Diário de Notícias, 21/12/06
O Ministério Público de Timor-Leste arquivou o processo contra o ex-primeiro-ministro Mari Alkatiri no caso da alegada distribuição de armas a civis, por falta de provas, disse fonte judicial à Lusa. A mesma agência indicou que nem a Presidência da República nem o actual chefe do Governo timorense, Ramos-Horta, quiseram comentar a decisão.
No entanto, na habitual revista de imprensa de imprensa timorense ontem distribuída em Dili pela Missão da ONU em Timor, Ramos-Horta é citado como tendo dito que nunca acreditou que Alkatiri estaria envolvido na distribuição de armas.
“Nunca acreditei e nunca acreditarei que o Dr. Alkatiri ordenou a distribuição de armas”, disse Ramos-Horta, que substituiu o líder da FRETILIN na chefia do Governo, na sequência da demissão deste no auge da crise político-militar iniciada em Abril.
Em causa estão as denúncias feitas por “Railós”, antigo comandante da guerrilha contra a ocupação da Indonésia, que acusou Alkatiri de ter ordenado ao então ministro do interior, Rogério Lobato, que distribuísse armas a civis para eliminar adversários políticos, dentro e fora da FRETILIN.
terça-feira, janeiro 02, 2007
Diário de Notícias, 21/12/06
Por Malai Azul 2 à(s) 19:44
Correio da Manhã, 2006-12-20 - 11:53:00
Por falta de provas
O Ministério Público de Timor-Leste decidiu arquivar esta quarta-feira o processo levantado contra o ex-primeiro-ministro Mari Alkatiri, acusado de ter alegadamente distribuído armas a civis, o que acabou por levar à sua demissão do cargo no passado mês de Junho.
Uma fonte judicial ligada ao processo revelou que o arquivamento se deveu a falta de provas contra o secretário-geral da FRETILIN, partido maioritário em Timor-Leste, a respeito da alegada distribuição de armas a civis aquando dos actos de violência ocorridos no território em Abril e Maio.
Por Malai Azul 2 à(s) 19:34
Equipa do INEM salvou vida a criança timorense
Díli, 31 Dez (Lusa) - A equipa do Instituto Nacional de Emergência Médica (INEM) estacionada em Timor-Leste, integrada no contingente militar da GNR, foi decisiva para salvar no dia de Natal a vida de uma criança timorense, disse hoje à Lusa fonte médica.
Segundo Rodrigo Gorayeb, médico da equipa do INEM, o acto assistencial em que participou foi "o caso mais complexo" que enfrentou na sua vida profissional. Em causa estava a sobrevivência do pequeno Franco, uma criança de nove anos que ficou gravemente ferida em consequência de uma pedrada na cabeça, que lhe provocou afundamento do crânio.
O incidente ocorreu na manhã do dia 25 de Dezembro, quando elementos de dois grupos de artes marciais rivais se digladiavam nas proximidades da sua casa.
Transportada para o Hospital Nacional Guido Valadares (HNGV), a criança teve a sorte de pouco depois de ter dado entrada nas urgências ali ter chegado a equipa médica do INEM, que acompanhava um marginal igualmente ferido com gravidade, depois de ter sido apanhado e quase linchado por populares. "A gravidade do estado do pequeno Franco era evidente. O afundamento do crânio estava a pressionar o cérebro e era uma questão de tempo", recordou o médico à Lusa.
Não tendo sido possível efectuar a evacuação de emergência para a Austrália, o corpo clínico do HNGV aproveitou a presença no hospital do médico do INEM, neurocirurgião desde 1999, e optou-se pela operação, apesar da falta instrumentos básicos. A operação durou cerca de três horas. Foi primeiro necessário perfurar e remover a parte do osso fracturado e em seguida o hematoma que se formou, garantir a coagulação sanguínea, suturar a veia e fechar tudo de novo", salientou.
O sucesso da operação levou a que fosse dada alta hospitalar ao Franco no passado dia 29, e a ser marcada a retirada dos pontos para o próximo dia 02 de Janeiro.
"Deve ter sido um milagre de Natal, dada a gravidade do ferimento e o perigo que a criança corria. Estávamos num grande dilema. Se não se fizesse nada, e com um prognóstico tão reservado, era muito difícil que sobrevivesse", acrescentou. Nos próximos dois meses o calo ósseo que se vai formar vai ajudar a proteger a zona afectada e o Franco vai poder fazer uma vida normal como qualquer criança", garantiu.
À distância quase uma semana do sucedido, Rodrigo Gorayeb reconhece que houve uma "conjunção feliz" de acontecimentos que possibilitaram salvar a vida da criança.
O INEM mantém desde o dia 04 de Junho uma equipa em permanência em Timor-Leste, que tem como missão principal assegurar a assistência médica aos militares da GNR, e ainda apoio à comunidade portuguesa e aos timorenses. Com missões de cinco semanas, as equipas do INEM, revezam-se em Díli, sendo a actual formada além de Rodrigo Gorayeb, pela enfermeira Isabel Costa e o técnico de emergência Álvaro Monteiro.
No total, já foram prestados 1110 actos médicos, com as escoriações e diarreias a representarem a maior parte dos casos apresentados. A equipa do INEM, que dispõe de equipamento de emergência, desde material de reanimação, de desfibrilação, um ventilador, material de trauma, material cirúrgico e medicação variada para qualquer eventualidade, garante ainda assistência a três campos de deslocados, com uma média semanal de 100 casos.
Diário de Notícias – 31 Janeiro 2006
"Timor-Leste não deve depender apenas de mim"
O Presidente de Timor-Leste, Xanana Gusmão, anunciou que não se vai candidatar à reeleição no escrutínio previsto para Abril. "Já estou velho e cansado. Timor-Leste não deve depender apenas de mim", disse o Chefe do Estado, na sexta-feira, em Díli. Xanana referiu ainda desejar fazer algo pelo país "fora do Governo", manifestando o seu desejo de ser "jornalista, fotógrafo e chefe de redacção".
Esta semana foi alcançado um consenso sobre as datas para a realização das eleições no próximo ano em Timor-Leste. As presidenciais deverão realizar-se em princípios de Abril e as legislativas em Agosto. As datas concretas serão divulgadas pelo Presidente em Janeiro. Em Abril de 2002, Xanana Gusmão tinha vencido o escrutínio com 82% dos votos expressos.
Depois da crise desencadeada em Abril com a demissão de 600 efectivos das forças armadas timorenses por alegada discriminação étnica - que acabaria com um saldo de 60 mortos -, as condições de segurança melhoraram significativamente nas últimas semanas, apenas com confrontos esporádicos de grupos rivais. A crise provocou também mais de 180 mil deslocados, que se refugiaram em campos de acolhimento por receio da violência.
Terminou ontem o prazo dado aos 28 mil timorenses que ainda viviam nestes campos em Díli para saírem, sendo que a partir de agora não contam mais com o apoio das agências da ONU nem de organizações não governamentais. Isto significa o fim da distribuição de ajuda alimentar nos campos, bem como do abastecimento de água e electricidade. O auxílio será garantido apenas aos que saírem dos campos e aceitarem o acolhimento temporário em locais preparados pelo Governo.
A urgência da saída dos refugiados, sobretudo dos campos do Hospital Nacional, em frente do Porto de Díli e da Missão da ONU, e do Aeroporto Internacional, deve-se a múltiplos incidentes que têm ocorrido nestes locais nas últimas semanas. A vida do interior destes campos piorou também com o início da época das chuvas no país.
Um responsável da ONU em Timor-Leste confirmou que a Al-Qaeda ameaçou atacar os interesses da organização no país, devido ao papel desempenhado no processo de independência. "Em 2000, 2001 e 2002 havia informações atribuídas a Ussama ben Laden ou ao seu grupo que indicavam que ele iria actuar contra a ONU por ter contribuído para a separação de Timor-Leste da Indonésia", afirmou Atul Khare, sem dar mais pormenores.
The Sydney Morning Herald - Monday, January 1, 2007
How Fearful Australia Deserted East Timor
by Tony Stephens
JUST three months after Indonesia invaded East Timor 30 years ago, the Australian government of the prime minister, Malcolm Fraser, was covertly supporting the tiny colony's complete integration into its giant neighbour, according to cabinet documents from 1976, released today.
The 1976 cabinet papers, released under the rule that keeps them secret for 30 years, show that while the foreign minister, Andrew Peacock, was saying publicly Indonesian forces should withdraw and there should be a genuine act of self-determination, Australia's defence chiefs were taking a realpolitik view.
A defence committee report of February 5 noted that although Indonesia was unlikely to take military action against Australia or Papua New Guinea, "Indonesia is a power with long-term potential for a significant assault against Australia".
The report went on: "Attempts to deny Indonesia its objective and to secure its co-operation in a military withdrawal fromEast Timor and in a genuine act of self-determination are therefore likely to meet intractable political and practical difficulties and ultimately to prove futile."
Paradoxically, more than two decades years later, in 1998, a member of that original Coalition ministry, the Prime Minister, John Howard, was a key player in ensuring East Timor gained independence in a referendum.
The 1976 committee comprised Sir Arthur Tange, the head of the Defence Department, General Sir Francis Hassett, the chief of staff of the defence forces, Alan Renouf, the head of foreign affairs, and Gordon Jockel, the director of the Joint Intelligence Organisation. They said Australia could object to the use of force, but it was in the nation's best interests to keep a low profile over the issue. And they warned against supporting Fretilin's "hard-core leadership", who had links with "radical international elements".
