24 December 2015

European Parliament approves Visa Arrangement with Timor-Leste



ETLJB 24/12/2015 Government of East Timor Media Release  DIli, 16 December, 2015 - In Brussels overnight the European Parliament approved the short-stay visa waiver agreement between the European Union and the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. The agreement provides for visa-free travel for citizens of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste and the European Union when travelling to each other’s territories for a maximum period of 90 days in any 180-day period. The visa waiver covers all categories of passport holders travelling for all kinds of purposes, except for the purpose of carrying out a paid activity and extends to all of the countries of the European Union except the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, as these two countries are not part of the “Schengen Area.”

On the 26th of May this year, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Roberto Sarmento de Oliveira Soares signed the agreement which had been operating up until now on a provisional basis pending last night’s approval of the Parliament.

The European Union Rapporteur’s Justification explained that the agreement “represents an opportunity to intensify economic relations and develop tourism” and highlighted Timor-Leste’s “very rapid and praiseworthy democratic stabilisation since gaining independence.” It also characterized the ongoing partnership between the European Union and Timor-Leste as being of “high quality” and said that the agreement represented “a culmination of the deepening of relations between the European Union and the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.”

Spokesperson for the Sixth Constitutional Government, Minister of State, Agio Pereira noted “Timor-Leste appreciates the resounding vote in favor of the agreement last night and looks forward to the EU citizens it will encourage to visit us, as well as the new ease with which Timorese citizens will be able to enter the countries of the EU. The approval of the agreement by the Parliament reflects well on our diplomatic and political maturity, our economic progress and the capacity of our Immigration service, and is a vote of confidence recognizing our national stability, security and democratic values.” ENDS

Extraordinary meeting of the East Timor Council of Ministers of 14 December 2015



ETLJB 24/12/2015 Government of East Timor Media Release Dili - The Council of Ministers met extraordinarily this Monday, December 14th, 2015, in the meeting room of the Council of Ministers, at the Government Palace in Dili, and approved:

1. The Government’s Resolution on the participation of TIMOR GAP, E.P. in oil operations in the exclusive area of Timor-Leste This diploma authorises TIMOR GAP, E.P. to participate in production sharing contracts for the onshore and offshore blocks of Timor-Leste’s Exclusive Area, with the objective of decreasing the geological risk and to improve knowledge on the potential of existing hydrocarbons.

Currently, Timor-Leste has only projects in the JPDA – Joint Petroleum Development Area. It becomes necessary, therefore, to deepen the knowledge of existing resources in the Exclusive Area, through the promotion of activities of prospecting and research, which includes the implementation of studies in the areas considered relevant. The results will have a relevant role in the attraction of the required investment by international oil companies in the area under the exclusive jurisdiction of Timor-Leste.

2. The Government Decree on the payment supplements to officials attached to the process
of the General State Budget for 2016 and closing of the State Accounts for 2015

The preparation of the General State Budget for 2016 and closing of the financial year of 2015 led to an increase in the volume of work which exceeded the hourly amount provided for by law, including 40 overtime hours per month. Therefore, and in accordance with the policy of recognition for the professional dedication and incentive to employees who, in the framework of these proceedings, distinguished themselves with exemplary fulfilment of their obligations with high degree of efficiency, innovation and professional merit, the Government approved the payment of a supplement to these officials.-ENDS-

Members of the East Timor Legislative Reform and Justice Sector Commission sworn in



ETLJB 24/12/2015 Government of East Timor Media Release Dili, 18 December, 2015 - On Wednesday the President and Members of the Legislative Reform and Justice Sector Commission were sworn in by Prime Minister, Rui Maria de Araujo at a ceremony conducted in the Meeting Room of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers. The Commission is a new structure, established by the Sixth Constitutional Government, with a mission to recommend law reform, evaluate how laws are being implemented and to help harmonize legislation.

The President the Commission is Jorge Manuel Ferreira da Graça. The other permanent members are Henrique Côrte-Real de Araújo and Melisa Ibela Diliana e Silva Caldas. José Manuel Guterres was sworn in as a non-permanent member appointed by the President of the Court of Appeal.

Jorge da Graça, who has a Degree in Law and a Masters of Arts in development studies, has had a long and distinguished career as a legal practitioner, advisor and lecturer. Significantly, as a precursor to this new responsibility, he has had broad experience as a team leader reviewing and drafting legislation in Timor-Leste and Mozambique.

The Prime Minister congratulated the President and Commission members and noted that the Commission was “based on the 2011-2030 Strategic Development Plan” which “considers it essential to review and improve the legal instruments ensuring the protection of rights, liberties and guarantees, as well as access to the law, bringing the legislation closer to the democratic ideals and the citizens of Timor-Leste.”

The work of the Commission is part of a package of reform programs initiated by the Government this year to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of service delivery and promote good governance and institutional development.

In closing his remarks at the ceremony the Prime Minister emphasized “This is a key and strategic reform for enabling the growth and development of our country and for ensuring better service delivery to the people.”ENDS

23 December 2015

Meeting of the East Timor Council of Ministers of 22 December 2015



ETLJB 23/12/2015 Government of East Timor Media Release Dili 22 December 2015 - The Council of Ministers met this Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015, in the meeting room of the Palace of the Government, in Dili, and approved:

1. Government resolution granting land use rights for the construction of a hotel complex
The Government grants to Pelican Paradise Holdings Timor-Leste the surface rights on a land in Tasi Tolu for the development of an investment project. This international company, headquartered in Singapore, will build and explore a five-star hotel complex, with an investment of approximately US $ 310 million.

The project was presented to the Fifth Constitutional Government at the extraordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers of November 21st, 2014. It includes the construction of a hotel with 464 rooms, designed to be among the best 5 star hotels in the region, among other high quality and tourist potential units.

The training of human resources and the creation of employment are priorities of the investor, which plans to create around one thousand and five hundred direct jobs in the construction phase. With operations starting the investor expects that a thousand and three hundred jobs will be created and maintained.

The Council of Ministers also analysed:

1. National Youth Policy
The Secretary of State of Youth and Sports presented to the Council of Ministers the new National YouthPolicy that describes the challenges, the objectives and the projects of the State for this sector, which covers the majority of the population of Timor-Leste. For the compilation of the document, the StateSecretariat had a broad participation of the national youth. It is worth remembering that the SixthConstitutional Government placed Youth as one of the main targets of the public policies of its program, stressing that the future of Timor-Leste is inseparable from the future of its youth.

22 December 2015

2016 East Timor General State Budget, more than just the numbers, says Government



ETLJB 22/12/2015 Government of East Timor Media Release - Dili, 19 December, 2015  The 2016 General State Budget, given its final approval last night, sets out the allocation of public funds to be used next year to serve the State and the people of Timor-Leste. Whilst much of the focus in the media has been on the numbers, it will be the reforms and initiatives introduced in this budget’s development and established to guide its implementation that will make a significant impact on the quality of spending
undertaken in 2016.

The Sixth Constitutional Government’s Budget Performance Reforms shaped the development phase of the 2016 Budget and will now drive the monitoring and evaluation of expenditure to ensure that Timor-Leste’s public resources are used as efficiently and effectively as possible.

The quality of planning in the 2016 Budget has been strengthened. This year all Ministries, Agencies and Institutions were required to make submissions setting out specific programs and activities and presenting a transparent and justifiable link between these and their associated budgets. Budget Book 2, available online at the Ministry of Finance website, now contains Annual Plans that include a description of programs and activities, associated key indicators, modes of verification, baseline data, desired outcomes and a specific associated budget.

In the budgetary process so far, this information has been used to justify allocation of funds. Now, with these amounts finalized, the plans will guide implementation, transparently showing baseline data and expected outcomes that allow public scrutiny to assess if commitments made are being fulfilled.

Another aspect of the reform is the granting of greater autonomy to the entities that have administrative and financial autonomy written into their statutes. These entities in 2016 will have responsibility to implement the funds allocated to them, with their budget management subject to control and inspection procedures already provided for in the Law on Budget and Financial Management.

