Gusmao lashes Australia for duplicity
April 9, 2010

DARWIN: In a fiercely anti-Western speech, East Timor's Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmao, has accused Australia of sacrificing the lives of 60,000 Timorese in World War II and secretly plotting for Indonesia to take over what was then Portuguese Timor in 1963.

Mr Gusmao said that ''adding insult to injury'' Australia signed an agreement with Indonesia to share wealth from the Timor Sea while ''around 200,000 Timorese died trying to protect their rights during 24 years of war''.

Mr Gusmao, a former freedom fighter, said the Japanese occupation of East Timor from 1941 to 1945 covered the entire country and caused great suffering to the Timorese, including the deaths of about 60,000 people. ''According to reliable opinions, this suffering could have been prevented if the Australian forces had not come to [East Timor] in order to wage war here, so as to prevent the Japanese from invading Australia,'' he told an international donor's conference in Dili on Wednesday. Mr Gusmao said that according to historians and researchers, the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand secretly agreed to East Timor's integration into Indonesia in 1963 ''as the best solution for world peace''.

''We got to see the result of this agreement in 1975,'' Mr Gusmao said, referring to Indonesia's bloody invasion of East Timor.

He made the comments before an imminent announcement on the multibillion-dollar Greater Sunrise gas project in the Timor Sea. A consortium lead by Woodside has repeatedly rejected East Timor's demand that gas from the project be piped to a processing plant in East Timor, saying its only options are a floating plant above the field or piping the gas to an existing plant in Australia. Revenues from the project are to be split evenly with Australia.

Mr Gusmao also criticised the US over its decision to impose an embargo on Dili's port because it is not regarded as secure enough to protect ships from terrorist attack. ''What do they want from us? … Do they want us to declare open war on terrorism, so as to become even more vulnerable to this world phenomenon?''

Analysts said Mr Gusmao remarks indicated he was moving East Timor away from the influence of the United Nations and Western nations, including Australia. Mr Gusmao referred to a ''certain disconnection between us and our partners''.

Despite billions of dollars in aid to East Timor ''we feel sad for the results … in building our state'', which remained fragile and the poorest in the region, he said. In an apparent reference to UN and foreign aid agency workers, Mr Gusmao said there are people who want East Timor to continue to be ranked as an unstable country ''as they surely prefer working in [East Timor] than in Afghanistan or in Iraq''.

''Other people are infiltrating [non-government-organisations] who in the name of democracy and human rights only seek to misguide our people and to generate mistrust among the Timorese.''

Mr Gusmao denounced the former Fretilin government's policy of saving billions of dollars from oil and gas reserves, which was recommended by the World Bank and other international agencies. He said $5.39 billion in savings held in the US needs to be spent in East Timor to promote fast sustainable growth and to build basic infrastructure.

''The people do not need cash in American banks to help pay American deficits.''

Statement Rede Feto iha Timor Leste Donor Meeting, 7 Abril 2010

Presentation Rede Feto Timor Leste in the TimorLeste Donors Meeting


Rede Feto Timor Leste is a national network for 24 women’s organizations who are connecting, informing, and supporting people and organizations to improve the lives of women and girls, and advance gender equality and women’s rights for sustainable development in Timor Leste.

On September 5 2009, Rede Feto spearheaded the conduct of the 3rd National Women’s Congress. The output was a Platform of Action of issues that concerns women. There were 7 thematic issues such as: Education, Health, Justice, Cultural, Economy, Media and Politic.

We would like to express our appreciation to the government of Timor-Leste for its efforts to promote gender equality and awareness of women’s rights within Timor-Leste. Specifically we acknowledge the increased number of enrolments of women in higher education, although we must also recognize that many women are forced to drop out of high school because of pregnancy.

Concerning health issues, we recognize and warmly support the efforts by the government to address the high maternal mortality rate in Timor-Leste.

We appreciate the government’s support for upholding the quota for women’s participation in parliament and public sector, however we acknowledge the need to encourage women in rural areas so that they can take a more active role as decision makers.

We appreciate the government’s efforts to promote increased access to credit, small business development for women and women as entrepreneurs but we encourage government to strengthen its efforts in rural areas where opportunities are still very limited.

We also appreciate the government’s programs to provide pension support for elderly people, scholarships for children of widows and its strenuous efforts to respond to the problems of internally displaced people.

Rede Feto would like to highlight the priority issues that we hope the donor community will consider in preparing their development assistance for Timor Leste.

