NP from the Democratic Party, Vital dos Santos, said that the government has the power to immediately create a law to regulate prostitution and avoid its negative impact upon society and future generations.
"To combat prostitution in Timor-leste, no law is needed since there is no nation in the world that makes it legal to be involved in this kind of profession. However, the reality shows that there is prostitution in the countries that are predominantly Christian, because it is a normal thing" said Mr. dos Santos. (TP and DN)
IDPs ask government to provide security for them to return home: The government has planned to help the IDPs return home, but IDPs are still insisting that the Government provide security in their communities. "They need to ensure our security otherwise it will all take place again: stoning and killing each other," said Jose Soares, Coordinator of IDPs in Cathedral Camp, Dili, on Tuesday (8/1). Mr. Soares also said that IDPs fled to avoid violence and confrontation and do not want it to happen again. The IDPs agree with the plan of the government, but need security assistance in the communities that they will be returning to. (DN)
Fretilin will not act like the previous opposition: The Member of NP from Fretilin, Ana Pessoa, said that Fretilin will not copy the previous opposition, but will say something is good if it is good, and something is bad if it is not, regardless of the fact that some might not like it this way. (TP)
TVTL news coverage
Government to provide money and houses to IDPs: The Minister for Social Solidarity, Maria Domingas Fernandes "Micato", announced that the government will provide money and houses to the IDPs whose houses were destroyed during the crisis. The government will also build houses for IDPs who are rejected from their previous communities. The amount of money provided will depend upon the extent of the damage to the house in question, and will be between US$1,500 and US$4,000. The government has made a resolution based on this plan whose budget comes from the US$15 million already earmarked for IDPs by the National Parliament (NP). Minister Micato also said that in February humanitarian services or subsidies to the IDPs will be reduced as 50% of them are public servants.
RTL news coverage
Local produce facing insect attacks: farmers in Oecusse region are worried about their produce which has been attacked by insects. The Oecussi Department Coordinator for Agriculture and Fisheries, Jose Oki, said that the insects have been attacking produce in two villages in the sub-district Pante Makassar since December 2007. The insects are allegedly coming from Belu district, Indonesia. The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has reported the problem to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forest and Fisheries.
Rain in Dili creates discomfort: Rain and wind in Dili over the past few weeks has spread rubbish and waste everywhere. This detritus makes people feel uncomfortable. RTL observed that the rubbish in the vicinity of Hotel Timor has been caused by the lack of any rubbish bin for the IDPs in Jardim camp. The same is also true in the public markets of Becora, Halilaran and Becora.
PM Xanana asks public servants to make more sacrifices: PM Xanana asked public servants not to rest on their laurels, happy with their monthly salary, but also to be strongly motivated to serve the nation and people by reforming their working attitudes and making a lot of sacrifices.
Group of youths assault IDPs in Uato-Carbau sub-district, Viqueque: A group of youths assaulted IDPs in the public market of Uato-Carbau sub-district on Monday night. Some of the IDPs had been looking for temporary shelter. PNTL Operational Commander of Viqueque District, Gaspar Pinto said that approximately twenty young people threatened the IDPs with gasoline and stones. The police arrested four young men who were suspected of being involved. The four suspects have been detained in the police station of Uato-Carbau pending investigations.
The State Secretary for Public Works to provide heavy equipment to the regions: The State Secretary of Public Works plans to provide heavy equipment to the regions to anticipate "la nina" storms in Timor-Leste. The State Secretary for Public Works, Domingos dos Santos Caeiro, said that such storms have already attacked some regions in Asia; and it is possible that la nina could impact some districts in Timor-Leste; such as Baucau, Manufahi and Dili. Secretary of State Caeiro also said that a fund amounting to US$500,000 has been prepared to anticipate this natural disaster.
