02 September 2011

Student Front and Land Network on Police abuse of community members in Betano

East Timor Legal News Source:Student Front and Land Network 02/09/2011 Subject: Resolution of the Student Front (Front Mahasiswa) and Land Rights Network (Rede ba Rai) No. 01/082011/RbR-FM - This year the people of Timor-Leste prepare for 2012 when they will celebrate and pay homage to the heroic and historic events of the last 500 years - the fight against colonialism, the fight against human exploitation, against the manipulation of our peoples land and the events which illustrate the nationalism of Timor-Leste.

Dom Boa Ventura was a big star of our history whose story shows that when the rights of our people are exploited, manipulated and violated by others we must show courage and resistance to these acts.

The people of Suko Betano, Manufahi districts are again showing the public that they will not stay quiet in the face of exploitation.

The People of Betano, Aldeia Bemeta months ago offered 4 hectares of their land to the Government in order to construct a heavy oil power station. Recently the Government contracted Tinolina Construction Ltd, to prepare the site, during this process they occupied further land.

This occupation of land was more than the original agreement between the Government and the Community because of this the community began to organize themselves as are their rights, consecrated in the Constitution as People of an"independent nation".

The Government and the Company showed a lack of transparency and much manipulation of facts throughout the entire process and there are many inconsistencies in their story. The process in the field shows that the Company have already cleared the trees and other resources that are of such importance and value to the lives of the Community.

Because of this the community carried out a peaceful action in the field on 31 August 2011. However the community suffered violent actions from the Police who went to intervene and prevent this peaceful demonstration.

Despite the fact that the organisers of this process had followed the proper processes in notifying police and district authorities the police intervened and stopped the process.

The Police intervened by shooting into the air, beating 5 community members and student representatives who were supporting the communities peaceful action. (lease refer to the chronology below.)


Examining these facts and the abuses of human rights in the field, Rede ba Rai and the Front Mahasiswa demand the following of the State and the Competent authorities

To his excellency the President of the Republic:

- Create a team of investigation composed of the Attorney General, the National Parliament, the Minister for Justice, the Provedor for Human Rights, Civil Society and the Church in order to ascertain the facts and listen to the demands and needs of the community in order to prevent any future abuses of human rights and occupation of land.

- Clarify the statements which the President himself made last week when he called for the "use of force against people who would not give up their land for development" so that the Police and other entities fo not interpret this as a right to abuse the rights of the people. The President is the final rin in guaranteeing respect for the rights of the people and should guarantee that the entire state is acting in respect of the Constitution of the Republic.

- Accept and meet representatives of the People of Betano in order to listen to their stories about this case.

To his Excellency the President of the National Parliament and the President of Commission A:

- Parliament must produce a law which guarantees people's rights and access to land. When this process is not undertaken quickly it creates conditions for the Government to further violate the human rights of the people in future land cases as have already happened in the cases of Betano, Brimob and others.

- Create an ad hoc Commission in Parliament to immediately investigate this case.

To his Excellency the Prime Minister of RDTL:

- Carry out transparent consultations and allocate sufficient resources for the fair and just acquisition of people's land;

- Commit that the Government of RDTL will not carry out any further expropriations until there is a law which guarantees the rights of the People;

- Government must show its commitment to resolving this cases so that other cases will not threaten the GOTL's slogan "goodbye conflict – welcome to development" (adios konflitu-bemvindo desenvolvimento)

To the District Commander of Manufahi:

- Within 24 hours from receiving this declaraton release without condition the 9 "demonstrators" who were detained on the 31 of August 2011 at 11am.

-  Investigate the work and administration processes of the Police in the what happened on the 31 August 2011 when the Police went to atua, and used force as threats against the people and risked the lives of community members with "the people's weapons".

- Take action to prevent any further violence or torture of those detained by the Police, and ensure their freedom to request legal assistance that may be necessary for their case.

To the Provedor for Human Rights:

 - Send a team of investigation into the field in order to get adequate information for the State to undertake a fair and just process;

To all of the People:

- To all of the people and Movements of Timor who respect the values and the struggle of Dom Boaventura follow the lead of the people of Betano-Manufahi in order to maintain our opposition to the exploitation of the Maubere People,

- Valorize the land of the people and strengthen the concepts independence and of "dignity as a people free from exploitation".

