Monthly Archives: November 2007

Male Leaders in Timor-Leste Give Voice to End Violence Against Women.

UNIFEM Timor Leste

Media Release

Male Leaders in Timor-Leste Give Voice to End Violence Against Women.

26th November, 2007.

For immediate release.

As part of the International 16 Days of Activism Campaign to End Violence Against Women UNIFEM, with support from UNMIT, the Secretary of State for the Promotion of Equality (SEPI) and the Association of Men Against Violence (AMKV) will launch a multi-media campaign on the 26th of November to capitalize on the commitment of Timor-Lestes leaders to end violence against women.

Eleven of Timor-Lestes foremost figures, such as RDTL President Dr. Jose Ramos Horta, RDTL Prime Minister, Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao, and the President of National Parliament, Fernando Lasama de Araujo will share their status and sentiments on violence against women, to the nation, in a campaign that will reach all thirteen districts of the country. A series of posters, radio and television public service announcements have been developed in an effort to heighten public focus, awareness and government response in the country on violence against women.

Dr Rui Araujo, Timor-Lestes former Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Health and current Special Adviser on Policy Implementation and Management Strengthening to the Ministry of Health, echoed the message and theme of the campaign, suggesting, there is a widely disseminated misperception that gender is a womens issue. It is important to promote the role of men in advocating gender issues. Men, and the state, have to become greater advocates for ending violence against women.

The participation of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Timor-Leste, Dr. Atul Khare, in the campaign demonstrates the commitment of the UN and the international community to ending violence against women:

Attempts to end violence against women must of course begin at a national level, said Dr Khare, however, there is widespread international recognition of the debilitating effects that such violence has on society, and the international community has an important role to play in helping to end it.

The campaign will complement a baseline study on the prevalence of, and attitudes towards, sexual and gender-based violence conducted as part of the UNIFEM programme Supporting Community- Led Initiatives to Promote Womens Engagement in Peace Building and Prevention of Sexual Violence in Timor-Leste.

Preliminary findings of the baseline study reveal sexual exploitation as particularly common in the borderline sub-district of Covalima. In contrast, discussing the issue of sexual violence remains taboo in Bobonaro, where the community largely remains silent on the subject.

In an effort to raise community awareness as a prevention strategy towards violence against women, workshops on findings of the baseline study will be held in the 16 days of activism period, with UNIFEM supporting workshops conducted by the Asia Pacific Support Collective-Timor Leste (APSCTL) on the reporting back of baseline findings in Maliana and Suai as well as community discussions on domestic violence and violence against women in Iliomar, Lospalos, being implemented by AMKV.

UNIFEM, which works to promote women’s empowerment, rights and gender equality worldwide, in Timor-Leste, runs in-country programs seeking to further champion womens empowerment in democratic governance as well as advocating for a platform within the countrys nascent democracy to eradicate violence against women. Their Timor-Leste Programme Supporting Community-led Initiatives to Promote Womens Engagement in Peace-building and Prevention of Sexual Violence (SGBV) is a two-year programme aimed at developing community based responses to SGBV and promoting womens engagement in local conflict reconciliation and peace building initiatives.

For more information, please contact;

Chris Parkinson
Communications
UNIFEM Timor Leste
p. (+670) 726 3773
e. chris.parkinson@unifem.org
w.www.unifem.org
http://www.unifem-eseasia.org

Kevin Rudd

Kevin Rudd (from the Latham Diaries)

Towards the end of Question Time, Rudd asked Downer a legitimate question about Kopassus:* have they been cooperating with the terrorist outfit, Laskar Jihad? But straight after, Rudd raced up to the Indonesian Embassy to explain himself, petrified they might take offence. He’s not in this to win public support for Labor. He’s just an insider in the Canberra foreign-policy establishment. There was no need to explain himself to the Indonesians. It was just a question, and a good one at that.