ISF is 'going around' Mount Matebian: The Member of the National Parliament (MP) for Fretilin, Inacio Moreira, claimed that members of the International Security Forces (ISF) have illegally been going around the Mountain of Matebian, Quelicai sub- district, Baucau district. "I am worried, because the government needs to know about this. Upon the agreement that sets out the parameters of the ISF presence, they only need to control the western part of the country, but reality shows they control anywhere they want," said Mr. Moreira in the National Parliament (NP), Dili. (TP and DN)
Fretilin - 2008, year for a peace march. Xanana: a year of sacrifice: Vice Secretary-General of Fretilin, Jose Manuel, said that Fretilin considers 2008 as the year to organize a peace march to express the truth and demonstrate how the party is going to protest against the Alliance government this year. "The peace march has not been held as yet because we are still waiting for guidance from the Central Committee of Fretilin. It is the responsibility of the party to explain the wrongdoing and clarify the uncertainties; this will be a non-violent peace march," said Mr. Manuel in the NP, Dili. (TP)
Suspects of Suai arson brought to court: The National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) of Covalima District arrested fourteen people suspected of arson in Matai village, sub-district of Maukatar, Covalima on Friday (4/1). The fourteen suspects were registered at the Dili District Court to undergo an investigation process, excluding two suspects that were released. One of the suspects, Laurentino de Jesus also the head of Matai village said that he is not satisfied with the arrests as police only took potentially inaccurate information from witnesses and captured the suspects without arrest warrants. "I will describe all these wrongdoings in court, so that it will not happen again to other suspects," said Mr. de Jesus on Monday (7/1) in Dili.
Police are working in the proper manner To counter rumours spread in Dili that police have been illegally entering the houses of people to arrest suspects who have been involved in crimes, Interim General Commander of the PNTL, Afonso de Jesus, said that the rumors are true: the police can identify suspects who are involved criminal activities and then search for and arrest them within one day based upon the law of this country. Commander de Jesus also said that if the police find the suspects in a house they should be arrested to make sure that they do not destroy any evidence that incriminates them. (TP)
Longuinhos Monteiro - Lobato will not flee to another nation: The Director of Interpol for Timor-Leste and Prosecutor-General Longuinhos Monteiro made assurances that former Minister of the Interior Rogerio Tiago Lobato who is now under medical treatment in Malaysia will not be able to flee to another country since he is under observation by Malaysia and Timor-Leste Interpol. "On behalf of Interpol, I would like to say that Interpol branches maintain professional contact with one another to guarantee that the prisoner will not flee to another country without the authorization of the government of Timor-leste."
Xanana - 'Never say who is fighting, and who is not': Prime Minister (PM) Xanana Gusmao asked people not to tell nationalistic stories about who has fought in combat and who has not. "Never count on nationalism; all people were involved in combat that's why we have self-determination now; none of us were not involved in the combat," said PM Xanana on Monday (7/1) in a Christmas celebration with the Ministry of Economy and Development in Bebora, Dili. PM Xanana asked all people to work together to serve the state and the nation, since 2008 is the year of reformation: in mentality, attitude and sacrifice. (TVTL, RTL, STL and DN)
Rumors that Fretilin will demonstrate: Rumors about Fretilin's Peace March taking place next week have been spreading around Dili, although no letter requesting permission has been sent to the PNTL as yet. "We have the information about the peace march, but we have still not received a formal letter from the party notifying us of the action," said Inspector Fernandes. Inspector Fernandes said according to the law, any groups or political parties who want to express their rights democratically in a march or demonstration must apply for permission from the PNTL and the other security institutions. (STL)
Suai case, three PNTL members detained: Three PNTL members of Covalima district suspected of being involved in the cases of arson and violence in Ukun Nain village, Suai, in Covalima district on Thursday (3/1) have been detained for 72 hours. Inspector Mateus Fernandes, Deputy Operational Commander of PNTL said that police have arrested eight suspects, including three PNTL members. (STL)
F-FDTL and PNTL should change their professionalism and attitude: Prime Minister (PM) Xanana Gusmao asked the Defence Forces of Timor-Leste (F-FDTL) and the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) to be work to improve the cohesion and unity of each institution. "You should grow in self-confidence by changing your attitude and professionalism in order to gain people's trust," said PM Xanana on Friday (4/1) in Dili. PM Xanana also confirmed that the Government will not allow troublemakers to destroy peoples' futures. (TP)
