Monthly Archives: June 2010

East Timorese Refugees May Seek Asylum Abroad: Community Leader

Why dosen’t it say former milita leader wanted for murder.


BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific
June 16, 2010

Indonesian community leader: East Timorese refugees may seek asylum abroad

Text of report by Indonesian newspaper Kompas Cyber Media website
( on 15 June

[Unattributed article: ‘Eks Pengungsi Minta Perhatian; Mereka
Berencana Ajukan Suaka Politik’]

On 14 June 2010, East Timor community figure Joao Quintao (57), a
retired Indonesian military senior sergeant, said that the thousands
of refugees from East Timor living in refugee settlements in East Nusa
Tenggara have poor living conditions and were disappointed with
government policy. Quintao made his comments at the Tuapukan refugee
camp in Kupang.

According to Quintao, there are approximately 55,000 refugees from
East Timor, or 11,000 families, living in West Timor. The refugees
live in poor conditions, with some children unable to continue their
schooling, and face a lack of land available for farming. While the
government did build 11,000 houses for the families, Quintao said most
had fallen down, and were never suitable for occupation because they
had no bathrooms.

Quintao criticised the Indonesian Government’s 2008 decision to
withdraw the refugee status of the refugees from East Timor, saying
such a decision must be an official, written announcement signed by a
representative of the refugees and witnessed by a representative from
the United Nations.

Moreover, Quintao stated that if the government is determined to say
that there are no longer refugees from East Timor, thousands would
request political asylum from friendly countries.

“Representatives of the community from East Timor in Belu, Kefamenanu
and Soe have already agreed with this plan,” said Quintao.

However, former pro-Indonesia militia commander Eurico Guterres stated
that these comments were merely personal views.

“Residents are yet to release any statement from an official forum.
We’ll discuss all these matters at the congress for former East
Timorese in September,” Guterres stated.

Source: Kompas Cyber Media website, Jakarta, in Indonesian 15 Jun 10

Public Opinion on Australian Government Sinks to 1989 Lows.

Gareth Evans and Ali Alatas drink to Timor Oil Deal 1989
Not since 1989 when Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans gulped
down champagne with Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas over the
Timor Sea have Timorese relations been so bad. In 1989 Timorese watched
as the Australian and Indonesian Governments’ stole the future
prosperity of Timorese by carving up the Timor Sea petroleum deposits
between Canberra and Jakarta.
That was 21 years ago. Since then the Australian Government has come to
the assistance, although unwillingly, of the Timorese people in 1999
and 2006. However, in 2010 relations between Canberra and Dili have
sunk to the point where they can almost no longer to talk to each
other. For example when Australian Foreign Minister Steven Smith
proposed to visit Dili meet Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao in Aileu on 14
May Xanana refused.
This is for many reasons. While the most obvious reason is the
disagreement between the two over the Woodside – Greater Sunrise
polemic there are many other causes.
From Left to Right Gareth Evans, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Foreign
Minister Steven Smith.
Since 1999 the AusAID has provided hundreds of millions of dollars of
support for the development of Timor-Leste, but the people of
Timor-lest are not sure that they have received much good for this
help. Poverty rates increased, political stability declined (ie 2006),
and aid programmes have often failed to provide much. Amazingly, given
its “saviour” role in 1999, the Australian Defence Force has also been
viewed with some suspicion by many Timorese for real and perceived
political biases. The Opposition Party even contends that Canberra in
many ways helped Prime Minister Gusmao unseat former Prime Minister
Alkatiri in 2006. And now Gusmao is spending his days traveling the
country telling the Timorese people, one sub district at a time, that
Canberra and Woodside are stealing Timorese resources once again – over
the Greater Sunrise issue.
Many Timorese argue that AusAID programmes are wasteful and they are
achieving little if anything. Certainly the corruption, poverty,
unemployment figures are all going in the wrong direction. What is
remarkable is that AusAID uses taxpayers money to create accountability
in Timor, but the projects are not accountable for their failures as
accountability is getting worse not better. Some Australian efforts are
worthwhile such as in the water and sanitation and private sector
development areas. But these are rare examples. AusAID puts millions of
dollars into projects in the finance, justice, infrastructure, and
media sectors, which are more destructive and productive. What is wrong?
As the heat rises on Greater Sunrise Timorese and Australians should
realize the people in the mountains are beginning to think its just
like 1989 all over again. In those days Timor was a police state under
the Suharto regime. The Australian Government was happy with that as
they made oil and gas deals with Suharto. Since then the Australian
Government has changed its face, but has it changed its spirit?
When Timorese see Australian Government programmes in Timor, they
usually see high paid consultants on 1000-2500 dollars a day. Giving
Timorese advice and not much more. Timorese need advice for some things
to be sure. But Australians should know that the Government’s agencies
in Dili do not take advice. They should concentrate on the projects
that the Timorese, and not Government, feel are useful. And reconsider
the rest. If this is not done there is a possibility that relations
could get worse.
In 1942 Australian soldiers fought and died alongside Timorese in the
war against Japan. Many more Timorese died that Australians. Those
Australians that owed their lives to the Timorese that were their
comrades in arms never forgot their debt to Timor. Timorese will never
forget the debt of 1999 owed to Australia. But the last Timorese to
fight alongside Australians in World War two died this year. In time
memories of 1999 and the debt owed to Australian will fade. Good
relations are based on history but also the present and the future.
Australia needs to know that the poor relations are not just about
Woodside. There is history here. The history is mostly bad. If the
history is to develop into a better one, pay attention, the time is now.

Posted By TEMPO SEMANAL to TEMPO SEMANAL on 6/03/2010 01:33:00 AM