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30 October 2010

Many foreigners enter the country illegally

Diario Nacional, October 28, 2010 language source: Tetun - MP Aderito Hugo da Costa from the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) said many foreign nationals had entered the country illegally due to a lack of controls by the Immigration Department police officers.

MP da Costa affirmed that it is important for the Immigration police officers to better control foreigners as it is part of maintaining the dignity of the country.

“We have to pay attention to this case seriously in preventing illegal infiltration. We have to control foreigners seriously and we have to maintain the dignity of the country,” MP da Costa said. MP Domingos da Costa from ASDT said the Immigration Police should work harder to better control foreigners in order to prevent illegal infiltration.

Baucau district court announces verdict for illegal fishermen

Diario Nacional, October 28, 2010 language source: Tetun -Deputy Commander for the National Investigation Police, Calisto Gonzaga, said Baucau District Court had handed down its verdict to sentence the 32 illegal fishermen who were captured by the joint marine operations team in the country’s southern coast off Lautem.

Gonzaga affirmed that the court has made its verdict to sentence two of the illegal fishermen to one year imprisonment and the other 30 are sentenced to three months imprisonment.

“The Baucau District Court has held hearings for the 32 illegal fishermen on Tuesday 26/10/2010 and the court has made its verdict to sentence Sania from Thailand and Fiter from Indonesia to face one year imprisonment and the 30 other are facing three months imprisonment,” Gonzaga said. Gonzaga added that lawyers for the 32 illegal fishermen would lodge an appeal, although court has sentenced them.

CNRT MP says Government not serious in implementing liberalisation law

Timor Post, October 28, 2010 language source: Tetun - Members of Parliament have said that the Government is not serious in implementing the liberalisation law for telecommunications leaving some international companies to become victims.

MP Arao Noe de Jesus from the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) said the Government has allocated a great amount of money to the drafting of the law, but limited time had impacted the international companies.

MP de Jesus affirmed that those companies are to get contracts but they have many times contributed to the country’s development.

MP Joaquim Amaral from Fretilin said it was important for the Government to produce a law that would regulate the implementation of liberalisation of the telecommunications law in the country.

Military Police Commander denies allegation of brutal assault by his officer

Televizaun Timor-Leste, October 28, 2010 language source: Tetun - The Timorese Military Police (MP) Commander, Abel “Niki” da Costa Xavier, has denied allegation made by the residents in Beto saying one of his officers is suspected of being engaged in maltreating some young people in the area.

“I totally deny rumor-mongering that my officer committed the assault. I have information that my officer just returned from visiting his friends and he was drunk. After returning home he was sleeping when the incident happened. Two other people who are friends of my officer committed the assaul. My officer did nothing. We will process this case based on the military law if there is an indication that he has really engaged in the assault,” Niki said.

Niki added that his officers have many times become victim of similar incidents and therefore he calls for the people to present evidences if his officers engage in act of crime.

A Warning for East Timor: Mentawai tsunami a policy disaster as well as a natural disaster

Horta defends pardon

Oct 23, 2010 Timor Leste defends pardon DILI - Timor Leste President Jose Ramos-Horta on Saturday defended his decision to pardon rebels in the tiny nation following criticism by a UN envoy.

The UN special representative for Timor Leste, Ameerah Haq, raised concerns earlier this week about policing and the commuting of prison terms for some involved in unrest.

Ms Haq expressed her concern to Mr Ramos-Horta after he freed those jailed for attacks against him and the prime minister in February 2008 as well as soldiers convicted for killing eight police officers in 2006.

'I pardoned them based on humanitarian grounds. After assessing the circumstances that occurred in 2006, this young nation has many victims and they (those being pardoned) are also victims,' Mr Ramos-Horta said.

'It was not their wish to do such thing. They had protested and we had no chance for a solution at the time,' he said of the assassination attempt against him.

Mr Ramos-Horta said since he made the decision to pardon them, there had been peace and order in the country. 'Our constitution says that we have to consider circumstances, so we want to give justice to our specific situation,' he added. -- AFP

REDE BA RAI PRESS STATEMENT: More evictions to come / Eviksaun barak bele akontese ba oin

 53 families stand with unity and dignity against Lucia’s plan to evict them from their homes but  according to civil society many more evictions may occur in the future - Dili, 21 September 2010

Monday morning: The community of Aitarak Laran, who have been fighting for over a month to defend their right to housing, stood together and shouted ‘Viva Aitarak Laran’. Over 100 people walked together to the office of the Director of Land and Property (DNTPSC) to give their requests and statements to the Director.

They asked only that the Minister for Justice Lucia Lobato and the Director of Land and Property Jaime Lopes create an open and fair process of dialogue. According to one community member, ‘We ask only that the Minister treats us with dignity as human beings… we are not animals’.

The Community spokesperson, Sabiano, asked the Minister of Justice to follow the rules laid out in the RDTL Constitution and the International Conventions which Timor-Leste has already ratified. He explained that to create a dialogue that is just and fulfills the requirements laid out in the law;

·      The Minister must create a dialogue with the community which looks at all of the possible options for protecting the communities right to housing

·      The Minister must identify, with the Community, a dialogue process that is just

·      The Minister must give legal assistance and representation to the community

·      The competent Ministers and authorities must make public and give to the community all of the documents pertaining to the project before the dialogue begins

When the Director Sr. Jaime Lopes said that the Minister was too busy to enter into dialogue with the community a civil society representative asked, ‘The people have chosen the Minister, why is she scared to come and meet them?’

Director, Jaime Lopes stated that these evictions were supported by Law 1/2003. However the community representatives questioned this saying that Law 1/2003 is subject to the Constitution and International Law, and that according to these laws an eviction can never violate a persons right to adequate housing. The Community of Aitarak Laran gave Sr. Jaime a copy of the International Laws so that he could read them carefully and learn more about the people’s right to adequate housing (Art 58 RDTL, Art 11.1 CESCR)

Jenito Santana, a member of Rede ba Rai from NGO KSI commented that ‘this problem will become much more serious in the future’. According to the Land Law which is currently before Parliament all people who have occupied land after 31 December 1999 will not get the right to that land if there is another owner, ‘this way the state can win a significant amount of land’.

Sr. Ameu from LAIFET said that he hopes these evictions will not take place because he believes that;

‘Our big brothers [in DNTP] love the people of Aitarak Laran, and all of the people of Timor who fought for Independence at their sides, and so I believe they will reconsider their position’,

Now the community waits for a response from the Minister of Justice. Will she continue to support an eviction which is illegal according to the RDTL Constitution or will she sit with the community to search for a dialogue process that is just and fair?

The Timor-Leste land network is a group of 20 organisations working to protect land rights in Timor-Leste. Our vision is a nation where all people have land rights and access to land that is just and sustainable. Since 2001 we have been monitoring, researching and advocating on land issues. To find out more about Rede ba Rai or other land issues please contact Sra. Meabh Cryan at +670 730 7800 or meabhcryan@gmail.com.