Dili, 31 August 2011

(Tetun iha kraik)

Chronology of events - 31 August 2011 in Suko Betano

Over the last number of months the community of Betano has been working to defend their rights to their land which was taken from them by the State without transparency, consultation or due process and with much manipulation of evidence and exploitation of the community.  Last month those of the District Manufahi, Suko Betano Youth Movement (MJDMSB) organised to show solidarity to their families in Betano.
  • Last week they (MJDMSB) sent a letter of notification to the District Police the District Administrator and local leaders informing that they would organise a peaceful action in Betano on 31 August 2011.
  • Last week his excellency the President of the Republic made statements to TVTL stating "electricity should already by giving light to both the north and south coasts except for some stubborn communities who stubbornly delay the process" (TVTL: 19/08/11). According to the President because of these delays "the State should use force in order to take land for development" (TVTL: 19/08/2011) He added that "The Prime Minister is too generous in these things, when we compare to other nations who are developed and who take land using force for the purposes of development" (TVTL 19/08/2011). (Please see the Rede ba Rai statement on the Rede ba Rai facebook page made on the 26/08/2011 for further details.)
  • Yesterday on 31 August 2011 approximately 100 people from the community and the youth movement organised and began a peaceful protest in Betano. They carried banners and discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the case.
  • At 11am the Timor-Leste National Police (PNTL) arrived, threatened the community, shot their guns into the air, beat 5 people, and used insulting language against the community, the PNTL were heard to say "no one will impede this project".
  • The PNTL arrested and detained at the police station in Manufahi 9 youth who were involved in the peaceful demonstration.
  • The 9 youth were kept in detention until night time on 31 August 2011, and tomorrow will be taken to Covalima District Court to file a case against them.
Rede ba Rai and the Front Mahasiswa will hold a press conference and put out a joint resolution on this case at 10:30am this morning (1 September 2011) at UNTL.

For more information please contact the National Co-ordinator of Rede ba Rai, Santina A. Fernandes 7922648 or by email at redebarai@gmail.com


Kronolojia akontesementu 31 Augusto 2011 iha Suko Betano

Fulan barak ona komunidade Betano luta atu defende sira nia direitu ba rai ne'ebe hetan amiasa tamba Estado foti sira nia rai sem transparensia, sem konsultasaun no ho prosesu manipulasaun faktus no eksploitasuan komunidade nebe barak.

Fulan barak ona komunidade Betano luta atu defende sira nia direitu ba rai ne'ebe hetan amiasa tamba Estado foti sira nia rai sem transparensia, sem konsultasaun, sem justifikasaun.

Foin lalais, fulan kotuk, kolega sira husi Movimentu Juventude Distritu Manufahi, Suko Betano organiza atu hato'o solidaridade ba sira nia maluk iha Betano

Semana kotuk MJDMSB haruka karta ba Polisia, Administrador Distritu no Lideransa Lokal hatete katak sira sei halo asaun pasifiku ida hamutuk ho komunidade Betano dia 31 Augusto 2011.

Semana kotuk S.E. Presidente da Republika fo sai statementu iha TVTL hato'o katak: "ahi lolo'os ne'e la'o lais no fo ona naroman ba iha parte norte ho sul maibe iha komunidade balun ulun to'os mak halo demora" (TVTL:19/08/11). Tanba nune, tuir S.E. Presidente da Republica katak, "Estadu sei uja forsa hodi foti rai uja ba desenvolvimentu"' (TVTL:19/08/11). S.E. Presidente da Republica mos haktuir katak, "Primeiru Ministru mak dala ruma laran luak liu, hare'e ba buat sira hanesan ne'e, hanesan iha nasaun seluk-seluk bainhira dezenvolvimentu atu lao estadu foti rai obrigatori ba dezenvolvimentu (TVTL:19/08/11). (Bele hare'e statementu Rede ba Rai nebe fo sai 26/8/2011 iha Rede ba Rai nia pajina facebook)

Horiseik, dia 31 Augusto 2011 ema 100 husi komunidade no estudante sira organiza malu atu halo asaun pasifiku ne'e no hasoru malu dadere iha Betano, sira kaer spandok no halo diskusaun kona-ba kazu ne'e.

Tuku 11 PNTL sira tama mai amiasa sira, tiru kilat sae ba leten, baku ema nain 5, tolok no uza linguajem insulta kontra komunidade, PNTL ida hateten katak "laiha ema ida sei impede projetu ne'e".

PNTL kaer maluk joventude neĆ¢€™ebe halo asaun pasifiku nain 9 no lori ba posto seguransa Manufahi.

Joventude nain 9 ne'e kaer to'o tempu kalan dia 31 Augusto 2011 no aban PNTL sei lori ba Covalima atu tuir prosesu "legal".

Rede ba Rai no Front Mahasiswa sei halo Konferensia Imprensa no fo sai Resolusaun orsida tuku 10:30 iha UNTL.
Ba informasuan tan bele kontaktu ko-ordenador Nasional Rede ba Rai, Santina A. Fernandes ho numor 7922648 ka liu husi email: redebarai@gmail.com.


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