Monthly Archives: July 2006

UNICEF condemns use of children in the front-line of demonstrations in Dili

DILI, Timor-Leste 28 July 2006 – UNICEF is once
again strongly condemning the manipulation of
children after young children were seen
participating in the front of a demonstration
outside the Dili Police Station to call for the
release of Alfredo Reinaldo Alves who was
detained by international forces on Tuesday 25th July 2006.

Standing in the front line of the demonstration,
these children held banners and signs alleging
that the new government was no different from the old one.

UNICEF calls the leaders of the nation and also
parents and the community to take immediate
actions to stop this exploitation of children.
UNICEF reminds all duty bearers to put a stop to
this continued abuse of young children in
protests and political demonstrations. Such
demonstrations tend to get out of control and
being in the frontline of protests, exposes
children to the threat of violence and hurt.

Timor-Leste ratified the Convention on the Rights
of the Child (CRC) in December 2002, just 7
months after the restoration of independence.
Article 36 of the Convention states that the
state shall protect the child against all forms
of exploitation that could have an impact on the child’s welfare.

“Although school has started, many children are
still not back to school and many times they are
left unsupervised in the camps and communities
during the day. Children, at this age, should be
given guidance, protection and education and not
be neglected and exploited. Children learn from
what they see – if adults do not behave
responsibly, these children will perpetuate the
cycle of violence” said Madhavi Ashok, UNICEF Communication Officer in Dili.

UNICEF, together with the NGOs in the Child
Protection Working Group, has called for parents
and caregivers to supervise their children and
not to allow them to be taken outside their camps
by other people. This work will be strengthened
in the coming weeks using the child protection
focal points and the NGO networks.

This note comes just a week after a
UNICEF-contracted worker was brutally attacked by
a mob which included young people and children.

Reinado Arrested

Major Alfredo Reinado, one of the organisers of the coup in Dili, has finally been arrested for having illegal arms more than a month after his group was supposed to have handed over it’s stolen weapons to the Australians.

The Portuguese police were investigating a claim that one of three houses being used by Reinado was illegally occupied when they found a cache of arms.

All the houses occupied by Reinado and his supporters are directly across the road from the Australian Army Headquarters.

They were arrested after seven hours of discussions between President Gusmao, Attorney General Longuinas Monteiro. The amnesty for handing in stolen arms had expired at the weekend.

Reinado and his group was supposed to have handed over their weapons in a press event staged by the Australian Army on 16th June. At the time it was apparent that only a small number of arms had been handed over.

East Timor refugees languish in camps, too frightened to go home


DILI, East Timor (UCAN) \u2013 Alfonso do Rego lays listlessly on an old, dirty mattress. His father, Julio do Rego, says the nine-month-old has a respiratory infection.

“He is coughing a lot and has a fever,” the father told UCA News as he prepared a bottle of milk to feed his baby.

In May, Julio do Rego brought his wife and four children to Canossian Centre Balide in Dili, which has become a crowded refuge from the street violence.

The mutiny of the 1,400-strong army, resulting in armed clashes and gang violence pitting locals from eastern and western parts of East Timor, turned the seaside capital of the fledgling country into an anarchic playground for machete-wielding, unemployed youth.

The street violence has ended, but troubles persist for thousands like the do Rego family taking refuge in Church and NGO-run shelters. Tens of thousands keep languishing in poor conditions and are compelled to depend on handouts.

The country has a new prime minister, Jose Ramos Horta, who took over on July 10 from Mari Alkatiri. However, even if the atmosphere on the streets has improved, many are still fearful.

Young children like Afonso are at the greatest medical risk in the camps. Afonso’s father Julio, 40, is a daily-wage construction worker with a family to support. Now, he has no work and no home.

Julio comes from the east, and his wife Marta Gomes, 36, from the west. They were living in Dili’s Bairopite district, an area where many houses were torched. “My home is burned, so how can I go home? And my baby is sick, who wants to help me?” Julio asked UCA News on July 19.

Marta added that baby Afonso has received treatment from Cuban doctors who visit them a few times a week, but he still coughs and cries. According to a local doctor, about 500 Cuban doctors serve in clinics and hospitals of the country, which has a poor medical infrastructure and few doctors.

Living conditions in the camp are a concern. Canossian Sister Madalena Soares, along with 21 other nuns, cares for the 1,500 refugees in the camp. She told UCA News on July 17 that the children are at risk from disease.

“Living conditions are the biggest cause of children getting sick,” she said, “because they sleep in the open, play in the dust and the bad hygiene makes them vulnerable to disease.”

Sister Soares pointed to a corner where some small girls were playing with dolls in the dust. “Look at them, I have warned their parents not to let the children play in the dust, but it does not stop,” the nun said, adding, “Then I realize these children need to play and miss their playtime.”

Sister Joana Araujo confirmed that many children in the camps are getting sick. “Every day, at least two more children get sick here,” she said. She added, however, that they now have regular contact with the hospitals and the doctors, so there is no problem to get medical attention for serious cases.

Flora, 7, has respiratory problems like those of Afonso. According to her mother Laura Ximenes, 30, the girl has been coughing for two days and her condition persists despite the medicine she has been taking.

Doctor Luis do Reg, a Timorese, reiterated the nuns’ concerns. He told UCA News on July 17 at the Guido Valadares National Hospital in Dili that “the children easily get sick due to the living conditions.” Even the medicine may not work if not complemented with good living conditions, he said.