This step is to encourage higher quality service delivery, a more efficient management of public finances and greater accountability of public officials. The budgets of the autonomous entities in 2016 will be implemented using the Financial Management Information System to ensure the monitoring and transparency of spending.

Spokesperson for the Sixth Constitutional Government, Minister of State Agio Pereira noted “the 2016 Budget with its rigorous planning, inclusionary approach, focus on outcomes and reforms to improve implementation, seeks to maximize the effectiveness of every dollar spent. The ultimate goal is to serve the needs of our people. Now that it has been fully approved by National Parliament, the Government will go into the New Year maintaining its mission to ensure high quality expenditure and optimal service delivery with the resources allocated.” ENDS

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2016 General State Budget fully approved by East Timor National Parliament

East Timor 2016 General State Budget presented in National Parliament

Proposed 2016 Budget delivered to members of East Timor's National Parliament

East Timor Government proposes 2016 to Parliament 2 weeks later than legally required, says La'o Hamutuk
 

2016 General State Budget fully approved by East Timor National Parliament



ETLJB 22/12/2015 - Government of East Timor Media Release Dili, 19 December, 2015 - Last night the National Parliament of Timor-Leste concluded its scrutiny, consideration and voting on the 2016 General State Budget with a unanimous final vote of approval. This comes after a long and rigorous budgetary process that has taken place throughout the year.

Total amount of the budget including loans is US $1,562.223 billion, made up of:

Wages and salaries: $181.874 million
Goods and Services [including the Human Capital Development Fund]:$449.015 million
Public transfers: $476.030 million
Minor Capital: $18.844 million
Capital Development [including the Infrastructure Fund]: $436.470 million

The budget law now proceeds to the President of the Republic for promulgation.
Reflecting on the budget process after the plenary, the Prime Minister Dr. Rui Araújo expressed his sincere appreciation for the contribution of the Parliament, particularly each parliamentary group and individual members of parliament.

He noted “The constructive engagement in the debates, including during the work of the Special Committee and through until the final vote, with all the contributions presented in a frank and clear manner, have enriched the debate and, as a result, produced a budget with high quality and relevance towards responding to the needs of our people and nation.”

He went on to say “this debate about our national budget for 2016 has highlighted the commitment of the Government and Parliament in ensuring that our nation moves forward, not in different directions and in separate parts, but as one. I, as Prime Minister and the Government as a whole, congratulate the Parliament and reiterate our total commitment to work in cooperation with the Parliament to ensure the execution of this budget meets the expectations of every institution of our country and particularly of our people.”

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East Timor 2016 General State Budget presented in National Parliament

Proposed 2016 Budget delivered to members of East Timor's National Parliament

East Timor Government proposes 2016 to Parliament 2 weeks later than legally required, says La'o Hamutuk

18 December 2015

East Timor National Parliament approves text proposed by “Komisaun Eventual” amending the General State Budget Law



ETLJB 18/12/2015 Government of East Timor Media Release 16 December 2015 - Yesterday the National Parliament approved the substitute text presented by the Commission for Collection and Analysis of Proposals for Consensual Amendments to the Draft Law, bringing the 2016 Budget another step closer to completion.

The Commission, constituted by National Parliament and including representatives of all four political  parties, concluded its work on the 14th of December after considering 46 amendments proposed by parliamentary members. Its Consensus Report presented yesterday included the “substitute text” proposed for insertion into the draft law of The General State Budget for 2016.

After considering the Report and the substitute text the National Parliament overwhelmingly voted to approve the text for insertion into the draft law in its Plenary session.

The total amount of the 2016 State Budget is to remain at US$1.56 Billion.

The Budget was unanimously approved in generality on the 3rd of December. Now that the Commission has completed its work and the National Parliament has approved the substitute text, members will voting on each ministry and article in the budget law. This process of scrutiny is expected to be complete by the 21st December. Then the proposed Budget Law, after a final vote of approval by the National Parliament, will go to the President for promulgation.

Spokesperson for the Government, Minister of State, Agio Periera noted "the Government appreciates the many proposals submitted by members of the National Parliament to amend the proposed 2016 General State Budget and recognises the intense work of the "Komisaun Eventual" in carefully considering these amendments. This 2016 Budget with its strengthened links between programs and expenditure, increased autonomy and built in measures for transparency and accountability, is set to the serve the nation well."ENDS

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East Timor 2016 General State Budget presented in National Parliament

Proposed 2016 Budget delivered to members of East Timor's National Parliament

East Timor Government proposes 2016 to Parliament 2 weeks later than legally required, says La'o Hamutuk

16 December 2015

Issue of immunity hampers trial of the East Timor Secretary of State for Arts and Culture on charges of mismanagement, embezzlement and abuse of power



ETLJB 16/12/2015 JSMP Press Release Dili District Court 15 December 2015 Issue of immunity hampers trial of the Secretary of State for Arts and Culture - On 23 November 2015 the Dili District Court failed to conduct a hearing against the accused Secretary of State for the Arts and Culture, Isabel Ximenes, because the National Parliament has not yet issued a resolution suspending her immunity.

Isabel Ximenes is charged with negligent mismanagement under Article 275 of the Penal Code, embezzlement under Article 295 and abuse of power under Article 297.

The trial should have commenced on 23 November, but the Dili District Court adjourned the trial because the defendent is the Secretary of State for the Arts and Culture and, therefore, National Parliament needs to remove her immunity before the Court can hear the case against her.

However, Article 113(1) of the RDTL Constitution states that, where a member of the Government is charged with a criminal offence punishable with a sentence of imprisonment for more than two years, he or she shall be suspended from his or her functions so that the proceedings can be pursued. In this case, the maximum penalty is greater than two years, so the defendant’s immunity is automatically suspended. The Court does not need to wait for National Parliament to remove immunity.

“JSMP asks the Court to recognise that immunity in this case is automatically removed, pursuant to Article 113(1) of the Constitution. In cases involving serious charges against members of the Government, issues of immunity should not obstruct the trial or the obligation of the accused to promptly respond to the charges against them,” said the Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.

When a member of Government commits a crime that carries a maximum penalty of two years or less, pursuant to Article 113 (2) of the Constitution, the National Parliament shall decide whether or not that member’s immunity shall be suspended so that the criminal proceedings can proceed.

In contrast, the wording of Article 113(1) of the Constitution clearly states that National Parliament does not have this discretion when a member of Government is charged with committing a crime that carries a penalty of greater than two years in prison. In such cases the immunity of the Government member is automatically suspended because the charge relates to a serious crime. This does not require a resolution from the Parliament to take effect.

In relation to the criminal offences allegedly committed by the defendant Isabel Ximenes, each of the crimes carries a different penalty. The crime of negligent mismanagement carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison, embezzlement carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and the crime of abuse of power carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison. The latter two crimes carry a penalty that is greater than two years in prison, which means that the immunity of the defendant is automatically removed.

JSMP requests that the Dili District Court commence the trial of this case without further undue delay. The defendant must respond to the charges against her at the Dili District Court. This issue relates to the fundamental principle of the rule of law. This means that all people, including the State and its agents, are equal in the eyes of the law, are treated with in the same way and are subject to an independent trial, which are basic principles of justice, peace and democracy. 

East Timor National Seminar on protecting women’s rights from the perspective of the Timor-Leste legal framework



ETLJB 16/12/2015 JSMP Press Release Dili District 14 December 2015 - National Seminar on protecting women’s rights from the perspective of the Timor-Leste legal framework

On 15 December 2015 the Judicial System Monitoring Programme (JSMP), through its Women’s and Children’s Justice Unit (WCJU), will hold a national seminar on the topic of “Protecting Women’s Rights from the perspective of the Timor-Leste legal framework”.

The speakers at this seminar will include the President of the National Parliament’s Women’s Caucus (GMPTL), the Dean of the UNTL Faculty of Law, and the Dean of the UNDIL Faculty of Law.

“To ensure adequate and effective protection for women, there needs to be a collective effort from all people and the relevant institutions in order to contribute to the consistent development of women in accordance with the applicable legal framework,” said the Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.