- tetun -

Uma Kain 53 hamriik ho dignidade no unidade kontra Lucia nia planu atu duni-sai sira, maibe tuir sosiedade sivil kazu penggusuran bele akontese barak ba oin - Dili, 21 Setembru 2010

Segunda dader, Komunidade Aitarak Laran, ne’ebe luta fulan ida ona atu defende sira nia direitu ba uma hamriik hamutuk no hakilar ‘Viva Aitarak Laran’. Ema 100 resin  la’o hamutuk ba kantor Terras e Propriedade (DNTPSC) atu hato’o ba Diretor Nasional Terras e Propriedade kona sira nia ejijensia.

Sira husu deit ba Ministra Justisa Sra. Lucia Lobato no Diretor Nasional Terras e Propriedade Jaime Lopes atu kria prosesu dialogu aberta ne’ebe justu. ‘Ami husu deit katak Ministra trata ami ho dignidade hanesan umanus… ami la’os animal’ – membru komunidade.

Komunidade sira nia portavos Sabiano husu Ministra atu tuir Konstitusaun RDTL no Konvensaun Internasional ne’ebe Timor-Leste ratifika tiha ona. Nia esplika tan  katak atu kria duni dialogu ne’ebe justu no tuir lei;

·      Ministra tenki halo dialogu ne’ebe hare’e ba opsaun alternative hotu ne’ebe bele garante komunidade sira nia direitu ba uma

·      Komunidade no Ministeiro tenki identifika hamutuk prosesu dialogu ne’ebe justu

·      Ministra tenki fó asistensia legal ruma atu ajuda no representa komunidade

·      Ministeiro kompetenti tenki fo sai dokumentus hotu ne’ebe pertensia ba projetu antes dialogu sei komesa

Bainhira Diretor Jaime Lopes hato’o katak Ministra la bele loke dialogu ho komunidade tamba nia preukupa liu representatne husi Forum ONG Timor-Leste (FONGTIL) husu, ‘povu mak hili Ministra, tamba saida nia tauk atu hasoru povu?’

Diretor, Jaime Lopes hato’o katak nia bazeia prosesu eviksaun (penggusuran) ba Lei 1/2003. Maibe representante komunidade sira kestiona ida ne’e. Sira hatete katak Lei oan (1/2003) tuir loloos tenki tuir Konstitusaun RDTL no Lei Internasiaonl ne’ebe Timor-Leste ratifika ona. Tuir regras hirak ne’e prosesu eviksaun (pengusuran) nunka bele viola ema sira nia direitu ba uma adekuadu. Komunidade entrega kopia lei internasional sira ne’e ba Jaime katak nia bele le’e didiak no aprende kona-ba povu sira nia direitu ba uma adekuadu (Art 58 RDTL, Art 11.1 CESCR)

Jenito Santana husi organizasaun KSI no nu’udar membru Rede ba Rai hato’o katak ‘ba oin problema ne’e sei sai polemika liu tan’. Tuir Lei de Terras ne’ebe Parliamentu agora konsidera ema hotu hotu ne’ebe mai hela rai desde 31 Desembru 1998 sei la hetan direitu ba rai se iha nain ida seluk. ‘Liu husi kazu sira ne’e estadu bele manan rai boot’.

Sr. Ameu husi organizasaun LAIFET hato’o katak nia fiar katak eviksaun ne’e sei la akontese tamba

‘Maun boot hirak ne’e [husi DNTPSC] hadomi duni povu Aitarak Laran entaun hau fiar sira sei konsidera fali sira nia pozisaun’

Agora dadaun komunidade hein deit resposta husi Ministra Justisa Lucia Lobato.  Nia sei supporta nafatin eviksaun (penggusuran) ne’ebe illegal tuir Konstitusaun RDTL ka nia sei tuur ho sira atu buka prosesu dialogu ne’ebe justu?

Rede ba Rai mak grupu organizasaun local, nasional no internasional ne’ebe servisu atu proteje direitu ba rai iha Timor-Leste. Ita nian vizaun mak povu Timor-Leste ne’ebe moris nafatin ho direitu no asesu ba rai ne’ebe justu no sustantivel. Husi tinan 2001 ita halo monitorizasaun, peskiza no advokasia kona-ba asuntu rai. Atu hetan informasaun liu kona-ba Rede ba Rai ka asuntu rai seluk favor ida kontaktu Sra. Meabh Cryan liu husi telemovel +670 7307800 ka email meabhcryan@gmail.com.
--
Land Issues Mentor
Rede ba Rai Timor-Leste (The Timor-Leste Land Network)
Fundasaun Haburas,
Rua Celestino da Silva,
Farol,
Dili,
Timor-Leste

+670 730 7800
+353 85 1461435

Government to evict residents from illegal occupation

Diario Nacional, October 11, 2010 language source: Tetun - Justice Minister Lucia Lobato said the Government would evict the residents of Aitarak-Laran and residents who were staying in the ex-Indonesian Brimob’s Barrack.

Minister Lobato said the Government would never give compensation to the residents based on their own will, as the money did not belong to the Ministry.

Minister Lobato made the statement after some residents said they were intent on continue staying in those properties and have received compensation from the Government.

“They are hell-bent on stay there although they have received compensation from the Government. They have time to go out, but if there is no solution then the law guarantees their forcible eviction,” Minister Lobato said. President Ramos Horta has called on the Government to hold dialog with the residents in order to seek the best solution to resolve the problem.

Guterres and Da Costa’s case illegal: Horta

Timor Post, October 11, 2010 language source: Tetun - President Jose Ramos Horta said the ongoing case against the Deputy Prime Minister Jose Luis Guterres and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Zacarias da Costa was illegal and baseless. 

President Horta affirmed that everything will be going through legal process and will be decided by the court whether it is true or not.

“I do not want o interfere this is case, because it is currently being filed in court,” Horta said. Horta also said he supported Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao’s decision of asking for the removal of political impunity for Mr. Guterres and Da Costa in relation to the case.
-----
President Horta: Test for democracy and law Diario Nacional, October 11, 2010 language source: Tetun - President Jose Ramos Horta said Deputy Prime Minister for Social Issues Jose Luis Guterres and the Foreign Affairs Minister Zacarias Albano da Costa’s case was a kind of test for democracy and law enforcement in the country.

President Horta affirmed that he is ready to cooperate with the legal process to testify in relation to the case.”

This case has been filed in the court and therefore I will not interfere with the court’s decision,” President Horta said.

President Horta added he do not believe that Guterres has engaged in corruption, adding that it is baseless to accuse Minister da Costa of engaging in abuse of power by transferring money to the account of Guterres’ wife in the New York, as the process of transferring the money was signed by another person.

RDTL’s constitution does not permit people to sell land to foreigners

Timor Post, October 11, 2010, language source: Tetun - President for the Parliamentary Committee A for Constitution and Justice Issues, Fernanda Borges said the Timorese Constitution does not permit foreign nationals to purchase and possess land in the country.

