Monthly Archives: May 2007

Prime Minister Da Silva visits victims of violence in Ermera district

Media release

28 May 2007

Timor-Leste (East Timor) Prime Minister Estanislau Da Silva has visited hundreds of victims of recent violence in Ermera district southwest of Dili and promised measures to boost security in the lead-up to the June 30 parliamentary election.

Da Silva, a leader of the majority Fretilin party, said the attacks on people and property in Ermera followed the May 9 presidential election and were mostly aimed at intimidating the Ermera community.

“It is important for the government to know what is happening in Ermera district so we can take concrete

measures to restore security and allow election campaigning to take place peacefully,” he said.

“The government will also make efforts to arrest the perpetrators of these attacks and bring them to justice.

“The Fretilin government will not tolerate violent behaviour of any kind.”

During his weekend Saturday visit to Ermera, Da Silva visited 70 people from the suco (administrative region) of Orahu who have taken refuge in government buildings in the district capital of Gleno.

“Their homes were torched by agitators that want to create instability in the area to prevent people from participating in election campaigning and the 30 June parliamentary elections,” Da Silva said.

He also visited about 200 people sheltering in coffee plantations in the suco of Poetete after their houses were burned or their families subjected to intimidation.

Da Silva said Ermera district had been the target of anti-government activities for the past year.

“In early May 2006, a police officer was killed in Gleno when supporters of the army petitioners attacked members of the Rapid Intervention Unit who were protecting the Secretary of State for Region III on an official visit to Gleno,” he said.

“In February 2007, Valente Soares, a 24-year-old orphan, and caretaker of Fretilin’s Ermera headquarters was murdered.

“Incidents of harassment and intimidation of the local population have increased recently.”

For more information, please contact:

Jose Teixeira (+670) 728 7080 or send an email to fretilin.media@gmail.com

Fretilin’s strong anti-corruption record

30 May 2007

Timor-Leste’s (East Timor’s) Fretilin government has taken a “zero tolerance” approach to corruption and built a strong legal and institutional framework to combat abuse of power by officials, a party spokesperson says.

FRETILIN spokesperson and parliamentary candidate Cipriana Pereira outlined numerous specific measures implemented or supported by the government in the past five years to ensure a clean and honest administration for all East Timorese.

“FRETILIN’s position on corruption has always been clear – zero tolerance,” Pereira said.

Speaking in a nationally televised live debate involving all political parties yesterday, she said measures included setting up the Office of the Provedor (ombudsman), the Office of the Inspector General, and the Petroleum Fund.

“The FRETILIN Government also decided to decentralize financial responsibility in stages, not at once, to allow time to build local capacity for financial management,” Pereira said.

“The Government also annually contracts international, independent auditors to review government expenditure and accounts, to strengthen transparency, accountability and good governance”.

Pereira cited the Timorese non-governmental organization, LABEH, which reported that government corruption exists only on a small scale, does not involve large diversions of money, and is limited to allegations of contracts being awarded without following legal procedures (“Corruption Watch Report 2007” dated 17 May 2007).

Pereira said: “The reason why corruption exists only on a small scale is because of the good governance framework we put in place. I have been in parliament since before the restoration of the independence and have seen the transparency with which our budget approval and budget expenditure review process is scrutinised.”

Pereira said it was FRETILIN which proposed the creation of an Office of the Provedor during the 2001 constitutional assembly which drafted the Constitution.

“The creation of the Office of the Provedor has been the most important factor in allowing citizens to lodge complaints about abuse of power and human right abuses by state institutions,” she said.

“It has functioned with the utmost independence. In only a few years, this Office has established a reputation for credible and independent investigation of complaints”.

Regarding the Office of the Inspector General, Pereira said former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri referred more than 10 cases of alleged corruption uncovered by the Inspector General to the Prosecutor General’s office. However, the Prosecutor General was appointed by the former President and his Office is independent of the government. The Prosecutor General’s Office failed to progress the action needed to investigate the cases referred.

Pereira said the Petroleum Fund and the legal framework which established it were recognized internationally as best practice and as a transparent means to manage the nation’s petroleum revenues.

“The government has also done well to resist decentralizing financial responsibility too quickly. This is because there is still a lack of capacity to properly administer finances at a local authority level.”

For more information, please contact:

Jose Teixeira (+670) 728 7080 or fretilin.media@gmail.com

Philippines union man fears for life if he goes home

NZPA | Wednesday, 30 May 2007

A prominent Philippines trade unionist says he fears he may be assassinated or arrested when he returns after a protest in New Zealand about human rights abuses.

Dennis Maga has been protesting since Philippines president Gloria Arroyo arrived in New Zealand on a state visit.