Based on JSMP monitoring, relatively speaking Timor-Leste currently has an adequate legal framework to deal with crimes of gender based violence and to protect the rights of victims of gender based violence. This legal framework encompasses the Constitution and international conventions that have been ratified by Timor-Leste as well as other national laws. Nevertheless, in reality, many women still face a variety of obstacles in accessing their rights to this protection.

Therefore, JSMP would like to involve academic institutions in the articulation of academic perspectives as well as hearing the political viewpoint of the National Parliament relating to the existing legal framework in order to guarantee that this legal framework truly protects women.

This seminar is being held with the aim of raising the understanding of university students about women’s rights in accordance with the existing legal framework, and to identify the types of protection provided for women’s rights in this framework that provides simple and prompt protection, as well as providing information to university students so they can recognize equal rights between women and men as set out in the Constitution.

The participants in this seminar will include university students from the Faculty of Law, civil society, the police, VPU, relevant institutions and the media.

This program will be held with the financial support from the Norwegian Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia.

East Timot Law and Justice Bulletin

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Oral Statement by Civil Society Coalition in Timor-Leste to Sixty-Second CEDAW Session November 2015 
 

11 December 2015

Amnesty International and JSMP Joint Public Statement on reparations for victims of conflict related sexual violence



ETLJB 11/12/2015 - Timor-Leste: UN CEDAW Committee urges authorities to ensure comprehensive reparations for victims of conflict related sexual violence

1 December 2015

An expert UN Committee has raised concerns about the on-going failure by the government of Timor-Leste to adopt laws to ensure comprehensive reparation for survivors of rape and other forms of sexual violence that occurred during the Indonesian occupation (1975-1999) and the 1999 independence referendum.

On 11 November 2015, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee), the body tasked with reviewing the implementation of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) brought a number of concerns to the attention of representatives from the Timor-Leste government during the consideration of its state report at the 62nd CEDAW session in Geneva. In its Concluding Observations, issued on 20 November 2015, the Committee expressed concern about a range of areas where Timor-Leste is failing to meet its obligations under the Convention.

Amnesty International and the Judicial System Monitoring Programme (JSMP) welcomes the CEDAW’s findings and the constructive engagement by the Timor-Leste government during the review. It urges the Timor–Leste government to take forward all necessary steps to ensure the Committee’s recommendations are implemented so that their laws, policies and practices are in line with their obligations under the Convention. 

Amnesty International submitted a briefing to the CEDAW in January 2015. Amnesty International, ‘Timor-Leste: Submission to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, 62nd Session’, 1 January 2015, Index: ASA 57/0001/2015 It highlighted large-scale human rights violations and crimes under international law that were committed against women and girls during the Indonesian occupation and independence referendum, including rape, sexual slavery and other forms of sexual violence, by members of the Indonesian security forces and their auxiliaries, as well as by Timorese men.

The CEDAW recommended in their Concluding Observations that the Timor-Leste authorities ensure there will be no impunity for rape, sexual slavery and other forms of sexual violence committed during the Indonesian occupation. Further it called on the government to “implement the recommendations of the reports of the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (CAVR) as well as the Commission on Truth and Friendship (CTF) relating to redress for women and girls who became victims of violations during the occupation.”

The CEDAW also raised concern that survivors of sexual violence during the Indonesian occupation “continue to experience social stigma and ostracism resulting in feelings of ‘shame’ and have limited access to medical, psychological, reproductive and mental health services or treatment.”

Amnesty International and the Judicial System Monitoring Program agree with the CEDAW’s concern about the delay in adopting bills concerning the National Reparation Programme and a Public Memory Institute, which have been before parliament since 2010, and call for it to be debated and passed in accordance with the Convention and other international law and standards. The authorities must also provide for a “comprehensive program of transformative reparation” to address discrimination and violence against women and girls.

The Committee also raised concerns about the decrease in the human resources of the judiciary following Parliamentary Resolution No.11/2014 and Governmental Resolution Nos. 20/2014 and 32/2014 in October 2014 and called for its review. The resolutions terminated all existing contracts and contractual renewals of foreign judicial workers, including foreign judges, prosecutors, public defenders and judicial advisors with immediate effect, which negatively impact the ability to take forward judicial processes. Under Timorese Law, trials of crimes that occurred during 1999 require two international judges. Following the termination of their contracts, such trials are currently impossible.

Amnesty International and the Judicial System Monitoring Program's joint oral statement to the 62nd Session of the CEDAW can be accessed through the following link: https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/asa57/2833/2015/en/ 

The CEDAW Committee’s Concluding Observations can be accessed via the following link: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CEDAW%2fC%2fTLS%2fCO%2f2-3&Lang=en 

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CEDAW Committee recommends Timor-Leste takes action to address violence against women and promote women’s access to justice



ETLJB 11/12/2015 JSMP Press Release 10 December 2015 - On 20 November 2015, the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) issued its final conclusions on Timor Leste’s progress in implementing the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The Committee made its conclusions after receiving written reports from the Government of Timor-Leste and civil society organisations, including JSMP. On 11 and 12 November 2015, in Geneva, the Committee also heard presentations from the Government and civil society organisations, and held question and answer sessions with both groups.

Several of the Committee’s recommendations emphasised Timor-Leste’s obligations under CEDAW to protect victims of gender based violence and to guarantee their access to justice.

“JSMP values the CEDAW Committee for raising important points relating to women’s access to justice and violence against women, which JSMP and other civil society organisations expressed concern with. JSMP believes that the State of Timor Leste has a large role to play in eliminating discrimination and ensuring policies or laws do not discriminate against women. JSMP hopes that the Government of Timor-Leste will take immediate action to implement these recommendations,” said the Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.

Timor-Leste acceded to CEDAW without reservation in 2003. CEDAW requires State Parties to take immediate action to eliminate discrimination in the lives of women. In order to adhere to its obligations under CEDAW, Timor-Leste must take all necessary steps to adopt and integrate the principles of CEDAW in its national laws, national policies and national development plans.

According to article 18 of CEDAW, State Parties must periodically report to the Secretary-General of the United Nations on factors and difficulties affecting the fulfilment of their CEDAW obligations. Timor Leste’s first report was submitted in 2009 and this year the Committee considered the second and third reports together.

The CEDAW Committee expressed it concern at the lack of an effective legal aid system in Timor-Leste. The Committee recommends that effective legal aid organisations be established to respond to the economic hurdles faced by women seeking to access the formal justice system. In this regard, the Committee recommends that court costs be reduced for women with low incomes and waived for women living in poverty.

The Committee is concerned about the lack of training and information on women’s rights and gender equality for judicial actors. The Committee recommends that the Government of Timor-Leste ensure, through regular education sessions and capacity building, that all braches of government understand CEDAW and the Committee’s recommendations. To ensure gender equality and women’s advancement, CEDAW should be applied in all related court decisions and should be considered when developing all new laws and policies.

In relation to violence against women, the Committee raised concerns about the increasing rate of domestic violence in Timor-Leste, including incest and the sexual abuse of girls. The Committee emphasised that only a small number of cases are reported due to fear of stigmatisation and a general lack of awareness about the criminal nature of domestic violence. The Committee recommended that the Government of Timor-Leste take measures to encourage women to report cases of domestic violence, and to ensure there is satisfactory prosecution and punishment of domestic violence. The Committee also underlined the importance of providing compensation to women and child victims to provide redress for the emotional and psychological harm they have suffered and to cover any financial costs, including medical bills.

The Committee also recommended that the Law On Witness Protection be prioritised so that witnesses in domestic violence cases feel safe and can access justice, health services, psychological care, safe houses and counselling. The Committee also recommended that Timor-Leste establish an integrated system for data collection and reporting of gender based violence, to enable it to assess the effectiveness of policies and programs aimed at promoting women’s human rights.

Timor-Leste will submit its next report to the CEDAW Committee in 2019, including reporting on progress implementing the Committee’s recommendations described above.

