21 December 2018

Timorese diplomat chief reveals moment of political tension in the country

!WARNING MACHINE TRANSLATION! Original Portuguese Report December 18, 2018, 20:05 - The Timorese Foreign Minister has today revealed news of an alleged renewed tension between the Government, Parliament and President of the Republic, convinced that all the leaders of the country will be able to resolve the political situation.

"We are going through an exercise in unprecedented democratic occurrences and for us this is an exercise that every sovereign body is exercising," Dionísio Babo told the LUSA agency.

"Even if there are differences, all sovereign bodies are aware that the country's interest is the first to put above all others. We will overcome the situation without any problem," he said.

Babo thus reacted to the renewed tension between parliament, government and the Presidency of the Republic, after the head of state, Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo, vetoed a set of controversial changes to the oil operations law that were to serve to finance the purchase of majority holdings in the Greater Sunrise wells off the Timor Sea.

The decision sparked criticism from Xanana Gusmao who, on behalf of the Government led the negotiations for operations and who heads the coalition of the Government, Alliance of Change for Progress (AMP).

In social networks, including official AMP Facebook pages, these criticisms have been repeated with some even defending the exoneration of the head of state.

The situation has been tense because since the inauguration of the 8th Government, Lu-Olo has not yet confirmed nine members of the executive appointed by the prime minister.

"I know that all leaders are aware that things are not as simple as we see on social networks or in media debates." I think everyone will look for ways to resolve all differences and problems, but there is nothing insurmountable or impossible to resolve, "Babo said.

The big question now is whether Lu-Olo is going to enact the State Budget for 2019, which is being debated in Parliament and is expected to be approved before Christmas.


20 December 2018

Meeting of the Council of Ministers of December 19, 2018

EIGHT CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT Press Release Meeting of the Council of Ministers of December 19, 2018

The Council of Ministers met at the Government Palace in Dili and approved the proposal for a Government Resolution submitted by the Minister of Transport and Communications on the appointment of members of the Board of Directors of the Civil Aviation Authority of Timor-Leste (AACTL), whose mission is to ensure the safety of the air transport system.

The resolution appoints Ana Rosália Ximenes Varela as Chairman of the Board of Directors of AACTL and appoints Carlos Mendonça Tilman and Eusébio Freitas as members of the Board of Directors of AACTL, in order to guarantee the achievement of the objectives of the Authority and considering their recognized technical and professional capacity, integrity and independence.

The Minister of Transport and Communications also presented the proposal for an amendment approved by the Council of Ministers to the draft Decree-Law approving the organic structure of the Ministry of Transport and Communications. The proposal aims to create the National Directorate of Communication Infrastructures, which will be responsible for the management of communications infrastructures of all Ministries in coordination with the public institute of Information and Communication Technology (TIC Timor).

The acting Minister of Health presented the proposal for an amendment, approved by the Council of Ministers, to the draft Decree-Law that approves the organic of the Ministry of Health. The amendment seeks to assign to the General Directorate of Corporate Services the competence to propose the appointment of diplomatic representations in countries where Timor-Leste routinely sends patients for medical treatment. ENDS

15 December 2018

First Woman Ombudsman in Timor-Leste


 06 November 2018

Press Release

National Parliament

For the first time ever the Office of the Ombudsperson for Human Rights and Justice is being led by a woman:

JSMP congratulates the Ombudswoman-elect for Human Rights and Justice

For the first time the Office of the Ombudsperson for Human Rights and Justice (PDHJ) in Timor-Leste is being led by a woman after two males led this office for consecutive terms. JSMP congratulates the National Parliament for this achievement because it highlights significant progress in the commitment of the State to promote equality and women's participation in key State institutions, and this human rights institution in particular.

However, JSMP is still critical of the National Parliament because this process did not provide the space and opportunity for candidates to convey their vision and mission, in order for them to demonstrate their merit, perspective and competence prior to the National Parliament appointing/selecting the eligible candidate. This appointment was not different to the previous process, even though the National Parliament ensured that this was a public and competitive process.

The National Parliament on Monday 05 November 2018 during a plenary session elected the new Ombudsperson for Human Rights and Justice. There were 12 candidates, and only two of them reached the second round, namely Ms. Jesuína Maria Fereira Gomes who received 31 votes and Mr. Horacio de Almeida who received 20 votes in the first round of voting.

The final results from the second round showed that Ms. Jesuína Maria Fereira Gomes was selected as the new Ombudsperson with 38 votes in favor. The other candidate Horacio de Almeida received 23 votes, with a total of 61 members of parliament participating in this vote.

 “JSMP praises the National Parliament for choosing a female candidate to lead the Office of the Ombudsperson for Human Rights and Justice and congratulates the Ombudswoman-elect who has been entrusted by the National Parliament to lead this human rights institution for the next 4 years”, said the Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.

