BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor .........home .........August news

"Unfortunately, women’s liberation is not a natural outcome of national liberation. In East Timor, as around the world, women face pervasive violence, both in public and private life. Women face higher rates of illiteracy, malnutrition, and overall poverty. Women as a group lack access to resources and power to impact public policies and development strategies. And while, since 1975, the United Nations has played an important role in international efforts to improve the status of women globally, economic globalization and international militarism continue to disproportionately impact women’s lives in severe and negative ways." La'o Hamutuk: East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis
See also:

BD: East Timorese Women's Issues
BD: Sexual & related Violence as a weapon of war
BD: Peoples' Participation
BD: Capacity Building
BD: Reconstruction and 'Aid & Development'
BD: Financing Reconstruction in East Timor

From: The La'o Hamutuk Bulletin

Volume 2, No. 5
August 2001

Issue focus: 
Women and the Reconstruction of East Timor

Table of contents: The entire bulletin with a downloadable printable PDF version, will be available shortly at http://www.etan.org/lh/.
Editions in other languages will also be available there.




Women and the Reconstruction of East Timor

Women have played a critical role in East Timor’s struggle for national independence. Both inside the country and in the diaspora, they courageously challenged the Indonesian invasion and occupation, as well as the international support that made these possible. East Timorese women have survived Indonesian military campaigns of violence, including forced sterilization, rape and sexual slavery. They have shown themselves as leaders, though they are often pushed aside in political discussions. And women have continued to struggle for equality throughout the United Nation’s administration of East Timor.

Unfortunately, women’s liberation is not a natural outcome of national liberation. In East Timor, as around the world, women face pervasive violence, both in public and private life. Women face higher rates of illiteracy, malnutrition, and overall poverty. Women as a group lack access to resources and power to impact public policies and development strategies. And while, since 1975, the United Nations has played an important role in international efforts to improve the status of women globally, economic globalization and international militarism continue to disproportionately impact women’s lives in severe and negative ways.

This edition of The La’o Hamutuk Bulletin focuses on women organizing in this transition period for a view of “development” that includes women’s voices. A group of women from across East Timor has drawn up a Women’s Charter to be proposed to the Constituent Assembly, which will be responsible for drawing up East Timor’s new constitution. Maria Domingas Alves (Mana Micato), who is running as an independent candidate in the upcoming election, describes her vision of development for poor women in rural communities. Manuela Pereira describes the serious problem of domestic violence in East Timor. We also look at the role of the Gender Affairs Unit of UNTAET and women’s needs relating to the emerging health system.

Women’s inclusion in educational structures, religious, political, and even familial leadership are all extremely critical to a democratic model of national development. Inclusion alone, however, is not enough. Both traditional and “modern” hierarchical structures that give power to some while oppressing others must be challenged. Democratic process is not only about who participates, but also the structures and rules of participation.

A year ago, the first East Timorese Women’s Congress was held. Over 500 participants attended and major demands emerging from the Congress were: mechanisms to ensure transparency and accountability in government; a truly consultative process in constitution building; and the need for resources to be available to empower women.

Earlier this year, La’o Hamutuk hosted a meeting on gender and development issues at the NGO Forum. Though invitations for the meeting were distributed widely, only one East Timorese and two international men attended the meeting. La’o Hamutuk is committed to issues of gender equality and we hope these articles will be read with equal interest by both women and men. This Bulletin is far from comprehensive in its examination of women’s participation in East Timor’s reconstruction; it seeks only to contribute to this important discussion.

See also:
BD: East Timorese Women's Issues - A collection of recent information, petitions, articles and news
BD: Sexual & related Violence as a weapon of war - A collection of recent articles and news
BD: Reconstruction and 'Aid & Development' - A collection of recent press releases, reports, and articles




Campaign to Support Women’ Rights in the Constitution

In March 2001, the National Council rejected a proposal that would have ensured that 30% of Constituent Assembly members’ seats would be for women.  They argued that a quota system would be unnecessary and discriminatory.  The defeat, protested by women’s groups in East Timor (see La’o Hamutuk Bulletin Vol. 2, Nos. 1-2), has not slowed women’s activism on constitutional issues. A campaign is underway to collect 10,000 signatures in support of “the Women’s Charter of Rights” before 15 August, to present to the Constituent Assembly.

East Timorese women, representing different districts and organisations, wrote this Charter. Their campaign will promote the Charter and inform both men and women of the important issues facing women. A fundamental goal of the campaign is to ensure that these issues be incorporated in East Timor’s constitution.