Privately, the government accepted East Timor's integration with Indonesia as a fait accompli. A strategic defence review in September argued: "As the alternative is an essentially weak state, open to outside interference, the defence interest is served by East Timor's incorporation in Indonesia."
Peacock had recommended to cabinet in February that the government continue to criticise the use of force, "ask for the withdrawal of Indonesian forces" and "ask (with little hope) for a genuine process of self-determination". His submissions paper said: "Indonesian forces are already well on their way to integrating East Timor into Indonesia. The tragedy is that integration might have been achieved in more peaceful ways but that is now history.
"There is no tangible Australian national interest, e.g. trade or security, directly involved in East Timor. If anything, the strategic preference would be for integration … Australia's capacity to alter the course of events in Timor was limited and is now very limited indeed."
The defence papers will not resolve debate over perhaps the most painful Australian exercise in foreign affairs since World War II, until the country's involvement in Iraq. Most of the relevant records were released in 2000, following public pressure and with the support of Gough Whitlam.
Critics claim Whitlam gave Indonesia's president Soeharto a "green light" to take over the former Portuguese colony by force. Whitlam's own records go back to correspondence between Antonio Salazar, the Portuguese dictator, and Robert Menzies, where Menzies does not appear to counter Salazar's contention that East Timor was economically and politically non-viable.
Files from meetings between Whitlam and Soeharto show Whitlam's two basic points were that Timor should become part of Indonesia but that "this should happen in accordance with the properly expressed wishes of the people …"
One question is whether Whitlam pushed hard enough for an act of self-determination. Peacock's paper criticises the Whitlam option as realpolitik. Yet the Fraser-Peacock line appears little different. Peacock rejected the option of cutting off economic and military aid and withdrawing the ambassador, arguing: "While such steps would be publicly applauded by some sections of opinion in Australia, the damage which would be caused to the relationship with Indonesia rules them out."
The Age (Melbourne) - Monday, January 1, 2007
China Intervention in Timor Feared
by Russell Skelton, Canberra
THE Fraser cabinet was warned by a powerful committee of defence chiefs that a prolonged war of independence by Fretilin rebels could lead to intervention by Vietnam or China in East Timor.
A national intelligence assessment, presented to cabinet two months after Indonesia's brutal incorporation of East Timor, urged the Government to mollify Indonesian interests, saying Timorese self-determination was an unrealistic goal.
The 26-page document, which clearly shaped Timor policy, took no account of rights abuses or the problem of 140,000 displaced Timorese.
Instead the assessment said: "It would not be in Australia's strategic interests that Indonesia be frustrated in the absorption of East Timor or that the process be complicated or delayed. "This would enhance the Fretilin group's political status and both encourage and facilitate its development of connections with countries interested in supporting it against Indonesia."
It also cautioned cabinet against becoming too closely associated with any United Nations peacekeeping force or token act of self-determination.
History shows that the assessment was well wide of the mark. On August 30, 2001, two years after voting for independence in a UN-sponsored referendum, East Timor held its first democratic elections. Despite Australia's intervention in the process, relations between Canberra and Jakarta, although strained, did not break down.
The 1976 assessment was prepared by the Defence Committee, which included the most influential figures in the defence and civilian establishment. Chaired by Sir Arthur Tange, its members included Joint Intelligence Organisation director Gordon Jockel.
Contained in the top-level analysis was a warning that China and Vietnam might come to the aid of Fretilin. The assessment said "Fretilin's hardcore leadership" had aligned itself with "national liberation" movements and was seeking aid from Beijing and Hanoi to support an armed struggle.
Concern was expressed that Indonesia could play a destabilising role in Papua New Guinea if the relationship between Canberra and Jakarta were allowed to sour over Timor.
The committee's assessment also included a document drafted by Jockel, as chairman of the National Intelligence Committee, which reveals the Australian public was kept in the dark about Indonesia's secret activities in Timor in the lead-up to the armed takeover of the former Portuguese colony. Australian intelligence knew the following:
* A year before Indonesia's 1975 invasion of East Timor, President Soeharto had approved the introduction of special forces into Timor and was planning covert options for military intervention.
* Indonesia already had 2500 troops in East Timor almost eight weeks before Fretilin's unilateral declaration of independence on November 28, 1975, which Jakarta used to justify its invasion.
* By February 1976 some 200 Indonesian troops had been killed along with 600 Fretilin resistance fighters. The fighting had displaced more than 100,000 people and created more than 40,000 refugees.
Despite these facts, the Fraser government accepted the advice that Jakarta would eventually pacify East Timor and there was little Australia could do.
In the unlikely event that a Fretilin government did emerge, the intelligence committee believed it would be "poor and weak" and would promote regional instability.
On February 9, cabinet decided to continue former prime minister Gough Whitlam's policy of bowing to Indonesian interests by not pressing for Timorese self-determination. Cabinet, fearful that Australia could become a base for a Fretilin government in exile, also ordered a crackdown on the group's activities and visits.
Cabinet decision 200 said in part: "In respect of the possible involvement in any eventual process of self-determination for the people in East Timor, the (Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee of Cabinet) agreed not to take any decisions at this stage …"
The thrust of the intelligence advice presented to cabinet concerned the need to preserve Australian interests, which meant keeping Soeharto in power and the relationship with Indonesia on a sound footing. There was concern that a hard-line group of generals could emerge to topple Soeharto, replacing him with a more "combative leader".
The Defence Committee said that from a strategic point of view it shared Indonesia's concerns about East Timor's future, but it did not accept the concerns were urgent enough to have ruled out political handling of the situation or warranted seizure of territory by force.
The Australian - Monday, January 1, 2006
E Timor takeover troubled Peacock
Patrick Walters, National security editor
THIRTY years ago the Fraser government grappled with the consequences of the Indonesian takeover of East Timor.
The 1976 cabinet papers show the new government having to reconcile itself to the fact that it could do nothing to alter the integration of East Timor into Indonesia. The government had to determine whether it would take a strong moral stance in condemning the Indonesian invasion - risking a rupture in relations with Jakarta - or adopt a more pragmatic position.
"It's a choice between what might be described as Wilsonian idealism or Kissingerian realism," Australia's ambassador to Indonesia, Richard Woolcott, cabled home in January 1976.
"The former is more proper and principled but the longer-term national interest may well be served by the latter. We do not think we can have it both ways."
In February 1976, cabinet considered a paper from foreign affairs minister Andrew Peacock, which essentially accepted the Woolcott line but tried vainly to salvage some moral rectitude.
"Australia's capacity to alter the course of events in Timor was limited and is now very limited indeed. However, the government should not connive in a forceful Indonesian takeover," Mr Peacock's submission said.
Mr Peacock said the government should voice its opposition to the use of force to resolve a problem, "especially one so close to its borders".
He noted that Australia would shortly be called upon to express a view about East Timor to the UN Security Council.
The Fraser government's position had been to criticise publicly and privately the use of force by Indonesia, call for the withdrawal of Jakarta's troops, ask for a genuine process of self-determination, and "show willingness in private to consider favourably Australia's participation in any international presence which might replace the Indonesian presence in East Timor (the possibility of any such presence being established is very slight)".
"I have applied this policy while admitting to myself that Indonesia is most unlikely to be deterred from her present course and that incorporation of East Timor into Indonesia is very likely to happen," Mr Peacock submitted. The foreign minister said he had taken due account of the "great importance" of Indonesia to Australia and had sought to limit the damage to the relationship with Jakarta. Australia quietly acquiesced in the Indonesian takeover of East Timor and soon moved to recognise de facto the incorporation.
The Australian - Monday, January 1, 2006
Visas refused for Fretilin
THE Fraser government refused visas to prominent East Timorese left-wingers forced into exile after the Indonesian invasion of the former Portuguese colony in late 1975.
The Fretilin members included Mari Alkatiri, who last year stepped down as East Timor's first prime minister, and Rogiero Lobato, who recently served as interior minister in the Alkatiri government.
Thirty years ago, the Coalition government of Malcolm Fraser was concerned about the possibility of Australia being used by the Fretilin resistance movement as the base for a government in exile.
Defence and Foreign Affairs Departments advice was not to give Fretilin, then engaged in a liberation struggle against Indonesia's armed forces, any political oxygen.
ONU: Ban Ki-moon nomeia indiano chefe de gabinete e haitiana para porta-voz
Nações Unidas, Nova Iorque, 31 Dez (Lusa) - O novo secretário-geral das Nações Unidas, o sul-coreano Ban Ki-moon, anunciou hoje ter nomeado o veterano diplomata indiano Vijay Nambiar seu chefe de gabinete e a jornalista haitiana Michelle Montas sua porta-voz.
Ki-moon, que assumirá o cargo na terça-feira, garantiu à imprensa que e stas nomeações servem como a "base sólida" da sua equipa que lhe permitirá "prosseguir o programa de reformas do secretariado para proporcionar continuidade e mudança".
Antigo embaixador indiano na ONU e vice-conselheiro da defesa nacional, Nambiar tem sido, desde Março, conselheiro especial do secretário-geral cessante, Kofi Annan, numa série de assuntos, além de servir de elo de ligação com os 1 92 embaixadores junto das Nações Unidas.