For many years the public has heavily criticised and expressed its disappointment with the Office of the Ombudsman for Human Rights and Justice for not properly utilising its powers and competencies granted in the Constitution to defend human rights issues faced by the community. In particular, the PDHJ should utilise the competencies provided to it in Articles 150 and 151 of the Timor-Leste Constitution. JSMP hopes that the Ombudswoman-elect can respond to public expectations by improving and promoting the services of the PDHJ and make it more proactive and productive in the future during her mandate.

JSMP also has observed the work of this office through the Asia and Pacific regional network named 'Asian NGOs for National Human Rights Institutions' (ANNI) where each year a chapter is provided and updated in the annual ANNI report on the performance of the PDHJ in regards to protecting and promoting human rights, justice and good governance in Timor-Leste.  The evaluation of the work of human rights institutions in the Asian and Pacific region provides a reference point. JSMP recommends for the leadership structure under the Ombudswoman-elect, who have many years' experience in this institution, to further reinforce, improve and consolidate the work of the PDHJ to protect and promote human rights, justice and good governance based on the mandate of the PDHJ.

JSMP also hopes that the Ombudswoman-elect will be open to listening and considering civil society's opinions on human rights issues that are still pending.

JSMP encourages the Ombudswoman-elect to use the competencies provided in the Constitution to safeguard the public interest and defend our Constitution and our democratic rule of law.

Based on information provided by the chair of the plenary, in the near future the National Parliament will provide a written notification to the Ombudswoman-elect to attend an extraordinary plenary session for the purposes of swear in the Ombudswoman-elect.

The following information relates to the selection process involving the 12 candidates who competed in the first round of voting: Mr. Aniceto Guru Berteni Neves received 0 votes, Mr. Filipe Rodrigues Pereira received 2 votes, Mr. Florindo José Cristóvão received 0 votes, Mr. Henrique de Oliveira Ximenes received 0 votes, Mr. Horácio de Almeida received 20 votes, Ms. Isabel da Costa Fereira received 3 votes, Mr. Jaime Xavier received 0 votes, Ms. Jesuína Maria Fereira Gomes received 31 votes, Mr. José Luis Oliveira received 1 vote, Mr. José Pereira da Conceição received 0 votes, Mr. Nívio Leite Mangalhães received 3 votes, Mr. Silvéiro Pinto Baptista received 0 votes and one (1) null vote was cast, from a total of 61 members of parliament who participated in the vote.

01 December 2018

UNTL Publishes my Submission on A Review of the Quality of National Law

I am really pleased to announce that my paper In the Matter of a Review of the National Law has now been published by the Universidade Nacional Timor Lorosa'e.

Please see the following link:


Please note in advance that this is a quite substantial PDF file consisting of more than 500 pages.

I will later publish here the full text of just my paper.

You will find my paper at page 521.

Warren L. Wright BA LLB

Wright Law & Justice

24 November 2018

Police accused of unnecessary violence and lack of gun control

"Given this history of violence, it is clear that PNTL has a systematic problem when it comes to unnecessary physical aggression and the unlawful use of firearms.." Fundasaun Mahein

Independente, November 22, 2018 Use of violence amongst Timor-Leste’s police is a “systematic problem” and the failure to implement structural reform represents a violation of its citizen’s rights, according to security watchdog Fundasaun Mahein.

The comments came after an off-duty police officer allegedly shot and killed three young men and seriously wounded five people at a party in Kuluhun, Dili on Sunday morning.

It also follows the recent beating and detention of students holding demonstrations against parliament, the killing of a young man in Bebonuk, Dili, and the shooting of a young man in Praia Dos Coqueiros, allegedly by a member of PNTL.

“Given this history of violence, it is clear that PNTL has a systematic problem when it comes to unnecessary physical aggression and the unlawful use of firearms,” Fuandasaun Mahein argues.

The Kulu-hun incident draws attention to the fact that PNTL members too often carry their guns while off-duty, and that PNTL is either unable or unwilling to enforce rigorous rules governing access to weapons from the PNTL armory.”

 To address the issue of police violence, Fundasaun Mahein recommends structural reform within PNTL, including training, discipline, rules, control on firearm use and periodic psychological tests for PNTL members to ensure officers have requisite mental stability to carry weapons.

As well as criminal sanctions imposed on officers involved in the Kulu-hun incident PNTL institution should also take responsibility for its members, Fundasaun Mahein argues.

“This incident occurred because of a breakdown of the rules and procedures guiding the use of firearms, and it is ultimately the responsibility of PNTL commanders to enforce these rules and ensure the strictest discipline among their subordinates.”