Law and justice: PNTL and F-FDTL are institutions established to uphold law and order. We are sad to observe the involvement of PNTL in violating the statutes it is intended to uphold. The main victims of mistreatment are women and youth. Use of force should be the last choice yet it appears that PNTL is not yet able to interpret its function well. There is a sense that they cover up issues that might damage their image. There are also cases where PNTL is involved in protecting the interests of family members and this is affecting people’s sense that PNTL ‘belongs to’ the people. PNTL are not open to criticism, or to recognize and repair their mistakes. We urge the government to invest in in-depth training that will help them to fulfill their role in upholding law and introduce them to national and international laws protecting the rights of women, children and citizens; and commence psychological testing for new recruits. Using guns should be a last choice in dealing with the community, who are their own people.

Trafficking: There is still a lack of attention from the government and donor community to address human trafficking in Timor-Leste. There is no law to regulate this issue, even though reality shows that there is internal trafficking from rural areas to Dili and international trafficking into Timor-Leste. This is a difficult problem to investigate because of weak immigration controls and the networks to support these activities are strong. Victims of trafficking are existing in massage parlours and karaoke clubs in residential areas. This has an impact upon the local community. We are calling for attention from the local authorities, including immigration authorities, to pay serious attention to these issues by coordinating with civil society to conduct research into this issue, strengthening prevention programs and providing rehabilitation programs. We call for the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Tourism, Commerce and Industry to consider the social impact to the community before providing a license for a company to operate.

Corruption: Rede Feto congratulates and welcomes the creation of creation of the Anti-Corruption Commission in Timor-Leste. We acknowledge the government’s significant efforts in combating corruption by establishing an office under the Vice-Prime Minister to prepare an anti-corruption strategy. We also acknowledge the creation of the position of the Inspector General for dealing with this issue. However we see that they face a lack of human and other resources to investigate cases and many cases are still pending in the Prosecutor General’s office due to this. We are calling on the government to show their political will and provide assistance and resources that will allow these offices to respond quickly; and to strengthen these organizations so that they can carry out their duties without political interference and in an independent manner.

Women and Labour: Until today in Timor-Leste there is no law in existence to protect workers other than the Labour Code which is quite sensitive to the needs to women in the workplace, for instance in maternity leave, annual leave, support for breastfeeding mothers. However we have not seen any implementation of these regulations yet. Women do not have equal payment to men and their contracts are insecure. Many women face sexual harassment in the workplace. Many women do not receive maternity leave and are forced to resign when they are pregnant. We encourage government to monitor and follow-up seriously the implementation of the Labour Code and we urge government to adopt the ILO Convention 111 concerning fair remuneration for women. Conduct research to have exact data on these issues and take necessary action against private companies that do not comply with the regulations of the Labour Code.

CEDAW implementation: Timor-Leste ratified the Convention on Ending all forms of Discrimination Against Women in 2002. In 2009, the government of Timor-Leste sent a report to the CEDAW Committee and civil society sent a Shadow Report to the committee. At the moment parliament is in the process of ratifying the Domestic Violence Law. This will give a lot of support to domestic violence victims. National government is the main actor with responsibilities for implementing all aspects of CEDAW, however we are sad to see that this is not yet reflected in national planning and budgeting issues. For example, in the distribution of funds for civil society from the Prime Minister’s office, women’s organizations received very little support. In the execution of programs within the Ministry of Infrastructure there is no evidence of support and consultation or involving women in their programs. We also urge the government to strengthen support for women with disabilities and the many women who care for people with disabilities by signing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Finally, we call for the attention from the international organizations and the donors to look at the issues mentioned above in their program design and implementation, and to make sure that women are consulted and that their needs are included.

“As women, we want to contribute our thinking and idea for the development of our country. We have a dream that Timor Leste will have justice, peace, security and equality “

Dili, April 2010

Rede Feto Timor-Leste

Note : Attach the Platform of Action (POA) from Women Congress.

Nobody claims ‘credit’
for workers’ quick exit try


THERE is a lot of finger-pointing going on at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) after 70 would-be workers at an oil rig in Dili, East Timor, were allowed to proceed directly to a waiting plane in a remote parking bay instead of undergoing the normal check-in procedure.

The workers were ferried by a bus from Gate 1 of the NAIA to the parking bay where an Air North chartered plane, Flight TL 740, was scheduled to leave at 5 a.m. last Sunday.

The plane, an Embraer jetliner that can accommodate 70 passengers, was chartered from Australia and arrived at the NAIA at 4 a.m. also last Sunday.

The Embraer E-Jets are a series of narrow-body, twin-engine, medium-range, airliners roduced in Brazil.