See also on ETLJB
JSMP Launches Report About Application of Alternative Sentencing in Domestic Violence Cases in the Oe-cusse District Court
TOR External Evaluation of JSMP's Improving Justice Outcomes for Women in Timor-Leste
Oral Statement by Civil Society Coalition in Timor-Leste to Sixty-Second CEDAW Session November 2015 

03 December 2015

East Timor 2016 General State Budget presented in National Parliament



ETLJB 03/12/2015 Government of East Timor Media Release Dili, 2 December, 2015 - Yesterday the 2016 State Budget was presented to the National Parliament of Timor-Leste marking the beginning of the 2016 Budget Plenary. Prime Minister H.E. Dr. Rui Maria de Araújo explained that the Budget proposal “represents the financial, economic and social programs and policies that are essential for the Sixth Constitutional Government to lead the country to improve the living situation of our people.”

A central theme of the Prime Minister’s speech was the priority given by the Government to promote quality spending. He said that when preparing the proposed Budget the Government was “demanding and focused on providing better services to the people and on eliminating superfluous expenditure, while not neglecting the economic and social growth and development of the country and people.”
The proposed budget for 2016 is US $1.562 billion including loans. This covers the various budget
categories:

  • Salaries and Wages: $181.529 million
  • Goods and Services [including the Human Capital Development Fund]: $468.988 million
  • Public Transfers: $475.775 million
  • Minor Capital: $17.565 million
  • Capital Development [including the Infrastructure Fund]: $418.376 million
Earlier in the year the Government aimed to cap the “fiscal envelope” at $1.3 billion, however after close scrutiny the Political Review Committee made a decision to adjust this to properly resource the needs of the country at the current phase of national development.

The 2016 Budget aims to be the most efficient and effective to date. Reforms guiding its planning and
implementation are comprehensive. For the first time ever, all planned expenditure within each ministry is linked to specific programs and activities, ensuring a stronger connection between public expenditure and services provided. Greater autonomy is being given to agencies, institutions and ministries for more efficiency, whilst at the same time they are to be rigorously monitored to evaluate evidence of their achieved outcomes. Monitoring and evaluation measures established will “result in greater transparency and accountability regarding a ministry’s performance in responding to the commitments made.”

The draft law N. 33/III (4th) The General State Budget for 2016, now under consideration, will be voted in its general terms tomorrow on the 3rd of December. Discussion and voting on each individual section then begins on Friday. Concurrently, from December 4th till the 13th, the Provisional Committee for Collection and Analysis of Proposals for Consensual Amendments to the Draft Law will collect information and prepare a Report to present to the Plenary, as well as the single substitute text, which will be voted on after discussion by the Members of Parliament. The approved text will then be incorporated in the draft law.


After the conclusion of the discussion and voting of all the articles of the draft law, a final overall vote on the text of the draft law with the approved amendments will be conducted and the final document, the General State Budget Law for 2016, will then be sent to the President of the Republic for promulgation.

Spokesperson for the Sixth Constitutional Government, Minister of State Pereira thanked all those involved in the rigorous preparation of the proposed budget. He noted “reforms to strengthen the link between programs and expenditure, increase autonomy, increase transparency and closely evaluate achievements against set goals will be instrumental in improving value for money and better serving the people.” He said “the Government welcomes the scrutiny of National Parliament and looks forward to a constructive debate in the coming days where all are focusing on what is best for the nation.” ENDS

East Timor Law and Justice Bulletin Legal News from East Timor in English

Extraordinary Meeting of the East Timor Council of Ministers 30 November 2015



ETLJB 03/12/2015 Government of East Timor Press Release - The Council of Ministers met extraordinarily this Monday, November 30th, 2015, in the meeting room of the Council of Ministers, at the Government Palace in Dili, and approved:

1. Staff Regulations of the Presidency of the Republic
The Staff Regulations of the Presidency of the Republic recognize the administrative and financial autonomy of the Office of the Presidency and take into account the specific roles and responsibilities of personnel supporting this sovereign body. This diploma also takes into account the civil servants working in the Presidency of the Republic, linked to the Civil Service Regulations, and their special work needs.

It should be recalled that the revision of the Organizational Structure Law of the Presidency of the Republic, in January 2014, repealed the provisions relating to the management of human resources, referring its solution to the approval of the Staff Regulations of the Presidency of the Republic, which has now been approved by the Council of Ministers.

2. Timor-Leste’s Investment and Export Promotion Agency, P.I. - Tradeinvest
This project, examined at the meeting of the Council of Ministers of November 24th, 2015, aims to reformulate the Specialised Investment Agency - Invest Timor-Leste, transforming it in Timor-Leste’s Investment and Export Promotion Agency, P.I. - Tradeinvest Timor-Leste. This measure aims to create a dissemination strategy of Timor-Leste abroad, promoting investment opportunities in the country, encouraging national entrepreneurship and increasing exports.

The project foresees that the new agency will focus its action on the promotion, dissemination, coordination, streamlining and monitoring of investment opportunities in the country and on exports of goods and services produced in Timor-Leste, working as the privileged vehicle of the nation’s economic promotion.

3. Decree-law that establishes the National Register of Vessels and Ships of Timor-Leste
This diploma creates a registry of ships and vessels with motors, giving them the privilege of flying the national flag and navigating under the jurisdiction of Timor-Leste, guaranteeing them a clear legal situation, whether public or private. Registration conditions are established to ensure compliance with security rules and navigation conditions, as well as necessary inspections.


This measure allows for the quality control of the growth of maritime transport, which will result from economic development and expansion of the country's maritime capabilities.

The Council of Ministers also examined:

1. Preparation Plan for Climate Change
This plan, developed by the Ministry of the Interior, takes into account studies on the impact of climate change in Timor-Leste, the vulnerabilities Timor-Leste faces with these changes, and measures already taken - ratification of international agreements (Convention to Combat Desertification, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Convention on Biological Biodiversity) and national deliberations (National Policy and Strategies for the Forestry Sector, Environmental Licensing, Legislative Authorization on Environmental Matters and National Action Programme to Adapt to Climate Change).

Cross-cutting measures directed at the reduction of the adverse effects of climate change were identified, for the promotion of development and sustainable use of natural resources and for the response to the effects of natural disasters. This response is the responsibility of the National Authority for Civil Protection. According to the plan, the Ministry of the Interior shall finalise the necessary legislation for Civil Protection and submit it to the relevant entities, as well as prepare a Special Emergency Plan for Civil Protection against adverse conditions caused by the El Niño climate phenomenon.

The Ministry of the Interior shall now work with the relevant ministries to define and develop concrete tasks, detailing the required resources and appointing a focal point for constant communication with the National Authority of Civil Protection.

2. National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity
The national working group for biodiversity, coordinated by the General Directorate for the Environment of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Environment (MCIE) submitted to the Council of Ministers the fifth Timor-Leste report to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

This report updates the status of biodiversity in Timor-Leste, provides the evaluation on the strategic implementation and national action plan for biodiversity, and reflects the nation’s progress to reach Aichi’s goals for biodiversity (defined in the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity for the period 2011 to 2020, held in the city of Nagoya, Province of Aichi, Japan).

The information contained in this report concentrates mainly on four areas: agricultural biodiversity, forestry biodiversity, aquatic biodiversity, and communication.

The drafting of this report had the support of the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Bank’s Global Environment Facility.

East Timor Law and Justice Bulletin Legal News from East Timor in English

30 November 2015

Events to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Independence and 500 years of interaction with Portugal



ETLJB 30/11/2015 Government of East Timor Press Release Dili, 27 November, 2015 - Important activities are taking place over the next days to commemorate two very significant events in the history of the Timorese people.

On Saturday, the 28th of November, Timor-Leste commemorates the 40th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Independence, remembering the day in 1975 when the text of the Proclamation of the Independence of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste was first read by Francisco Xavier do Amaral, the first President of the Republic.

The 28th of November also marks the highpoint of commemorations of 500 years of the interaction of two civilizations: Timor-Leste and Portugal and the Affirmation of Timorese Identity, recalling the arrival of Portuguese navigators and missionaries at Lifau, in the municipality of Oe-Cusse Ambeno, in 1515. Events and activities exploring the dimensions of this relationship and its impact on the Timorese Identity have taken place throughout all of 2015 with the 28th of November being considered as the pinnacle of this yearlong commemoration.