He said the national hospital’s mobile teams treating people in the refugee camps see many children becoming ill due to the climate change, from rainy season to the current dry season, and also because of the poor hygiene.

The camps offer food but, more importantly, a place to take refuge. Some people guard their homes during the day and return at night to sleep in the camps. Nighttime is a time of fear, they say.

Father Apolinario Aparicio, vicar general of Dili, told UCA News the Church is helping the refugees to reintegrate back into their communities, but little can be done for those whose homes were burned.

“The Church encourages them to go home and do their daily activities, but the Church cannot force them,” Father Aparicio said. He added that the refugees worry about security, and according to his estimate, at least 12,000 people continue to take refuge in 12 Catholic churches and centers in Dili.

For baby Afonso’s father, security and a roof over his family’s head are key concerns, and Father Agostinho Soares, who heads the Justice and Peace Commission of Dili diocese, understands the problem.

Father Soares told UCA News on July 20 that the main reason people stay in the camps is security. “Most people in the refugee camps are from the east,” he said. “They are afraid to go home unless their security is guaranteed.”

Notes from Dili

Rahung Nasution

Letter to Jude Conway, a friend in Darwin

Jude, my dear friend, I remember when you visited Dili two years ago. It was in Farol at the Sahe Institute for Liberation, which has since changed its name to Institutu Edukasaun Popular. It was a brief courteous exchange…

Before I go on and answer your letter, there are two reasons why I felt I had to write Around Golpe In Miles Davis’ Trumpet, published on Paras Indonesia website. First, I am suspicious to corporate media. Second, I wanted to write about experiences of people around me. If both were to be combined: I wanted to write something personal while trying to understand this rather complex madness. I didn’t dare to draw any conclusions in a hurry.

I agree, it’s true, democracy allows for a regime and leadership change by taking it to the streets. Not just through the ballot box or Parliamentary mayhem. What happened to PM Marí Alkatiri also happened to leaders in Thailand, Phillipines, Indonesia, and, if Australian believed in street parliament, this can also befall PM John Howard. Even more so if it is helped by the power of corporate media.

In the case of Alkatiri’s resignation, he wasn’t just sacked by the minority opposition parties, rebel soldiers and his various mistakes such as you mentioned in your letter. I also think this happened thanks to the great power of corporate media, among others, ABC, through their Four Corners programme.

Evidence of what was thought as Alkatiri’s involvement in the matter of weapons distribution: a secret letter from the PNTL Commander Paul Fatima Martins, a document from the ‘Fretilin Secret Security Team’ – which bears no signature and the contents of which weren’t shown in full – about weapons distribution, a staged shooting scene, and an SMS from Alkatiri to Comandante Railos which said: “Where are you going?”

Based on ABC’s Liz Jackson’s ‘investigation,’ President Xanana Gusmão sent a letter to Alkatiri which asked him to step down. And then on RTTL, on 22 June, a ‘surprise’ speech by Xanana Gusmão was aired. That speech mentioned bloodthirsty powers, Fretilin congress participants who received weapons, illegal congresses, SMS’s to PM Alkatiri reporting President’s activities, etc, etc.

Unfortunaley, I do not have access to sources like you do – which you said was information from a trusted ‘left’ comrade who has close contact with Timorese soldiers. That is why I have to be careful about what I write. Dili is chock-full of rumours which certainly cannot be regarded as ‘information’.

If I use this ‘information’ from your ‘left’ comrades in my writing, it would come out exactly as the rumours that have been flying around and accusations from the petitioners which, as of yet, remain unproven. Strangely enough, the petitioners also reject the forming of a commission of inquiry to address the problems that they brought up. Alkatiri did not fire 591 petitioning soldiers, as the corporate media both in Indonesia and Australia say. The decision came from the F-FDTL headquarters, then led by Alkatiri and also Ramos-Horta.

If the issue of ‘discrimination’ was raised by the petitioning soldiers, indeed, there is some basis to it. But if the issue of Lorosa’e (eastern region) versus Loromonu (western region) is raised, seems like it has hit the wrong target.

Ever since F-FDTL institution was formed, problems began to appear. That was during UNTAET administration, in 2001, and Alkatiri was not yet the Prime Minister. This military institution was formed based on a study conducted by King’s College. Back then, there were former guerillas who were dissatisfied with this process and chose to become civilians. They came from both regions, Lorosa’e and Loromonu: Comandante Eli Foho Rai Boot and Renan, Ersnesto Dudu and Samba 9.

For those who did not pass through recruitment process and did not meet standards, they were ‘reintegrated’ to the community. This process involved advisors from Australia and Portugal, and was funded by the World Bank and handled by IOM. So, this institution, which was already problematic, was formed with the approval of Xanana Gusmão, who was then the chairman of the National Council.

Dear Jude, I did hear rumours, and many say that there has been harsh treatment from the commanders to soldiers from Loromonu.

But according to F-FDTL Commander, Taur Matan Ruak, Lieutenant Gastão Salsinha, who later became the spokesperson of the 591 petitioning soldiers and joind rebel soldiers Major Alfredo Reinado, Major Tara and Major Marcos, has had problems with the illegal sandalwood business. This was revealed by Brigadier Ruak on RTTL television, just days after the demonstration led by Lieutenant Salsinha turned violent. For his involvement in sandalwood business, this officer was not given a promotion. His planned study to Portugal was also cancelled by F-FDTL headquarters.