(from Mark Latham, The Latham Diaries MUP, Melbourne 2005, p.202)

* Koppasus were one of the most violent Indonesian military groups involved in the occupation of Timor Leste

U.N. urges Indonesia to tackle police abuses

Torture widespread in Indonesian prisons: UN envoy

JAKARTA, Nov 23 (AFP) — Beatings and other forms of torture
are entrenched in much of Indonesia’s prison system, where a culture
of impunity reigns, a UN envoy said Friday.

UN special rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak said vast improvements
were needed to the prison system despite Indonesia’s transition to
democracy since dictator Suharto stepped down in 1998.

“Although Indonesia has come a long way in overcoming the legacy of
the Suharto era in establishing a functioning democracy and the rule
of law and the protection of human rights, in my specific area —
torture and ill treatment — still much needs to be done,” Nowak said.

Nowak said there was no evidence of systematic torture across
Indonesia’s prison and police detention systems.

However the absence of a specific law against torture and poor
institutional oversight meant Indonesian prisoners were “extremely
vulnerable” to torture, he said in his final report from his 16-day visit.

The UN representative was given open access to 24 Indonesian
detention facilities across the sprawling archipelagic nation during his stay.

Torture was often used to extract confessions at Indonesia’s police
detention facilities, Nowak said, noting that prisoners often stayed
more than 20 days in police detention before being charged.

The dominant method of torture was beating, with a smaller number of
cases of prisoners being electrocuted and shot through the leg, Nowak said.

“In all the meetings with government officials, no one could cite one
case in which a police officer was ever found guilty and sentenced by
a criminal court for ill treatment or other abuse of a detainee,” Nowak said.

Evidence also existed of beatings against child prisoners, Nowak said.

Despite the grim picture, the UN representative said he found that
torture was rare or nonexistent in some facilities, including the
maximum security Nusa Kembangan island prison, which is home to the
condemned Bali bombers.

He also said he heard few complaints of torture in Indonesia’s
restive Papua region, where activists agitating against Indonesian
rule have been jailed.

The lack of mechanisms to prevent torture meant the attitude of the
leadership of detention facilities determined the frequencies of abuse.

“The recommendations are clear: to fight impunity by making torture a
crime; and by establishing effective independent complaints
mechanisms so that perpetrators of torture can be brought to
justice,” Nowak said.

Indonesia is widely considered to have made significant democratic
progress since the end of Suharto’s oppressive 32-year rule.

However, the country’s military, police and justice system have come
under criticism for continued corruption and disregard for basic human rights.

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U.N. urges Indonesia to tackle police abuses

By Ed Davies

JAKARTA, Nov 23 (Reuters) – Indonesia has made great strides
combating rights abuses since autocratic president Suharto was ousted
in 1998, but torture of detainees in police custody still appears
rife, a U.N. investigator said on Friday.

Manfred Nowak, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture who is on a
two-week tour of detention centres across Indonesia, said he had
arrived at three police stations as beatings were actually in progress.

“The problem of police abuse appears to be sufficiently widespread as
to warrant immediate attention,” he said in a statement.

He said the types of police abuses reported, and backed up by medical
examinations, included beatings by fists, rattan or wooden sticks,
cables, iron bars and hammers.

In other instances, police had shot detainees in their legs from
close range, or electrocuted them, he said, adding that in most cases
the purpose appeared to be to extract confessions.

He urged Jakarta to speed up plans to make torture a crime and to
ensure that perpetrators were brought to justice.

“In all the meetings with government officials nobody could cite one
case in which a police officer was ever found guilty and sentenced by
a criminal court for ill treatment or other abuse of a detainee,” he
told a news conference.

Nowak urged that the time a suspect could be held in police custody
be limited to 48 hours, adding that detainees were more vulnerable to
abuses because they were liable to spend many weeks or even months in
police custody without seeing a judge.

He called for the settting up of an independent criminal
investigation mechanism against alleged perpetrators of torture along
with an effective complaints system.

Under Suharto’s rule, which ended amid mass protests, security forces
were routinely accused of abusing detainees.

Asked for his general conclusions on the situation in Indonesia now,
he said: “Certainly I cannot find that torture is systematic in the
country, it’s systematic in a few places.”