Activities for the coming days have been prepared by the Organizing Committee for the celebrations coordinated by the Ministry of State Administration led by H.E. Dionisio Babo Soares, Minister of State, Coordinator of State Administration Affairs and Justice and Minister of State Administration. Events are being undertaken in all of Timor-Leste’s thirteen municipalities with major events in Oe-Cusse Ambeno and in Tasi-Tolu, Dili.

Today in Oe-Cusse Ambeno the Lifau Monument was inaugurated. At its centre is a 8.5 tonne, 13 metre long bronze casting of a caravel, the kind of vessel that brought the Portuguese in 1515. Eight bronze figures including a standard bearer, sailors, a priest and Timorese are part of this monument. Tonight an Official Dinner will be hosted by the President of the Republic H.E. Taur Matan Ruak.

Tomorrow on Proclamation Day in Oe-Cusse Ambeno the President of the Republic, the President of National Parliament H.E. Vicente Guterres, Prime Minister H.E. Dr. Rui Maria de Araújo and many other officials and dignitaries of Timor-Leste, Portugal and other nations will join with the local communities for the Raising of the National Flag, the observation of one minute of silence to honor the fallen heroes and a reading of the declaration of Independence Proclamation of 28th of November 1975. In Dili, the Minister of Planning and Strategic Investment, H.E. Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao, will be part of similar ceremonies to be conducted at Tasi-Tolu.

Before the National Flag is lowered in Timor-Leste at sunset on Saturday, many awards will be presented, sporting competitions conducted, cultural activities undertaken and festivities enjoyed.

The Spokesperson for the Sixth Constitutional Government, Minister of State Agio Pereira noted “these days mark two milestones in the history of our nation as we honour the proud proclamation of our independence in 1975 and recognize how our 500 years of interaction with Portugal has shaped us as a distinct nation in our region. As a part of that interaction we acknowledge the spiritual, human and material support offered by the Catholic faith and Church, particularly during the resistance times. During those dark decades, as we fought for our independence, we survived without external support - the world turned its back on us.

Yet we fought on to ensure that the country that emerged from Portuguese-Timor did not fade away. Against all odds, we not only survived, but now strive for higher goals as a sovereign and independent nation. At this time pay our respects to those who have gone before and look to our future with determination and hope.”
ENDS

27 November 2015

East Timor tackles cigarette smoking with a new law to control tobacco



ETLJB 27/11/2015 The Government of East Timor has approved a new law aimed at tackling the social problem of tobacco consumption in the country.

The new law will be Decree-Law on the Tobacco Control Regime.

The draft law has been previously considered by the Government at the meeting of the Council of Ministers on 21 September 2015. It will define the regime for the prevention and control of smoking in the country.

This diploma is in compliance with the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, ratified in 2004 by the National Parliament.

According to a press release from the Government, "tobacco consumption in Timor-Leste remains very high, with significant negative impact on citizens’ health."

The Government notes that "approximately 70% of non-communicable diseases have as their main risk factor the consumption of tobacco."

On 4 June 2014, BBC News Magazine reported that "East Timor has one of the highest smoking rates in the world, with nearly two-thirds of its men hooked on the habit."

According to figures from the Journal of the American Medical Association, 33% of East Timor's population smoke every day. The figure for men stands at 61% - the highest in the world.

"Young people are smoking more and more each year, especially young boys," says Dr Jorge Luna, The World Health Organisation's local representative. "It is a very serious problem."

When he was Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmao repeated what is tantamount to the tobacco industry's line: "The law, banning this, banning that, will not be so effective. It needs education [and] it will take time but I believe that the more people are aware of the diseases that it can cause, the more they are able to stop by themselves."

Tobacco advertising is still prominent in public spaces in East Timor. Most cigarettes are imported from Indonesia, which also has a very high smoking rate in the population.


See also Tobacco control in Timor-Leste: weak

East Timor Law and Justice Bulletin Legal news from East Timor in English

Meeting of the East Timor Council of Ministers 24 November 2015



ETLJB 27/11/2015 - Government of East Timor Press Release 24 November 2015 Dili - The Council of Ministers met this Tuesday, November 24th, 2015, in the meeting room of the Council of Ministers, at the Government Palace in Dili, and approved:

1. The Government Resolution on an investment project for limestone extraction and cement production in Baucau

The investment project of TL Cement, Lda. for the construction of a limestone extraction and cement production unit in the municipality of Baucau involves an investment, by the company, of about US$400 million and the creation of approximately one thousand permanent jobs. It will have a daily production capacity of approximately five thousand tonnes of cement clinker, allowing Timor-Leste to reduce its dependence on imported cement.

The project includes the construction of a jetty, quarries, an industrial complex and wind and solar energy parks, among other facilities. Studies conducted in 2014 point to the existence of large reserves of limestone in the region.

This diploma determines the creation of a technical team, composed of elements nominated by Government members of the relevant areas to the project. This working group will examine the model and the terms of the agreement for participation in the project and submit to the Council of Ministers a report with conclusions and recommendations.

2. Government Resolution that creates the Economic Coordination Structure
The Economic Coordination Structure’s mandate is to propose and implement measures and concrete actions to implement the Reform Guide and Economic Promotion of Timor-Leste 2015-2017, thus fulfilling the programme of the Sixth Constitutional Government in relation to stimulating and developing the private sector of the economy.

3. Decree-Law on the Legal Regime of Public Private Partnership for Tibar Port
This decree-law establishes the legal framework specifically applicable to the Tibar Port, assigning powers to Government to negotiate and sign the contract with the private partner, to develop the concept, financing, implementation, operation and management of the new deep water port.


4. Decree-Law on the Tobacco Control Regime
This diploma, previously examined at the meeting of the Council of Ministers of September 21st, 2015, defines the regime for the prevention and control of smoking in the country.

The tobacco consumption in Timor-Leste remains very high, with significant negative impact on citizens’ health. Approximately 70% of non-communicable diseases have as their main risk factor the consumption of tobacco.

This diploma is in compliance with the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, ratified in 2004 by the National Parliament.

5. Decree-Law on the extraordinary payment of one month's base salary to the public sector
The Sixth Constitutional Government maintains a policy of preservation, recovery and recognition of human resources linked to Public Administration, making, as in previous years, an additional payment, with character of exceptionality, one month of basic salary to employees of the State, listed in this diploma.

The Council of Ministers also examined:

1. Reform Guide and Economic Promotion of Timor-Leste 2015-2017
This project, examined at the meeting of the Council of Ministers on October 27th, 2015, was approved today by the Government taking into account the guidelines proposed in the previous meeting.

The Reform Guide and Economic Promotion of Timor-Leste 2015-2017, formerly named as Reform Programme and Economic Promotion of Timor-Leste 2015-2017, aims to ensure a more effective and efficient coordination of economic affairs, giving priority to stimulating the implementation of structuring economic measures for each of the priority areas identified in the Government Programme and in the Strategic Development Plan (SDP).

2. Timor-Leste’s Investment and Export Promotion Agency, P.I. - Tradeinvest
This project, presented by the Minister of State, Coordinator of Economic Affairs, aims to reform the Specialised Investment Agency - Tradeinvest, transforming it into the Investment and Export Promotion Agency - Tradeinvest Timor-Leste. The project foresees that the new agency will focus on the promotion, dissemination, coordination, streamlining and monitoring of investment opportunities in the country and of exports of goods and services produced in Timor-Leste, working as the privileged vehicle of the nation’s economic promotion.

26 November 2015

JSMP Launches Report About Application of Alternative Sentencing in Domestic Violence Cases in the Oe-cusse District Court



ETLJB 26/11/2015 JSMP Press Release Oe-cusse District Court November 24, 2015 -  JSMP Launches Report About Application of Alternative Sentencing in Domestic Violence Cases in the Oe-cusse District Court as part of USAID’s Ba Distrito Project

Monitoring conducted by the Judicial System Monitoring Programme (JSMP) as part of USAID’s Ba Distrito Project shows that cases of domestic violence continue to represent the highest number of cases in the Oe-cusse court, according to a new report launched today in the Municipal Administration buildings in Oe-cusse.

The thematic report, Application of Alternative Sentences in Domestic Violence Cases in the Oe-cusse District Court, shows that JSMP monitored 151 domestic violence cases from a total of 257 total cases in the Oe-cusse District Court during 19 months, from March 2014 to September 2015.

