15 November 2012

Land disputes continue to rage in Timor-Leste

ETLJB 15 November 2012 Land disputes continue to threaten both the physical integrity of people and the civil peace in East Timor even though the Government has had 10 years to formulate a just land policy and enact legislation to clarify land ownership and resolve dipustes. The multi-million dollar USAID Land Law Program has failed catastrophically to assist the Government in this most central problem. A draft land law drawn up under the IV Consitutional government was vetoed by the then-President Horta on the ground that it was not fair to the ordinary people of the country.

Recent murders and violence have been attributed to land disputes and yesterday yet another incident occurred in the capital caused by another land dispute.

In this most recent case, Diario Nacional reported comments by Fretilin Member of Parliament David Dias Ximenes that a spouse of a police officer has used a pistol to threaten people involved in the land dispute in the central suburb of Bidau.

According to the report, the police officer's spouse fired a warning shot from a pistol during a quarrel with the owner of the property in which the police officer and his spouse live.  

“There is a land dispute between the police officer and the owner of the land and the police officer's spouse used the pistol to give warning shot,” Mr. Ximenes told the Journalists at the National Parliament.

He added that PNTL should sanction the officer who had misused his/her power and a state weapon to oppress ordinary people.

Related stories:
Land disputes a continuing cause of violence in Timor-Leste
Murder in East Timor the result of land dispute
Violence flares as police beat protestors over land dispute
Land dispute triggers more violence in Timor-Leste 

Massacre leaving 5 dead the result of a land dispute  
Still no land title certainty a decade after independence
Timor Leste Land Network asks Hilary Clinton ‘not to abandon the people’s land rights’ and criticises USAID-funded land program
The East Timor Land Law Program: Four Years On - Still No Land Law 

Source: Diario Nacional. Edited by Warren L. Wright

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