A suspected officer, Jose Mina, has been taken into custody for allegedly conducting the Sunday morning shootings. Julio Hornai, the Commander of PNTL, said the officers who carried their weapons off-duty had “violated the law and had to take the consequences”.

FM said that police have also been accused of using their firearms to cause injury or death in:

  • Ainaro in 2017, 
  • Covalima in 2016, 
  • Hera in 2012, 
  • Delta Nova in 2009, and
  • Viqueque in 2007.

Commissioner Police Hornay: Assailants are suspended from their posts

GMNTV, November 22, 2018 Language source: Tetun Commando of the Timorese National Police Commissioner Police Julio da Costa Hornay affirmed that four suspects of Kulu-Hun murder had been suspended three month from their post based on the internal regulation of PNTL. 

“Four of the suspects has been suspended for three month therefore their status are now as civilians. The suspension was made based on the law in order to process them legally. 

During their suspension period, they have no right to carry weapon and wearing uniform. They are now civilians,” Commissioner Police Hornay said. 

He affirmed that they would form an inspection team to audit or inspect implementation of the police regulations in order to strict police officer to commit unwanted thing like killing people.

Court sends main suspects in Kulu-Hun fatal shooting to preventive prison

Independente, November 22, 2018 Language source: Tetun Dili District Court has sent the two main suspects in the Kulu-Hun fatal shooting with initials JPA and FMS to preventive prison and put two others JT and JS under house arrest on Wednesday.

The suspects are police officers who allegedly opened fire and killed three young men and seriously wounded five people at a party in Kuluhun, Dili on Sunday morning. 

In the first hearing on Tuesday, Prosecutor charged the suspects with multiple felony counts including aggravated murder and attempted murder and demanded preventive prison to two main suspects of the fatal shooting to wait for further investigation and trials. 

Through the second hearing, yesterday, the singular judge, Jacinta Fernandes decided to send JPA and FMS to preventive prison and JS and JT under house arrest. 

The judge denied FMS’ lawyer Estaquio Guterres’ demand to only put his client under periodic report to wait for further investigation and trials, saying putting FMS under periodic report might put him in danger because of the unfavorable circumstances.

Acting Minister of Interior on Police: Too many things have gone wrong, many errors in PNTL

Independente, November 22, 2018 Language source: Tetun Acting Minister of Interior, Filomeno Paixão recognises there are many errors in the Timorese National Police (PNTL) Command, therefore, it is a mission of the new Minister of Interior to improve the PNTL Command service.

He said a reflection on PNTL Service throughout this time showed that there were many things that needed to be done.

“There are too many things that have gone wrong,” Acting Minister Paixão told reporters after participating in the funeral of three dead victims of police fatal shooting in Becusi Cemetery Wednesday (21/11).

He added he could not promise, but there was hope with the new government in office to fix it and make PNTL more professional.

Military leader warns: No repetition of 2006 Crisis and Reform of PNTL necessary

General Lere does not want crisis to occur again TVTL, November 22, 2018 Language source: Tetun

Chief of State for the Timorese Defence Force (F-FDTL) Major General Lere Anan Timur said that he would not want crisis similar to that of 2006 to emerge or occur again in the country.

He said that dialog was a unique way to resolve existing problem between the National Parliament and MTUL.

He stressed that the state body should be consistent with their decision no matter what happen or what would people say.

“The National Parliament should take a position as a state body. They have not to fall to pressures, otherwise the state body will have no value.

We used to fight for state body and not for one or two people’s interest.

They have to be consistent with their decision that if they say A it will remain A and not change to B,” Generla Lere said.

He made the statement because president of the National Parliament Arao Noe de Jesus’ statement saying that the National Parliament may cancel the plan to purchase new pars for the Parliamentarians during the debate of the state general budget if there were a proposal for the cancelation and if the plenary would decide to cancel the plan.

Meanwhile, Major General Lere calls for reforms in PNTL and dismissal of old former Indonesian police officers.

TVTL, November 22, 2018 Language source: Tetun

Chief of State for the Timorese Defence Force (F-FDTL) Major General Lere Anan Timur said that it would be important to do reform within the Timorese National Police (PNTL) institution.

Major General Lere said that the assailants or police officers who killed three civilians and wounded five people in Kulu-Hun, Dili recently were individual acts or responses rather than representing the police institution.

“I would say that the mistake committed by some police officers should not be generalised. We have to continue to trust in PNTL as it is the institution that enforces law and orders. Now the question is what is needed to be done and not to request for dismissal of PNTL Commando.

Now the important thing is to take action and make decision,” General Lere said.

He said that some police officers are old as they used to be police officer during 24 year before independence and after the independence they continue to be police officers; therefore they may feel tired. For this reason, it would be important to do a reform.