“I am calling on the local residents not to sell their land to the foreign nationals, as the constitution does not allow it,” Borges said.

Borges affirmed that the law does not permit anyone to sell and buy land which is not according to the law.

The ex-Minister for Justice, Domingos Sarmento said during the term of office term of the former government, the law did not allow land purchases by foreign nationals,” “When I was still minister, I never sold land to the foreigners,” Sarmento said.

23 October 2010

Scars and hope after conflict

By Rina Jimenez-David Philippine Daily InquirerFirst Posted 00:19:00 10/22/2010 -BANGKOK ­FROM 1975 to 1999, East Timor (or Timor-Leste as the people call their country) was subjected to a harsh and brutal conflict between the Indonesian occupying forces and a rebel force fighting for independence.

As with any armed conflict, it was the civilians who paid the highest price, with women paying an especially high price by way of rape, including forced servitude and sexual slavery.

When Timor Leste became an independent state in 2002, one of its first acts was to create bodies to investigate human rights abuses committed during the Indonesian occupation and the war for independence. The government created the Commission on Truth and Reconciliation (known by its Portuguese acronym CAVR), but so far the results have been disappointing.

The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and its local partners released last February a report whose title says everything about what transpired: “Unfulfilled Expectations: Victims’ perception of justice and reparations in Timor-Leste.” The report states: “Victims generally believe that their suffering and strength during the 1975 to 1999 conflict was instrumental in Timor gaining independence, and therefore the state of Timor-Leste should recognize their contribution in a meaningful way. However, the long official silence and policy stagnation on victim issues has led to victims of the past conflict feeling forgotten and marginalized. The provision of government assistance to other groups such as victims of the 2006 crisis (when government troops launched an attempted coup­RJD) has exacerbated these feelings of marginalization.”

Even worse, after a decade of independence, scars from the conflict remain, inflicting pain on survivors and even on the next generation. Manuela Pereira, a project associate of the ICTJ, told participants in the training in which I am taking part that children born as a result of rape have to go through life undocumented. This is because for many of these “children of rape,” some of whom are now teenagers and young adults, getting a baptismal certificate (majority of the East Timorese are Catholic) is impossible because the Church requires their mothers to list down the names of the father. Note that in Timor-Leste a baptismal document often serves as an alternative to a birth certificate, since public records were lost or burned during the conflict.

* * *

SO far, says Pereira, there has been only the conviction for the rape of a woman named Angela Lolotoe, “but even Angela herself does not know what has happened to her case, and if the perpetrators have been punished,” Pereira adds.

“Victims and their families feel that justice has not yet been done for crimes committed during the 1975-1999 conflict and that justice is a prerequisite to peace and stability,” the

ICTJ reports says. “Although people have many different ideas about what constitutes ‘justice,’ common themes include a desire to confront perpetrators, learn the truth about crimes committed, receive an apology and (a) show (of) remorse from perpetrators, be granted material assistance and official recognition, and see perpetrators punished.”

In an effort to gather evidence regarding human rights violations during the years of conflict, researchers went around Timor-Leste interviewing women, gathering statements from 8,000 of them.

Q&A-Why is land such a big issue in East Timor?

Source: AlertNet Date: 21 Oct 2010 Written by: Thin Lei Win - DILI (AlertNet) - East Timor, one of the world's youngest nations, is attempting to enact laws on land ownership eight years after gaining full independence.

While this is an important step towards establishing land rights for the Timorese, the process is "made complicated by the history of colonialism, occupation, resettlement and conflict", Oxfam's East Timor country director Paul Joicey says.

Civil society groups aren't happy with the current lack of land security and clarity on land ownership. But they also fear the draft land laws - now going through parliament - may exacerbate these problems and could even lead to conflict.

Here is some questions and answers on land issues in East Timor and the proposed legislation.

Why is land so contentious?

Few people in East Timor, a country with over a million people, have land titles.

Statistics are hard to come by, but according to a September report from International Crisis Group (ICG), the Portuguese issued around 3,000 land titles and the Indonesians (who occupied the country from 1975 to 1999) issued some 45,000.

The lack of formal ownership is rooted in a long history of conflict and displacement since the Portuguese colonial era, which began in the sixteenth century and ended in the mid-1970s.

In 1999, after the Timorese people voted overwhelmingly for independence in a referendum, violence by pro-Jakarta militias drove more than half the population from their homes. Most recently, in 2006, up to 150,000 people were displaced - mainly in the capital Dili - due to factional violence.

Instability has led not only to the destruction of land records but also widespread illegal occupation. In many cases, displaced people have set up home in places considered government land under a 2003 law, which designated all state land during the Portuguese and Indonesian eras and all land abandoned by foreigners or those fleeing to West Timor as Timorese state land.

However, many communities now threatened with eviction by the government argue this law was not in place when they occupied the land in 1999.

ICG says as much as 97 percent of the country's land is believed to be governed by customary land systems based on social hierarchy and clans, in which ownership decisions are made by local traditional leaders who use mediation to resolve land disputes.

Such disputes - both between the state and the people, and between individuals - are a ticking time bomb, civil society groups say.

According to ICG, they tend to be political in nature and involve the notion of "justice" between those deemed to have fought for independence, thereby earning the right to be rewarded with land and housing rights, and those seen as collaborators with the Portuguese and the Indonesians and who possess most of the few land titles issued in the past.

What has been done to address the issue?

In October 2007, the U.S. government development agency USAID launched the Ita Nia Rai (Our Land) programme, which was tasked with registering land claims and resolving land disputes. It had collected over 26,500 land claims in 10 districts as of Oct. 15.

The project encourages married couples to register joint claims, and has helped promote women's land rights. Civil society has praised its public information processes for being more extensive and inclusive than other donor and government initiatives.

However, it has been criticised for weak evaluation, and for not registering many claims made by groups rather than individuals. Local rights groups say registering individual claims in community areas could lead to conflict.

What are the draft land laws and what stage are they at?

There are four pieces of legislation in parliament relating to land.

The Civil Code - which will form the pillar of civil law in East Timor - includes a section that governs day-to-day land decisions such as the sale and lease of land.

The Transitional Land Law sets the scene for all land issues in the future, deciding who owns what land and in the case of conflicting claims, who has the strongest right to the land.

The two other pieces of legislation are the Expropriation Law and the Real Estate Finance Fund. The former would allow the state to take land for "public good" - for example, to build ports and other infrastructure - while the latter is to provide compensation as determined under the other laws.

All these laws are awaiting parliamentary approval, but civil society groups say the three focused specifically on land are unlikely to be passed before the wider Civil Code is approved. None are available in the local dialect Tetum.

There are also concerns over how the laws, once passed, will be implemented. Legal aid, education on land rights, community land use planning, social housing, and mediation and arbitration for land disputes are needed to ensure people's land rights are respected, campaigners say.

