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COVID-19 provokes xenophobia in East Timor

Minister for Legislative Reform and Parliamentary Affairs Fidelis Magalhães  LUSA reported on 24 instant that the Minister for Legisla...

26 March 2020

East Nusa Tenggara closes border with Timor Leste over coronavirus fears

Map showing border East Timor and Indonesia Border closed COVID19
The Jakarta Post reported on 17 March 2020 that the Motaain border checkpoint in Belu regency, East Nusa Tenggara was closed.

The government of Timor Leste has expressed support for East Nusa Tenggara's (NTT) decision to temporarily close its border checkpoints to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Antara news agency reported.

"We strongly support the move as it would protect both the Timor Leste and NTT people from COVID-19 exposure," the Timor Leste consul in Kupang, Jesuino Dos Reis Matas C, is reported to have said during a meeting with NTT Governor Viktor Bungtilu Laisdokat, as quoted by Antara.

Jesuino assured that the government was implementing strict health checks on inbound visitors.

It was agreed during Monday's meeting that the border would be closed for two months. Timor Leste, however, expressed hope the policy would not affect the distribution of staple food and fuel oil to the country through border areas.

NTT administration spokesperson Marius Ardu Jelamu said on Saturday that the administration would soon issue a decree to regulate the posts' closure.

"All of the posts will be guarded by security officers. This move is to be taken to prevent the spread of the virus," Marius said.

See also on ETLJB

Government presented to the National Parliament the contingency plan to prevent the coronavirus outbreak

East Timor confirms first case of COVID-19

COVID-19 provokes xenophobia in East Timor

East Timor confirms first case of COVID-19

corona virus image East Timor Leste COVID-19
Reuters 21 March 2020 DILI: East Timor reported its first case of COVID-19, its Ministry of Health said on Saturday, adding that the case was from someone who had just returned from abroad.

The ministry said the patient posed little risk to the public, as he immediately consulted with doctors after showing symptoms of the coronavirus.

“He isolated himself immediately after contacting doctors,” the ministry said in an official Facebook post, without giving details of where the patient travelled from.

COVID-19 provokes xenophobia in East Timor

Minister for Legislative Reform and
Parliamentary Affairs Fidelis Magalhães 
LUSA reported on 24 instant that the Minister for Legislative Reform and Parliamentary Affairs Fidelis Magalhães regretted “isolated” cases of intimidation of foreign nationals in the country because of the misperception that COVID-19 is a disease carried by foreigners.

“I am very sorry to hear of these things happening. The government will make every effort to contain and end these isolated acts. We have to encourage and promote more the spirit of solidarity, especially in the face of these difficult issues,” he said.

Several foreign nationals have in recent days reported to Lusa incidents, none of them serious, in which they were intimidated by locals, including the use of the expression “korona malae”, the second word being commonly used to refer to foreigners.

On 23 March 2020, Lusa reports also that several Chinese traders in East Timor felt obliged to close their shops due to intimidation, despite the fact that the Chinese business community in Timor had organised a fundraiser to support families affected by the 13 March floods in the capital.

Similar intimidation was also felt in Baucau, the country’s second city, by teachers from Portugal stationed there, prompting Portugal’s ambassador to order them to go to Dili.

Among reports by teachers were a series of false  rumours circulating over the weekend that tried to relate the first confirmed case of COVID-19 and another suspected in or arising from Baucau to malae.

In 2004, then President Gusmao has called on members of the legal system to "strip themselves of all kinds of xenophobia," adding that East Timor's development depends "on a policy of openness to foreign investment and on the application of a justice system that is honest, impartial and professional."[1]

[1] Countries at the Crossroads 2004 - East Timor, 2004, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/473868f0c.html [accessed 26 March 2020]

See also on ETLJB Government presented to the National Parliament the contingency plan to prevent the coronavirus outbreak

18 February 2020

Committee A of the National Parliaments organised a public consultation on the Draft Law on Local Power and Administrative Decentralization and the Municipal Elections Law

Committee A of the National Parliaments organised a public consultation on the Draft Law on Local Power and Administrative Decentralization and the Municipal Elections LawJSMP Press Release 17 February 2020

Committee A of the National Parliaments organised a public consultation on the Draft Law on Local Power and Administrative Decentralization and the Municipal Elections Law in Covalima Municipality. This consultation was attended by local authorities, municipal directors, village chiefs, representatives of the business community and representatives of political parties in the aforementioned municipality.