The monitoring and production of the report were made possible by USAID’s Ba Distrito Project, which is generously supported by the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The report focuses on statistics and case studies from the Oe-cusse District Courts and show sentencing trends in domestic violence cases during the period of monitoring.

“The trends in sentencing that are discussed in this report give useful references to the courts about difficulties in determining sentences which are appropriate in cases of domestic violence. However, the courts need to look at all circumstances, including sentencing principles, specific requirements for each type of sentence, and unique factors in each case, to ensure the objective of preventing violence, and guaranteeing the safety of the victim,” said JSMP Executive Director, Mr. Luis Oliveira Sampaio.

From the total number of domestic violence cases which JSMP monitored in the Oe-cusse District Court, only nine percent (9%) involved female suspects. In relation to sentencing, 58 percent (53%) of the total domestic violence cases which JSMP monitored in the Oe-cusse District Court received a suspended sentence, and 36 percent (36%) of total cases received a fine.

When domestic violence crimes are brought to the courts, the courts are not able to conduct mediation. Statistics also show that passing the Law Against Domestic Violence is not enough to stop domestic violence. Domestic violence will continue to happen often if there is no coordinated effort from all actors, including the courts and the prosecutors.

The report also shares insights on the courts and judges, who have an importante role in this context, because they have the responsibility to make decisions in domestic violence cases according to the principles defined in the Penal Code (Decree Law No. 29/2009).

“The monitoring work done by JSMP provides important insight into how courts are currently dealing with domestic violence cases.  This information is valuable not only to court actors but also to the government, civil society organizations and other service providers who can use it to better determine how they can work together to ensure justice for victims and perpetrators.  It builds community confidence in the formal justice system’s ability to respond to domestic violence when information about outcomes of court cases is shared” said Counterpart International’s Carolyn Tanner, Chief of Party for Ba Distrito Project.

Analysis in this report is a continuation of the analysis which JSMP conducted previously about accusations, sentences, and executing sentences in cases of domestic violence, through JSMP’s thematic report, Law Against Domestic Violence: Three years of Implementation and its obstacles.

19 November 2015

TOR External Evaluation of JSMP's Improving Justice Outcomes for Women in Timor-Leste



ETLJB 19/11/2015- 1.   Project Background

Improving Justice Outcomes for Women of Timor Leste is a three year project funded by the Norwegian Embassy in Jakarta and implemented by the Women’s and Child Justice Unit (WCJU) of the Judicial System Monitoring Programme (JSMP). The goal of the project is to promote the development of a justice system in Timor-Leste that addresses the rights of women and is understood and easily accessed by female victims. The objectives of the project are to:

·         Strengthen legal protection for women in cases of gender based violence

·         Enhance women’s understanding of the formal justice system

·         Increase participation of women as justice sector actors.

The project commenced in November 2012 and will finish in November 2015. JSMP will conduct a final independent review of the project at its conclusion to assess the effectiveness of the project in meeting these objectives, lessons learned and to identify areas for improvement in the design of future interventions in this area.


18 November 2015

East Timor appealing for Australian public's support in border dispute, minister says



Map: BBC News
ETLJB 18/11/2015 From ABC News- East Timor is seeking Australian public support to try to persuade Canberra to settle a longstanding maritime border dispute over lucrative oil and gas reserves, development minister Xanana Gusmao says.

Mr Gusmao, a former president of East Timor, said his country would appeal to Australians' sense of fair play to push their government into meaningful talks.

"If we go to the media and if we raise awareness, it is not because we want people to be against Australia but just to say 'oh yes, it is unfair'," Mr Gusmao said.

Mr Gusmao said he hopes to win sympathy from Australian activists, who had championed East Timor's struggle for independence from Indonesia.

He also wants support from Australian soldiers who served as peacekeepers in the impoverished nation.

East Timor has sought for years to renegotiate a treaty governing oil and gas revenue sharing arrangements that was signed with Australia soon after it gained statehood in 2002.

"From the beginning we asked Canberra to talk," Mr Gusmao said.

"They wouldn't want to blow up all of these issues. We are neighbours, we have problems, we sit down, we talk — but nothing."

East Timor argues the sea border, undefined since it was a Portuguese colony, should fall halfway between it and Australia — which it says would put several oil and gas fields in its territory.

Under the treaty, East Timor shares revenues from these fields — from a mooted half share of the as-yet undeveloped Greater Sunrise fields to 90 per cent of the currently producing Bayu-Undan and Kitan fields.

Allegations that Australian spied on Timorese negotiators fuelled controversy over the treaty.

The issue was taken to the International Court of Justice before East Timor officially dropped the case in June.

However, East Timor is still pursuing international arbitration over both the maritime border dispute and a tax case involving a pipeline from the existing fields to Australia.

Australia warns that defining the border the way East Timor wants may prompt Indonesia to also seek to shift its sea border, and thus gain ownership of disputed oil fields.

An Australian government map shows most of the Greater Sunrise fields in its waters, but with a warning they could be claimed by Indonesia if the border moves.

East Timor's map shows the fields within its claimed share of the Timor Sea.

Greater Sunrise is 33 per cent owned by Woodside, the operator. Its co-owners are ConocoPhilips, Royal Dutch Shell and Japan's Osaka Gas Co Ltd.

Greater Sunrise contains an estimated 5.1 trillion cubic feet of gas and 226 million barrels of condensate, although the border dispute, and low gas prices, means development is on hold.

Reuters

16 November 2015

Oral Statement by Civil Society Coalition in Timor-Leste to Sixty-Second CEDAW Session November 2015



ORAL STATEMENT BY CIVIL SOCIETY COALITION IN TIMOR-LESTE (35 NATIONAL CSOS/NGOS)

62ND CEDAW SESSION, NOVEMBER 2015

Note: Please consider this email or this statement as final version and it’s the statement from Rede Feto, JSMP and ALFeLa and please ignore the previous email or statement that was not from the JSMP and Amnesty International. We apologize  for the inconvenience.

-----

Thank you Madame Chair,

On behalf of Timorese Women we are present our priority issues:

    Women’s leadership / decision making positions (Local Level)
    National Action Plan based on the Law against Domestic Violence
    Re – Entry School Policy

1. WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP POSITION

In rural areas of Timor-Leste, women as “leaders” are still restricted by social, cultural and political barriers. There is continued under-representation of women in public life and decision making processes. We have 442 (four hundred and forty two) village chiefs in Timor-Leste and only 12 (2%) are women.  Out of 65 Sub-Districts, only 5% of women only hold posts as Sub-District Administrators, and none of them are District Administrators. To ensure the involvement of women in this process, we urge the CEDAW Committee to recommend to our government to guarantee quotas for women leaders in the village election law which will be discussed by the National Parliament in 2016.

2. NATIONAL ACTION PLAN BASED ON THE LAW AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

While the National Action Plan on Domestic Violence and GBV requires appropriate provision for victims’ services, the government lacks the resources both financial and human especially in the rural areas. Additionally, as safe houses are limited, sometimes the victims still have to share the same shelter with the perpetrators. This National Action Plan has not been implemented effectively.  This action plan also does not enable additional services that allows for victims, including their children to recover from trauma and most victims end up in other vulnerable situations. The government needs to evaluate this action plan to ensure its policies, and provide economic initiative programs. This must include the implementation of the Civil Protection Order as a priority because it protects victims and witnesses in cases of domestic violence.

The Law against Domestic Violence that was enacted in 2010 is also not effectively implemented. To date, our monitoring shows that there is a lack of protection to access justice for victim of Domestic Violence and GBV.  Protection orders are also almost never applied and there is weak sentencing in cases of violence against women and girls.  From 2010 to 2013 our court monitoring shows that 52% court decision has been suspended and 24% decision resulted in the issuing of only fines to the perpetrator of domestic violence.