22 October 2010

East Timor land law fuels fears of evictions, conflict

21 Oct 2010 17:00:00 GMT Written by: Thin Lei Win DILI (AlertNet) - Rights groups in East Timor warn that anger over the threatened eviction of some 500 people from a downtown Dili neighbourhood could spill over into conflict amid fears the government is preparing to take back more land.

Activists and researchers say further evictions could happen if draft legislation on land ownership going through parliament is passed as expected.

Fifty-three families in Aitarak Laran were served with an eviction notice in Portuguese - a language most do not read - a little over a month ago through their local chief, according to Rede ba Rai (the Timor-Leste Land Network), a coalition of 20 non-governmental organisations that work on land issues.

So far the government has provided no alternative housing, although it says it is willing to offer a small amount of compensation.

"Aitarak Laran is one example of how the government is disregarding basic human rights to land and housing," said Shona Hawkes from local NGO La'o Hamutuk.

The community has lived in houses used by former Indonesian government officials since 1999, after East Timor voted overwhelmingly for independence in a referendum that led to violence and widespread displacement.

Rights groups say the government now wants the land to build a national library and museum funded by an Italian oil company, and has shown scant regard for how residents will cope.

But Minister of Justice Lucia Lobato told AlertNet the community are unwilling to enter into dialogue with the government, and did not show up to two meetings she attended, sending a local NGO to represent them instead.

Moreover, she said they are demanding compensation for each family member. "We will not negotiate about the price, because they are occupying government land and houses illegally, so we give a little money based on the government's ability."

The residents may be moved by force, she added, if they do not comply with the order to leave.

"The risk with eviction cases like the one we're seeing right now in Aitarak Laran is growing frustration over the lack of clarity regarding rights and protections afforded to those living illegally on state land," Cillian Nolan, a Dili-based analyst for International Crisis Group (ICG), told AlertNet.

Without an adequate offer of compensation or alternative housing, "there's a risk of conflict over the issue as frustration grows," he said.

In a September report, ICG said the draft land legislation will provide the first legal proof of ownership, provide protection in a growing property market, and is an important first step towards better management of disagreements over land. But it will also raise the stakes in ownership disputes and in turn the risk of conflict.

CONTROVERSY OVER STATE OWNERSHIP

A history of displacement since the Portuguese colonial era, which began in the sixteenth century, has left the tiny state of East Timor without a proper legal basis to decide ownership of land.

Most recently, in 2006, factional violence uprooted 150,000 people, mainly in Dili, many of whom have been unable to return to their homes.

More than half the population was made homeless in the aftermath of the 1999 referendum when pro-Jakarta militias destroyed 70 percent of the country's infrastructure, including some 68,000 houses, as well as land records.

Many, like those in Aitarak Laran, ended up occupying housing abandoned by the Indonesian government, even though living conditions have been far from ideal.

"(The Aitarak Laran community) is living in housing that is well below any definition of adequate, on land that is prone to flooding," said Rede ba Rai spokesperson Meabh Cryan.

The site, directly opposite the presidential palace, is considered government land under a 2003 law which says that all state land during the Portuguese and Indonesian eras, as well as land abandoned by foreigners or those fleeing to west Timor, should be transferred to the Timorese authorities.

Rights group say this definition is too wide in a country where very few people have land titles, and warn the new legislation could provoke a crisis.

Under the Transitional Land Law, which will replace the 2003 law, anyone who has occupied a piece of land after December 31, 1998, cannot gain title to it. Civil society groups have questioned the controversial cut-off date, as it means "squatters" who lost their homes in the 1999 post-referendum violence have no rights to the land on which they are living.

LACK OF CONSULTATION

There are also concerns over two other laws in the legislative package that have not undergone public consultation, especially the Expropriation Law which would allow the state to take land for any public or private purpose.

Rights groups accuse the legal company that drafted that law of conflict of interest as it represents a Portuguese property developer in East Timor.

And Rede ba Rai's Cryan said public consultation on the Transitional Land Law was little more than a token gesture as communities did not receive copies of the complex law until the day of the discussions.

Rules for day-to-day land decisions were sent to parliament in December 2008 as part of a new civil code, followed by the rest of the legislation in March 2009. None of these are available in the local dialect Tetum.

"Our concern is that many people, particularly in the rural areas, are unaware of the content of the draft land law, or of its implications for their land security and livelihoods," said Paul Joicey, Oxfam's country director for East Timor.

Other criticisms of the legislation include its neglect of the customary land systems based on social hierarchy and clans that have so far defined how most Timorese live, and prioritisation of people with formal land certificates who tend to be the rich.

The government has given some ground, agreeing to consider the Expropriation Law separately because of its far-reaching implications and the lack of public consultation.

But any changes will come too late to help the families in Aitarak Laran who now face losing their livelihoods as vegetable traders, small businesses and civil servants, as well as facilities including their church, schools and health clinic.

"The old regimes which threatened the people have already passed," community members said in a statement. "The people who have suffered do not deserve to be further threatened during independence."

(Additional reporting by Tito Belo)

AlertNet also has a Q&A on land issues in East Timor and the draft land laws.

20 October 2010

UN raises worries over Timor police

October 20, 2010 - 3:29AM AFP - UN Security Council members and a special envoy have expressed concern over policing in East Timor and some decisions by President Jose Ramos-Horta.

The United Nations has been seeking to wind down its peacekeeping mission in East Timor, where international troops and police were sent after major unrest in 2006. It will help the government gear up for elections in 2012.

UN special representative for East Timor, Ameerah Haq, on Tuesday praised the general stability in the southeast Asian state but raised concerns about policing and the commuting of prison terms for some involved in the unrest.

"Public confidence in the state's willingness to support the rule of law and human rights can be adversely affected if the public perceives that individuals in high profile cases are given favoured treatment," she told the Security Council.

Haq said she raised the "concern" with Ramos-Horta after he lifted jail terms against those convicted for February 11, 2008 attacks against him and the prime minister, and some soldiers convicted for killing eight police officers in the 2006 troubles.

She added that she was "troubled" that three soldiers involved in the 2006 killings "appear to have resumed work".

"I hope that future such decisions are guided by the need to bolster the public's confidence in a system that ensures accountability for criminal acts," she said.

France's representative, Martin Briens, said the pardons "did not send a good signal."

And US representative to the council, Brooke Anderson, raised concerns about the police. She said "the excessive use of force and lack of accountability" remain a concern.

The UN mission, UNMIT, has been slowly handing over security responsibilities to the local police and security forces. But Haq said there were still more than 200 police without proper certification in Timor, many of them in the capital Dili.

She said the "slow action" by the Timorese authorities was "detrimental to the overall integrity of the police service over the long term and requires expeditious remedy."

Haq said East Timor "is entering a crucial period, one which will help determine whether it has overcome in a sustainable manner the political and institutional weaknesses which contributed to the events of 2006."