"Conheço Nambiar há muito tempo e partilhamos uma profunda confiança e respeito mútuo", sublinhou Ki-moon.
Quanto a Michelle Montas, começou a carreira de jornalista nos anos 70, denunciando, com o marido, as violações de direitos humanos, a corrupção política e a violência patrocinada pelo Estado na rádio Haiti-Inter.
Obrigada ao exílio duas vezes nos anos 80 e em 1994, Montas viu o marido ser assassinado em 2000 e o seu guarda-costas no Natal de 2002 e, perante uma série de ameaças, acabou por encerrar a rádio e fugir para Nova Iorque em Fevereiro de 2003.
Foi porta-voz da Assembleia-geral da ONU e é actualmente chefe do serviço francês da rádio das Nações Unidas.
Por Malai Azul 2 à(s) 19:26
Timor-Leste: 13 agentes da PSP partem sábado para reforçar missão de paz em Díli
Lisboa, 28 Dez (Lusa) - A Polícia de Segurança Pública (PSP) vai reforçar o contingente integrado na Missão de Paz das Nações Unidas em Timor-Leste (UNMIT) com a partida de mais 13 agentes no sábado, divulgou hoje aquela força em comunicado.
O grupo, que vai juntar-se aos 37 elementos que a PSP tem em Timor-Leste desde Outubro e aos outros cinco que permaneciam no território desde 2003, tem previsto chegar a Díli no primeiro dia de 2007, acrescenta o comunicado.
De acordo com a PSP, os 55 polícias - dez oficiais, 16 chefes e 29 agentes - irão "monitorizar acções de comando e planeamento" e encarregar-se das tarefas de informação policial, "apoio à vítima, ordem pública, segurança pessoal, investigação criminal, trânsito e prevenção rodoviária" e do "policiamento de proximidade".
Os homens da PSP também irão ensinar "ética e deontologia profissional" aos seus congéneres timorenses, refere o comunicado.
Além deste contingente, comandado pelo intendente Carlos Simões de Almeida, a PSP mantém em Timor-Leste desde Maio uma equipa do Grupo de Operações Especiais (GOE) que está encarregue da segurança da Embaixada de Portugal, dos agentes diplomáticos e de outros cidadãos portugueses.
As condições de segurança em Díli melhoraram significativamente nas últimas semanas, com os casos de perturbação da ordem pública a tornarem-se mais esporádicos, principalmente confrontos entre grupos de artes marciais rivais, mas sem atingirem o grau de violência anterior.
Timor-Leste viveu em 2006 um ano de retrocesso, com uma crise que levantou dúvidas sobre a sua viabilidade como Estado e lhe ofuscou a imagem de "jóia da coroa" das Nações Unidas no processo de construção de nações.
Apenas quatro anos depois de ver a independência reconhecida pela comunidade internacional (20 de Maio de 2002), Timor-Leste voltou a viver um cenário de violência e destruição, com um saldo de cerca de 60 mortos, incluindo um cidadão brasileiro.
A crise desencadeada em Abril com a demissão de cerca de 600 dos 1.400 efectivos das forças armadas timorenses, por alegada discriminação étnica, também provocou 180 mil deslocados, muitos dos quais continuam em campos de acolhimento por receio de violência ou simplesmente porque as suas casas foram destruídas.
Ao nível das forças de segurança, a crise resultou na desintegração da polícia e na deserção de vários militares, o mais mediático dos quais, o major Alfredo Reinado, continua a monte depois de ter fugido da prisão de Díli, onde chegou a estar detido por posse ilegal de armas.
AR/PAN - Lusa/Fim
Iraque: Nobel da Paz Ramos-Horta contra execução de Saddam Hussein
Díli, 30 Dez (Lusa) - O primeiro-ministro timorense José Ramos-Horta manifestou hoje a sua oposição à aplicação da pena capital ao ex-ditador iraquiano Saddam Hussein, reafirmando, em declarações à Lusa, a posição do governo que chefia como sendo contra a pena de morte.
"Em primeiro lugar quero reafirmar que o governo de Timor-Leste ratificou a Convenção contra a Pena Capital e a posição oficial, constante da nossa Constituição, é de total oposição contra a aplicação da pena de morte", salientou.
"Relativamente a Saddam Hussein, só posso dizer que Deus, o Todo Misericordioso, lhe perdoe, a ele que nunca perdoou a ninguém em vida", frisou.
José Ramos-Horta foi em 1996 laureado com o Nobel da Paz, conjuntamente com o então bispo de Díli, D. Carlos Ximenes Belo.
O ex-ditador iraquiano Saddam Hussein foi executado esta madrugada por enforcamento em Bagdad, cumprindo a pena capital que lhe foi aplicada pelo massacre de 148 aldeões xiitas de Douja´l, a norte de Bagdad, assassinados em represália contra um atentado falhado contra uma coluna presidencial em 1982.
AAP - Friday December 29, 05:53 AM
Al-Qaeda targeted East Timor mission: UN
Al-Qaeda targeted UN officials in East Timor for attack between 2000 and 2002 because of the world body's role in the nation's separation from mostly Muslim Indonesia, the top UN official in the country said. Atul Khare gave no details of the alleged plots in the Christian nation.
"It is indeed true that in 2000, 2001 and also 2002 there were some reports which were attributed to Osama bin Laden or to his group which indicated that he will take action against UNTAET and later on UNMISET for having contributed to the separation of East Timor from Indonesia," said Khare.
UNTAET was the acronym for the United Nation's transitional mission in East Timor. The mission ended in 2002 and was replaced by UNMISET, which was tasked with supporting the country's first independent government.
Warnings by foreign governments of a possible terror threat led to the tiny nation tightening security for a short time in 2002.
In 2002, an audiotape with a voice purported to belong to Osama bin Laden condemned Australia for its "despicable effort to separate East Timor" from Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country.
UN News Centre - 28 December 2006
UN Police deployed in all 12 districts of Timor-Leste as poll preparations move ahead
United Nations police officers have now deployed in all 12 of Timor-Leste’s districts to help end the low-level gang violence in the country and provide security for the electoral experts who are helping prepare for next year’s polls, the UN envoy said today, as he stressed the world body’s commitment to the elections.
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Timor-Leste, Atul Khare, speaking in the last press conference of the year, said the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) will work closely with the people and authorities to ensure free and credible polls.
“UNMIT has also deployed electoral experts in all the districts,” he said, noting that UN eight Police were also sent.
“UNMIT will assist the authorities of Timor-Leste and the people of Timor-Leste to provide the necessary conditions for free, fair and credible elections,” Mr. Khare added, while acknowledging that while the security situation has much improved, particularly since the deadly violence earlier this year, much still remains to be done.
“I agree that we have to undertake many more actions to ensure that not only are there no weapons in civilian hands but that people feel, people believe, that no such weapons remain in civilian hands.”
The Security Council created UNMIT in August to help restore order after fighting, attributed to differences between eastern and western regions, broke out in April and May and led to the deaths of at least 37 people and forced about 155,000 people – or 15 per cent of the population – to flee their homes.
As part of UNMIT, there are currently over 900 international police officers from 25 different countries implementing screening and mentoring programmes for the National Police force of Timor-Leste under the Police Supplemental Agreement, a deal signed at the start of this month under which the UN has full responsibility for policing.
Also speaking at today’s press conference was the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Security Sector Reform Rule of Law in Timor-Leste, Eric Tan, who stressed the importance of UNPOL being in all the 12 districts, while noting that security in the capital, Dili, continues to improve.
“The presence of UNPOL in the districts outside Dili… allows us to have a very good sense of the security situation there,” he said, calling this “especially crucial” in the light of the coming elections. “Security in Dili continues to improve,” Mr. Tan said, adding that adjustments to the UN Police concept of security operations have proven effective.
ABC - Friday, December 29, 2006. 4:34pm (AEDT)
E Timor may seek more help from Aust police
East Timorese Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta says he is being urged to seek more assistance from Australia to help stabilise the country.
More than 37 people were killed and about 150,000 fled their homes in the capital Dili amid violence earlier this year.
East Timor has also been shaken by a recent surge in gang violence.
Dr Ramos Horta says he is considering seeking additional assistance from Australian police.
"I have had a discussion with many political leaders, they are all very praising, full of praise of the Australian police and they told me, they urged me, to try to get more Australian police involved," he said.
New Mathilda - 6 December 2006
Four Corners and the Coup in Timor Leste
By Tim Anderson
The presentation of a Gold Walkley Award to journalists responsible for the ABC Four Corners program ‘Stoking the Fires’, demonstrates the shallowness of Australian public reflection over the Australian role in the coup in Timor Leste.
The Four Corners program became a central element of coup propaganda, helping force the resignation of Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, after accusing him of ordering a ‘hit squad’ to assassinate his political rivals. Although a UN report dismissed these ‘hit squad’ allegations, they have been repeated many times since, helping poison the political climate in the lead up to Timor Leste’s May 2007 elections.
Walkley Award winners, Liz Jackson, Peter Cronau and Lin Buckfield, knew from the start their ‘evidence’ was tainted and lacking in credibility. They also hid important facts from their audience. Because the 19 June program played such an important role in the coup, it deserves some closer analysis. It will be useful to look at the program’s aim, identification of issues, use of sources, and choice (and omission) of events.