“We want all people in East Timor to understand the importance of women’s rights in East Timor. The Constituent Assembly must listen to the voices of men and women and write a constitution that includes the rights of women,” said Maria Angelina Pereira, of the Gender and Constitution Subcommittee or the Constitutional Working Group, a coalition of national and international organisations.

WOMEN’S CHARTER OF RIGHTS IN EAST TIMOR

Article 1 Equality. The Constitution must prohibit all forms of discrimination, including in all matters of law. The State may implement positive measures to promote equality between men and women.

Article 2 Right to Security of the Person. The Constitution must protect women’s right to live free from any form of violence, both private and public.

Article 3 Political Rights.The Constitution must guarantee equal rights of women in political activities and public life, including the right to vote, to run for elected office, to participate in government policy decision making, and to participate in organizations concerned with communal and national politics.

Article 4 Right to Health. The Constitution must protect all people’s right to basic health care of the same quality. The State must provide reproductive health care for women.

Article 5 Right to Education. The Constitution must guarantee equal rights to formal and non-formal education for men and women. Women must have equal opportunity to study, and have equal access to scholarship opportunities and literacy programs.

Article 6 Social Rights. The Constitution must guarantee the rights to livelihood, shelter, sanitation, electricity, water, transportation and communication, health and education, and social security in case of sickness, unemployment or incapacity to work. Women must participate in development programs at every level.

Article 7 Labor Rights. The Constitution must guarantee equal pay for equal work. Women must have a right to maternity leave without loss of salary, job, or position, and women’s safety and health needs must have full protection in the workplace. Dismissal must be prohibited in cases of pregnancy or maternity leave.

Article 8 Tradition and Women’s Rights. The Constitution must guarantee equal rights to inheritance, and regulate the dowry system to prevent violence against women. Women must be guaranteed participation in traditional decision-making processes.
Article 9 The Right to Freedom from Exploitation. The Constitution should prohibit prostitution and slavery.

Article 10 Children’s Rights. The Constitution must protect children’s basic rights, including the right to food, shelter and social services, the right to be cared for be parents and family, and the right not to carry out work beyond the child’s age capacity.

The Constitution must provide an institutional mechanism to ensure the protection and realisation of women’s rights in East Timor.

See also:
BD: East Timorese Women's Issues - A collection of recent information, petitions, articles and news
BD: Peoples' Participation - A collection of recent media releases, reports and articles




Women’s Participation in East Timor’s Development at the Rural Community Level

by: Mana Micató

Women make up more than half of East Timor’s population and play crucial roles in community life and national identity. Women’s participation in the reconstruction of East Timor, however, has not yet become a national priority. Many take for granted or discount women’s work because it is generally unpaid and considered “women’s natural role.” Thus, women’s contributions to the overall development process are not valued. Cultural and political structures marginalize women in decision-making processes.  This is particularly true for women in rural communities, where traditional structures and practices keep men in the most powerful community positions.

East Timor’s history has been one of colonial rule over hundreds of years, first under Portugal and then Indonesia. These colonial forces both created and maintained traditional social and political structures that are hierarchical, undemocratic, and divisive, with political power largely concentrated in Dili. These structures are also patriarchal, marginalizing women and giving men most decision-making powers.

Present development practices often reinforce these patriarchal and urban-centered structures. In turn, poor women in rural communities are often left out of the development picture. For many people, the term development conjures up images of physical progress in the context of cities with modern commercial centers, modern technology, cars, buildings and office jobs. Development planning, therefore, often focuses disproportionately on urban development, leaving rural communities neglected and leading to a flux of rural youth to cities in search of work.

Instead, we should envision development from the perspective of people’s daily lives and with a focus on the most basic of needs, such as health, education, housing, and agriculture. Development policies must focus on the most marginalized people in society  poor girls and women in rural communities - and women must be involved in development planning.

In trying to empower women, we must ask ourselves: How can women at the grassroots become involved in national development efforts in effective and meaningful ways?; How can we hold local governments responsible for setting policies that respect the specific needs of women?; What aspects of development most significantly impact the lives of women and girls in rural communities?; and What are women already doing to improve life in their communities?

“Ukun rasik an” (Tetum for self-governing and independent) is most clearly understood in East Timor on the level of national liberation. We must also examine what this term means on the community and individual levels, and what it means for women as a group. Each person (woman, man, child and elder) must be heard and his or her basic needs must be met.