© 2010 AFP

19 October 2010

President Horta: “I am the one who closes the assassination attempt case”

Diario Nacional, October 18, 2010 language source: Tetun - President Jose Ramos Horta said he was the one who closed the assassination attempt case that took place on February 11, 2008.

President Horta recently granted pardons to the assailants who were believed to have engaged in the assassination attempt to him.

“I grante pardon to all of them involved in the assassination attempt on 11 February 2008 and the process went through legal process in the court and therefore as president I want to end and close this case,” President Horta said.

President Horta made the statement after bestowing medals to 710 officers of the Timorese Defence Force (F-FDTL) including the F-FDTL General Commander Major General Taur Matan Ruak and Brigadier General Lere Anan Timur in the HQ of F-FDTL in Metinaro.

Police to search bars and discotheques for illegal foreigners

Suara Timor Loro Sa’e, October 18, 2010 language source: Tetun - The Timorese National Police (PNTL) Commando through Criminal Investigation Service (SIC) in cooperation with the Immigration Department and National Inspectorate of the MTCI will conduct searches for foreign nationals who are working at ars and discotheques in the Capital of Dili.

Head of Civil Security Rui Esperinto Santo said bars and discotheques in Dili had not followed rules and licence conditions.

Santo said some of the bars also employed foreigners as commercial sex workers and said it would not be beneficial for young Timorese.

He called on the Government to take a necessary actions against bars and other related activities in the Capital of Dili.

Undemocratic evictions continue in Timor-Leste

RECOMMENDATIONS  FROM CDDHFK ON A JUST DIALOGUE PROCESS FOR THE RESOLUTION OF THE AITRAK LARAN EVICTIONS CASE

The Commission to Defend the Rights of Communities to a living plave (CDDHFK) asks the Directorare of Land and Property who recently with good faith sent an invitation to the community of Aitarak Laran to consider the recommendations below so that we can create together an open process for dialogue that is just and follows the rules and rights that are consecrated in the RDTL Constitution and International Law

According to Article 58 of the RDTL Constitution that guarantees all people the right to housing, Article 11.1 of the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) which guarantees to all people the right to an adequate living place and General Comment 7 on Development based evictions which came into force in 1997, before making a decision to evict with force a community the state must for example;

·         Look at and study all possible alternatives through a consultation with those who will be evicted with the objective of avoiding and/or reducing the need to use force;

·         Offer solutions and show the legal options to those who will be affected;

·         There must be an opportunity to do real consultation with those who will be affected;

·         All information about the planned project, and alternative solutions must be given to the community

·         Legal assistance and access to the courts must be guaranteed to all

Based on these laws and the other rules laid down in the RDTL Constitution and International law the Commission (CDHFK) asks DNTPSC and the Minister of Justice to create a dialogue process which follows at minimum the requirements laid out below.

The Commission and DNTPSC should identify together;

1.       An appropriate date and location for the dialogue.

2.       An independent facilitator (A mediator from an independent institution such as the church)

3.       Who will be involved in these dialogues ( For example, the Minister of Justice, DNTPSC, Members of the Aitarak Laran Community , CDDHFK, Legal advisors, Local Authorities, the Media, Commission A of the National Parliament, others)

4.       The methodology that will be used during the dialogue process (for example a proposal of the needs of both parties and other steps)

5.       Security for the duration of the dialogue

Before the dialogue;

6.       The competent Ministries (DNTPSC and the Ministry of Education and Culture) and the Company ENI must make available to the Commission and the Community all documents relating to the library project so that they can study and analyze these documents before the dialogue begins.

7.       The Minsiter for Justice must identify legal aid and/or a legal advisor who can support the community to analyze legal documents, give them information about their legal rights and represent them.

8.       Enough time must be allowed for the community to read and analyze the relevant documents and laws before the dialogue begins.

After the dialogue;

9.       The results should be given to all of the competent authorities.

10.    The Minister for Justice, DNTPSC and the Community of Aitarak Laran should make a joint declaration to the media about the results of the dialogue.


--

Land Issues Mentor
Rede ba Rai Timor-Leste (The Timor-Leste Land Network)
Fundasaun Haburas,
Rua Celestino da Silva,
Farol,
Dili,
Timor-Leste

+670 730 7800
+353 85 1461435

18 October 2010

Latest UN Human Rights Report cites major progress

The Secretary of State for the Council of Ministers and Official Spokesperson for the Government of Timor-Leste Ágio Pereira October 16, 2010 Díli, Timor-Leste - Latest UN Human Rights Report cites major progress

The policies and programs of the Xanana Gusmão Government have bolstered the human rights of the citizens of Timor-Leste with progress being acknowledged in strengthening the
Security and Justice sectors of the Nation.

In it’s recently released Human Rights Report on Timor-Leste titled “Facing the Future”, the
United Nations has identified a number of significant improvements made over the recent
period between 1 July 2009 and 30 June 2010. Louis Gentile, Chief of the Human Rights and
Transitional Justice Section of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste,
speaking on the release of the document, noted the country was doing “far better than
average in a number of human rights areas” and “has the potential to be both a regional and
global leader in human rights”.

The report, the fourth to date on Timor-Leste, highlights increased accountability for PNTL
officers (National Police), improvements to the justice system and the steps taken towards
accountability for crimes committed during the 2006 internal unrest with all cases recommended by the Commission of Inquiry having been taken up for investigation.

Factors identified as leading to the strengthening of the Justice sector included the establishment of  new training programs, an increase in personnel within the sector, improvements to rural facilities and the passage of domestic violence legislation.

An overview refers to the climate of “ongoing peace and stability” and describes the political
and security environment as “relatively calm” mentioning the progressive handover of
primary policing responsibilities to the PNTL, the Suco elections of October 2009 held
successfully with few incidents and the implementation of the Governments IDP reintegration strategy with the closing of the last tented camp in August 2009 and the closure of transitional shelters at the end of February 2010.

In the way of institutional development, the report acknowledges the establishment of the national Anti-Corruption Commission and the National Commission on the Rights of the Child within the reporting period.

Whilst also detailing some concerns and concluding with recommendations for further improvement, the report is clear; in the 12 months covered Timor-Leste has made major progress.

Secretary of State Pereira noted “in the first three years of the mandate of the Xanana Gusmão Government remarkable ground has been made in achieving peace and stability and building the fledgling institutions of state.

We thank those in the Security and Justice sectors for their hard work and salute the members of the PNTL and F-FDTL for their participation in the journey towards professionalization. The Government pays homage to the men and women of Timor-Leste for their commitment to peace and will continue with determination and vigor to further enhance the Justice and Security sectors.” ENDS

17 October 2010

Inspectorate General to hand over result of investigation to PM Gusmao

Suara Timor Lorosa’e, October 13, 2010 language source: Tetun - Inspectorate General Francisco de Carvalho said he would hand over the results of the investigation held by the Inspectorate General into the office of the former Deputy Prime Minister for Management and Public Administration Mario Viegas Carrascalao to Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.

