*FRENTE REVOLUCIONÁRIA DO TIMOR-LESTE INDEPENDENTE
* MEDIA RELEASE*
Dili, 7 September 2009
Walk out of Timor-Leste parliament for human rights victims
A walkout by FRETILIN MPs today brought the Timor-Leste parliament to a
halt, for lack of quorum. The MPs walked out in protest at decision of
the Gusmao de facto government to free the militia leader, Martenus
Bere, who is alleged to be responsible for the murder, abduction, rape,
deportation and persecution of many Timorese in Suai during the
violence in 1999.
One of Bere’s alleged victims was a young girl called Alola – the very
person form whom Kirsty Sword Gusmao, the wife of the Prime Minister,
named her charitable foundation for the women of Timor Leste FRETILIN,
which is the largest party in the parliament, considers the release to be illegal and unconstitutional.
Speaking to journalist after the walkout in Dili today, FRETILIN leader,
Aniceto Guterres, said that it was also an act of solidarity for victims
whose rights had been trampled by the release of Bere. Mr Guterres
headed a human rights advocacy organization during the Indonesian
“This time their hypocrisy was too much,” said Guterres. “After this
violation of domestic and international law, they had the audacity to
send their Foreign Affairs Minister to the parliament to discuss the
proposed draft law on Treaties and Conventions? It all seemed too cruel
a charade for us to partake in, when it is clear that they have no
intention of abiding
by international laws and norms. When it is very clear they have no
for the rule of law or the principle of separation of powers.
“The victims of the violence in 1999 have had their constitutional
rights to justice trampled all over. They are still thirsting for
justice. The sentiment displayed by the victions and their families
since the release of this militia leader has been remarkable. One of
the victims listed in the indictment of Bere is Juliana dos Santos,
also known as Alola. The Prime Minister’s wife, Kirsty Sword Gusmao
named the ALOLA Foundation after her. There are many other victims who
want this man to face justice for the terror he heaped on people. Now
it looks highly unlikely that he will,” Guterres said.
Alola’s father Manuel Soares was reported by Agence France Press on 6
September 2009 saying, “For the victims, everything is ruined and
broken. I came here today to get away from the feeling.”
AFP further reports him saying angrily, “We want justice, but it never
happens. They release all the criminals and all the people who were
involved in the killings. If the government or the UN dared enough,
they could go and arrest the militias,” adding, “They are all liars.
They just talk and make promises. All the organizations who claim they
help victims, they are just talking and talking.”
Mr Guterres expressed astonishment that the parties in the government
coalition today showed so little support for calling the government to
account for this scandalous decision. “Government MPs complained about
other mundane issues instead. Only one MP inadequately defended their
actions saying that it had to be done to maintain stability in
Timor-Leste. Another said that unless Bere was released there could
have been persecution of Timorese students in West Timor.
“We don’t believe that Indonesia could not have guaranteed the safety of
Timorese living in Indonesia. There was no support from these MPs for
the rights of victims and their families. We believe our walk-out was an
appropriate act of solidarity for justice for the victims of violence
in our country,” Guterres said in closing.
For further information, please contact Jose Teixeira MP on +670 728