The ABC website identifies a “key question” for the program: “What – who – is causing the present turmoil?” This was indeed an important consideration. Pursuing this, however, would have required a broader view of events.
A more specific question was seized on by the program - could evidence be found to implicate Prime Minister Alkatiri in “stoking the fires” of the violence? The coup leaders (Alfredo Reinado, Rai Los), local opposition figures, and much of the Australian establishment (The Australian, Prime Minister Howard, CARE Director Tim Costello, ABC journalists), directly or indirectly, had been urging President Xanana Gusmao to sack Prime Minister Alkatiri.
Yet, as Liz Jackson observed, Alkatiri had the support of the Parliament and it seemed Xanana did not have the constitutional power to remove him. “The only provision that would force the Prime Minister to step aside is if he were charged with a serious criminal offence.” Here was a challenge.
For all the criticism, there was no evidence of criminality by Alkatiri. The Four Corners team set out to ‘fill the gap’. The principal source would be coup participant, Vicente ‘Rai Los’ Da Conceicao. The major political beneficiary of the coup, the then Foreign Minister, Jose Ramos Horta, would provide moral commentary.
Liz Jackson’s commentary thus begins: “Alkatiri is a terrorist, a communist, a Muslim, say the men at this rally” and again “People say of the Prime Minister that he has an arrogant and aloof style and is a Marxist”. The accusations were vague, but insistent.
She was backed up by Jose Ramos Horta, who constantly asserted that Alkatiri should step down because the repeated allegations were damaging: “Can we afford this increasing loss of credibility? … [and later] If I were to receive just 10 percent of the criticisms that the Prime Minister has received … I would have stepped down long ago.” He adds, modestly, that “many” people are saying he should be Prime Minister.
Four Corners then introduces some key sources, but it does so dishonestly. It does not explain these individuals or their roles in the violence. Alfredo Reinado is introduced as a Major in the Military Police, and leader of “a rebel army faction [which] took their cars and guns to the hills in solidarity with the petitioners”. Reinado calls for Alkatiri’s resignation, and for him to face trial for his supposed crimes.
By the time of this interview, however, Reinado has not just ‘gone to the hills’ (as Xanana also put it), but had initiated the 23 May attack on an army team at Fatu Ahi in which, the UN says, “five people were killed and ten injured”. The beginning of the attack and Reinado’s open fire orders were shown on SBS television.
The following day groups linked to Reinado made a concerted attack on army headquarters at Taci Tolu (in Dili), and on the home of army commander Taur Matan Ruak, killing “as many as nine people”, according to the UN. None of this is mentioned in a program supposedly finding out ‘who or what’ is causing the ‘present turmoil’. After the coup, Portuguese police will initiate the arrest of Reinado and have him charged with murder.
The major piece of incriminating evidence against Alkatiri, however, comes from an interview with Vicente ‘Rai Los’ Da Conceicao. Rai Los is introduced as leader of “a group of men who say they were given weapons on the orders of Alkatiri”. Rai Los and the others explain themselves as a ‘Fretilin Secret Security Team’, under the orders of Interior Minister Rogerio Lobato. There is indeed evidence that they have obtained government weapons.
They make the program’s dramatic accusation: they were under orders from Alkatiri and Lobato to “totally destroy petitioners .. to terminate opposition leaders .. to exterminate the military leaders like Major Alfredo [Reinado], Major Tara, Major Tilman” and others.
These claims formed the basis of Liz Jackson’s earlier radio report (‘E Timor Prime Minister denies new 'hit squad' claims’, 10 June) which said that Mari Alkatiri organised:
“a group of armed civilians … [who] shot or bashed four people who were organising a peaceful protest calling for his resignation … [and] that forces loyal to the Prime Minister carried out a massacre of 60 unarmed protesters in April, and dumped their bodies in a mass grave .. incidents [which] appear consistent with accusations this week that Mr Alkatiri had recruited a hit squad with specific orders to eliminate his political opponents.”
In relation to these claims, the UN report of October said that “no massacre occurred” and that it “does not accept that … the Prime Minister gave instructions to Rai Los to eliminate his political opponents”. The massacre rumour was started by coup plotters.
The story by Rai Los was tainted evidence, and the Four Corners team knew it. First, the interview took place on the farm of an opposition family, the Carascalao. Second, Rai Los had come to them fresh from the attack on the army at Taci Tolu.
Liz Jackson refers to, but does not properly explain, Rai Los’s involvement in this incident: “Rai Los says his team had used their weapons in a gun battle with the regular army .. he says four people were killed, and this is why he decided to abandon his loyalty to Mari Alkatiri.”
This is an obvious lie. The Rai Los group participated in the 24 May attack on government loyalists in the army at Taci Tolu. They were not supporting Alkatiri. The UN puts composition of the coalition responsible for the single biggest armed attack during the coup attempt, as “police officers from Liquica District, petitioners and armed civilians of the Rai Los group”.
The Four Corners program, claiming to get to the bottom of the turmoil in the country, has no explanation of the Fatu Ahi and Taci Tolu attacks. Instead, it selectively refers to the shooting of rioting army deserters (‘the petitioners’) and anti-government gang members on April 28, and to the 25 May revenge shooting of a number of police by soldiers.
Four Corners staff have privately argued that they did not call the Rai Los group a “hit squad”, or assert that Alkatiri had set it up. They say the story had pointed out that Rai Los had “no proof” of his claims. They argue, though, they had stronger evidence of Rogerio Lobato’s distribution of arms, a fact born out by the criminal charges and the UN findings.
However the paraphrase ‘hit squad’ has been taken up widely by the media, including the initial ABC report from Liz Jackson. To say the program made no allegations, and just reported the claims of their sources, is to hide behind these sources. Journalists always choose which sources to use, which to elevate and in which context to place them. In this story Four Corners gave great prominence to the ‘hit squad’ claims. That, of course, is what made the program influential.
Finally, distinguishing between the ‘hit squad’ claims and the distribution of arms issue draws attention to another deceit of the program: it did not make this distinction. Rather, it sought to collapse the two issues. Yet they are indeed separate.
The legitimacy (or otherwise) of arming para-militaries to defend the government – when the police force had collapsed, and sections of the police were taking part in the coup – is presumably an issue that will be argued by Rogerio Lobato’s lawyers, as he faces his current charges. It is not an unreasonable argument. Yet the claim that Lobato apparently armed the Rai Los group, which turned against the government and attacked loyalists in the army, certainly raises questions about his judgement.
However the claim that there was a ‘hit squad’ to assassinate political opponents is a different matter to arming irregular forces to defend the government. Four Corners relies on that distinction now; but in June 2006 collapsing the two stories was central to its deception.
The award wining Four Corners program presented a partisan and dishonest picture of the crisis, but a picture consistent with the wish of the Australian Government and corporate leaders to remove the democratically elected head of government of a friendly neighbouring state. As Australians, we need greater reflection on our own role in this affair.
AFP - December 29, 2006
East Timor bids farewell to Kofi Annan
From correspondents in Dili
EAST Timor has bade a fond farewell to departing UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, hailing him as a friend who helped the troubled birth of the tiny nation.
“It is fitting and proper to publicly acknowledge and bid farewell not only to the secretary general, but to a friend. A friend of mine and a friend of the people of Timor-Leste,” Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta said yesterday.
He said a street in the capital Dili would be named in honour of Annan.
In a farewell letter to Annan, Ramos Horta thanked the UN chief for his decisive role in East Timor's emergence as an independent nation after decades of Indonesian rule.
“In your inaugural speech, you said that you wanted to see the East Timor problem of occupation resolved in five years. It was done.”
“In the crisis of 1999, post the popular consultation; amid chaos and a near descent into total carnage, you demonstrated leadership and compassion, to bring it to an end. Thank you,” mr Ramos Horta said.
Militia gangs, which the United Nations has said were recruited and directed by Indonesia's military, went on an arson and killing spree before and after the East Timorese voted for independence in a UN-sponsored ballot in 1999.
The Prime Minister also invited Mr Annan and his wife to visit East Timor and welcomed his successor, former South Korean foreign minister Ban Ki-Moon.
“I also warmly welcome Ban Ki-Moon, friend and regional neighbour. He has a tough road ahead of him, but he knows he can count on our support,” he said.
AAP – Sunday December 31, 06:09 AM
'Evil' meddling could trigger unrest: PM
Prime Minister John Howard says China and Taiwan's meddling in Australia's Pacific backyard could trigger up to 20 years of unrest in the region.
Australia would face the task of helping restore order to nations such as Fiji, East Timor, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, Mr Howard said.
"I can understand Australians saying, 'Well, look, let's forget about it and leave them to their own devices. Don't waste any money'," Mr Howard told News Limited newspapers. "But that is the wrong approach because they will fall into the hands of the evil from other countries. Certainly there's a bit of a battle between China and Taiwan."
Mr Howard said the 2007 federal poll would reflect which party would deal better with future issues, domestically and internationally.
In an end-of-year interview, the prime minister said key issues with long-term energy needs included nuclear power and climate change.
Mr Howard also said a CSIRO report concluded the drought was part of a long-term cycle, not global warming; Australia would probably not send more troops to Iraq; and women had "moved" on from feminism and were having more babies.
NZPA - Saturday December 30, 2006
New Year Honours: Modest Navy hero who saved soldiers
Navy officer Wayne Burtton was just doing his job when he saved two wounded government soldiers in the East Timor capital of Dili this year.