How can women be best involved in the development process during this transition period? First, men and women together must question and eliminate the culture of patriarchy in which women are dependent on men, and in which women are passive and lack courage to take leadership. Men must listen to women, examine their own biases and support women’s involvement in all levels of decision making. Together, we must free ourselves from the destructive forces of materialism, corruption, and nepotism.

Women must know, defend and fight actively for their political rights and use these rights to influence both national and local governance, especially in terms of setting policies around education, health, and economic self-sufficiency. This requires that women in rural areas are informed about national issues and that local government is transparent. In rural areas, information is particularly difficult to access because of limited media sources, illiteracy, and a lack of civil society organizations with experience working non-clandestinely. For such reasons, government and civil society must work to increase and guarantee women’s participation in the local political process. In this way, the political process will be democratic and respect everyone’s right to self-determination.

Illiteracy continues to be a serious problem in East Timor, particularly in rural communities where it affects over 60% of women. Literacy training is important not only as a tool to develop the nation’s human resources, but also as a means to empower women. The new East Timor must prioritise education, both formal and non-formal, if we are to find healthy and appropriate ways to develop rural communities. In rural communities we need to develop popular education models for women that involve building basic skills in a way that encourages civic participation and critical examination of power structures. These programs can include basic literacy, civic education, human rights, and other topics that empower women. Women can then choose for themselves how to best improve their lives as women and community members.

Basic health services for women continue to be dangerously insufficient.  There are not enough midwives and clinics, and the few hospitals and clinics that exist are not fully equipped to serve women’s needs. At present, international NGOs are responsible for most rural health programs, which has created a problem of dependency. There thus must be far greater attention given to training local health workers and support for appropriate traditional medical knowledge, so that rural communities can develop self-sufficiency as opposed to dependency on international aid. In this regard, broad-based educational programs on women’s health and children’s nutritional needs must be a priority.

Finally, there must be strategies to develop rural women’s economic capacity. While many view women’s work as limited to inside the home, women are deeply involved in agriculture work, as well as commercial and craft enterprises. Local and national government policies must thus support local initiatives, such as community canteens, and cooperatives for agricultural products and handicrafts. Women need to receive training in how to manage finances and run their own businesses.

There is a history of women organizing educational campaigns in rural areas throughout East Timor. I myself was involved in the early days of the OPMT (Organisação Popular da Mulher Timorense) when we organized women’s literacy classes and daily political discussions. After Indonesia invaded and we fled into the mountains, women and men discussed the political situation at hand and developed strategies for resistance together. We must remember this history and learn again from it.

Today, there are women’s organizations and some NGOs that are truly working to support women’s participation in the reconstruction of East Timor. Women have started new community literacy programs, community-based health initiatives, and small income generating projects for women. More and more, women in rural areas are organizing and demanding a voice in community decision-making and national policy-making. All of these activities show that women have the strength and skill to take leadership and contribute significantly to the development of a new, independent East Timor.




* Mana Micato, also known as Maria Domingas Alves Soares, is one of the founding members of Fokupers, a women’s organization that focuses on serving women survivors of violence.


Bahasa Indonesia:
Fokupers - Forum Komunikasi Untuk Perempuan Loro Sae  Updated Aug 22
Direktur: Manuela Leong Pereira
Maksud Umum: Fokupers didirikan pada tahun 1997. Organisasi ini membantu korban politik dan juga memberikan nasihat atau ‘counselling’ dan lain lain kepada perempuan yang menderita sebagai bekas tapol, atau yang menjadikan janda karena perang, atau isteri tapol. Selain dari itu, Fokupers mendorong hak asasi manusia, pada khususnya untuk perempuan, dalam masyarakat setempat.
Kegiatan Sekarang: Sudah mengadakan bengkel untuk mendiskusi bagaimana perempuan akan diikuti atau menjadi lebih aktip di masyarakat Timor Loro Sa’e. · Pada saat ini, kami memusatkan perhatian atas latihan ‘trauma counselling’ untuk pekerja Fokupers.

English:
Fokupers - the East Timorese Women’s Communication Forum  Updated Aug 22
Women's Development and Advocacy
Director, Manuela Leong Pereira
Fokupers is a registered East Timorese non-government organization (ETNGO)
General Mission: Fokupers was founded in 1997. It focuses on political victims and gives counselling and other forms of assistance to women victims of violations, including ex political prisoners, war widows and wives of political prisoners. Its mandate also includes promoting women’s human rights among the local population, especially the East Timorese women.
Current Activities: Conducting workshops discussing ways to enhance or develop further women’s participation in Timorese society. · Focusing on receiving trauma counselling training for their staff in order to provide counsel to women victims. Supporting women survivors of violence and to end violence against women through advocacy and education.