Da Carvalho said he was asked by PM Gusmao to hold an investigation into ex-deputy PM Carrascalao’s office to know and identify those facilities offered by the Technical Secretariat of Procurement (STA).

”Our reports are about facilities of the Government and tender doscument are done and we will hand it over to PM Gusmao shortly,” de Carvalho said.

De Carvalho confirmed that they held investigations to make sure that the Government’s facilities used in the office are complete, adding that they held the investigation not because of allegations of corruption.

Inspectorate General concerned about investigation by Finance Ministry Suara Timor Lorosa’e, October 13, 2010 language source: Tetun - Inspectorate General Francisco de Carvalho said he was concerned about the investigation which was held by a team from the Finance Ministry into the Customs Department officers in Batugade.

De Carvalho made the comments following some goods were imported into the country without proper documents but the Customs Department said that there was nothing imappropriate.

The Customs Department said nothing happened, but evidence showed that there are some goods which were imported which have no documents,” de Carvalho said.

De Carvalho hoped that the investigation team of the Customs Department and Police could give the result of their investigation to the Inspectorate General, so that they can analyse the report.

Infrastructure minister incapable of constructing road Timornewsline, October 13, 2010 - A student, Alexo da Costa said Minister for Infrastructure, Pedro Lay was incapable of managing road construction projects in the country; therefore the quality of roads throughout the country remained unsatisfactory.

Da Costa urged the Government through the Ministry of Infrastructure to look at this matter, as it has not benefited the country’s people. Da Costa affirmed that the Government has allocated great amounts of money to the country’s infrastructures, yet the quality of the roads is questioned. He called on the Government to monitor and control road construction project implementation by the companies so that quality of the construction could be guaranteed. By Jose Amelio

16 October 2010

Local residents calls for legal charges against military police officer

Timor Post, October 14, 2010 language source: Tetun - Local residents of Quintal Boot, a suburb of the Capital Dili has called on the Timorese Defence (F-FDTL) Commando to legally process F-FDTL military police officer who is suspected of being engaged in assaulting resident Rogerio da Silva recently.

During a press conference, spokesperson for the victim, Luis Gaspar da Costa strongly condemned such an attitude of the military police officer.

Da Costa also urged the judicial institutions and the Parliament to seek a solution for the processing of the charges against the F-FDTL officers, because such actions are acts of crime.

In response, the Military Police Commander, Abel “Niki” said the case was in the process of investigation; therefore he could not say whether his officer was guilty or not.

Court yet to summon Guterres and da Costa

 Televizaun Timor-Leste, October 14, 2010 language source: Tetun - Dili District Court is yet to summon Deputy Prime Minister for Social Issues, Jose Luis Guterres and Foreign Affairs Minister, Zacarias Albano da Costa following the panel judges' analysis  of accusations made by the Prosecutor-General against them.

Head of Criminal Unit, Agapito da Silva said the accusation made by the Public Prosecution against Guterres and da Costa was being filed in the court, but the court was yet to summon Guterres and da Costa, as the panel judges were analysing documents submitted by Public Prosecution.

Panel judges who would handle this case were lawyer Jacinta Correia and Constancio Basmeri and Duarte Tilman.

Four assault cases filed in Venilale Sub-District Police station

Televizaun Timor-Leste, October 14, 2010 language source: Tetun - Baucau District Police Deputy Superintendent Joao Sancho said there were four assault cases filed in the Venilale Sub-district Police station.

Sancho affirmed that number of criminal cases in Baucau is decreasing comparing witih last year.

Meeting of the Council of Ministers of 13th of October of 2010

Secretaria de Estado do Conselho de Ministros Dili, Palacio do Governo, 13 de Outubro de 2010 

IV CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT

SECRETARIAT OF STATE OF THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS

PRESS RELEASE

Meeting of the Council of Ministers of 13th of October of 2010

The Council of Ministers met this Wednesday, 13th of October of 2010, in the Council of Ministers Meeting Room, in the Palácio do Governo, in Díli, and approved:

1. Sixth alteration to the Government’s Organic Law

In spite of the organic law of the IV Constitutional Government predicting the existence of two Secretaries of State in the structure of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this Ministry itself has, since the beginning, a minimum governing structure, reduced to the respective minister. This option has an enormous demand to this member of the Government, in terms of work, as well as the need to disperse his attention with many issues. It’s worth reminding that the performance of functions of this specific position demands a frequent absence from the country.

Therefore, the Council of Ministers considers it necessary to reinforce the political capacity of the Ministry creating a post of Vice-Minister, with the mission to support the Minister in his daily activities.

2. Decree-Law that approves the General Regime for Higher Education Valuation and Creates the National Agency for Academic Valuation and Accreditation (Portuguese acronym ANAAA).


The structuring of a system for quality assurance with international recognition, is one of the objectives of the IV Constitutional Government for the higher education policy. To fulfil this goal, in 2007-2008, work was initiated for the initial and intermediate valuation and accreditation of the higher education establishments, by an independent Commission of international experts.

Now that this initial work is concluded, it becomes necessary to create a National Agency for Academic Valuation and Accreditation (ANAAA) to give continuity to the accreditation system, through the procedures where, besides the self-evaluation of the establishments, there is a permanent external evaluation. This organism should be scientific and pedagogy independent and should respect the international standards.

3. Government Resolution that approves the Policy for the Conversion of Administration Agents into Permanent Public Servants

The IV Constitutional Government has the duty to guarantee a professional and efficient Public Service with worthy and just work conditions. The Government recognizes that there is, today, a high proportion of Administration Agents (temporary employees) carrying out functions of a permanent nature. To reduce this proportion, the Public Servant Commission proposes a policy that establishes an appropriate process of conversion of temporary into permanent staff. This policy has the objective to reach a better balance between the workers rights, the organization’s needs, fiscal prudence and the stable and sustainable development of the Public Service in Timor-Leste, according with the laws that rule its creation and management.

The Council of Ministers still analysed:

1. Preliminary Presentation of the 2010 Census Results


The National Directorate for Statistics (Portuguese acronym DNE) made the preliminary presentation of the 2010 Census results to the Council of Ministers. Besides the provisional results of the national consultation carried out last July, the DNE (dependent of the Ministry of Finance) explained the applied methodology of both inquiries and of the results count. The public presentation of these preliminary results will be made on the 20th of October (World Statistic Day). The first definitive results will be presented in April of the next year.

2. Presentation of the budget of the National Elections Commission (Portuguese acronym CNE)

Taking into account the specificity of the work developed by the National Elections Commission, the Commission methodology applied and the time it needs to carry out its mission was presented and discussed. The main objective of this analysis is the definition of the budget to attribute to the CNE for the next fiscal year.

3. Presentation of the Díli Sanitation and Drainage MasterPlan Scoping Document

This Masterplan, to which the Council of Ministers has made available the sum of one million and five hundred thousand dollars, will be developed by an international team lead by the Special Advisor for the Prime Minister, Steve Bracks, and plans for the development of sanitation and drainage for the Timor- Leste capital.