Lieutenant Commander Burtton says he is honoured his work as a peacekeeper, part of the New Zealand contribution there, is being recognised by his being made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
The Aucklander was serving in East Timor when he was caught unarmed in the middle of a firefight between rebels and soldiers. Rescuing two wounded soldiers, he drove them to a first-aid post as the firefight continued around them.
Admitting he had been in danger, he said he was no hero and that "circumstance" put him in that situation.
"Our training essentially takes over from there and you become situationally aware of what's going on around you."
Commander Burtton also dealt with the aftermath of a machete attack in which a mother and her five children were murdered in Dili, near the airport where some of the rampaging gangs were on the loose.
In Navy Today soon after, Commander Burtton wrote: "The saddest thing was the mother had attempted to lock herself with two children in the bathroom. When she was killed she was hugging one of the children."
Evidence and material on the massacre was handed over to the local police. Commander Burtton's award citation also mentions his work protecting the NZ Ambassador in Dili until a company of soldiers arrived, setting up accommodation and vehicles for the company of soldiers, and setting up a first aid post at a refugee site.
"I am very, very happy with it," he said.
Transcript of UNMIT Press Conference
Date: 28th December 2006
Venue: UNMIT Conference Room
Time: 11:00hrs – 12:00 noon
Speakers: SRSG Atul Khare, DSRSG Eric Tan, Commander JTF631 Brigadier Malcolm Rerden
Topic: Elections and Security issues
Good morning everyone. We will begin with SRSG Khare speaking, then DSRSG Tan. Police Commissioner Rodolfo Tor will be joining us – he has just been caught up for a little while; and also Brigadier Mal Rerden is here if you have got any questions about the International Security Forces. So, straight over to the SRSG.
SRSG Atul Khare:
Thank you very much all of you for coming here for what is the last press conference for 2006. Before I say anything else, I wanted to convey my best wishes to all of you, and through you to the people of Timor-Leste, in the hope that next year – 2007 – will be a year of peace, democracy, stability, reconciliation and prosperity for Timor-Leste and for its people.
In my first press conference and the press conference last week, I had insisted that the forth-coming elections which are to be held in Timor-Leste must be such as to promote national reconciliation and social cohesion. In order for these two objectives to be achieved, the elections must - and I underline that word must – be independent, free, fair, without any violence or fear of violence, and must be such that the results of those elections can be accepted by all.
In the last ten days that I have been here, I have met most of the leaders of this great country - Honourable President Gusmao, Prime Minister Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta, President of National Parliament Dr. Francisco “Lu Olo” Gutterres, first Deputy Prime Minister Engineer Estanislau da Silva, Minister of State Dra. Ana Pessoa, the Honourable Bishop of Dili, the former Prime Minister Secretary-General of Fretelin Dr. Mari Alkatiri – and I have found that all of them believe that the elections must be such as I have described.
We have noted that the Honourable President has promulgated the three laws approved by the National Parliament: the Law on the Autonomization of the Juridical Regime of the CNE and STAE, the Law on the Election of the National Parliament, and the Law on the Election of the President of the Republic. The promulgation of these three laws, I believe, is an essential first step on the path of enabling credible elections. I believe that further clarification of these laws in respect of process and procedures will contribute significantly to Timor-Leste’s growth as a democratic, viable and peaceful state.
Another important step in consolidating the path for free and fair elections is also the second report of the Independent Electoral Certification Team. This team, as you know, is separate from UNMIT; it is independent of UNMIT. It was appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations following the description in paragraph 125 of the Report to Security Council of 8th August 2006. The second report is presently in English; it is being translated into Tetum and Portuguese and will be made available to you soon. The team would also visit Timor-Leste on a regular basis and is likely to visit in the middle of January again. Separately, UNMIT - as it is an integrated mission along with the UN funds and programmes particularly UNDP - will continue to provide assistance for the conduct of free and fair elections. The most important aspect of course is assuring security and UNPol are making [are drawing up] an operational security plan to ensure security throughout the country in the campaigning period, during elections, during the counting of votes and of course in the immediate post-electoral period.
We will also be providing logistical support to the electoral and the voting process; and of course we would be discussing with the government and other international stakeholders whatever assistance would be required to ensure credible elections in 2007. UNMIT has also deployed electoral experts in all the districts. There will be three electoral experts who will be working closely with CNE, STAE and the people of those districts for all aspects of elections including voter education, assistance in preparation of registration lists and so on. Of course the deployment of these electoral experts required that we should also deploy the UNPol first, which is also important for ensuring security. I am very happy that eight UNPol have been deployed in all the 12 districts of Timor-Leste. This is, as I told my Deputy SRSG for Security Sector and Rule of Law Mr. Eric Tan, that this is the best Christmas present which he and his team have given to me. And on that point I would pass the microphone to Mr. Tan to speak a bit about UN Police, its deployment and what it has been doing.
DSRSG Eric Tan:
Thank you very much and good morning to everyone. As SRSG has mentioned, the presence of UNPol in the districts outside Dili is a very significant one. Their presence in the districts outside Dili allows us to have a very good sense of the security situation there. This is especially crucial, as the SRSG has mentioned, in the light of the coming elections. In those districts outside Dili, UNPol will be working together with PNTL officers and will assist in strengthening capacity wherever necessary. With the successful deployment of UNPol throughout the country, we are in the desired position to achieve our mandated task of restoring and maintaining public security throughout Timor-Leste. Nonetheless, Dili remains the location, the district, where we have most of the UNPol.
Let me now then concentrate a little bit on Dili itself. Security in Dili continues to improve. UNPol have made adjustments to their concept of security operations, and these changes have proved to be effective. Such effectiveness is very visible especially in two areas which I will elaborate: Firstly, with regards to how UNPol responds to reports made by the public regarding incidents such as fighting, unruly behaviour or other threats to public security. And secondly, by providing security during events that draw a large public attendance. Let me illustrate these two with some examples. In the case of the first visible area – responding to incidents – there were recently some incidents between groups within the Santa Cruz area. The public called the emergency line 112, and UNPol responded very quickly adding on with the response of formed police units. As a result, the situation was returned to normal very quickly without any incident of injury or other damage to property. We are very appreciative to the members of the public for keeping us informed of the areas where they feel threatened or they feel UNPol can assist them and we encourage them to continue. Another example is in the area of security for public events, and the example I will use is the recent horseracing event that took place. This event lasted almost an entire week, and attracted a very large crowd of people who were either there for the event or just to watch and enjoy themselves. UNPol was there and there was one small incident but other than that the whole event passed very smoothly and very peacefully. The smooth execution of such public events is very important because this is another step towards a very normal and very progressive society. So, this underlines the UNPol concept of operations, as we keep adjusting them, will continue to be stronger and stronger and continue to serve the people of Timor-Leste as well.
Thank you very much.
Question and Answer Session:
Guido from Associated Press:
I have three questions. I would like to address this question to Mr. Eric Tan. With regards to the recent arrest of the man who was involved in charges of sexual abuse, is it the man [Sergio] who was arrested in 2001 when he was charged with the rape of a Spanish woman? Is it him who was also part of fugitives; also an escapee from prison with Mr. Alfredo? This is my first question. The second question has to do with the provision of security in the area of Bebonuk where the government’s warehouse for rice is located. There have been some complaints by Ms. Carma Cruz from the Ministry of Labour and Community Reinsertion; she has reported this matter to UNPol but there has been no response from UNPol – what is your comment on this? Thirdly, in regard to Railos – there has been some information that he was shot at 02:00 a.m. this morning; what is the provision of security to Railos?
DSRSG Eric Tan:
Thank you. There was one individual arrested and we have sent a press statement out. He is a suspect involved in some rape cases in certain parts of Dili. We do not know of any other connections to other previous cases, but of course, once the investigation runs its course the truth will come out and you can be assured that gradually there is a lot of attention being paid to examine the information behind this case. We have to remember that whenever there is any suspect arrested, the investigations must be thorough and establish the facts related to the current arrest but of course if there is any cause to examine further the previous incidents or other connections, this will be done.
To your second question about the Bebonuk warehouse, yes I am sure UNPol is aware and are taking certain measures, but I would like to announce here that we are actually taking a broader view over protection of certain important locations in Dili. This broader study will come up with a list of critical points for UNPol to be present or some permanent security to be present. This list cannot be too long otherwise we will tie down too many UNPols from other duties. So, we have to be very careful about making the list and at the same time adjust as the situation changes in case there are more places or some places that we are presently looking after become less of a security concern.
On your third question about Railos, we have received some reports regarding the very early morning shootings. Apparently it was directed at his house and there are already investigation teams there with people to collect evidence of bullets and forensics. Such activities cannot be tolerated especially as in this case it may, as the SRSG has mentioned before, stop justice from being done, so therefore we must take all necessary measures to protect not just the citizens of Timor-Leste but in particular some individuals who will be involved in seeing that justice is done. And in such cases, when either key witnesses or persons who have been indicted are under threat UNPol will definitely take measures to protect them and to make sure that they will appear in court when they are required to.
Eduardo from Lusa:
My question is about another issue – in 2000/2001, I am not sure; Osama Bin Laden put the United Nations Mission in East Timor in the front line of the threats. Another issue, Prime Minister Ramos-Horta conveyed a Christmas message to Osama Bin Laden. How do you look at it?