Related to the implementation of the national action plan, the NGOs currently depend mostly on international funding, that has an impact on the sustainable implementation of this action plan. We urge the CEDAW Committee to recommend to our government to allocate a permanent budget for NGOs and service provider Institutions

3. RE-ENTRY SCHOOL POLICY

Finally, the Re-Entry School Policy based on CEDAW’s 2009 Concluding Observation is still poorly implemented. In reality the number of girls dropping out of school continues to increase.  Many of these girls continue to face stigmatisation and often are transferred to different schools. In these new schools they face difficulties including lack of family support.

OUR RECOMMENDATIONS:

We urge the Committee to request the State Party to:

1.    Ensure the effective and timely implementation of the GBV NAP and Law against Domestic Violence.

2.    Ensure the effective implementation of the Witness Protection Law

3.    Adhere to the 2009 Concluding Observations on the re-entry policy on education

4.    Provide adequate resources both financial and human for work on women’s human rights as stated above

Thank you for your attention.

Timor-Leste appreciates the work of the International Court of Justice



ETLJB 16/11/2015 Government of East Timor Press Release Dili 11 November 2015 - On the occasion of the presentation of the Report of the International Court of Justice to the United Nations, Timor-Leste has expressed its appreciation for the work of the Court. The Report was presented to Member States at the United Nations Headquarters, on November 5th. The President of the ICJ, Judge Ronny Abraham, declared that over the last twelve months “the Court has devoted every effort to responding, as speedily as possible, to the expectation of its international subjects.”

This was certainly the experience of Timor-Leste in the case it brought before the ICJ, Timor-Leste v Australia, concerning “Questions relating to the Seizure and Detention of Certain Documents and Data.” The Annual Report presented last week summarizes each step of this case beginning with Timor-Leste’s application instituting proceedings on 17 December 2013, through to the awarding of provisional measures on 3 March 2014, the adjournment of the case to seek an amicable settlement on 3 September 2014, the return of the seized document and data on 12 May 2015 and the removal of the case from the Court’s list on 11 June 2015.

It is customary for nations who have instituted proceedings covered by the Report to deliver remarks at the presentation. On behalf of Timor-Leste, Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Sofia Borges, thanked the Court for its work, noting the importance of the ICJ for smaller states and reaffirming Timor-Leste’s support for the United Nations and international law. Timor-Leste called for all Member States who have not done so to accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court.

The Ambassador noted “the reliance of small States on the Court to protect their sovereignty shows its ability to resolve international disputes in conformity with the principles of justice and international law,” and said “The multilateral system and international law guides fair behavior and can provide States with options for dispute resolution.”

Spokesperson for the Sixth Constitutional Government, Minister of State Agio Pereira, noted “It is the preference of the Government wherever possible to avoid litigation. However when left with no recourse and compelled to uphold national interest, we instituted proceedings with the International Court of Justice in late 2013. The Court was prompt, respectful, transparent and efficient in all of its dealings with Timor-Leste throughout the carriage of this case through to its conclusion this year, demonstrating well the role the Court plays in the peaceful settlement of Inter-State disputes. Timor-Leste strongly affirms its support for the work of the International Court of Justice and the importance of the multilateral system.”ENDS 

East Timor Law and Justice Bulletin Legal news from East Timor in English

13 November 2015

Meeting of the East Timor Council of Ministers of 10 November 2015



ETLJB 13/11/2015 Government of East Timor Press Release Dili 10 November 2015 The Council of Ministers met this Tuesday, November 10th, 2015, in the meeting room of the Council of Ministers, at the Government Palace in Dili, and approved:

1. Decision to appeal against the Judgment from the Board of Auditors refusing the Prior
Approval to the contract of design and construction of the Suai Supply Base

The Council of Ministers examined the judgment of the collective of the Judges of the Board of Auditors of the Court of Appeal, which refused the prior approval to the contract of design and construction of Suai Supply Base concluded with the engineering and construction consortium HDEC-HEC, from South Korea. Following this judgment, was approved the project of appeal of Government, to appeal to the Board of Auditors.

ETLJB Editor's Note: See also on ETLJB Timorese Audit Chamber “fails” largest contract in the history of the country

2. Government Resolution on the importance of sandalwood as an emblematic plant of
national value
The National Policy and Strategies for the Forest Sector defines as a specific objective the protection of forests, in the framework of which the protection of sandalwood is assumed as a priority. Thus, the Council of Ministers adopted the resolution that promotes activities of sandalwood planting, the guarantee of compliance with laws and regulations applicable to environmental protection and repression of the illegal exploitation of forests and forest products.

ETLJB Editor's Note: See also on ETLJB:
Portugal invaded Timor-Leste because of sandalwood, says PM Gusmao
and on the East Timor Law Journal Sandalwood and Environmental Law in East Timor

3. First amendment to the structure of Courts’ Support Services The present draft amendment seeks to remove from judges the responsibility for the administrative services of support to the courts, namely in the financial and patrimonial, human resources and judicial service areas, that pass to the competence of the Courts General Directorate. The structure of the Courts’ Support Services was approved in the Council of Ministers, on April 4th, 2012.

4. First amendment to Decree-Law that created the National Petroleum Authority
Since its creation, the NPA (ANP in Portuguese) assembled and developed a considerable set of human and technical resources, as well as the knowledge and experience needed to handle large scale and complex projects. The proper regulation of the mining sector is a fundamental element for the socioeconomic development of the country and the approval of a new set of rules will create a modern legal framework, in line with the best international practices. Thus, the Council of Ministers decided to amend the statutes of the ANP and give it the new mission as regulatory body for licensing and exploration activities of the mining industry.

At this meeting, the Council of Ministers also examined:
The Comoro bridge, Dili. Wikimapia

1. The project for construction of the new Comoro bridge
The Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Communications presented the project of the new Comoro bridge. After the construction of the CPLP bridge, there is an urgent need to improve road traffic in Dili, in particular between the west and east parts. Starting at the crossroad of the Timor Block building and finishing at the national road Ao3, it will have an extension exceeding 3 kilometres.

05 November 2015

Proposed 2016 Budget delivered to members of East Timor's National Parliament



ETLJB 5 November 2015 Government of East Timor Press Release - Dili, 4 November, 2015 - The proposed State Budget for 2016 was delivered to members of National Parliament last week for their
review prior to the official submission of the Budget to Parliament. The “Budget books” have also been made available for public review through the website of the Ministry of Finance website at www.mof.gov.tl.

On the 20th of October the Council of Ministers reported that the Government had approved the proposed Budget, which will now come before National Parliament for discussion, culminating in the Budget Plenary to set conclude in December. Once the 2016 Budget Law is approved by National Parliament it will be submitted to the President of the Republic for promulgation.

This year the Budget has been prepared in line with the Sixth Constitutional Government’s Budget Performance Reform which seeks to ensure that Timor-Leste’s public resources are used as efficiently and effectively as possible to provide quality services. Strengthening the quality of planning and the connection to public expenditure is a key part of this reform. Book 1 of the 2016 State Budget explains:

“The 2016 Budget presents a classification of certain expenditures by program as well as the usual classification by appropriation category and institution. Each Ministry has identified its major programs and submitted a joint budget submission classified by program and activity. All Budget books therefore include a Program Budgeting component, which breaks down expenditures within each line ministry by program and activity for 2016. “Book 2 covering Annual Plans contains these comprehensive breakdowns for each area of Government demonstrating improved planning and a strengthening of the linkage of programs and activities to public expenditure.

The proposed 2016 State Budget is $1,562.2 million with $1,127.3 million allocated for recurrent expenditure including salary and wages, goods and services and public transfers and $434.9 allocated for capital expenditure.

Spokesperson for the Sixth Constitutional Government, Minister of State Agio Pereira noted “the Government is conscious of its responsibility to effectively manage public funds for the benefit of the people of Timor-Leste. That is why we have reviewed all existing programs to seek to maximize the returns on all expenditure and insisted on improved planning within each area of Government. We welcome the upcoming period of discussion and encourage the review of the proposed 2016 State Budget.” ENDS

See also East Timor Government proposes 2016 to Parliament 2 weeks later than legally required, says La'o Hamutuk

03 November 2015

Fundasaun Mahein: The Many Police Institutions of Timor-Leste. What makes them different?