This illegal sandalwood business, again according to rumours, involved the then interior minister, Rogério Lobato.

A more thrilling rumour, Major Kaikeri from F-FDTL, who died during the shootout in Tibar with Railos’ group, was one of the key figures in this illegal sandalwood business. This rumour is too hot. And lets not forget, Railos’ confession about weapons being distributed by Alkatiri appeared in the corporate media after Rogério Lobato became a suspect.

So, let’s leave it at that with the rumours and let’s go back to the problem of nepotism within F-FDTL, like you mentioned in your letter. If we look into the issue of ranks in F-FDTL, there are many F-FDTL officers who did not come from Lorosa’e. For example, Major Alfredo Reinado, Major Marcos Tilman, Major Tara (Augusto de Araújo), Lieutenant Salsinha, Lieutenant Colonel Pedro Klamar Fuik (Donaciano Gomes) and Lieutenant Colonel Filomeno Paixão. Too bad you did not specify in your letter what sort of nepotism was referred to by your ‘left’ friend. I’m curious, could it be that your ‘left’ friend is also part of this madness?

Just recently, Bob Lowry, the former Australian military Advisor for Timor-Leste in 2002-03, in a seminar held at the Australian National University, said that he had once suggested that Alkatiri retire all F-FDTL officers who are former guerillas. If that was done, it would be likely that Colonel Pedro Klamar Fuik and Major Alfredo Reinado would rise through the ranks to lead F-FDTL.

To me, this problem is quite complex, rather intricate. And it would be too simplistic if everything is thrown at Alkatiri. Add to that old problems. Back then, during resistance, there were also promises that still remain promises today and have disappointed many young people. For example, that after independence, those who fought will live and prosper, own a good house… Such promises were given by the organisers of the underground resistance (clandestine) to persuade the young to fight for independence.

Jude, my kind friend, about the issue of weapons. I never tried to close my eyes on that. NGOs in Timor-Leste have raised this issue, including Institutu Edukasaun Popular. Back then Ramos-Horta responded, “If anything happens along the borders, are NGOs ready to face that? NGOs better stick to problems in the villages…”

Now, what does Alkatiri hope to achieve by eliminating his political opponents, all while his party is the majority and in the congress he was reelected as the secretary general? And then, why did Comandante Railos, who was told to kill Alkatiri’s political opponents, actually fought against F-FDTL, who are thought to have close ties to Alkatiri?

What are the indications that caused you to conclude that Rogério Lobato was the one to take care of dirty jobs ordered by Alkatiri? Rogério Lobato is an influential figure amongst former Falintil, and it is this influence that he used when he returned to Timor-Leste to gain his position in power. Organising them and using them.

And then, what makes all this even stranger and more complex, all armed powers (outside of the official F-FDTL) are powers that unseated Alkatiri, that took Alkatiri down… It’s complex, Jude!

Two years ago, Pedrito Vieira took part in the protest against the meeting between Xanana Gusmão and the Indonesian presidential candidate General Wiranto who has a record of crimes in Timor-Leste, and Maleve was a delegate from Lospalos in the Fretilin Congress in Dili, 17-19 May.

Y’know Jude, my dear friend, supporting a number of Alkatiri’s policies doesn’t automatically make one a pro-Fretilin supporter. And in case one day Nuno Rodrigues chooses to become a Fretilin militant, like what Adérito de Jesus Soares—the former director of Sahe Institute who now joined the Fretilin minority mudança group—chose way back when, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. That is their political choice. And Jude, my friend, you need not doubt the independence of our viewpoints on the problems going on these days. We too never tried to conceal anything for any ideological reasons. Our criticism of Fretilin has been clear: this party has turned into an electoral machine just like any other party. The difference is, Fretilin is a historical party with a majority support.

Alkatiri’s policies supported by IEP include free education, free healthcare, nutrition improvements for school children, keeping oil proceeds in the Petroleum Fund, refusing debt from the World Bank. Besides supporting these policies, IEP, together with other NGOs, is also concerned with the immigration law, defamation law, reconciliation without justice as promoted by Xanana and Horta, privatization and all sorts of political manoeuvres, which in the end will only disadvantage people at large.

If, in the end, the courts could prove that Alkatiri was involved in weapons distribution, we would certainly not support what he has done in that regard. He must be punished, and we must make sure that the law is not just a piece of used toilet paper. However, the abovementioned policies, in our opinion, are still good for the people.

Jude, my kind friend, on the 4th of July, in Obrigado Barracks, during the meeting between the civil population and UN envoy Ian Martin, Christopher Henry Samsom, the director of NGO LABEH, said: “NGOs keep weapons in their offices.” What a dangerous piece of ‘information’ this is to many people. Usually, the corporate media would just eat it raw. Some would just close their eyes. The impact of such misleading ‘information’ is what I wanted to write about.

After the arrival of Australian troops on 25 May and the withdrawal of F-FDTL from Dili on 26 May, the torching of houses in Dili was done because the perpetrators thought the owners kept guns. The targets of this arson are people who have family or friends in F-FDTL. This was ignored by the corporate media who, misleadingly, described this as a “Lorosae vs Loromono”conflict, as if there’s been burning contest between these two ‘factions’ here.

Jude, my dear friend, I’m convinced that something stinks with calumny. By writing about it, we have tried to fight something that’s really low and malicious!