Estanislau questions Xanana's statement on CNRT's fund: Former member of Political Commission of National Council of Resistance of Timor (CNRT), Estanislau da Silva, questioned the statement of the PM concerning CNRT's funds. "I was surprised to hear that CNRT's funds remain saved in the bank...as member of the commission I know nothing about this. The fund was not for Xanana, but was for the organization of the political commission of CNRT. And CNRT has ended, so why the money is still there?" said Mr. da Silva, also a member of National Parliament (NP) from Fretilin. (TP)
PM Xanana asks political parties to bury bad attitudes: PM Xanana Gusmao asked the political parties to work hand-in-hand to combat the kin d of bad attitudes that have brought suffering to the people. Xanana said that political parties' conflicting private interests will never solve the problems faced by the nation. Only peace and calm can encourage the people to behave in peaceful and calm ways. (STL)
Vicente Guterres - Fretilin should think about the national interest: First Vice-president of the NP, Vicente Guterres, asked FRETILIN to think about the interests of the nation since Fretilin is historically the party of the nation. Mr. Guterres said that Fretilin are free to give back Christmas envelopes to the NP, but they should also remember that the US$120 in the envelope was for the Christmas party of members of the NP and its staffs. "It was the idea of the President of the NP, Mr. Fernando Lasama, that it would be better to provide people with the money to have their own parties with families and relatives, rather than celebrating Christmas with NP members and staff, where family members might not have been able to participate," said Mr. Guterres. (STL)
Deadline for Rogerio's medical treatment in Malaysia has elapsed: The time period allotted to the former Minister of the Interior Rogerio Lobato to allow him to receive medical treatment in Malaysia elapsed in December 2007. The position of Mr. Lobato is currently unclear, and it is not known whether he is coming back to serve his time or whether he will ignore it for medical treatment. The Minister for Justice Lucia Lobato said that the ministry is still awaiting test results from Mr. Rogerio Lobato's doctors. Mr. Rogerio Lobato received permission from the Ministry of Justice to seek medical treatment in Malaysia based upon his hospital medical record. (STL)
Government identifies places for the IDPs that are not transitory houses: The Minister for Social Solidarity, Domingas Fernandes 'Micato', said that the government has identified some areas where the IDPs can build houses. Minister Micato said that at the present time, the government is still collaborating with the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Public Works to identify proper places for the IDPs to build permanent houses. Minister Micato also said that the IDP policy defined by the government is intended to avoid people having several houses at once. (STL)
PM Xanana - The big crisis facing the country is not the IDPs: PM Xanana Gusmao said that the big crisis of the country is not the IDPs, but attitudes, thoughts and behaviour. The PM confirmed that this year is Reformation year the year that all people need to start thinking of themselves as servants of the people. "Dedication to work, this is what I will try to implement. I will force those who really love this country to sacrifice themselves," said PM Xanana in his speech on Christmas Eve with the Ministry of Health on Saturday 5/1) in Dili. (DN, TP andSTL)
TVTL news coverage
Road to Bazartete blocked: In Liquica district, the road to Bazartete has been blocked by falling debris at several points, and the road to Fatumasi is effectively cut off.
Alfredo - Xanana is author of crisis and investors should not trust him: Alfredo stated: "...there is no guarantee from the government to resolve my issue this year. This crisis will get worse because of stupid government leaders who speak without any morals". Alfredo advised international investors not to invest in Timor-Leste because the crisis remains unresolved. He asked how this crisis could possibly be resolved if those people who should be seeking solutions are the authors of the crisis, and added that if they (the government) are not able to resolve this crisis, they do not have capacity to govern.
Alfredo also strongly condemned PM Gusmao and the work of the Task Force which has achieved no concrete results, and stated that Xanana is a big liar, and has been since 1975. Alfredo added that he has never been afraid of anyone, and that Xanana will go to prison for longer than anyone else because he is the author of the crisis. Alfredo and Salsinha are ready to act as witnesses. Alfredo also requested for a public audience with PM Gusmao on Television so that all people can see the reality. (TS)
Fighting in Ermera, one injured: The United Nations Police (UNPol) Daily Security Briefing said that a fight took place between two groups in Ermera district on Wednesday morning which resulted in a 30-year-old man sustaining injuries to his arm, and several windows of a UN Police vehicle being smashed. Police brought the situation under control, but later the next morning, the same groups gathered and threw stones at the police station. The situation has again been brought under control by the police, but remains tense.