When introducing these two laws the President of Committee A, MP Carmelita C. Moniz, stated that it is important to hold a consultation regarding the Draft Law on Local Power and Administrative Decentralization and the Municipal Elections Law. Therefore, it is necessary to hear the thoughts of all parties to produce a good quality law that reflects everybody's interests. The aforementioned MP also stated that these two laws were vetoed by the President of the Republic, Mr. Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo, during the third legislature. The President of the Republic stated that the reason for the veto was that Article 50.2 of the aforementioned Draft Law did not fulfil legal and democratic requirements and the President of the Republic stated that all members of municipal assemblies need to be elected through elections.

“JSMP really appreciates the National Parliament, particularly Committee A, for promoting public participation in the law making process to ensure that the laws produced by the National Parliament reflect the reality and interests of all people,” said the Acting Director of JSMP, Casimiro dos Santos.

JSMP also believes that when Timor-Leste implements administrative decentralization there is the potential for corruption to flourish, therefore it is important for the National Parliament to concentrate and produce a Law Against Corruption first and foremost before engaging in the total decentralization of State administration. Therefore, the State, in particular the Public Prosecution Service and Anti-Corruption Commission (CAC), will have sufficient power to prevent and combat corruption.

12 February 2020

CNRT will negotiate new government only if president swears in Ministers

Image of CNRT logo East Timor Congress for Reconstruction ETLJB - The constitutional crisis that has been simmering in East Timor for the last three years continues to dog the country's development. The President has refused to appoint Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak's nominations for several portfolios in his government.

LUSA reports on February 11, 2020 that the National Congress of East Timor Reconstruction (CNRT), the largest party in the coalition of East Timor’s government, will only consider negotiations on a new executive if the president, Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo, retreats and swears in the ministers of the party.

Duarte Nunes, the head of the CNRT, told Lusa that this change of position on the president is a precondition for the political force, led by Xanana Gusmão, to accept any new executive.

“The condition imposed by the party is that if we form another government, the president must swear in the list of ministers that the prime minister presented. It is the only condition that is imposed,” said Duarte Nunes in a statement to Lusa.

This failure of Parliament to pass the budget comes after months of criticism by CNRT of Lu-Olo’s decision to refuse to swear in more than a dozen members of the government, the majority of Xanana Gusmão’s party.

Read the full story here.

In the Matter of a Review to Develop the Quality of National Law

Submission to the Faculty of Law, Universidade Nacional Timor Lorosa’e

In the Matter of a Review to Develop the Quality of National Law

Author: Mr. Warren Leslie Wright BA LLB Dip Leg Prac

Solicitor, Proctor & Attorney-at-Law

Supreme Court of New South Wales

High Court of Australia Principal, Wright Law & Justice

 INDEX

Paragraph Title Page

Objective of Study and Acknowledgements 1

Introductory Remarks 1

Further Prefatory and Contextual Observations 2

The Constitutional Framework of Law Creation: Constitutional Democracy 2

The President 2

The Supreme Court of Justice 2

The National Parliament 3

Legislative initiative 3

Executive Law Making 3

The Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Legislative Reform and

Parliamentary Affairs 3

Observation 3

Part 1 Looking Forward: A Theory for Legislative Drafting Including A Practical Problem-Solving Methodology for Democratic Transformation 4

Introduction Unique Legal History of East Timor 4

11 February 2020

Concern grows regarding lack of identified coronavirus in Indonesia - Implications for East Timor

Concern is mounting about Indonesia's response to the deadly coronavirus, despite having received direct flights from Wuhan in the early weeks of the outbreak.

A study by a group of Harvard University researchers found it was statistically unlikely the virus was not in Indonesia.

Australia's health authorities were "closely watching what happens in Indonesia".

"Obviously, it is somewhat surprising that there are no cases," the Australian government's Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said.

The report appeared in the 11 February 2020 edition of the Sydney Morning Herald. The full article may be read here.

The World Atlas map shows the territorial boundaries between Indonesia and East Timor; most of the border has been formally settled though a few disputed points remain.

The circumstances raise questions about the potential transmission of the corona virus into the East Timorese population and the yet unknown risk of exposure to the corona virus.