SRSG Atul Khare:
Thank you. It is indeed true that in 2000, 2001 and also in 2002, there were some reports which were attributed to Osama Bin Laden or to his group which indicated that he wished to take action against UNTAET and later on UNMISET for having contributed to the separation of Timor-Leste from Indonesia. I have seen the message of His Excellency Prime Minister Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta that was made in his capacity as a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and therefore obviously as a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize he called for peace on the part of all. I see in his message he has also asked Osama Bin Laden to refrain from terrorism, and as you are aware, the United Nations and member states of the United Nations, particularly the United Nations counter-terrorism committee, are working very closely to deter terrorist activities and to try and ensure that terrorist acts globally can be addressed. So, like the Honourable Prime Minister Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta, we also hope that 2007 will see a vanquishing of terrorism all around the world and instead of terrorism we will have more reconciliation, dialogue and discussion. Of course, you would remember that I have always said that reconciliation requires justice and that point holds true in this case also.
Joni from Timor Post:
Mr. SRSG, you have mentioned that you have met with the leaders of the country in preparation for the upcoming elections and that they are all committed that these elections should be free and fair, but at the same time we have the case of Major Alfredo. At the same time, there is a need for justice. If this case is not settled in a proper manner, will this be a threat or a challenge for the free and fair elections to be held?
SRSG Atul Khare:
Thank you. You will remember in my first conference when a question had been asked about this particular case, and in the second press conference also, I had said that I do not like to comment on individual cases because that is an issue of the justice sector - the court to pronounce - and not for UNMIT to pronounce. In my second press conference, I had also said that I hope that the efforts of the government supported by the International Security Forces – facilitated by the International Security Forces – for dialogue would actually lead ultimately to justice prevailing in this case. In fact, it is not only one case, I would suggest that the entire report of the Commission of Inquiry and its recommendations and also the fact that the ad-hoc committee of the National Parliament is currently considering them. These recommendations have to be implemented, and in my next press conference we will talk in detail about what UNMIT can do to support the efforts for the implementation of those recommendations. But I must also add that all the leaders of Timor-Leste whom I have met have told me that they are in favour of justice and that impunity will not be allowed in Timor-Leste. I would like to praise their commitment in this regard.
Mr. SRSG, you mentioned that the elections should be free and fair, but now because we have the concern with regards to the weapons that are still in civilian hands, how far has the collection of the weapons gone – the efforts made of the International Security Forces and UNPol – to collect the weapons from civilians? The second question, we have information that the electoral legislation has been put in place – that is good, but we also have information that the political parties have started approaching those who are not part of the F-FDTL petitioners like Salsina’s group to attract their attention to join their political party. So, what is the view of UNMIT in this regard?
SRSG Atul Khare:
Let me take the second question first. UNMIT will assist the authorities of Timor-Leste and the people of Timor-Leste to provide the necessary conditions for free, fair and credible elections. So, in a way it is like somebody who prepares the soccer ground - football ground – before the players can play, but it is not a player. And therefore, while I am happy to talk about logistical support, about the need for security and what we are doing, I would refrain from commenting upon individual political parties.
On the first question, I agree that we have to undertake many more actions to ensure that not only are there no weapons in civilian hands but that people feel, people believe, that no such weapons remain in civilian hands. The Deputy SRSG Mr. Tan and the Police Commissioner Mr. Tor are working very closely with the Ministry of Interior to look into these issues and to find, to assist, in getting a proper inventory of the weapons. So once this process is completed, some time in January, we will of course devote one of our press conferences to this important issue. But I must also add that if the public has any information which can lead to recovery of any weapons from civilians, please let us know. This information will be treated with confidentially; it will not lead to any threats against the informant. So, together we will be able to then control this issue of weapons which are in civilian hands.
Cesar from Kyodo news:
This has been a question asked to me by the people, that how can you ensure that the UNPol in the districts will do their work properly, given the situation of Mr. Alfredo as a fugitive – he is a wanted man; he is against the law – so will there be any action to arrest him in the districts? Because as an agency of law and order, the police must do their job properly, so will there be any action taken to arrest Mr. Alfredo by UNPol in the districts? And another question, all the fugitives - all the escapees from the jail – [will be treated] the same way; but will there be any exception for Mr. Alfredo’s case?
SRSG Atul Khare:
Again, as I said before, I do not comment on individual cases. That is the work of the sovereign government of Timor-Leste. But I do believe that justice has to prevail; I have said this again and again. And I trust that all actions by the government, supported by the international partners including UNMIT, would lead to such a result. As of now, my immediate priority is ensuring law and order and security of the people so that elections can be credible – that is the immediate priority. And therefore, most of our resources are being devoted to that priority.
Cesar from Kyodo news:
This is also about how to respond to incidents, to stop them. I talked to some local police officers, they told me that in order to stop the incident is not to respond to the incident on the spot but on how to have information on who did it; but so far the UNPol does not do this. What UNPOl does is just stops the incident on the spot, but UNPol does not have the knowledge about who creates the incident. So, this is the problem.
SRSG Atul Khare:
Thank you. I believe that both are important. Immediate action like that taken in the last ten days is very important to ensure that the fight between these gangs does not escalate into injury or even sometimes death. In fact when I returned to your great country after two years on 17th of December, I was saddened that just a few hours before my plane landed here there had been a death in Comoro in one such fighting. At least with the plan of responding quickly, immediately, in reasonable force, it has ensured that there has been no such event over the last roughly twelve days that I have been here. And the credit for this goes to DSRSG Tan and Commissioner Tor who has joined us, because we have changed the operational concept to respond quickly.
On the second issue of information, I think Commissioner Tor does have a lot of information that is operational information, which obviously we would not want to share in this open meeting. But information can never be sufficient, and therefore, I again repeat my request through you to the people of Timor-Leste to consider UNPol as your friends, in fact to consider the police even the PNTL after it has been reformed as your friends, and let us know what is the information circulating in a particular part of the city so that the police can serve you better.
I would like to address this question to Mr. Eric Tan and Commander Rerden. Yesterday, Prime Minister Ramos-Horta went to the Rapid Intervention Unit (UIR) of PNTL headquarters. The UIR members lamented/complained that all their equipment has been confiscated by the Australian forces some time in July. They complained that soon in January they will be reactivated to duty and so they would need their equipment such as boots and other items, so what is your response?
DSRSG Eric Tan:
As you know the screening of PNTL, which includes the special units is ongoing. To date we have more than 220 PNTL already screened, and these have returned to duty alongside with UNPol officers. We have received requests from the Prime Minister and the leaders of Timor-Leste to reprioritise the screening for UIR and we agree that there are many benefits to doing so. Once the screening of the UIR is done, there will of course be efforts to return certain equipment and more importantly, a clear mechanism for them to return to work together with UNPol so that they can contribute just like the other community police of PNTL who have been contributing to law and order. To make best use of the skills of the UIR they will probably be working alongside one of the formed police units of UNPol. When that happens of course, their equipment, whatever they need, will be returned. Similar, with the rest of PNTL, the weapons may not be returned until a later stage.
I would like to take this opportunity to stress that the screening process must be done very carefully and very thoroughly. There must never be any doubt in the minds of the public that PNTL, they return to duty, have been thoroughly looked at and they are considered to have no allegations against them and they are ready to return back to work. Therefore, we have opened up the entire process to any organisation or any member of the public who has any reason against any PNTL to provide us the information so that we will invest this time well and when they return to duty they will be able to do their work properly. This investment in time to be thorough therefore is very important at this stage.
Brigadier Mal Rerden:
Just to concur that the weapons and equipment of PNTL, including units like UIR, are being held by the International Security Forces. They were secured in June at the request of the Government of Timor-Leste, and that equipment will be available for members of PNTL that have gone through the screening process under UNPol. The screening process is a very important part of the methodology for confirming the suitability of individuals for a policing function and all members need to go through that. When we have confirmation from UNPol that individuals have gone through that process, we will issue them the necessary equipment from the store that we hold.
SRSG Atul Khare:
Thank you Brigadier General. Any other questions?
A complaint from Guido from Associated Press. We appreciate the press conferences of UNMIT and we also receive the press releases from UNMIT. But at the bottom of the press release there is a contact number to call for additional information, but whenever we call there is never an answer. The phone rings, but there is no response. So we then miss our deadlines for going to press with our stories.
SRSG Atul Khare:
We will take action on this. Thank you for bringing it to our notice. In fact in the New Year you might have many innovative changes on the UNMIT website also. Apart from the press releases, we will try and provide you with some nice photographs, which you can download and use provided you credit the UNMIT press and information office. Apart from the phone number, we will also give an e-mail address because sometimes it is much faster to send an email than for a person to respond back within an hour or maximum two hours. And finally, I do not consider this a complaint; I consider all these as mechanisms of improving the relationship between UNMIT and the press. The UNMIT PIO will also make available to you an email – it is called firstname.lastname@example.org, but that email will be presented to you next week in our press conference. So, if you have any suggestions which can improve the efficiency, the productivity not only of the type which is related to the press, any suggestion which you have which can lead to betterment of UNMIT’s assistance to the people of Timor-Leste, just drop us an email and we will take action.
I would like to address this question to Brigadier Rerden. At the request of the government, you provided security to Major Alfredo when he came to meet with Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak. Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced that Alfredo will soon be moved from Suai to another area. I would like to find out if you have any information, whether you have been informed by the government on this plan of the removal of Alfredo from the border areas to the central part of Timor-Leste?