According to the Scoping Document presented to the Council of Ministers, the Masterplan will be concluded at the end of 2011, and from there onwards implement the construction, operation and maintenance activities until 2025.

4. Law Proposal about the First amendment to the Petroleum Fund Law

After the presentation to the Council of Ministers on the 29th of September, regarding the diversification of the Petroleum Fund investments, and where it was concluded that a change in the Law was needed to allow for this diversification, the Ministry of Finance working group presented their alteration proposals today. Briefly, they are proposals for amendments in what concerns the investment policy and risk profile; the transferences / rules for withdrawals; the use of the Petroleum Fund as a guarantee for loans; Operational Management; and lastly, of the composition of the Investment Consultative Council.

Alkatiri resigned to prevent civil war in 2006

Interview with Mari Alkatiri - Secretary General of Fretlin - 31st October, 2006 - Good afternoon Dr. Alkatiri, thank you for agreeing to meet with me. First can I say how sorry I was that you were forced into resignation.

Thank you.

Q. I wonder do you think the constitution has been damaged irreparably by the forced resignation?

A. I have no doubt that it was not constitutional, fully aware that all accusations against me were false, to force the government to step down to force a government of national unity, I felt it was better to resign. I felt that we would experience bloodshed. I thought it would have a deeper crisis. I could not govern if there was bloodshed, if many people were killed.

It was a very bad precedent.

It now depends on the leadership to recognise their mistakes, including me. I was the biggest victim of the situation. It was a coup for no reason.

It is now a crisis of civil leadership, of state authority.

Q. I guess you are saying that you thought there could be a civil war?

A. Yes - I resigned to avoid a vacuum.

Read the full interview on East Timor Legal Information Site archive

National Parliament News 14 October 2010 - Fourth Session of Second Legislature

Parliament tries to cooperate with civil society and all institutions: Lasama Radio Timor-Leste, October 14, 2010 language source: Tetun - Parliamentary President Fernando Lasama de Araujo said the Parliament was trying to accommodate civil society and all institutions in the country in a cooperative and friendly environment to face Timor-Leste’s current situation.

Lasama made the comments during his speech marking the fourth session of the second legislature on Thursday (14/10) at Parliament House. Lasama affirmed that this policy is made to build an open and pluralistic society to help respond to the communities’ needs. He added that the Parliament is the place to seek solution to social problems and produce laws for responding to the Timorese people’s needs.
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Parliament shows efforts in producing laws: Horta Radio Timor-Leste, October 14, 2010 language source: Tetun - President Jose Ramos Horta said the Parliament had put great efforts in producing various laws during its mandate to better strengthen the judicial system and justice policy in the country.

President Horta affirmed that the Parliament has produced national security and defence laws, a law on domestic violence and has resolved other important issues.

In his speech marking the fourth session of the legislature, President Horta said those laws were very important to have a positive impact on the people’s lives. Horta urged the Parliament to make efforts to better strengthen justice security within the community.
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Horta calls on Parliament is preparation for elections in 2012 Radio Timor-Leste, October 14, 2010 language source: Tetun - President Jose Ramos Horta has called on the Parliament to make preparations for enacting legislation for the conduct of legislative elections in 2012.

Horta wanted the Parliament to make adjustments and to amend the electoral laws which will be satisfactory to all sides. Horta affirmed that the country has state budget to be allocated to all programs, but there should be appropriate control and execution of the budget which could benefit the country’s people. Horta also congratulated the Parliament on its success, but should better improve its work in future.

AusGov: Reserves Company Group to deploy to East Timor

Senator The Hon. David Feeney MP Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Reserves Company Group to deploy to East Timor 15 OCTOBER 2010 For the first time since 2002, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) will deploy an Army Reserve force element of company size to East Timor, Senator David Feeney, Parliamentarty Secretary for Defence, said today.

“Army Reservists are currently deployed and serving with distinction in East Timor, the Solomon Islands and Afghanistan. This contingent continues a proud history of Reservists providing effective service in East Timor and in many other locations, as part of Australian Defence Force operations,” Senator Feeney said.

The 160-strong Reserve contingent will deploy this month to assist in the provision of security and reaction tasks in support of the International Stabilisation Force (ISF) and East Timorese Government.

The soldiers will largely come from Queensland-based 11 Brigade, one of six Army Reserve Brigades within the Army’s 2nd Division. Colonel Michael Reilly from 11 Brigade will take command of the ISF in East Timor. The 11 Brigade contribution of a rifle company group plus headquarters staff and logistic support troops will be integrated into the existing force structure of the ISF, assuming the full responsibilities of the regular army group they replace.

Commander 2nd Division, Major General Craig Williams, welcomed the increase in Reservists deployed in the next rotation.

“Until this rotation, about 30 Reserve Force personnel have been serving in East Timor – approximately eight per cent of the total ADF strength in East Timor. In the next rotation, about 40 per cent of personnel serving in East Timor will be Reserve members,” Major General Williams said.

“The deployment of this Reserve Force element demonstrates the confidence the ADF holds in its Reserve Force as a well trained, ready, capable and integrated force. The deployment affirms the complementary relationship between the Regular Army and the Reserve – a relationship that enables the Regular Army to meet designated tasks and ensures the Army is balanced to meet the greatest range of contingencies,” said General Williams.

Army Reserve personnel have been part of the ADF’s contribution to East Timor since military operations commenced in 1999. This commitment to Operation ASTUTE builds on the successful ongoing involvement of Army Reservists in Operation ANODE in the Solomon Islands, which commenced in 2006.

The 11 Brigade has units located throughout Queensland. Army Reserve soldiers involved in the deployment have been drawn mainly from the 9th, 31st/42nd and 25th/49th Battalions of the Royal Queensland Regiment. Most of the soldiers involved are from Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Brisbane and surrounding districts, and Toowoomba.

Media contacts

Adam Carr: (02) 6277 3415
Defence Media Liaison: (02) 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664

UNMIT: UN Police Adviser visits Baucau and Liquica Districts

Dili, 14 October 2010 – United Nations Police Adviser Ann-Marie Orler visited Baucau and Liquica Districts today to speak with officers of Polícia Nacional de Timor-Leste (PNTL), United Nations Police (UNPOL), and United Nations Formed Police Unit (FPU) and take a closer look at policing in Timor-Leste.

Commissioner Orler was briefed by UNPOL and PNTL in Baucau District on their experience following PNTL’s resumption of primary policing responsibility from UNPOL. Upon hearing from PNTL officers about the challenges of their work, she responded: “I feel a lot of commitment in this room. Try to be patient, and try to keep your commitment. I have a lot of trust in you for the future.”

In Liquica District, Commissioner Orler met with Timor-Leste’s first female PNTL District Commander Natercia Eufracia Martins. She discussed possible measures for increasing women’s involvement in policing in the United Nations.
“I have to express my appreciation to the only female District Commander. It is a great honour and pleasure and I would like to congratulate you as the commander. It demonstrates that women are not only victims, they also provide security” said Commissioner Orler.