The NAIA Task Force Against Trafficking of Persons (TFATP) chanced upon two liaison officers at the Terminal 1 departure area who were in possession of travel documents but without the presence of passengers. The two were supposed to facilitate the exit clearances of the would-be overseas Filipino workers.

As the liaison officers were presenting their request for the special facilitation of the passengers in their chartered flight, Emmanuel Rodriguez, the officer-on-duty, immediately alerted Manila International Airport Authority general manager Melvin Matibag.

Matibag, also task force chair, found that six of the workers had deficient travel papers since their skills did not match the requirement in the contract.

The workers also lacked the Overseas Employment Certificate issued by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.

The six workers were not allowed to board the plane, but were told that they would be placed on the next chartered flight once their papers are in order.

"I would not like the workers to arrive at their destination to be discovered that their skills are not equal to what the contract stipulated," Matibag said.

Matibag said that it was improper and illegal to allow workers to pass through the tarmac on the way to their plane instead of going through the normal procedure and subjecting themselves to body check, x-ray examination and the whole rigmarole that would require them to remove their shoes to preclude hidden explosives.

Source: MALAYA

Timor police declare war on mysterious 'ninjas'

Timor police declare war on mysterious 'ninjas'AFP/File – Members of East Timor's national police force undergo training conducted by the Portuguese national …

DILI (AFP) – East Timor police have declared war on mysterious "ninjas" accused of murder and subversion in a new twist to the young country's struggle to establish security.

The latest whispers of ninjas to transfix the nation emerged after the murders of a 15-year-old girl in the western district of Bobonaro on December 22 and a baby boy in Covalima, also in the west, on January 19.

Police chief Longuinhos Monteiro donned full military gear to lead the operation, telling reporters that "any ninjas who want to take us on, your final stop will be Santa Cruz cemetery".

But many observers dismiss the ninja threat as a political game and suggest the authorities are using techniques of social control learned from the Indonesian army's brutal 24-year occupation.

"It?s a method used by the Indonesian military to limit the movement of the citizens," said Rogerio Viegas Vicente, programme manager for leading Timorese human rights group HAK Association.

Kidnappings and disappearances were commonplace during the 1975-99 occupation, in which more than 100,000 people died, and the East Timorese remain edgy when it comes to rumours of shadowy assassins.

Indonesian death squads referred to as ninjas terrorised villagers and reports of masked ninjas committing crimes have persisted since formal independence in 2002.

In 2008, residents of Dili and the northern coastal district of Liquica reported that ninjas were trying to kidnap their children.

The Australian government's travel guidance advises citizens to avoid "martial arts groups" in East Timor -- an apparent reference to youth gangs that have fought street battles in recent years.

But human rights researchers who have investigated the murders say the ninjas being hunted by the police in Bobonaro and Covalima do not exist.

"They're ordinary crimes that happened, the same as in other districts," Vicente told AFP.

Police launched a full-scale anti-ninja operation on January 22 and recently extended it for six months with support from the armed forces.

Twenty members of dissident political group CPD-RDTL and underground political organisation Bua-Malus were arrested on February 5 on suspicion of involvement in "ninja" activities.

Police released all but two, who were detained in relation to the killing of the girl in Bobonaro. Police inspector Mateus Fernandes claimed that CPD-RDTL and Bua-Malus were attempting to launch a coup against the state.

But HAK says the girl's murder was the result of a private dispute fuelled by political rivalry. Members of CPD-RDTL, meanwhile, have levelled a string of allegations of human rights abuses against the police.

The country's rights ombudsman is now investigating the police for what independent analysts said was an over-the-top response to a low-level political feud.

"CPD-RDTL and Bua-Malus are extensions of political interests in East Timor," said Edward Rees, a senior adviser to humanitarian group the Peace Dividend Trust.

"While political competition is healthy, imposing heavy-handed police operations is more than what is really necessary for managing criminal acts mixed with political activism."

An investigation by HAK researchers found evidence of police abuses including "ramming with rifle butts, kicking, beating with batons, cutting people?s hair with a knife, threatening their life and speaking sharply to people" who would not admit to being ninjas.

HAK also found that police officers received "arbitrary orders or plans from their superior to detain individuals identified as CPD-RDTL members".

As a result, the police operation has created more insecurity than the alleged ninjas, Vicente said.

This does not augur well for a force that has been mentored by the United Nations and is starting to take more direct responsibility for security as the UN presence in East Timor winds down.

Speaking at a news conference, police chief Monteiro denied the anti-ninja operation had a political motive.

"What kind of politics do the police carry out? The politics of the police is to maintain security and public order," he said.

Source: AFP