Xanana Gusmão: "For great evils, great remedies": Early elections to resolve the Timorese crisis

WARNING MACHINE TRANSLATION ORIGINAL HERE Lusa 8 de Fevereiro de 2020, 17:16 East Timorese historical leader Xanana Gusmão defended this Saturday that holding that early elections is the “fair and democratic” solution to resolve the political impasse in the country after the lead of the State Budget for 2020.

"The informal analysis of the CNRT [National Congress for the Reconstruction of Timor-Leste] is that early elections are the fair and democratic solution to resolve the situation," said Xanana Gusmão, president of the largest party in the Government coalition, in an interview with GMN television.

"At the end of the process, if the President of the Republic, after listening to everyone, says that there is no solution, that there is no consensus among the parties, I feel that the solution is early elections", he defended.

Insisting that it is only an “informal analysis” and stating that he does not want to “influence anyone”, respecting the actions of the President of the Republic, Xanana Gusmão - interviewed in Tetum - he resorted to a proverb in Portuguese: “For great ills, great remedies ”.

Another solution, which involves a new Government, requires the current Prime Minister to resign, he explained, or to dissolve the Parliament if the General State Budget is not approved within 60 days "from the 1st of January".

Corona virus: Australia denies entry to travellers from China

Image result for corona virus australiaTravel Restrictions – effective immediately

The Australian Government has announced that as of 1 February 2020, all travellers arriving from any part of mainland China, regardless of nationality, will be subject to enhanced border control measures to ensure the health, safety and well-being of the Australian community.

Australia will deny entry to anyone who has left or transited mainland China from 1 February, with the exception of:

The Straights Times reports lack of identified corona virus in Indonesia a cause for concern


Image result for corona virus indonesia"Infected people who are asymptomatic and don't get sick do not see a doctor. Those who develop flu but are scared of being quarantined or receiving special treatment may also not see a doctor," said Professor Gusti Ngurah Mahardika, head of the Animal Biomedical and Molecular Biology Laboratory at the Udayana University in Bali.

The Straights Times reported on 9 February 2020 that the lack of any identified corona virus infections in Indonesia does not mean that corona virus has not reached Indonesia.

The report cites Indonesian healthcare practitioners stating that they do not rule out the possibility the virus may have already entered the vast archipelago and is lurking among the 260-million population, but remains undetected and unreported. As of Friday, Indonesia's Health Ministry has put the number of suspect cases at 50, of which 49 have tested negative and the remaining one is pending results.

The full report may be read here, only in English unfortunately.

What does this mean for Timor-Leste? Australia and Singapore, and other countries, have closed their borders to entry by travellers from China and isolating any persons known to have a risk of exposure.

Corona virus: reiteration of WHO advice to reduce exposure and transmission

Image result for corona virus asiaWHO's standard recommendations to the general public to reduce exposure and transmission to the coronavirus and a number of other diseases, are as follows, and include respiratory and hand hygiene and safe eating practices:


Clean your hands frequently with a alcohol-based disinfectant solution on with soap and water;

When coughing and sneezing, cover the mouth and nose with your bent elbow or a handkerchief -


Throw away the scarf immediately after use and wash your hands;


Avoid close contact with those who have fever and cough;


If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention in advance and share the history of previous trips with your doctor;


When visiting markets avoid unprotected direct contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals;


Consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided.


Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled carefully to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, in accordance with good food safety practices.

Meeting of the Council of Ministers of 5 February 2020

East Timor national coat of arms image
Presidency of the Council of Ministers Eighth Constitutional Government Press Release

Meeting of the Council of Ministers of February 5, 2020

The Council of Ministers met at the Government Palace in Dili and heard a presentation of the Minister of Legislative Reform and Parliamentary Affairs, Fidelis Manuel Leite Magalhães, on the Public Administration Reform Program. This program presents a set of administrative reforms aimed at strengthening the management and improvement of the functioning of the Ministries and Agencies of the Central Government.

The Minister of Legislative Reform and Parliamentary Affairs also made a presentation to the Council of Ministers on the Draft Law on the approval of the Legal Regime of Social Security of Holders of Organs of Sovereignty. This legal regime seeks to promote the exercise of the right to social security on an equal footing, valuing the contributory career of former members of sovereignty institutions.

The Council of Ministers also heard a presentation on a Draft of Law presented by the Minister for Legislative Reform and Parliamentary Affairs regarding Legislative Authorization on the General Bases of the Organization of Public Administration.