Ramos-Horta speech

> >
> >
> > ________________________________________________________________________
> >
> > 10 July 2006
> >
> >
> > Address by Dr José Ramos-Horta at his swearing in ceremony as
> > Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > (Literal translation from the original Portuguese version)
> >
> > Your Excellency President of the Republic
> > Your Excellency President of the National Parliament
> > Your Excellency President of the Superior Court of Appeal
> > Your Excellencies The Reverend Bishops of the Dioceses of Dili and Baucau
> > Ministers, Members of Parliament, Members of the Forces of Defence and Security, Community Members,
> > Excellency Ambassador Miguel Armado, Special Envoy of the President of the European Commission,
> > Your Excellencies, Sukehiro Hasegawa and Ian Martin, Special Representatives of the Secretary General of the United Nations,
> > Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps, Representatives of the Interational Agencies
> > Ladies and Gentlemen,
> >
> > Today, July 10th 2006, in the year of Christ, we enter a new phase in the construction of our State for the quest for Law and Peace. The path has been long, difficult, dangerous, and has resulted in the shedding of tears and blood, with the loss of too many lives. Our journey to nationhood has been a centuries long journey, with those years now lost in time, when the beaches of our country were first stepped on by the Portuguese Missionaries.
> >
> > On May 20th 2002, our nation concluded that long journey and it was an occasion crowned with joy and festivities. We then had to initiate another immediate journey, that of the edification of our state and its institutions. We had also to initiate the painful process of examination of conscience, reflection, and national and international reconciliation. We have gone through generations of pain and mourning, of hate and treason. It was necessary to dispaly a lot of courage and generosity to try to forget, but this is not always possible. It is however, always possible to pardon. Pardoning is an act of courage and generosity and grandeur. Hate and revenge are feelings and expressions of weakness, that lead to self-destruction, because such feelings can consume as, as we dont live the present and future but instead we live as prisoners of the past. The experiences of past and present generations have left deep wounds in the great Timorese family, causing collective trauma.
> >
> > The crisis that imploded in our country on the 28th April 2006, the crisis that continues to this day, admittedly now a lot more calm and secure, has reopened the wounds not yet fully healed and has rendered opened new ones.
> >
> > It is then necessary to undergo even deeper reflection about our collective experience of the years 1974-1999. The extensive CAVR report is an encylcopedia of our history, both rich in teachings and suffering. We must utilise its great teachings to better understand todays crisis and to help prevent futute crises.
> >
> > The Special Inquiry Commission that the Timorese State asked for and establsihed by the international community, will soon begin their mission. We leave to them as a neutral and independent body to gather information and statements of some key and recent incidents and other events enveloping the crisis to enable us to know the truth. We will wait for the result and its recommendations.
> >
> > Excellencies,
> > Today I have been sworn in in the honoured function as head of government as a result of the resiganton of my old friend and combatant in the struggle, Dr. Mari Altatiri. I served in a government led by him, always guided by prudence and loyalty to the people that he really loves. What we inherited from UNTAET in May 2002, was only a sketch of a state. After the violence and destruction in September 1999, the Security Council mandated the Secretary General to build a modern and democratic state in only two years. The late Sergio Veiria de Mello that our Lord has in his care, was tireless, intelligent, dedicated and a friend, but it was not possible for him in two years to give birth from the ashes from the violence and destruction of 1999, to a modern and democratic, stable and fully funcitonal state.
> >
> > If it is not possible to make a small business viable in two years, consolidate it and make it commercially sustainable in two years, yet we ask, Is it possible to build a state in two years?. The answer is no, but the Security Council had other concerns and priorities. And us the Timorese, fueled by patriotism, we even thought that a transition of two years was excessivley long.
> >
> > In regard to the new United Nations Mission, I simply reiterate the view expressed in our letter of 11 June 2006. We trust that the Security Council will once again decide with wisdom on the needs of the Mission that is best needed for the people of Timor-Leste and that our request will be positively responded to.
> >
> > If we recall what the United Nations handed over to us on the night of May 19 2002, then we could say on balance the government of Dr. Mari Alkatiri registered notable progress in many areas.
> >
> > We provided our nation with a judicial and legal system with laws and rules that had not before existed, wih a public administration whose previous existence was very weak, a school network that has significantly increased since 2002, a health network that surpassed our expectations; we negotiated and concluded important agreements with our neighbours, and we acceded to more than twenty internationl treaties including all the Human Rights Conventions.
> >
> > We failed in other areas. We failed in the area of internal security, we failed in the dialogue with the people, we stand accused of insenstivity and arrogance, and corruption started to invade institutions of the state. We say that we want foreign investment and we know of the importance of its development to our country, becasue of the very slow and complicated burueacracy. In a short time we managed to create by us and for us, a bureacratic stranglehold that undermines our best intentions and political decisions and opens the door to corruption.
> >
> > Unfortunately I cannot say that I learned a lot from Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, during his four years in government. I was always absent about half of the yeasr and when I was in the country, I was not very enthuasistic in the very long sessions of the Council of Ministers. I could have learned much more with this brother and friend from my youth, but Mari Alkatiri has volunteered his support now and I will rely often on his good counsel. I am also obliged to consult regularly, to listen to, the National Political Committee of Fretilin. I will do it always with pleasure and respect. I have two Deputy Prime Ministers in whom I have total confidence and who have much more experience than me. I have a dedicated and experienced team of Ministers that will be sworn in sometime this week. For that reason, I believe that the weight that I carry of leading the government, will be lessened.