In Wellington on Monday he stood in a cage outside The Beehive as Ms Arroyo and Prime Minister Helen Clark held a media conference.

Mr Maga said his country needed to stop humans rights abuse and free prominent left-wing lawmaker Crispin Beltran who has been in prison for more than a year on what his supporters said were spurious coup plotting charges.

Today Mr Maga said he feared he would be assassinated or arrested for his stand in New Zealand. His wife had told him today his home in the Philippines was under surveillance and may be raided.

He said he had been told the information that he would be arrested when he returned home had been “100 percent confirmed.”

He said he was discussing with union supporters in New Zealand about not returning home.

“I am really worried for my family’s safety because they might invent a charge against my father and my wife and my family just to pressure me to return to the Philippines,” he said.

He said human rights abuse was continuing in his country.

Mr Maga was brought to New Zealand by the National Distribution Union and today about 200 union members walked off the job at the Progressive Distribution Centre for about 20 minutes in protest at the treatment Mr Maga was getting in his own country.

Simon Oosterman

NDU Publicity and Media Liason

m. +64 (0)21 922 551 | dd. +64 (0)9 622 8433 | e. media@ndu.org.nz | skype. simonoosterman | w. http://www.ndu.org.nz

a. 120 Church Street, Onehunga, Auckland, Private Bag 92-904

Stand up, Fight back

Four people injured in East Timor violence

30 May 2007 11:50:50 GMT

By Tito Belo

DILI, May 30 (Reuters) – Four people were injured on Wednesday when a
grenade exploded during gang fighting in East Timor’s capital as
campaigning for next month’s parliamentary elections got underway,
police and hospital staff said.

Police fired tear gas and warning shots to separate two groups of
youth fighting near the headquarters of the ruling Fretilin party in Dili.

An official at the National Hospital said one of those injured was in a coma.

Police operations chief Mateus Fernandes said 13 people were arrested
after the fighting.

“Police are still investigating the cause of the fighting. I cannot
tell you what triggered the fighting for the moment,” Fernandes told reporters.

Separately, more than 20 houses have been burnt and almost 300 people
have fled their homes in Ermera district over the past week in
violence related to the June 30 legislative elections, Zudencio de
Jesus of the district police said.

“In last week’s incident, 10 houses were burnt by members of
political parties and another 12 houses were burnt … on Monday
evening this week,” he said.

Hundreds of people, mostly supporters of the ruling Fretilin party,
have sought refuge in police stations and churches, the officer said.

Interim Prime Minister Estanislau da Silva said the violence was the
work of people who wanted to intimidate voters.

Outgoing President Xanana Gusmao will run for the more hands-on post
of prime minister in the parliamentary polls. Campaigning for the
elections kicked off on Tuesday.

“Irresponsible people in that district want to destabilise the nation
and prevent people from participating in the elections,” da Silva said.

“We will take concrete action to strengthen security so that the
elections can take place peacefully and democratically,” he said.

Gang clashes, often blamed on jobless and drunken youth, break out
sporadically in East Timor and fighters are often armed with machetes
and poisonous steel darts.

Divisions in East Timor’s security forces led to riots last year that
spun into deadly violence in which about 30 people died. Foreign
troops were sent in to quell the violence.

Indonesia annexed East Timor in 1975 after long-time colonial power
Portugal had set it free.

East Timor voted for independence from Indonesia in a violence-marred
referendum in 1999. It became fully independent in 2002 after a
period of U.N. administration.

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John M. Miller john@etan.org
East Timor and Indonesia Action Network

FRETILIN campaign themes

Vote for FRETILIN!
2007 Parliamentary Elections

“From the people, with the people and for the people”

Media release

29 May 2007

FRETILIN sets out parliamentary campaign issues

FRETILIN spokesperson Jose Teixeira and Timor-Leste’s Minister for
Natural Resources, Minerals and Energy Policy, today announced
FRETILIN’s 15 campaign themes for the 2007 parliamentary elections
which will be held on 30 June 2007.

“These are the key issues which FRETILIN believes the election will be
won and lost. We will be an inclusive government which will listen to
the views of civil society, the Church and the people themselves.”

The 15 campaigns themes are:

1. Who will protect Timor-Leste’s economic and political
sovereignty and independence in a globalised and competitive world?