Many bridges and roads throughout the country have been damaged by the heavy rain in the past few days. Ermera district is among the worst affected areas: Hatolia sub-district is virtually inaccessible as the bridge one kilometre east of Hatolia has been damaged by rainfall. The bridge connecting Ermera and Gleno has also been damaged and is unsafe to cross.
In Liquica district, police have managed to clear debris from several roads, and most remain open, if damaged. However, the road to Bazartete has been blocked by falling debris at several points. Police are working to clear this debris, but until they are successful Fatumasi is effectively cut off.
The security situation in Timor-Leste as a whole has been calm, although there was a large police operation in Dili on Wednesday evening. On Wednesday evening, the UN Police (UNPol) Drug Taskforce, Dili District Police, and the Timorese National Police (PNTL) raided two bars in Dili as part of a successful operation to crackdown on activities related to illegal immigration, the sale of drugs, and possible human trafficking. A total of 21 women and seven men were arrested for identification purposes in connection with investigations into these activities.
Despite the damaged roads, police are able to reach all districts by helicopter in case of emergency. (TP) Police conduct operation against drugs, trafficking of women in Dili
On the evening of Wednesday 2 January, the UN Police (UNPol) Drug Taskforce, Dili District Police, and the Timorese National Police (PNTL) raided two bars in Dili as part of a successful operation to crackdown on activities related to illegal immigration, the sale of drugs, and possible human trafficking.
At the Mona Lisa Bar, police found evidence of drug usage and identified eight females who were suspected of involvement in prostitution. All eight were arrested for identification purposes, in connection with investigations into illegal immigration and possible human trafficking.
At the Moon Bar, 13 women and seven men, all foreign nationals, were arrested for identification purposes related to investigations into the trafficking of women. The managers of both bars were among the arrested.
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) in Timor-Leste, Dr. Atul Khare, congratulated UNPol and the PNTL for the operation: "A crucial part of UNMIT's mandate is to ensure public security and support the Government in the consolidation of stability and the enhancement of a culture of democratic governance," SRSG Khare said. "Accordingly, we will not allow such activities to flourish."
Many of the arrested women are thought to have entered the country illegally and police recovered evidence of forged or altered identification documents. Police teams are working in close collaboration with the Immigration Service to process the detainees through the criminal justice system. (TP and STL)
Fretilin to return Christmas envelope to national parliament: Ana Pessoa, a member of the National Parliament (NP) from Fretilin, said that Fretilin will give back all the envelopes containing US$120.00 as Christmas subsidy that were given to the members and staff of the NP. Ms. Pessoa said that the money belongs to the people, who are suffering. (STL)
Police yet to release two women accused of selling illegal drugs: The Interim General Commander of the PNTL, Afonso de Jesus, said that two women from Indonesia who were captured at the border as they brought illegal drugs into Timor-Leste are still in detention. Commander Afonso de Jesus said that the two detained women will be investigated. Mr. de Jesus said that the investigation will seek to identify the exact nature of the drugs, which will be taken to Australia for this purpose. (DN)
Veterans ask government to give an immediate response to the IDPs: Faustino dos Santos, a member of the NP from UNDERTIM, said that the government should view the IDPs' problems as the most urgent of all the problems in the country. "Right now IDPs are living under tents in heavy rain. But the US$15 million that has been approved by NP could be used to accelerate the process of helping the IDPs to get home," said Mr. dos Santos on Thursday (3/1) in the NP, Dili. (DN)
Bishop Basilio - Family should educate their members: Bishop Basilio do Nascimento of Baucau Diocese said that family is key in educating people about finances and life; the family is a community where people receive a moral education, when to be angry and when to be at peace. (DN)
Dr. Saldanha - 'Economic development in 2007 positive': An economic analyst of Timor-Leste, Joao Mariano Saldanha, said that Timor-Leste has undergone positive economic development in 2007. According to Mr. Saldanha, the state budget of 2008 marks a 10 to 20% increase. "This shows that that political stability is good even though there were examples of political activitism during the elections, and violence in the eastern part of the country after the formation of the new government," said Mr. Saldanha on Friday (28/12) in Hotel Timor, Dili. (DN)
The Australian - January 26, 2008
[Shakedown. By Paul Cleary. Allen & Unwin, 304pp, $29.95.]