Brigadier Mal Rerden:
At this stage the dialogue that is occurring between the government of Timor–Leste and Major Reinado is one that is being controlled with Brigadier Ruak as the appointed representative of the government. Those negotiations are between the government and Major Reinado. At this stage, there has been no request of the International Security Forces for assistance in this regard, and until there is such a request then I do not expect to be included because I am not a part of the negotiations.
The negotiations between the government of Timor-Leste and Major Reinado are continuing. The details of those negotiations are not known to me because they are between the government and Major Reinado. At this stage there has been no request to the International Security Forces by the government in regards to the issue of containment. As I said last week, this dialogue is an important one that needs to be given time so that the situation can be properly explained and understood and so that the parameters for any possible containment are fully developed and explained by the government when appropriate.
[Does is it mean that the containment of Major Alfredo to be allocated to other places has to be made known to you?]
No. What I am saying is that the negotiations at the moment are between the government and Major Reinado. The International Security Forces are not a part of those negotiations. We were asked to provide support for the meting at Tasi Tolu last week, and we provided that.
SRSG Atul Khare:
So, thank you very much and wish you a very happy new year, and see you next Thursday.
Por Malai Azul 2 à(s) 18:54
JOAO MARIANO SALDANHA, PH.D
AT THE OCCASION OF PARTY LAUNCHING
Venture Hotel, Bidau-Lesidere, Dili, 18 Dezembro 2007
Dear East Timorese friends,
From Memo to Tutuala, from north coast to south coast
In Oe-Cussi and Atauro,
Today we gather here to launch formally Partidu Republikanu (PR) in
this young country, Timor-Leste. Through a long process, the Court of
Appeal has registered formally Partidu Republikanu on 12 October
2006. Therefore, PR can make preparations to participate in the
Elections of 2007.
This launching is part of socialization of the party. As part of
consolidation of the party, yesterday, 17 October 2006, we had the
First National Leadership Conference which 62 party leaders from
National Directive Council, nine District Directive Councils and four
mass organizations of the party, such as Republican Youth, Women,
Workers, and Farmers participated in the conference that was held at
Colegio Paolo VI, Dili, Timor-Leste.
Why Partidu Republikanu was established? When Timor-Leste became
independent, we have started a new chapter in our history. We dreamed
that the new country will protect and oversee all East Timorese, to
work together to build peace, democracy, and prosperity in this new
nation. We also dream that the new nation will be a country of
opportunity for all its sons and daughters.
However, all these dreams have evaporated because of many displaced
East Timorese in Dili and in districts. More than 40 people died
because of stabbing, arrowed, or shot to death. Some have moved to
districts and have to start a new life. All of them suffer, loss of
property, and like us in this room, asking when does this crisis end?
We are saddened because this crisis caused the disintegration of the
National Police (PNTL), the country almost broken into lorosae-
loromunu (east-west), trust to F-FDTL worriors hit bottom rock, heavy
economic contraction, trust to democratic institutions declined, and
almost we are on the verge of civil war. In addition, many have lost
jobs and poverty is increasing.
Because of this crisis, nowadays, peace and prosperity is like jewel,
which is very hard to find in this country.
Dear my East Timorese friends,
The dreams to protect and oversee (fo mahon ho tau matan) all East
Timorese, a country of opportunity for all East Timorese, and to
reverse the crisis strengthened the drive to form Partidu
Republikanu. This new party would like to work together with others
to rebuild the nation. We work together under the light of people's
voice because Partidu Republikanu believes in the adage, Vox Populi
Suprema Lex or people's voice is the highest law. We must be
sensitive to feelings of the majority, to their believes, to their
culture, and to their common interests.
On 30 December 2005, a number of young East Timorese leaders joined
in a meeting in Dili to share views, experience, and perceptions for
the future of this country. We concluded, at the time, that this new
country will face a great challenge because of discrimination and
exclusivism. This situation needs to be reversed, which otherwise
will create tremendous problem in the future. We all agreed that to
reverse the course, we need an instrument that can change the
conditions from within the system. That is to establish a political
party as an instrument to contribute to the national development that
is inclusive and that peace and prosperity will prevail.
However, different from NGO and company, political party must gather
many support and it cannot be founded by a small group. Therefore, we
started by establishing a Preparatory Commission with two main
agendas, namely to discuss with more people and prepare to legalize
the party at the court.
In subsequent meetings of the Preparatory Commission, different names
emerged for the new party. In the end, we settled for Partidu
Republikanu and abbreviated as PR. Republikanu because we want to
strengthen this republic as what our founding fathers and deceased
worriors' want, not a monarchy. We also want this republic to be
democratic state, not a dictatorial republic or a monostate republic.
We also want a republic that can protect and oversee (fo mahon and
tau matan) to all East Timorese.
The key objectives of PR are threefold. First, political objective is
to create a democracy that guarantees justice, equality, and
tolerance in Timor-Leste. We want to build a nation that can fo mahon
ho tau matan to all East Timorese, not only to protect and oversee
one group or one region of this country. All the sons and daughters
of this country need attention and support of the state.
The economic objective of PR is to promote industry and trade that
benefit all East Timorese. We want to promote economic development
that guarantees prosperity to all East Timorese. Briefly, we want
this nation to be a land of opportunity (nasaun ho oportunidade), not
a country of despair and insecurity.
The socio-cultural objective of PR is that PR wants a society that
values their moral and cultural values. We would like to uphold East
Timorese customs and traditions and adopt other ideas and customs to
enrich and strengthen our society.
Therefore, the symbol of Partidu Republikanu is a man tying a scarf
and blow a buffalo horn, which symbolizes the identity of the East
Timorese. Blowing horn means to deliver a message or people's voice.
Buffalo is a cattle that has social and economic values to East
Timorese. It is a strong animal, which means that PR has power to
The flag is white with a green circle at the center and letters PR in
yellow are written at the center of the circle. White means clean
hearts and minds. Green means progress (development) and protection
of environment. Circle at the center means target. PR letters in
yellow means peace. Therefore, white flag, with green circle at the
center with yellow letters at the center of the circle means that the
Partidu Republikanu with clean hearts and minds undertake development
with clear objectives in peaceful situation to achieve prosperity.
Dear my East Timorese friends,
If trusted by people, Partidu Republikanu has six priorities to
develop this nation, security, employment creation, law and order,
education, health, decentralization, and gender equality. In security
area, we would like to professionalize the police force (PNTL) by
conducting more training and clear division of labor between
political appointment and PNTL Command. This is important to not
politicizing the police force as happened in the recent crisis. We
will combat violence from all sources because PR is a non-violence
party and believes in pacific ways to achieve its objectives. In the
area of defense, PR will use diplomacy as the instrument to defend
the nation. When diplomacy is good, defense also is good because we
do not have enemies, especially from neighboring countries. When
diplomacy is good, if we have difficulties, our friends will come for
rescue, such as what happened with the recent crisis when Australia,
New Zealand, Portugal, and Malaysia helped us to restore order in
Timor-Leste. We will promote international trade, sports, and culture
to strengthen the relationship of our country with other countries.
Therefore, border districts such as Bobonaro and Suai and Oe-Cussi
Enclave will learn Indonesian language at schools to facilitate
trade, culture, and defense of the nation.
PR also would like to encourage dialogue between F-FDTL Command and
the Petitioners to address the issue of petitioners once and for all.
At the same time, PR also wants to see a dialogue between F-FDTL
Command and Major Alfredo Reinado and his group to address this issue
as well. On the other hand, we would like to create a defence force
with international prestige by redefining the role of the F-FDTL to
focus on emergency, peace keeping in the world, and natural disaster.
Because discrimination first emerged within the F-FDTL, PR plans to
create a Promotion Council to address the issues of promotion of
soldiers and officers. In addition, we also want to create a military
tribunal to solve problems that arise within the F-FDTL. We also want
to have clear division of labor between the Ministry of Defence and
the F-FDTL Command so that to avoid politization of the armed forces
or denigrate their prestige.
Dear my East Timorese friends,
This crisis was worsened by the involvement of many youths. They do
not have jobs and have nothing to rely on. If ever trusted by the
people, PR would like to create jobs for the youth through
agriculture development, rural infrastructure creation, private
sector development, and macroeconomic stability. Agriculture is
important because the majority of East Timorese live in this sector.
We will create more opportunities for training for the youngsters and
build agriculture infrastructure as well as a source of job creation.
Therefore, we will allocate at least 20% of the national budget to
agriculture sector. We would like to complement the agriculture
sector development with development of rural infrastructure,
especially water and sanitation, electricity, roads, schools, and
health centers such that the rural population can have access to the
PR also would like to attract investors to create jobs and raise
income of Timor-Leste. Therefore, we will fight red tape and bring
down taxes to zero for capital and basic need goods. To strengthen
the private sector, PR will nurture competition, especially in
telecommunications industry to bring down prices and provide better
services to the consumers. We will work hard to bring down the
electricity cost to lower the cost of production and low-income
families can have access to electricity. PR also will work hard to
bring pipeline from Timor Sea to create jobs, raise income, develop
the infrastructure, and strengthening defence.
We also plan to regulate the labor market such that Timor-Leste will
only import skilled labor, such as technical and managerial skills.