> >
> > I know my intellectual and professional limitations. I am not a person of virtues. I am not Mahatma Gandhi. I dont know if I am worthy of the trust that you Your Excellency Mr. President, have placed in me and I do not know if I am worthy of the trust that the people have placed in me. In the last few days I have received numerous expressions of friendship and support from very the most humble members of our great people. May God guide me so that I dont betray their trust.
> >
> > Excellecies,
> > Our immediate task is to consolidate the security in Dili and in all of Timor-Leste. Make a return to their houses the thousands of brothers and sisters who during these weeks have taken refuge in several centres and give them necessasry support to rebuild their lives.
> >
> > Our people has suffered and many, who were poor before the crisis, now lost the little that they had, but they also lost faith in the state institutins and in the political leaders. The Government action in the weeks and months ahead is to restore faith and hope, respect for our young democracy and for our young nation state.
> >
> > This Government has only got nine months to govern until May 2007. If to this time constraint we add the burueaucratic obstacles that we bulit, the inefficiency, the incompetence, the laziness of some of the public and private sectors; the useful time of Governmet will be even more constrained. We are going to simplfy processes so that they are not a constraint to the development of the country. The so called procurement, bids or tenders have to be more transparent and responded to more quickly. We are going to introduce the concept of fast track to accelerate the execution of projects. The item public grants in the 2006-2007 budget, is a response to the need felt by all that we have to simplyfy the process to make quicker the rendering of services to the nation.
> >
> > Timor-Leste is cited in a study of the World Bank as one of the worst countries in the world to register a company. We are going to reverse that immediately. The country is not poor. We have money from our own resources and from the generosity of friends.
> >
> > This Government is not going to find excuse for inertia. This Government will try to serve the best interests of the poor. This Government is going to be the government for the poor. This Government will be at the forefront in the fight against poverty. We are going to use existing money to dignify the human being, give them hope, given them food, clothing and give them a roof.
> >
> > The poor and forgotten in the rural areas will be our main focus and we are going to mobilise all our financial and human resources to rapidly revitalise economic activity in those regions, through small projects that will have a rapid impact. We are going to support more the public servants who serve in the Districts, we are going to support the Liurais and the Chefes de Sucos, restoring the dignity and secular moral power of the Liurais, giving them the means to serve the people.
> >
> > Excellencies,
> > The Timorese Catholic Church is the only continuous solid institution, that has absorbed the fabric of Timorese. It must be venerated and called once again to partnership with our young State, help us get out of this crisis, heal the wounds, help us better serve the people in all the areas such as social, educational, cultural, spiritual and moral. This Government, then, invites the Catholic Church to assume a bigger role in education and in the human development of our people and in the fight against poverty.
> >
> > The State must make available to the Institutions of the Church, namely the Dioceses, the necessary financial means so that this partnership with the State will be a reality. Our Muslim and Protestant communities, although small in number, also play an important role in their contribution to education and human development. This Government will continue and will reinforce the dailogue of cooperation with these two religious communities.
> >
> > Timor-Leste has a singular historical experience. Timorese people are a people deeply spiritual whose day to day lives are inspired and influenced by the spirits of the past and by supernatural beliefs that are fused with Christain beliefs. For that reason we cannot import or impose modern models of secularism or Europeanism that would disturb the symbiotic relationship of Timorese animist and Christain beliefs.
> >
> > This Government awaits with excitement the opening of the third Diocese in Timor-Leste and we reiterate our desire to see installed in Dili a Nunciatura representing the Vatican. Timor-Leste is going to nominate an Ambassador to the Holy See.
> >
> > I salute with reverence and friendship our two Bishops, Dom Ricardo and Dom Bascilio, and through them all the Timorese and foreign clergy serving in Timor-Leste. I want to pay homage to the late Dom Jaime Garcia Goulart and Dom Martinho da Costa Lopes, unforgettable historical figures of Timor-Leste and the Catholic Church. I also want to pay tribute to Bishop Dom Carlos Filipe Ximenes de Belo, who in the more difficult years of our history, side by side with Dom Bascilio and the then Priest of the Church of Motael, Dom Ricardo and other priests and nuns of this country, were the refuge of the persecuted.
> >
> > This Government is going to give special attention to our Youth. I propose that we study the viability of a university campus, comprising accommodation, canteen, internet access, library, gymnasium, etc., so that we can offer our youth the basic conditions to enable them to achieve their academic goals.
> >
> > This Government is going to establish a programme of scholarships for the students that study in Timor-Leste, to enable them to feed and clothe themselves and to buy their books and materials.
> >
> > Already in place is an extensive food distribution programme, called a Meal-a-Day per Pupil, although still of a preliminary and limited nature. The objective is to reach a target of 300,000 pupils in the whole of Timor-Leste.
> >
> > We have to look after our Veterans, the big heroes of our nation. We are going to honour them very soon, with valour and decoration in solemn ceremonies, and support their well deserved retirement and housing. We are thankful to the Chinese Government for the offer of 100 houses for the Veterans, but the Timorese State is going to do even more for them, for their widows and their orphans.
> >
