Timor-Leste Legal News July 2008 (Part 6)
UNMIT Daily Media Review 09 July 2008
Continue to fight: 37 students detained, 4 women – Timor Post - Even though the Government has used police forces to arrest 37 students, there is still no sign that the demonstrations will end any time soon.
The Association of Timor-Leste Students (ASUTL) stated yesterday that the demonstrations will continue until the National Parliaments changes its plan to purchase the luxurious cars from Japan.
After meeting with NP President Fernando Lasama de Araujo, the Coordinator of ASUTL Santiago Ximenes Vaz said in response to Lasama’s statement that the government would not change its plan, that the demonstrations would continue.
Mr Vas said that the students are also demanding that the detained students be released.
In response, PNTL Spokesperson João Belo said that he has no authority to release the detained students.
“We have no right to release people we have arrested as this needs to follow the judicial process. Such cases will be presented to the prosecutor,” said Mr Belo.
PNTL condemned for student arrests – Timor Post
Even though they are upholding law and order by arresting the protestors, the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) are being strongly condemned by key members of civil society.
Luta Hamutuk’s Spokesperson, Joãozito Viana, said that he believes the PNTL’s motives have been to silence not only the students, but the people as the student’s have given a voice to the voiceless.
He said that it is normal to hold demonstrations in a democratic nation like Timor-Leste and that everyone should be proud of the moral sensibility of the students to give voice to the suffering of the masses.
The United Former Political Prisoners of Indonesian occupation have also strongly condemned the actions of the police.
“We are very concerned about the attitudes of PNTL-UNPol against the students,” said Mr. Gregorio, member of the former political prisoners.
Mr Gregorio has demanded the PDHJ cooperate with the UNMIT Human Rights unit to investigate these cases and to publicize the results.
Fretilin condemns the attitude of PNTL-UNpol – Suara Timor Lorosa’e - Fretilin has strongly condemned the actions of PNTL/UNPol against the students, claiming that it is violating their human rights.
The party said that these actions are reminiscent of the behaviour of the TNI (National Army of Indonesia) which systematically violated human rights during the 24 years of occupation. Fretilin also believes that the demands of the students are reasonable.
Fretilin MP Osorio Florindo said that UNPol should know better as it is their mission in Timor-Leste to calm the situation, not to provoke.
“I think that UNPol should be setting a better example for the PNTL,” said Mr. Florindo.
Civil society preoccupied with the ratified budget – Suara Timor Lorosa’e
Viriatu Seac from Lao Hamutuk has said that members of civil society are preoccupied with the ratified budget as proposed by the Government for the 2008 General State Budget.
“We are preoccupied with the ratified budget which is higher- whether the Government is going to execute it all by the end of the year or not. If we just spend the budget and there is no income, it will have a big effect on our country,” said Mr. Seac.
“We see that the ratified budget is too big; there is an annual budget of US$347. Then there is the ratified budget of US$400+M. so the AMP Government plans to spend about US$700 this year.”
Ed: peaceful acts get violent treatment – Diario Nacional
The peaceful acts of the university students have been met with violence by the police. The response of the police has solicited much concern among the public and especially among the academics at the university as the police have violated the autonomy of the campus.
Recently, there have been protests against the parliament – maybe people have lost faith in their representatives because they don’t believe they have listened to the needs of the people.
We did not think that such actions and arrests would happen again, but they have.
How to solve the problem … dialogue; protest and demonstrations may not bring solutions. The arrogance of the Parliament will also not bring a solution. Both parts should sit together to create a solution. We wait …