When asked about policing in Timor-Leste Commissioner Orler noted that there is a positive relationship between PNTL and international police officers.

“The role of the UNPOL is to support, help and build on the capacity of the PNTL, and the role of the PNTL is to demonstrate good working relations,” she added.

Commissioner Orler expressed her appreciation for the welcome she received from all the police officers.
“It is a pleasure to be here with you and see what achievements you have done already and what challenges you are facing,” she said.

Commissioner Orler is on a five-day official visit to Timor-Leste. On her visit today she was accompanied by UNMIT Police Commissioner Luis Carrilho.

Commissioner Ann-Marie Orler was appointed United Nations Police Adviser in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in March 2010. Prior to that, she served as Deputy Police Adviser from May 2008. Before joining the United Nations, Commissioner Orler was a Police Commissioner with the Swedish National Police for some 20 years.

12 October 2010

JSMP presents submission to regulate pardons issue

Televizaun Timor-Leste, October 11, 2010 language source: Tetun - The Timorese Judicial System Monitoring Program (JSMP) has presented its submission to the Ministry of Justice for regulating pardons, as so far the pardons granted by the president to prisoners is baseless.

Director for JSMP Luis de Oliveira said they conveyed their ideas to the Justice Ministry, following President Jose Ramos Horta’s pardons to the prisoners was not based on a decree law.

Oliveira added that the President has absolute power to grante pardons to prisoners, but it is important for him to do so based on the constitution or a decree law. “We are here to present the results of our seminar as it is a kind of idea for the Justice Ministry to regulate the pardons issue in the country,” Oliveira said.

Sexual misconduct being investigated: UNMIT’s Gyorgy KAKUK

Timornewsline, October 11, 2010 - Spokesperson for the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) Gyorgy Kakuk said a reported allegation of sexual misconduct, involving an individual of the UN Police was currently being investigated. Mr. Kakuk affirmed that this case is now being investigated by the relevant authorities of UNMIT.

“We will have no other until such time as the inquiry is completed. However, it should be noted that the UN takes a serious view of sexual misconduct and inappropriate behavior on the part of its staff,” Kakuk said. He added that UNMIT will take stern disciplinary measures where infractions of its behavioral and disciplinary code occur.

An Indonesian journalist from West Timor named Judith Lorenzo Taolin has recetly revealed that she was sexually harrased by a UN Police officer from Pakistan in Dili on August 19, 2010.

In an open letter, Judith explained that this individual member of the UN Police officer pressed her breast twice, during a picture taking near the residence of President Jose Ramos Horta. Judith affirmed that such an attitude of the UN Police officer has made her shocked and is traumatized. She wants this case to be followed up by the Embassy of Indonesia in Timor-Leste and needs to be resolved through legal procecedings based on the existing law in the country.

Judith was invited by the embassy of Indonesia in Timor-Leste to collect a story on celebration of Indonesia’s independence day which was held in Dili last August.

05 October 2010

East Timor to suspend two top ministers

ABC RAdio Australia Updated October 4, 2010 12:44:03 - East Timor's deputy prime minister and foreign minister have been indicted over corruption allegations and may be suspended from parliament to face charges in court.

Both men have been in New York, representing East Timor at the United Nations General Assembly. But in their absence, East Timor's council of ministers has decided to suspend them from office, and parliament will now consider when the suspensions should take effect. Analysts say that if the suspensions go ahead, they could destabilise East Timor's coalition government and disrupt negotiations with Australia over an asylum seeker processing centre.

Presenter: Liam Cochrane
Speaker: Michael Leach, lecturer, Swinburne University, Melbourne; statements from East Timor's council of ministers and Zacarias de Costa, East Timorese foreign minister

* Listen:
* Windows Media

LIAM COCHRANE: East Timor's council of ministers has indicated it will suspend two of its top government officials which will remove their parliamentary immunity and leave them open to prosecution in court.

Observers say the move has the potential to test the government's coalition alliance and destabilise negotiations with Australia over a regional asylum seeker processing centre.

It all goes back to 2006 when Jose Luis Guterres appointed his wife as counsel to East Timor's UN ambassador in New York and significantly raised her salary. An investigation by East Timor's ombudsman last year found Mr Guterres had engaged in maladministration, including indications of collusion and nepotism and broke a number of anti-corruption laws.

The foreign minister, Zacarias da Costa, is accused of signing off on the arrangement.

East Timor's council of ministers issued this statement on Thursday, indicating the two ministers will be suspended.

EXCERPT FROM STATEMENT: The council of ministers discussed the issue in order to understand, based on the documents sent by the public prosecutor's office, on the republic's constitution and on the penal code, from what date should the suspensions have become effective.

LIAM COCHRANE: The spokesman of East Timor's government, Agio Pereira, has also confirmed that the two ministers will definitely be suspended.

The foreign minister Zacarias da Costa issued this statement from New York.

EXCERPT FROM ZACARIAS DA COSTA STATEMENT: It was with interest that I learned about this latest development. However, I will await with serenity the progress of the judicial process. It is my intention to fully cooperate with the competent judicial authority in order to clarify the issue.

I hope that this judicial process is allowed to take its course and not become an issue for political speculation.

LIAM COCHRANE: Mr da Costa is due back in East Timor on October 9. Jose Luis Guterres was not available for comment but has previously denied any wrongdoing in the matter.

Michael Leach, a lecturer at Melbourne's Swinburne University, says the two suspensions could have wider implications for East Timor's coalition government.

MICHAEL LEACH: It has potential implications of instability for the balance of power in the parliament. The alliance with the parliamentary majority relies on all four major parties for its majority.

PSD (Social Democratic Party), which has already lost the deputy prime minister a couple of weeks ago, is the party that Zacarias da Costa belong to. So they will have lost two of their three ministerial positions if he is indeed suspended as is being reported.

Presumably that would only make more likely the risk, increase the risk that they might leave the AMP.

LIAM COCHRANE: The AMP is the parliamentary majority alliance of East Timor's parliament. It holds its majority by six seats, the same number of seats held by Mr da Costa's PSD party.

Michael Leach says suspension of the foreign minister could also disrupt negotiations with Australia's Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, about setting up a regional asylum seeker processing centre in East Timor.

MICHAEL LEACH: Whatever relationship has been established at this point between, say, Chris Bowen on the Australian side and Zacarias da Costa will have to be restarted with the new foreign minister if indeed Zacarias da Costa is suspended.

And the second implication really goes to the issue of who would replace Zacarias da Costa. You know, these do have some important implications depending on which player ends up in that role and that could in fact be a signal from the Timorese government about how they're treating the negotiation.

LIAM COCHRANE: Australia wants to set up a facility in East Timor, where asylum seekers will be detained while their applications are processed. The proposal initially received a lukewarm reception in Dili but discussions have been continuing on the issue.
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