> > We are going to take care of the Defence and Security sectors, through prudent reforms to equip our country with modern forces to better serve our people and the cause of peace.
> >
> > The two institutions of Defence and Security charged with the protection of our nation and people, in our Constitution, were deeply affected by the crisis in our country. Tragically some lives were lost, others were critcally injured in their bodies and practically all suffered injury to their souls.
> >
> > We did not know how to manage the problems that emerged within these two institutions. This failure of ours resulted in the crisis that affected the whole nation. To the people, to the members of the F-FDTL and of the PNTL, let down by the political elite, of which I am part of, I do apologise. I can only promise that the nine months of this Government over which I preside is going to look at these two institutions, with total attention and prudence, so that from them, they can be reborn from this crisis more dignified and more deserving of the trust of our people.
> >
> > Excellencies,
> > The private and entrepreneurial sector is an indispensable pillar in te development and well being of our country. With them we are going to find ways to offer incentives and enthuse them and facilitate their activities. The foreign investors in this country can count on this Government to listen to them and to support them. We are going to better and simplfy the laws and rules for the process of registration of companies. We are going to investigate the complaints about the non-payment of bills by the Government.
> >
> > National and International non-government organisations (NGOs) have a central role in the development of the country. We know that the work of the NGOs has not been well supported, and sometimes we displayed an attitude of suspicion towards international NGOs. We invite suggestions and proposals that can simplify our laws and our bureaucracy in this sector.
> >
> > I cannot conclude this address without thanking the Governments and the people of the four friendly countries, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Portugal who came to help in a moment of grave crisis. They responded without hestiation to our appeal. Thanks to their prompt intervention, life in our city of Dili is returning to normalcy. In the next months we will continue to depend on their generous help to consolidate the peace in our country. I ask the representatives of the four countries here today to transmit to their respective governments and to their people our deepest appreciation.
> >
> > I also wish to express our deep appreciation for the moral, political and humanitarian support throughout this crisis, given by the Government and the people of the Republic of Indonesia. During this period Indoneisa had also suffered tragedy as a result of natural disasters and despite their own tragedy, they did not forget the people of Timor-Leste and sent humanitarian aid in the way of food, that contributed to the alleviation of suffering.
> >
> > I owe a very special thank you to H.E. President Susilo Bambang Yudyhono and my Foreign Affairs counterpart H.E. Hassan Wirayuda for their constant support and friendship. A mark of the friendship that our countries enjoy, is the fact that I received a communication that President Susilo is going to ring me immediately after my swearing in. I have to say thanks also to the way the Indonesian Forces stationed on the border behave and maintain order. By next month I hope to finalise the demarcation of the land border, and implement the long awaited border pass regime, which will further strengthen our family, community, social and economic relationships.
> >
> > To the Secretary General of the United Nations and to all the United Nations Agencies, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and International Monetary Fund, I want to express our appreciation for your generous support. The ADB has continued with some infrastructure works in some parts of the country.
> >
> > The humanitarian agencies and national and international NGOs have responded promptly to our needs in close cooperation with the Timorese Government, thus averting a humanitarian catastrophe.
> >
> > Timorese health workers and foreigners of many nationalities, namely Cuban and Chinese doctors, remained in country, in their posts during the crisis. Staff and technicians in the electricty, port, airport, border police, and thousands of public servants and teachers in the remaining twleve Districts did not abandon their posts. In te middle of this crisis, many thousands of Timorese, members of F-FDTL, PNTL,public servants, teachers, doctors, nurses, ordinary workers, priests and nuns revealed their patriotism. Many international staff also remained at work refusing to abandon the country.
> >
> > I cannot finish without referring to the crucial role of the religous orders, priests and nuns in opening their doors and their hearts to tens of thousands of their brothers and sisters. The servants of the Church once again displayed their humanity to afford the same to those in need.
> >
> > I cannot forget the tireless work and dedication of our friends Sukehiro Hasegawa and Anis Bajwa who were always at their posts during the crisis. To all the personnel of UNOTIL our eternal gratitude.
> >
> > The president of the European Commission promptly sent a Special Envoy and is going to elevate the level of representation in Timor-Leste to that of Embassay.
> >
> > Last week we received in our country a delegation of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) led by Foreign Affairs Minister of Sao Tomé Principe. In the preceding weeks before, we received a visit from our friends the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Defence of Australia, the Minister for Defence of New Zealand and the Chief of Defence Forces and other dignitaries of Malaysia.
> >
> > In conclusion, until some weeks ago friends and supporters made me believe and wanted me to believe that I could occupy the 38th floor of United Nations Head Quarters. Some friendly governments believed in my elgibility. I have got another mission here. I would never be a good United Nations Secretary General if I was not a good Timorese first and a good Timorese must be in this country with his people in their moments of crisis. Perhaps then in 2012. Now the world has to wait as I have more pressing needs to attend to in Timor-Leste.ENDS.
> >
> > For further information please contact:
> > Assessor de Imprensa/Media Advisor
> > Cabinet Office of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation
> > Tel: +670 729 7099
> >
> >
> >
Would like to add if he is such a fan of Alkatiri why did he not say Alkatiri was doing a good job before he was forced to resign.