ETLJB 3/11/2015 Source: http://www.fundasaunmahein.org/2015/09/30/instituisaun-polisia-barak-iha-timor-leste-saida-maka-halo-sira-diferente/

The term “police” in Timor-Leste makes people think only of the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL), because the PNTL works in and amongst the community every day. Another police force operating in Dili is the Military Police (PM) of FALINTIL-Defense Force of Timor-Leste (F-FDTL). Because the PM is often seen within the community, it is sometimes contacted by the population to provide police services. Indeed, people often prefer contacting PM because of its perceived rapid intervention compared to other police, including the PNTL (particularly in Dili). With various active forms of ‘police’ beyond the PNTL, the concept deserves further discussion.

As already mentioned the PNTL is well known amongst the population in terms of uniforms, weapons and other equipment which it has used since it was established in 2000.

However, more confusion was created in the last few years, when investigators from the Commission of Anti-Corruption (KAK) received weapons training from the PNTL – and thus being perceived more as a police force. Furthermore, the Scientific Police of the Criminal Investigation (PSIK) has recently been established and is considered as the supreme corps of the criminal police. According to its organic law members of PSIK can carry and use their weapons. So KAK and PSIK can also be considered as Police? Timor-Leste presents both as a small nation, yet one that possesses many police institutions.

With many police forces comes many interpretations of duty, so what makes them different? Only the law defines the difference according to their nature, mission and competency of the institution as written on the organic statute of each institution: The PNTL is a security force with the mission to defend the democracy legality, ensure security ad rights for citizens based on the established terms on the constitution and laws.

KAK is an organ of the specialized criminal police independently to intervene based on the legality criteria and objectivity ordered by the law. It possesses the qualities as the criminal police organ and focuses on the prevention and investigation of corruption.

PSIK is the criminal police corps that organized according to the hierarchy under the Ministry of Justice. PSIK’s mission is to support judicial authorities develop, promote, coordinate and centralize preventative action, detention, investigations and criminal information, including working with international police (particularly in complex cases).

On the other side, PM constitutes a unit inside the F-FDTL directly responsible to the Chief State Major General of the Army Force (CEMGFA) with a clearly defined legal jurisdiction to secure order and internal discipline of the F-FDTL and also to ensure the security of infrastructure, material and military members. Simply put, the PM is designed as a police force for the military only.

Therefore, FM recommends to:

1. The National Parliament and Government to create a law in order to define and distinguish the nature of each criminal investigation institution or “police” force.

2. The Government to socialize and clarify the role of each police institution in the community, to resolve confusion and allow for better interaction.

East Timor Law and Justice Bulletin Legal news from East Timor in English

East Timor Government proposes 2016 to Parliament 2 weeks later than legally required, says La'o Hamutuk



ETLJB 3/11/2015 One of East Timor's leading civil society organisations, La'o Hamutuk, has reported that on 29 October, the Ministry of Finance sent its proposal for the General State Budget for 2016 to Parliament.

According to Lao Hamutuk, this is 2 weeks later than is required by the law of the country.

La'o Hamutuk notes that "The Government informed Parliament that the budget would be two weeks late, but Parliament did not grant an exception (as they had in 2010), so this appears to violate Article 30 of Law 13/2009 which says that "Government shall present to the National Parliament by the 15 October the draft Budget Law for the following financial year."  Source: http://www.laohamutuk.org/econ/OGE16/15OGE16.htm#sib Accessed 3/11/2015.

Lao Hamutuk states that the "Ministry also made the eight-volume set of explanatory books available, some in two or three languages."

La'o Hamutuk has posted the Budget Books and some preliminary analysis to on the internet at http://www.laohamutuk.org/econ/OGE16/15OGE16.htm.

Although the explanatory material discusses slower economic growth, falling oil revenues and investment returns, and the depletion of Timor-Leste's oil and gas reserves, the expenditure level is virtually the same as in 2015, totalling $1,562,200,000.

According to the La'o Hamutuk analysis, State expenditures have been allocated as follows:
  • $182 million for Salaries and Wages (2.2% more than the rectified 2015 budget, 12% over  the fiscal envelope adopted by the Council of Ministers last June )
  • $469 million for Goods and Services (9% less than 2015, 11% over fiscal envelope), including $34 million through the Human Capital Development Fund
  • $476 million for Public Transfers (4.7% more than 2015, 38% over fiscal envelope), including $218 million for ZEESM (63% more than 2015, 77% over fiscal envelope)
  • $18 million for Minor Capital (41% less than 2015, 17% more than fiscal envelope)
  • $418 million for Development Capital (6.9% more than 2015, 3.6% less than the fiscal envelope),  including $377 million through the Infrastructure Fund.
The $1,562 million revenue is projected to be comprised of:
  • $545 million Estimated Sustainable Income  to be withdrawn from the Petroleum Fund
  • $739 million more from the Petroleum Fund above the ESI (7% more than in 2015, although the Petroleum Fund balance is the lowest it has been since May 2014)
  • $171 million from domestic revenues (taxes and fees)
  • $107 million in loans, $41 million of which will be carried over from 2015.

The budget will be studied by the Parliament's Committees followed by a plenary sitting to discuss and approve the budget.

Timorese Audit Chamber “fails” largest contract in the history of the country



ETLJB 3/11/2015 Translation from LUSA article at http://noticias.sapo.tl/portugues/info/artigo/1457298.html. For more information about the contract and the Suai Supply Base, including proposed 2016 budget figures, see http://www.laohamutuk.org/Oil/TasiMane/13SSBen.htm

Translation from LUSA 30 October 2015 - The Timorese Audit Chamber (Camara da Contas) refused to give prior approval to the largest contract in the history of the country’s Government, US$720 million dollars, for the design and construction of the Suai Supply Base, a project known as Tasi Mane.

A source from the Audit Chamber confirmed to Lusa that the decision was signed on 23 October and the parties were notified on the 26th. A 15-day period is running before it becomes final, during which time it can be appealed by the proponent themselves or by the Public Prosecutor.

The same source explained that the rejection was due “to non-compliance with basic standards in force in Timor-Leste.”

The law considers that “a basis for refusal is the lack of an appropriate budget section or line item, as well as lack of compliance with act, contracts and other instruments referred to by the laws in force.”

It was announced in June that the South Korean builder Hyundai Engineering & Construction had gotten the contract worth $720 million (€ 660 million) for the design and construction of the Suai Supply Base, which is considered essential for oil exploitation activities in the Timor Sea.

The contract refers to “design and construction of Suai Supply Base”, one of the central elements of the Tasi Mane Project, one of the main element of Timor-Leste’s Strategic Development Plan (SDP).

The Organic Law of the Audit Chamber, approved in 2011, stipulates that prior approval is “necessary for expenses and any acquisitions of assets worth more than $500,000,” a figure that was by ten times, to $5 million, in August 2013.

Under the law, contracts subject to prior review “can only come into effect, whether contractual or financial, after approval” by the Audit Chamber.

The Tasi Mane is a multi-year project involving the construction of the supply base, a refinery in Betano, a Natural Gas Liquefaction Plant (LNG), a port and airport in Suai, a gas pipeline from the Greater Sunrise field, and the Suai-Beaçu highway.

“The project will involve the development of a coastal zone from Suai to Beaçu and ensure the availability of the necessary infrastructure to support a growing domestic oil industry,” according to the SDP.

This contract, which was awarded by the National Procurement Commission, is the first to a South Korean company in Timor-Leste.

Based on the contract, the company said, two units of the Hyundai Motor Group - Hyundai Engineering &. Construction Co and Hyundai Engineering Co - will “construct supply facilities and a seawall to be used for oil development off the southern coast of Suai.”

The construction of the 3.3 kilometer seawall and other smaller accounts for 60% of the contract value.

It is expected that construction will take until September 2018.

Despite several attempts, Lusa could not get any comment from Alfredo Pires, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources.

Francisco Monteiro, president of the Timor Gap, also declined to comment.

See also
Timor-Leste New Frontier: Oil for Human Development
East Timor's Refinery Project and Petrochemicals: Major Development or Major Threat?
Government and Community celebrate agreement on land use for Suai Supply Base
Communities "surrender" land for government supply base
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