Bahasa Indonesia:
OPMT: Organizacao Popular de Mulher Timor / The Popular Organisation of East Timorese Women  Updated Mar 12
Sejarah Pendek: Organisasi ini muncul pada tahun 1975 begerak di bidang sosial dan emansipasi perempuan Timor di segala aspek eksistensinya sesuai dengan evolusi perang di Timur Timor.
Kegiatan Sekarang lsm dan Kebutuhan Utama: Kebutuhan sekarang adalah mengadakan aksi sosial seperti memberikan bantuan kepada yang membutuhan.
Kegiatan Sekarang: Aksi sosial (periodik).
Rencana: Akan mengadakan kegiatan di tiga kabupaten.

English:
OPMT: The Popular Organisation of East Timorese Women / Organizacao Popular de Mulher Timor  Updated Mar 17
Women's Issues
OPMT is a registered East Timorese non-government organization (ETNGO)
Short History: OPMT (FRETILIN's women's organisation) emerged in 1975, to promote the emancipation of women in all aspects of life, appropriate to their evolving role in East Timor. As an East Timorese women's organisation OPMT has been dealing with the impact of Indonesian rule that has dominated their lives for the past 25 years culminating in the violence around the UN sponsored Popular Consultations in 1999. It is these women who have been dealing with those who have been severely psychologically and/or physically traumatised. They have been helping address the needs of women who are the main carers of children (many of whom are orphans), the injured, sick and the elderly.
Current situation and primary needs: OPMT emerged from their clandestine existence at the FRETILIN Conference in Dili in May 2000. OPMT's current needs include the general need for social action such as giving assistance to those who need it.
Current Activities: Social action (periodic). Also: OPMT Sewing Program in Timor Loro Sa'e & OPMT English Language Program
Plans: OPMT plans to undertake activities in three districts. OPMT has a vision for how the new country can support the people's needs.


See also:
BD: Peoples' Participation - A collection of recent media releases, reports and articles
BD: Reconstruction and 'Aid & Development' - A collection of recent press releases, reports, and articles




Domestic Violence: A Part of Women’s Daily Lives in East Timor

by Manuela Leong Peirera

After a long struggle, East Timor has founded a new nation. Sadly, East Timorese women continue to be victims of violence, and very often this violence occurs inside our own homes. We must not think that domestic violence didn’t exist during Indonesia’s occupation, that only our political enemies took the opportunity to abuse women. Domestic violence has existed in East Timor for a long time, though largely hidden from public view or discussion.

We often read in our local newspapers about public acts of violence against women: rapes, muggings, public assaults on women who dress outside of Timorese custom. This violence is very problematic and must stop. But we rarely read about non-public violence, such as that which takes place inside the home and which is actually more pervasive. This silence is extremely dangerous.

Fokupers received close to 70 cases of domestic violence in 2000. Civpol also note an increase in the number of women reporting violence in their homes. As most women are unlikely to report domestic violence to the police, these Civpol and Fokupers figures represent only a small number of actual cases.

In more than 95% of domestic violence cases, the perpetrator of violence is a man and the victim is a woman. Domestic violence may refer to a husband hitting, kicking, pushing, strangling or pulling his wife’s hair. He may use his body or another object as a weapon. He may force his wife to have sexual relations. Domestic violence also refers to emotional violence such as threats, intimidation, demeaning and violent language, abandoning responsibilities to the family, and isolating a wife from her family and friends. Domestic violence happens in Dili and other cities; it also happens in small villages. It happens among the poor as well as among the rich, among the highly educated as well as among the illiterate.

In East Timor, patriarchal values and culture are very strong. Patriarchy views women as inferior to men. It leads to parents prioritizing sending their sons to school as daughters can lead to a high brideprice if they are married young. As a wife, a woman is expected to obey her husband, without asking questions or expressing any disagreement. Women are expected to do all the work in the house while the men are heads of households and look for money outside the home.

What can we do to stop the violence? During this transition period, we hear more about the need for gender consciousness and gender equality. These messages, however, have not yet reached the majority of East Timorese. We must work together to raise consciousness about the meaning of gender equality, and we must identify and challenge all forms of patriarchy and violence against women.