2. Who is best able to establish and consolidate a democratic
state based on justice and the rule of law?

3. Who will struggle for a democracy where human rights, in
particular women’s rights, are protected and respected?

4. Who will provide free public education and free public health
to the people of Timor-Leste?

5. Who will develop the telecommunications and television
infrastructure that the whole country needs?

6. Who will make sure rural areas and small aldeas have access to
basic services?

7. Who can provide clean water and electricity to families?

8. Who will eradicate illiteracy and poverty?

9. Who will improve the quality of education and health care?

10. Who can guarantee peace, stability and national sovereignty?

11. Who will improve the state of our roads and communications?

12. Who will provide professional training and qualifications for ALL
East Timorese?

13. Who will invest in the public and private sector to create
employment for youth?

14. Who will provide housing to all families?

15. Who will promote the creativity and energy of our youth?

“Let’s make these elections free of violence and intimidation and we
all have a responsibility to vote. Every vote must count.”

“Viva Timor-Leste!”

For more information please contact FRETILIN Media on (+670) 332 2970
or send an email to fretilin.media@gmail.com

SEARCH Foundation
Level 3, Suite 3B, 110 Kippax St,
SURRY HILLS NSW 2010
Australia
Ph: 02 9211 4164; Fax: 02 9211 1407

Australians and Filipino Australians Protest the visit of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, May 29-

Protest rallies in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne will greet the visit of
Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to Australia on May 30 and 31
2007.

Under a theme of “Stop the Killings”, Australian-Filipinos and their
supporters will ask why is Australia drawing closer to the regime of
President Arroyo when extra-judicial killings and disappearances in the
Philippines rise to over 850 since 2001? Why are cooperation and military
aid links growing with the Armed Forces of the Philippines [AFP] when the
United Nations Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings, Phillip Alston, the
Melo Commission in the Philippines and other reliable sources such as
Amnesty International have raised the complicity of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines in the killings, the state of denial of the AFP over the
killings, and the culture of impunity for perpetrators due to the failure of
the Government of Pres Arroyo to uphold the rule of law?

From 2001 when Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assumed the Philippine presidency,
Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights) has documented
more than 850 political killings, 200 abduction and more than 300 attempted
killings. Most of the victims are members of cause-oriented organisations
critical of Arroyo’s government, human rights advocates and members of
opposition parties. They are workers and union leaders, farmers, lawyers,
journalists, church workers, community workers, women and children.

Acts of violence or threats that intimidate a section of the population are
acts of terror under the Australian Commonwealth Criminal Code [s 100.1].
The Australian Government’s plan to sign a military agreement [the Status of
Forces Agreement – SOFA] with the Philippines Government and the Armed
Forces of the Philippines [AFP] is cooperation with those who perpetrate or
tolerate acts of terror.

The Australian government cannot shield itself behind meek protests to
Philippine officials and a trickle of aid to build the capacity of the
authorities and the inutile Human Rights Commission of the Philippines.
Suspension of military aid and cooperation is the only way the Australian
Government can signal its opposition to the State-sponsored acts of terror
in the Philippines.

Protests will take place in the following cities –

Sydney – Tue May 29, 2007, 12.30 pm to 1.30 pm, outside the Philippine
Consulate, Corner Wentworth Ave and Goulburn St, Sydney
Canberra –Wed May 30, 2007, 11.30am – Philippine Embassy, 1 Moonah Place,
Yarralumla
Melbourne – Thur May 31 2007, 5.30 pm – Grand Hyatt Hotel, 123 Collins St,
Melbourne

For Further information –

Sydney / Canberra – Edwin 0409 461 600
Melbourne – George Kotsakis 0413 041 514

Phone (Mobile): 0409 461 600 [Edwin] 0413 041 514 [George] 0430 539 053
[Gino]

Police ‘ambushed’ in E Timor

unday, May 27, 2007. 6:05pm (AEST)

An East Timorese police officer has reportedly been shot and wounded in an ambush south-east of the capital, Dili.

The officer was attacked in Alas, an area where police believe fugitive rebel leader Major Alfredo Reinado and his men are hiding.

He was airlifted to a hospital in the capital, where a nurse says he is in a stable condition.

The nurse says several men with guns attacked the officer and his colleague on Saturday.

“Several men with rifles and hand guns fired at them. He has three bullets in him,” she said.

Reinado has been on the run since he fled jail in a mass break-out in Dili in September.

Australian-led troops hunting him down attacked his mountain hide-out in March, killing five of his armed supporters in the failed offensive.

The fugitive has previously been blamed in part for last year’s unrest after he and others led 600 soldiers to desert the Army over claims of discrimination.

The soldiers were sacked, sparking fire fights between factions of the military and police that degenerated into gang violence.

At least 37 people were killed, another 150,000 displaced and Australian-led foreign peacekeepers were dispatched to restore security.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta, elected President earlier this month, has pledged to restore security and unite the troubled nation.

– AFP