Nowak said that treatment in prisons he had visited appeared
generally better, including in Papua where security forces have been
accused of rights abuses. A low-level separatist insurgency has gone
on for decades in the remote area.

He noted, however, serious overcrowding in Jakarta’s Cipinang jail
and the Pondok Bambu pre-trial detention facility.

He also expressed concern about the high death toll, often officially
put down to natural causes, in some places of detention, where
autopsies were rarely carried out. The U.N. investigator visited
prisons, as well as police and military detention facilities in the
capital Jakarta, Papua, South Sulawesi, Bali, Yogyakarta and Central Java.

He is to submit a full report on his findings to the U.N. Human
Rights Council. (Editing by Roger Crabb)

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Terjemahan (atas jasa “Kataku”):
http://66.114.70.144/cgi-bin/terjem.rex?Torture_Widespread_in_Indonesian_Prisons__UN_Envoy__2_Reports_-71123001

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Joyo Indonesia News Service
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Read (& Bookmark!) JoyoNews on the Web at:
http://groups-beta.google.com/group/joyonews/topics?gvc=2

FRETILIN CONGRATULATES LABOR WINNING GOVERNMENT IN AUSTRALIAN ELECTIONS

Dili, Sunday, 25 November 2007

FRETILIN congratulates Prime Minister Elect Kevin Rudd and his front
bench team for being elected the new government of Australia at
yesterday’s general election, said party Secretary General, and former
Timor-Leste Prime Minister, Dr. Mari Alkatiri.

“We know Kevin Rudd. He has been a friend of Timor-Leste and FRETILIN
for a long
time, even before the 1999 referendum. We are elated that the
Australian people have embraced he and his Party’s vision for a more
compassionate, respecting and forward looking society,” said Dr.
Alkatiri.

“In September 2001, Kevin Rudd offered his standing as a senior leader
of the Australian Labor Party to assist FRETILIN gain membership to
the international community of progressive political parties, the
International Socialists, of which the Australian Labor Party has
played a leading historical role. Because of this FRETILIN is today a
fraternal colleague of the Australian Labor Party. We are always
positive and happy to see a party from our International Socialist
family be entrusted by their people with the task of governing;
entrusted to put in place the democratic and social justice ideals we
all share as International Socialists,” added Dr. Alkatiri.

“Our two countries have historical links going back for more than half
a century, to World War II. FRETILIN and most in the Australian Labor
Party have a historic fraternal relationship which grew out of the 24
years of our struggle for independence. We are committed to
continuing to build on these links, to continue to nurture future
relations based on mutual respect, real fraternity, oriented towards a
mutually beneficial and economically and environmentally sustainable
future.”

Dr. Alkatiri concluded with underscoring that as the largest political
party in Timor-Leste, FRETILIN looks forward to positive and
meaningful dialogue at the earliest opportunity with the new Labor
Government with regard to how Australia can engage positively and
meaningfully towards stabilizing the security and political situation
in Timor-Leste.

“We look forward to a mutually respectful and productive dialogue to
address any issues which may impede our mutually shared goals of
building lasting and trusting relations between our two parties and
nations,” said Dr. Alkatiri in closing.

For further information, please contact:

José Teixeira, Member of National Parliament, Tel. 728 7080, email:
fretilin.media@gmail.com

Fugitive Rebel Soldier Threatens New East Timor Government

2007-11-23 10:08

GLENO, EAST TIMOR: A rebel soldier wanted on murder charges told
cheering supporters in East Timor’s hills Thursday (22 Nov) he would
destabilize the fledgling nation once again unless the government
reinstated hundreds of mutinous troops.

Alfredo Reinado deserted the army with around 600 soldiers and
battled police units in the capital early last year. The violence
killed several dozen people, sent more than 150,000 fleeing their
homes and led to the fall of the government.

The country is now policed by the United Nations.

Reinado, who was surrounded by men with automatic weapons, said if
Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao did not reinstate the renegade soldiers,
who made up nearly a third of the armed forces, “I will lead my
soldiers down to Dili.”