EAST TIMOR: The people are paying the price

From Green Left Weekly, July 19, 2006.

EAST TIMOR: The people are paying the price

Avelino Coelho da Silva, Dili

The conflict that arose recently in Timor Leste
has caused more suffering for the nation’s poor
people, confronting them with an uncertain
economic and political future.

This conflict need not have happened if all the
country’s politicians had put the interests of
the people first and not their own desire for
power. Their attitudes have resulted in hundreds
of thousands of people losing their homes, other
possessions or their livelihoods. Now they must
live in tents provided by the United Nations High
Commission for Refugees.

The conflict developed in the first instance
around the issue of Loro Sae versus Loron Monu,
or east versus west. Yet this ethnic issue has
never been a serious problem in this country.
During the last few weeks, it has grown so
quickly, resulting in the breakdown of the good
neighbourly relations that had existed here among
East Timorese people of different ethnicity and religion.

This is truly a tragedy! But it has happened.

In the current reality, we see so much irony, as
is often the case as history and revolutions
unfold. If we read some of the placards and
banners that appeared during the recent
demonstrations, we might laugh or we might get
seriously stressed. For example, there were
banners reading “Viva capitalism! Out with the
communists!” So our question is; are Timor
Leste’s politicians that ignorant? Did the people
who wrote those banners know what they really wanted?

We can answer here both yes and no. Yes, because
those behind the demonstrations were indeed
trying to paint former Prime Minister Mari
Alkatiri [who was pressured to resign on June 26]
as a communist ­ that there was a communist
governing the country. And we can answer also
“no” because the young people carrying those
banners were from poor village and town families
that have no familiarity at all with ideas such
as capitalism versus communism. It is actually
some very non-communist policies ­ policies with
no left character at all ­ that have created this
poorest class of young men and women.

For somebody to be accurately classified as a
communist, his/her policies should show some
similarity to communist ideas. Yet Alkatiri, and
the Fretilin government he has led, have not the
slightest communist colouring. The social system
that has been fostered is one based on the
existence of rich and poor classes. The Alkatiri
government has implemented no policies aimed at
ending this gap. Worse still, the Alkatiri
government’s policies have worsened the
situation, with the phenomenon of cronyism
exacerbating the rich-poor gap. It is a public
secret that senior officials have tended to
facilitate cronyism.

The economic policies of Alkatiri and Fretilin
have tended to promote privatisation. There have
been no indications that the Alkatiri government
is interested in nationalising any private firms.
There have been no signs of a left orientation
towards land reform. The gap between rich and
poor has grown. Agriculture has been abandoned so
that the country as a whole is dominated by trade
and by private traders. The peasant farmers have
grown poorer under these capitalist policies. You
can see the irony of them carrying banners
stating “Viva capitalism! Down with communism!”

Public utilities such as electricity, telephone,
land and air transportation are all controlled by
foreign private firms. All the needs of the
government are also supplied by private firms,
not public companies or cooperatives.

Alkatiri and Fretilin have not organised the
people in the way you would expect from a
left-wing party. Fretilin has tended to turn
itself into a party of the elite, which will
mobilise the people from time to time to defend
the party’s interests, while ignoring the actual
interests of the people. Fretilin under Alkatiri
has divorced itself from the people and its
leaders have adopted the lifestyle of the
petty bourgeoisie.

In the cultural field, the Fretilin membership
and its cabinet are religious in orientation.
They show no signs of wanting to fight against
the culture and religion of East Timor. The state
radio and television gives more time to religious
programming than to political education for the people.

The hostility towards Alkatiri flows from the
struggle for power among the elite politicians.
Several parties and their leaders are afraid of
elections because they know that they cannot
defeat Fretilin. At the last local elections, at
the suco (village) and aldeia (sub-village)
level, Fretilin won 80% of the positions. These
results indicate that the country will remain
dominated by Fretilin until the people’s
political consciousness develops further and they
decide to support parties based on their
political program and ideology and not based on
the fictional history of a movement or party.

It was these political factors, supplemented by
the interests of neighbouring countries vis-a-vis
oil and gas, that the process developed to paint
Alkatiri as a “communist”. There was the hope
that this could be used to mobilise the masses to
defeat Alkatiri and Fretilin at the coming elections.

Another factor contributing to this situation has
been Alkatiri’s own leadership style. He takes a
confrontational approach towards everybody
and appears as arrogant.

What has happened in East Timor is not the case
of a left-wing Alkatiri and Fretilin government
being forced out of power by mass mobilisations.
Alkatiri fell because he was disliked by some
other elite politicians and because Fretilin was
not able to bring forward another person capable
of being a prime minister and of forming a new
government. So some still hope that Fretilin can
be destroyed at the next elections. That is what
this is about: right-wing against right-wing.

After Alkatiri stepped down from his throne,
speculation spread as to who might be his
replacement. The newspaper Suara Timor Loro Sae
reported that leaders of the various
demonstrations started to promote Mario
Carrascalao, a leader of the Social Democratic
Party. They started to say that Jose Ramos Horta
no longer had the support of the people. Why
were they saying this?

Initially, it was stated [in a speech by
President Xanana Gusmao] that the Fretilin
leadership was not legitimate, because the
Fretilin congress used a vote by show of hands
and not a secret ballot to elect it. Yet
negotiations went ahead with the Fretilin
leadership and a compromise was reached. Out of
this compromise, Horta emerged as the new prime
minister. This was the result of a compromise
among the political elite. The opposition
politicians were outraged and again began to
raise criticisms.

