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.

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