This is important to protect low skill jobs for East Timorese.
Dear my East Timorese friends,
The National Parliament does not listen the people's voice, they do
not trust the state institutions, lack of coordination of state
institutions because suspicions against each other. Therefore, PR
plans to strengthen the capacity of the national parliament so that
the parliamentarians understand and relate themselves to the needs of
the common people.
PR plans to decentralize activities to districts and sub-districts by
having direct elections of district and sub-district administrators.
This is important so that people can know their likely leaders in the
future. To facilitate decentralization, we also plan to encourage
banking and financial institutions to have operations in rural areas.
Decentralization will also be conducted to ministries and divisions.
We need to trust the ministries to make decisions, including
allocation and expenditures of the state finances. We also need to
decentralize state activities to the private sector by fast tracking
procurement process, including bidding process that is transparent,
fair, and competitive. Therefore, significant reforms will be
implemented in procurement if people entrust these reforms to PR.
Our view is that decentralization also will help budget execution.
Today and in the recent past, budget execution is slow because of
centralization and red tape.
Nevertheless, decentralization will be followed with monitoring and
evaluation. Therefore, PR plans to establish an audit court to
monitor and audit state programs projects.
My Timorese friends who I respect,
Our judicial system meets great challenges because they lack
integrity and facility to work. People do not trust the judges,
prosecutors, police, and prisons. Therefore, we need reforms in this
sector as well as supporting them with adequate tools and equipments
to undertake their jobs properly.
To contribute to national unity, PR will criminalize discriminatory
words, such east-west (lorosae-loromunu).
We also recognize private land ownership, customary ownership, and
institutional ownership. Land, which is used by the Church for social
objectives, state will recognize.
PR will erase analfabetism in 2015 for young people. We also want
that our schools have good quality. However, state alone cannot do
everything. Therefore, decentralization also is needed in education
sector. The government must support private schools that have
quality, particularly the Catholic schools.
PR wants Tetum as the number one official language in Timor-Leste.
All official documents must be written in Tetum before translating
into Portuguese and the working languages. To help the youth, private
sector, and government to participate in globalization, PR plans to
promote English as the third official language in Timor-Leste, along
with Tetum and Portuguese.
Religion and ethics are important for the growth of kids and youth.
Therefore, religion and ethics must be taught in schools since
primary school through university.
In health sector, PR wants to eradicate malaria by 2015. We will
start the pilot project in Atauro island. We also want to reduce
maternal and child mortality.
PR will make efforts to help internally displaced East Timorese to
return to their houses so that they can re-start their lives. The
government must support them through security in hamlets and
materials for reconstructing their houses.
Because of the long conflict, there are many widows and orphans in
this country who need state must support. PR will also support the
veterans of resistance for their transition to normal lives. Some
have just been recognized as heroes by the President of the Republic,
some are doing business, and others do not have jobs and skills. The
state must do more to help them in transition to normal lives.
According to Census 2004, 49.3% of population in Timor-Leste are
women. However, most of women stay at homes to cook, take care of
children, and laundry. If PR gets the support of the people, we will
create a Ministry of Gender and Minority Affairs with the objective
to increase the participation of women in politics, public
administration, military, and other sectors. In addition, this
ministry also will oversee the minority groups, like religion and
other minorities because we want a state that can protect and oversee
all East Timorese.
PR wants to see the elections of 2007 free and fair such that
political parties, including PR can compete. This will allow people
to choose freely the parties based on their programs and competence
of leaders. PR believes that 2-3% electoral threshold is reasonable.
We also want to count the votes on the spot. In addition, we also
want that the National Electoral Commission (NEC) supervise and
monitor the elections. Therefore, the NEC must have its own funding
and has presence in all ballot boxes so that the elections can be
free and fair. On the other hand, the Technical Secretariate for the
Electoral Administration (STAE) must be an independent body and
depends only to NEC.
However, the precondition for the 2007 Elections is security. If we
push for the elections soon, we will risk security and compromise the
liberty of the voters because they will not have chance to determine
their choices freely.
As a new party, we would to say that Partidu Republikanu is preparing
for the Elections whether it is sooner or later.
My East Timorese friends who I respect,
I would like to ask you why choose Partidu Republikanu? Because PR
has a clear priority in national development. As a new party, PR
wants to look to the future by respecting our history. We respect
Fretilin as the pioneer party for independence. We also respect CNRM
and CNRT, which unified the Timorese in the struggle for
independence. In addition, we also respect FALENTIL as the fighters
We want to look into the future to a country that can protect and
oversee all East Timorese. Therefore, who are marginalized
politically, economically, and culturally, Partidu Republikanu open
its doors, eyes, and hearings for them.
Our policy is to reach our objectives in pacific ways and non-
violent. Therefore, we will work with all components of the society,
work together with the UN, ASEAN, CPLP, and democratic countries to
promote peace, democracy, and prosperity in Timor-Leste and in the
Finally, PR can implement these programs because PR have the
competence. If we do not have competence in certain areas, we will
work with other parties and other components of the East Timorese
society to fill this gap.
Once again, PR wants to fo mahon ho tau matan ba Timor oan hotu in
peace, democracy, and prosperity.
Thank you very much.
Por Malai Azul 2 à(s) 18:47
The Southeast Asian Times
By John Loizou
Dili, December 27: The tapping of a river to irrigate about 600 hectares to grow rice with mung and soya bean as subsidiary crops would not normally draw much attention in modern Southeast Asia.
But in East Timor the opening of an-about-$US1.4-million-project based on the building of a four-kilometre-long canal to draw water from the Karau Ulun River, in the Manufahi district about five hours drive south of the capital Dili, shows the determination of the ruling Fretilin Government to eventually ensure ‘’food security” for the country’s about one million mostly malnourished predominately rural citizens.
It means the river that flows into the Timor Sea all-year-round can be used to provide water for about 200 lowland subsistence farmers in a mountainous country that is dominated first by a prolonged dry and then the intense “wet” of a western monsoon.
The project was built in about 14 months with money provided by the World Bank and managed by East Timor’s government.
The opening by Deputy Prime Minister and Agricultural Minister Estanlislau Maria Alexio da Silva was particularly symbolic because it went ahead despite the violence that forced as many as 150,000 people in the newly-independent republic from their homes and the resignation of Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri.
The farmers, who each work allotments of about 2.5 hectares and who, like most of East Timor’s farmers do not use fertiliser, would now be given technical help to ensure they could make proper use of the water, the Agricultural Minister said.
Although he did not say so, a major benefit of the project should be the elimination for the farmers and their families of the so-called “hungry season” that traditionally prevails throughout East Timor and the islands of neighbouring eastern Indonesia between November and March each year.
And similar irrigation projects have been undertaken on the high Maliano plateau of central-west East Timor can be expected to do the same.
Maize — the word used by the Spanish for the crop the conquistadors found growing throughout the Americas rather than the corn of North America — predominates as the staple crop of East Timor’s highlands, but since independence, the government, with help from the United Nations agency, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, has built public grain silos and supported domestic rice production with help from Japan.
As Lecturer in Political Economy at the University of Sydney Tim Anderson explains: “Despite a lack of resources, a focus on rice production is now embedded in the country’s food security policy.”
Anderson, a regular visitor to East Timor, uses the latest United Nations Development Programme report that shows that domestic rice production rose from 37,000 tonnes in 1998 to 65,000 tonnes in 2004 to support his argument.
The programme means less dependence on imported rice — from Viet Nam, Thailand and Indonesia — although the midyear crisis has disrupted regular supplies.
The East Timor government acknowledges the need for national “food security” in a comprehensive policy statement tabled in the country’s parliament.
“The main causes of food insecurity are not only due to the widespread practice of subsistence agriculture, but also to the lack of alternative sources of income which result in low purchasing power and lack of access to food. As a result of insufficient use of inputs and improved technology, production and productivity are very low,” it says.
“However, this productive sector has special importance because it is the main source of food, employment and income for two-thirds of the population, mainly for those who live in rural areas.”
The statement says the Food Security Policy will not only form the basis of East Timor meeting the Millennium Development Goals set by the General Assembly of the United Nations but will also “materialise” the government’s policy to eradicate hunger in all its forms.
The statement accepts the definition of food security provided by the World Food Summit 1996 as the basis for East Timor’s policy.
This is: “All people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food according to their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.
It means conditions necessary are:
Access: All people must have physical, social and economic access to sufficient food. Major means of access are subsistence food production and income from employment and sales;
Availability: Food supplies must be sufficient to adequately feed the population;
Stability: Access and availability must be ensured at all times and provisions must be made to cater for seasonal supply variations and production shortfalls in the wake of droughts or other natural disaster;
and Effective utilisation: The food consumed must be safe and nutritious.
Por Malai Azul 2 à(s) 18:24
Obrigado pela solidariedade, Margarida!
Mensagem inicial - 16 de Maio de 2006
"Apesar de frágil, Timor-Leste é uma jovem democracia em que acreditamos. É o país que escolhemos para viver e trabalhar. Desde dia 28 de Abril muito se tem dito sobre a situação em Timor-Leste. Boatos, rumores, alertas, declarações de países estrangeiros, inocentes ou não, têm servido para transmitir um clima de conflito e insegurança que não corresponde ao que vivemos. Vamos tentar transmitir o que se passa aqui. Não o que ouvimos dizer... "