Tim Johnston The exercise of power is rarely a pretty thing to watch; but there is something particularly ugly in watching the inept exercise of power.
Australia's engagement with East Timor during the past 70 years has been a bewildering mixture of crude realpolitik and enlightened assistance. The jury is still out on whether the latter has outweighed the former.
In Shakedown, Paul Cleary has shone a light into one of the less salubrious episodes: Australia's bullying attempts to get the Timorese government to agree to a highly disadvantageous delineation of its maritime borders in the resource-rich Timor Sea.
The book begins shortly after the 1975 Indonesian invasion with the unedifying spectacle of Indonesia and Australia, both bereft of any moral or legal rights, carving up the birthright of the East Timorese.
The prizes were the offshore oil fields in the Timor Sea. In return for Australia recognising Indonesia's Anschluss in East Timor, and presumably not making too much of a fuss about the tens of thousands of people who were being slaughtered, Australia would get a highly beneficial maritime boundary.
Canberra's cynical flight from principle and one must remember that the people it was abandoning were the same people who protected Australian Diggers during World War II at terrible cost to themselves might have won some perverse justification had it brought substantial benefit to Australia, but it didn't. By the time events forced the Indonesians to withdraw 24 years later, in 1999, the two sides had benefited to the tune of just $4.5million each from their carve up of East Timor. And as Timor emerged blinking into the light after the long dark night of the Indonesian occupation, Canberra saw its chance to rectify the shortcomings of the past and tried a brazen land grab in the hope that the young nation, inexperienced and still grateful for the Australian intervention, would roll over. That was a miscalculation.
Cleary was a participant in the epic David and Goliath battle that ensued as the Timorese struggled to persuade John Howard, Alexander Downer and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade that they hadn't fought so hard and so long merely to donate their sovereignty to another predator. He worked as a consultant to the Timorese government and witnessed many of the incidents he describes.
It is a complex story, and sometimes Cleary loses his readers in the byways of the negotiations, but the adrenalin of the high- stakes brinkmanship carries the book through.
Australia initially wanted the Timorese to agree to the same sort of compromised deal Canberra had negotiated with Jakarta, but it was gradually forced back.
While Cleary is excellent on the Timorese side of the argument and on the negotiations, it is still slightly unclear why Canberra droveitself down this road to public relations disaster. Sheer greed, or even the joy of exercising power for its own sake, seem inadequate reasons.
Dili's tenacious defence of the principles of sovereignty may have been one reason the infant nation was able to withstand the pressure, but Cleary shows that probably woudn't have been enough on its own.
He also gives due prominence to the role played in the result by ordinary Australians who, appalled by Canberra's bullying tactics, put pressure on the politicians to force them to give their new neighbour a fair go.
There will possibly be too much detail in parts of this book for the casual reader, but the story of the diplomatic struggle is compelling, and probably required reading for any serious student of the ugly reality behind the elegantly turned phrases of diplomatic negotiation.
In some ways Shakedown is a morality play: a parable of how a small, inexperienced nation with few powerful friends could take on a regional heavyweight and its ruthless pursuit of resources. But if the Timorese gained a victory, it was only partial.
Cleary does not baulk at pointing out the problems of corruption and political ineptitude that were beginning to plague the government but he is convincing in his argument that the Timorese position regarding its maritime borders was fuelled by principle rather than the greed and mendacity attributed to Dili at different times by the Australian side.
That does not mean Timor is free from greed or mendacity. Cleary ends with a chapter on Timor's present troubles and warns that the country is still far from safe from the explosive pressures of its own disappointed citizens.
Good fences may make good neighbours, but that doesn't help much if there is strife inside the house.
[Tim Johnston has reported extensively from Southeast and Central Asia.]