“The situation and stability of this country will be worse than last
year’s crisis,” he told the crowd of more than 500.

Reinado was indicted for his alleged role in several deadly shootings
between the rebel army troops and police units. Calm was restored by
foreign troops and peaceful elections were held earlier this year,
but low-level violence continues.

East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, gained independence in 2002
after more than two decades of brutal Indonesian occupation. Its new
political leaders, including President Jose Ramos-Horta, a Nobel
Peace Prize winner, have vowed to tackle rampant poverty and restore
damaged relations between the country’s police and army. (AP)

Dili emergency food security assessment

Summary

In April 2006, anti-government protests led to fighting between heavily armed groups, including the military, the police and rebel factions. The unrest has hampered progress made since the accession to independence in 2002 to revive th e economy and establish viable political institutions. Many economic activities were brought to a stand still or greatly reduced at the onset of the crisis. Timor Leste is a low income and food deficit country and the poorest in South East Asia.

The 2006 political unrest led to the displacement of some 100,000 people who took refuge in camps in Dili or with relatives in the districts. Since then, WFP and the government have distributed emergency food assistance to the IDPs. WFP currently provides food to some 70,000 IDPs in Dili.

The Emergency Food Security Assessment’s (EFSA) purpose was to assess the food security situation in Dili 18 months after the events, determine how the different livelihood groups are coping with the situation, estimate the number of food insecure people, and identify appropriate response options and possibilities for recovery and longer-term food security assistance.

The assessment was based on an analysis of available secondary data and on data collected at household level and at Dili markets in September 2007. In total, 613 randomly selected households (50 percent in the camps, 50 percent in Sucos/neighborhoods) and 117 traders were interviewed. The Mid Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) was measured on children under 5 years and women in the households interviewed.

The causes of food insecurity in Dili are mainly related to problems with accessing food. The market operations are slowly recovering but the situation is not yet back to normal. Market recovery is slowed down by:

– the lack of market infrastructure. Most of the reopened markets are in temporary locations, lacking adequate space or storage facility;

– the volatility of the security situation;

– the lack of supplier credit, high cost of credit and inability to arrange for consumer credit for retail sales (only 3 out of 9 micro finance institutions are still operating);

– the increase of transaction costs contributing to general inflation; real prices of food have increased by 12 percent since 2006; and

– the irregularity of supplies (wholesale traders for dry food have difficulties supplying the markets).

The primary reason for the slow market recovery mentioned by traders is low purchasing power. Therefore, the ability of households (especially people at risk to lives and livelihoods) to access food may be undermined by continued market price increases and declining income per capita.

Household production is very limited with most depending on the market for food. In addition, household food access is undermined by the rising price of food commodities. About 42 percent of the population is currently having a problem accessing food, as they cannot cover the cost of a minimum food basket.

There has been a remarkable reduction of the productive assets, small livestock, and poultry owned by households, particularly among IDPs. Some 88 percent of households in the camps have had their homes either destroyed or damaged and this is the main reason for remaining in the camps. Repairing destroyed or damaged houses is often mentioned as a priority by households.

Globally, only 4 percent of the households (15 percent among those at risk to lives) have poor food consumption. This is an improvement compared not only with previous months but also with the baseline assessment in 2005(1). However, a direct comparison must be done with caution as the three assessments were carried out during different times of the year.

The causes of food insecurity among households in Dili are essentially chronic (low food production, lack of assets and income) and the current political crisis has resulted in further deterioration. Poor food access is the result of long-term structural issues such as the lack of employment opportunities and market weaknesses contributing to increases in food market prices that go back to 2002.

Conclusions

25,000 people are at risk to lives, representing 24 percent of the population surveyed, and need immediate assistance They have poor food consumption and low income resulting in severe food insecurity. Their coping strategies, such as reducing the number of meals/per day or meal size are highly detrimental to their health and nutritional status. 3,900 of these could receive assistance through MCH programme and some 3,500 people could be included in a government supported safety net programme for vulnerable groups. (25 ,000 – 3,900- 3,500/7 = 2,500 households remain).