The policies outlined by Horta in his swearing-in
speech indicate that there will be no substantial
changes in policy. Working closely with the
International Monetary Fund and World Bank has
become a part of the reality here. The promises
of building housing, of building an “academic
town” and of distributing motorbikes to suco
heads fosters false hopes. There are no signs of
policies that can take the Timorese people out of
their economic misery.

Alkatiri has fallen, but Horta’s government is a
Fretilin government. The president of Fretilin,
Lu’olo, has made it clear that Horta must meet
every week with the president and
secretary-general of Fretilin and every month
with Fretilin’s national political commission.
Horta has been steadily distancing himself from
the opposition parties. Horta hopes to remain
prime minister after the election by gaining
Fretilin’s support.

Who has won and who has been defeated? The
people again are the losers.

[Avelino Coelho da Silva is the secretary-general
and national political commissioner of the
Socialist Party of Timor.]

From Green Left Weekly, July 19, 2006.

All quiet 5 more houses trashed

Hello everyone,

Anyone who believed the resignation of Prime Minister Alkatiri would solve the problems in Dili – and indeed in Timor Leste was sadly mistaken, of course there is the pretence that everything is fine, but sadly under cover of darkness the terror of anyone from Loro Sae, or indeed anyone from Loro Monu who tries to help continues.

Today in Loro Mato I heard again of houses being destroyed, indeed not only did I hear of it I went to Fatuhada to see the destruction. Five houses had been attacked, 4 houses belonging to people from Baucau, one house belonging to a family from Los Palos. Windows, doors and roofs had been broken, and in one house there was evidence of an attempted fire.

I was told that about 100 men had rampaged in Fatuhada between the hours of 11.30 and 4.00 o’clock, I say men not youths, it is time this word was laid to rest, my understanding of the word youth is people aged between 13 and 19, maybe up to 20, the term implies juvenile, I have heard people saying the young who have no jobs are responsible for the terror. This is even lauded as an excuse for the destruction, Alkatiri again being talked of in easy terms as the culprit for this, his policies somehow being seen as creating unemployment on a huge scale. Don’t want to get into a debate on whether his policies are responsible or not, just point out in capitalist societies there is huge unemployment, and lets be honest often gang fights – not much room for honesty these days.

The people who attacked Fatuahda terrifying sleeping families were men aged between 20 and 35 – perhaps we could get away with saying some of them were young men, but I prefer to say men who don’t care who they hurt in their quest for perhaps power, or maybe kicks. The houses they attacked were in fact empty, the people having run to the districts or displaced peoples camps on other occasions when their village was attacked. They were all in the same area.

The man who witnessed the attack told me, he and his family had just returned from Suai (west of Timor Leste) 3 days ago, they had heard it was safe now in Dili. I was told the men rampaging through Fatuahda woke him up, when he saw they were attacking friends houses he phoned the security forces. The Portuguese Police responded, they came in their vehicles, the attackers ran away, the police did not get out of their vehicles to chase and apprehend the men, who I am told ran in all directions, no they drove through the village. The men returned and started attacking houses again, the Portuguese Police, came back, this was repeated 4 times, the police eventually not bothering to come back, giving the attackers free reign to continue their rampage. . He left his house to try to reason with the men, he said ‘these houses belong to friends of mine, please don’t destroy them, they have struggled to build them,’ some of the thugs said, ‘do you want to die, if you don’t go.’ The witness said they were many and had bow and arrows, so he went back to his house, then ran to the beach with his wife and family, through a back entrance. They stayed there the rest of the night, they did not go back till the thugs left the village.

Tomorrow morning there is to be a demonstration, calling once again for Parliament to be dissolved. Are these instances linked, who knows, all I know is that for two days before the Fretilin demonstration there were check points all over Dili, there is not one check point to be seen today and there were none yesterday.

In another instance today, in daylight hours, Australian troops with big dogs ran 4 times through people at the airport, there were many women and children, their crime, waiting for family and friends to arrive from Bali. Women and children ran as the ADF, armed with Heckler and Koch Automatic guns, charged through them shouting ‘move, move, move,’. The dogs were jumping up snarling at the small children, their mad handlers had to restrain them. I asked one of the soldiers, ‘what’s the problem, are there reports of someone having guns or drugs, ‘ Guy, answered, ‘no its crowd control’, asked, ‘you are controlling people waiting for family, do you not think you should be controlling people who come to the displaced camp at the airport to throw stones instead.’ no answer. So much for Ian Martin’s agreement with me that it is wrong to have soldiers with big guns terrify civilians in Dili.

I was at the airport with family and friends to meet Sola, who was visibly distressed at the destruction he saw in Dili. Tina, British Ambassador was also there to meet her husband and children, she seems to think that there is no problem now in Dili, not sure who she gets her information from.

A few days ago my work colleague came back from visiting family in Oecusse, previously she had been living in a displaced camp, she decided it was time to go back to her home. When she got there found it was occupied by thugs who asked her what she was doing there. She said, ‘its my house’, they said, ‘not any more, go’ Her, and her family reluctantly complied. Tia, the cook at the co-operative canteen, also living in a displaced camp, told me last week her animals and furniture had been stolen from her house. She comes from Baucau. Houses, whose owners have run to the districts or live in displaced camps, thoughout Dili have been occupied by thugs.

Latest rumour to sweep Dili, the staff at La’o Hamutuk have guns. – a sure sign that we can expect a visit from the thugs in or out of uniform. This rumour was passed on to us by NGO’s.

That’s all for now.

Lidia -Dili