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07 July 2009

UNDP East Timor National Parliament Project Flash News #3

6 July 2009 UNDP DILI The newsletter focuses on the work developed by both the National Parliament and the Project during the past week. It also highlights important upcoming events.

26 June - 5 July

MPs approve Law n. 15/II establishing the Anti-Corruption Commission

On Monday, 29 June Parliament approved Law n. 15/II that establishes the Anti-Corruption Commission for Timor-Leste, following approval "˜in generality" and a joint detailed examination ("in specialty") by the Standing Committee for Constitutional Affairs, Judiciary, Public Administration, and Local Government (Committee A) and the Committee for Economy, Finance and Anti-Corruption (Committee C). The final vote tally was 38 in favor, 0 against and 1 abstention. The Law provides for the the Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate cases of corruption; advise all civil service bodies on the prevention of corruption; and promote and educate the public on good governance and on how to support the fight against corruption.

Four new Government Bills admitted to Parliament and referred to Committees

On Monday, 29 June four important government bills were admitted to Parliament and referred to the competent Standing Committees for consideration.

· Government Bill n. 24/II "Lei de Base do Desporto" is the first legislative initiative in Timor Leste on sports. It definines the system, the structure and conditions for practicing sports as an important contribution to the development of youth. The bill was referred to the Committee for Youth, Sports, Labor and Professional Education (Committee H).

· Government Bill n. 25/II "Lei de Segurança Interna" (Law on Internal Security) and Government Bill n. 26/II “Lei de Segurança Nacional” (Law on National Security) put forth an integrated national security policy. They define a strategy of integrated action among the Armed Forces, Police and Civil Protection. Both bills were referred to the Committee for Foreign Affairs and Defense (Committee B).

· Government Bill n. 27/II “Lei de Defesa Nacional” (Law on National Defense) establishes and regulates the country’s security framework, as provided by the Constitution of Timor-Leste and in line with the provisions of the United Nations Charter. The bill was referred to the Committee for Foreign Affairs and Defense (Committee B).

MPs debate Law n. 13/II on Freedom Fighters

Acknowledging the importance and national impact of draft bill n. 13/II on “Alteração ao Estatuto dos Combatentes da Libertação Nacional” (Amendment to the Regime of the National Freedom Fighters), the Committee for Elimination of Poverty, Rural Development and Gender Equality(Committee E) organized a series of Public Hearings. The Clandestine Front, the Armed Front, the Ministry of Social Solidarity, the Secretary of State for Veterans and the President of the Honors’ Committee participated in the Hearings, and a separate meeting was held with the Prime Minister. Based on the Hearings, Committee E prepared a report that was presented to Parliament during an extraordinary Plenary Session on Wednesday, 24 June. The law was approved ‘in generality’ with 40 votes in favor, 0 against and 0 abstentions. It is currently being discussed ‘in specialty; at Committee level, before going back to plenary for final approval.

Grupo das Mulheres Parlamentares - GMPTL (Women’s Caucus) attends public dialogue in Dili

On Friday, 26 June, as part of a series of initiatives aimed at strengthening women’s participation in politics, two members of GMPTL, MPs Maria da Costa Exposto and Maria Terezinha Viegas, attended a public dialogue with civil society representatives and women members of Succo Councils from Dili district. The event took place at the National University of Timor Leste (UNTL), and was organized by “Caucus Feto Iha Politik”. During the public dialogue, both MPs stressed the importance of sharing information and experience among all organizations in order to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment. They also shared with the participants the various activities currently implemented by the Women’s Caucus.
Grupo das Mulheres Parlamentares - GMPTL (Women’s Caucus) approves 2010 Annual Work Plan and Budget

On Wednesday, 1 July, GMPTL discussed and approved its own annual work plan and related budget for 2010. The work of GMPTL focuses on three main objectives:

· Increasing awareness for the promotion of gender activities among all Members of Parliament;

· Increasing the public awareness on gender equality, women’s political participation and empowerment;

· Strengthening the functioning of GMPTL and getting support from all stakeholders for the creation of gender-sensitive legislation.

Visit of US House Democratic Assistance Committee (HDAC) to Timor-Leste

From 2-4 July, a delegation of from the US Congress visited Timor-Leste. The Congressmen discussed with their Timorese counterparts the fundamental roles played by legislators, the importance of information and research for the legislature, and the role of Committees in legislation and oversight. The delegation also met with the Committee for Foreign Affairs and Defense (Committee B) to discuss security sector oversight, and with the Committee for Economy, Finance and Anticorruption (Committee C) to exchange views on budget analysis.

On Saturday, the Members of Congress went on a visit to Maubisse accompanied by the President and Vice-Presidents of the National Parliament, Party Bench Leaders and the SRSG. In Maubisse, they toured a Coffee Cooperative and had a Town hall meeting with local leaders.

Workshop led by US Congressional staff

During the visit of the US delegation, US Congressional staff held a workshop on information research and legislative analysis for Parliament and UNDP Parliament Project national staff. During the workshop, they discussed with Timorese colleagues policy research methods for serving the research needs of MPs and staff, as well as how evaluate and develop analytical questions pertinent to bill drafting.

Coming up:

The Secretary General of the National Parliament, Mr. João Rui Amaral will participate in the Secretaries-General Forum of Asia-Pacific Parliaments

From 8-9 July, the Secretaries-General Forum of Asia-Pacific Parliaments will take place in Seoul, Korea, with the participation of 30 countries from the region. A key objective of the Forum is the strengthening of the parliamentary network of the Asia-pacific region, which is home to half of the world population. The forum will address the importance of the e-parliament in facilitating public access to information and in promoting individual rights amidst a new political and cultural environment. Amjad Al-Kadhi, UNDP Parliament Project ICT Advisor, who is working on the e-parliament project for the National Parliament, will accompany Mr. Amaral.

Please Remember to Tune In:

Parlamentaria - the radio program of the National Parliament produced in cooperation and coordination with RTL. Parlamentaria is a 30-minute program in Tetum with news about the National Parliament and interviews with its Members. The program is broadcast every Sunday at 6h30 pm on RTL.

National Parliament’s Press Conference, every Friday at 11h00, NP’s Conference room.

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