The Acting Finance Minister, Sara Lobo Brites, presented the government deliberation project, approved by the Council of Ministers, on the budget ceiling for February under the duodecimal regime. The total amount of expenditure for salaries and salaries will be USD 17 852 076, for goods and services will be USD 38 614 980, for public transfers will be USD 26 591 048 and for development capital will be USD 33 390 953, totaling USD 116 449 057.

The Council of Ministers approved the Draft Resolution, presented by the Minister of Justice, Manuel Cárceres da Costa, on the allocation of residence to former holders of sovereignty bodies, former President of the Republic and former Prime Minister, Kay  Rala Xanana Gusmão, former Prime Minister Marí Bim Amude Alkatiri and former President of the National Parliament, Vicente da Silva Guterres.

Government presented to the National Parliament the contingency plan to prevent the coronavirus outbreak

Image result for corona virus04 of February of 2020, 12:53h

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Dionísio Babo Soares, accompanied by the Acting Minister of Health, Élia dos Reis Amaral and the Minister of Defense and Acting Minister of the Interior, Filomeno da Paixão de Jesus, went to the National Parliament to present to the National Parliament the Government’s contingency plan to prevent the outbreak of the new coronavirus,  2019-nCoV.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared on January 30 an international public health emergency situation (PHEIC) because of the outbreak of the new coronavirus, whose epicenter is the Chinese city of Wuhan.

The WHO registers, up to February 3, a total of 17 391 confirmed cases of coronavirus, of which 17 238 are in China, representing 99% of all reported cases worldwide. In all, 362 people lost their lives due to the coronavirus, 361 in China and one person in the Philippines.

The symptoms identified are fever, cough, difficulty breathing and shortness of breath.

To date, there are cases of coronavirus in  23  countries besides China: Japan,  Republic of Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Philippines, Thailand, Nepal, Sri Lanka, India, United States of America, Canada, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates.

ETLJB blog exceeds 2 million page views

Image shows graphs recording page views of East Timor Law and Justice Bulletin as at 11 February 2020
ETLJB exceeds 2 million page views
Dear ETLJB Readers

In my previous post, I explained that the associated Facebook page for this site has been deleted and that a new focus would be on this blog.

As I noted there, I have not paid attention to this blog for far too long.

When checking the statistics today, I noted that the blog had exceeded 2 million page views.

And so it is timely to refocus on this blog and I look forward to my future work here.

I hope that my work, though often provocative and sometimes offensive to conventional thought, keeps attention on the legal issues in East Timor and inspires other perspectives on the many social problems facing the nation.

Click the image for a legible view.

ETLJB Facebook page deleted - Reactivation of ETLJB Blog

Image result for east timor"Ever since the day I first landed in Dili in an RAF Hercules, on a rainy December day in 2000, ever since I sat and listened to my East Timorese friends recount their harrowing experiences under the Indonesian occupation, ever since I realised that the most horrifying genocide of my time had occurred right under my nose and I did not pay attention,..."

Dear ETLJB Readers

I have long neglected this page in favour of Facebook. Facebook permitted sharing of any East Timor-related online material and is much easier to use. And there were more than 4000 followers on the facebook page but very little online interaction there. So it has been deleted.

The privacy invasions and waivers that we have to give to corporations like Facebook, who serve no good social purpose, are too much of a compromise of our dignity and I've decided that that kind of thing is most unsuitable for what I seek to achieve.

Instead, this ETLJB blog page will be reactivated.

I have held a rather intense interest in East Timor since I was part of UNTAET and spent almost 5 years living and working in Dili with some travel to the Districts.

My experience of East Timor was transformational and profound. It gave my life a meaning that I had never anticipated and set my working life on a path that was never planned.

Of course, I regret none of that.

Ever since the day I first landed in Dili in an RAF Hercules, on a rainy December day in 2000, ever since I sat and listened to my East Timorese friends recount their harrowing experiences under the Indonesian occupation, ever since I realised that the most horrifying genocide of my time had occurred right under my nose and I did not pay attention, my intellectual and personal considerations of this small nation of brave people, burdened by the unimaginable terror of the genocide, inspired me like nothing else.

When I realised the dramatic transformation of the revolution and the countless sacrifices made by so many East Timorese, I was astonished. I remain astonished to this day, if not stronger than ever before.

The East Timorese people have taught the world a great lesson and their legacy will endure forever.


Warren L. Wright BA LLB