41,000 people are at risk to livelihoods (41 ,000 / 7 = 5 ,860), representing 41 percent of the population surveyed, and also need assistance. While their current food consumption is slightly better, they have difficulty accessing food. In addition, their coping strategies will affect their future livelihoods.

11 percent of children under 5 suffer from moderate acute malnutrition (with mid-upper arm circumference MUAC between 11.0 and 12.5 cm). About 8 percent of women are moderately emaciated (MUAC between 21.0 and 22.5 cm) and 1.3 percent are severely wasted (MUAC below 21 cm).

The difference in terms of being at risk to lives or livelihoods between the IDPs and residents is minimal.

The people whose lives are at risk are essentially groups whose main income comes from government allowances and the sale of firewood. People in cash-for -work schemes and unskilled workers also fall into this category.

The groups with the highest percentage of people at risk to livelihoods are the beneficiaries of church assistance, petty traders, people receiving remittances and unskilled wage labourers.

Recommendations

The following response options are recommended:

– Provide immediate Cash/Food for work for 2,500 households whose lives are at risk.

– Implement livelihood support activities such as cash/food for work for 5,800 households whose livelihoods are at risk. Cash/voucher/food for work is the recommended response. Sustainable self-employment opportunities could be initiated in combination with vocational/skills training.

– Provide support to repair houses to returning IDPs (3 month food rations and building materials). It is estimated that 1 ,000 IDP households would be willing to return to their homes if the proper support is given. Support to livestock restoration could also be envisaged.

– Some 3,500 vulnerable individuals (orphans, chronically ill, disabled) should be prioritized by government safety net programmes. These people fall into the group of households at risk to lives.

– Implement a targeted Mother and Child Health programme for 3,900 children under five and for pregnant/lactating women. These people fall into the group of households at risk to lives.

– Support market recovery. While cash options would support markets on the demand side, effort is required to support supplies by providing credit schemes to petty traders and retailers, and to reopen market buildings to address the lack of adequate storage facilities.

– Long-term sustainable self employment/job creation is needed, including micro credit opportunities as well as vocational/skills training.

Targeting criteria: A revision of the targeting criteria is recommended as the current targeting of IDPs for food assistance is no longer addressing the need of the most vulnerable households. The large inclusion and exclusion errors found in this assessment advocate for a refinement in the criteria.

Note:

(1) Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis, 2005, Dili EFSA-June 2006. It is available on http://www.wfp.org/odan

Full_Report (pdf* format – 2.4 Mbytes) http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/PANA-798CRR/$File/Full_Report.pdf

A policy proposal for the introduction of solar home systems in East Timor

M. Bonda, R.J. Fullera and Lu Aye

aInternational Technologies Centre (IDTC), Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia
Received 24 May 2007; accepted 21 August 2007. Available online 24 October 2007.

Abstract

The Government of East Timor aims to increase the rate of household electricity service from 20% to 80% over the next 20 years. With a largely rural population living in sparsely populated, remote locations, solar home systems (SHS) will play an important role in meeting the off-grid component of rural electrification in East Timor. This paper describes current experience and trials in East Timor with solar photovoltaic (PV) technology. It examines the East Timorese context against six ‘key features’ identified by the World Bank as typically included in solar PV projects: delivery infrastructure; access to finance; rural electrification policy; guarantees for minimum quality; understanding of customer needs; and scaling up capacity building. Of these issues, the authors contend that selection of the delivery infrastructure model is the most critical decision, and that for East Timor, in its present stage of development, a market-driven approach for SHS is unlikely to be successful. A model which subsidises capital costs but seeks full recovery of operating costs is recommended. Irrespective of the delivery infrastructure model, for sustainability, capacity must be developed in a range of other areas, particularly the commercial availability of high-quality components and spare parts; creation of a pool of skilled technicians for installation and maintenance; and development of a robust fee collection and maintenance infrastructure.

Energy Policy