Women are not the property of men; a woman’s value is beyond a monetary price. Women have the right to control the major decisions in their lives and to decide with whom and when she will marry, how many children they will have, and when they want to have sexual relations with their husbands.  Women have the right to develop themselves, to learn new skills. Women have a right to make decisions in the family and to work outside the home.  Perhaps most important, women have the right to talk about the violence they face and look for a solution. Domestic violence is not simply an individual or family problem as so many people think; it is a societal problem that we must identify as such.

There must be support and solidarity from all parts of society: from political leaders; church leaders; legal bodies; and all men and men. All must acknowledge domestic violence as a deep social problem that needs immediate attention. There must be mechanisms to support survivors of violence. We must start in our own communities, befriending and giving assistance to neighbors who are suffering. And women living with violence must have the courage to speak and the strength to leave the violence.

The law must also give protection to women facing violence. East Timor has inherited Indonesia’s legal code in which there is no specific reference to domestic violence. Article 351 of the code refers to torture, which is used in cases of domestic violence, but this is far from adequate. While in the past the police have not given attention to domestic violence, there are encouraging signs that the police are now taking this issue more seriously.  The problem still exists, however, that domestic violence cases often never reach the courts, particularly if the man has political power.

All of us must understand violence against one’s wife as a crime. There must be clear laws against domestic violence, marital rape and the treatment of women as property. And the authorities must enforce these laws. The law must also provide for assistance to victims of violence, assistance to men who are prone to acts of violence, appropriate medical services, and police who are sensitive to violence against women and who care and understand the key issues around the violence.

The East Timorese people are working to build a new constitution, and we need to work hard to ensure that women’s needs are included in this important document. This can help build a foundation for positive change.

Our struggle continues …




*Manuela Leong Pereira is the Director of Fokupers, a women’s organization that works to support women survivors of violence and to end violence against women through advocacy and education.


Bahasa Indonesia:
Fokupers - Forum Komunikasi Untuk Perempuan Loro Sae  Updated Aug 22
Direktur: Manuela Leong Pereira
Maksud Umum: Fokupers didirikan pada tahun 1997. Organisasi ini membantu korban politik dan juga memberikan nasihat atau ‘counselling’ dan lain lain kepada perempuan yang menderita sebagai bekas tapol, atau yang menjadikan janda karena perang, atau isteri tapol. Selain dari itu, Fokupers mendorong hak asasi manusia, pada khususnya untuk perempuan, dalam masyarakat setempat.
Kegiatan Sekarang: Sudah mengadakan bengkel untuk mendiskusi bagaimana perempuan akan diikuti atau menjadi lebih aktip di masyarakat Timor Loro Sa’e. · Pada saat ini, kami memusatkan perhatian atas latihan ‘trauma counselling’ untuk pekerja Fokupers.

English:
Fokupers - the East Timorese Women’s Communication Forum  Updated Aug 22
Women's Development and Advocacy
Director, Manuela Leong Pereira
Fokupers is a registered East Timorese non-government organization (ETNGO)
General Mission: Fokupers was founded in 1997. It focuses on political victims and gives counselling and other forms of assistance to women victims of violations, including ex political prisoners, war widows and wives of political prisoners. Its mandate also includes promoting women’s human rights among the local population, especially the East Timorese women.
Current Activities: Conducting workshops discussing ways to enhance or develop further women’s participation in Timorese society. · Focusing on receiving trauma counselling training for their staff in order to provide counsel to women victims. Supporting women survivors of violence and to end violence against women through advocacy and education.


See also:
BD: East Timorese Women's Issues - A collection of recent information, petitions, articles and news  [sections on Law & Domestic Violence]




Commentary: International Security Forces and Sexual Misconduct

Sexual misconduct by military personnel occurs all over the world. Recent cases of sexual violence against women and children in East Timor show that the problem also exists in UNTAET’s Peace Keeping Forces (PKF) and Civilian Police (CivPol). Although many PKF and CivPol have good relationships with East Timorese, there have been several instances of sexual misconduct: in early 2001, two PKF based in southwest Suai were sent home ‘in disgrace’ after being found guilty of inappropriate behaviour involving East Timorese women; several PKF in Oecusse are currently under investigation after allegations of sexual misconduct; and one CivPol officer is facing a rape charge.

The poster pictured here (see http://www.etan.org/lh to see the poster) advertises a T-shirt with the writing ‘Feel Safe Tonight, Sleep with a Peacekeeper’ (photographed in the UNTAET Headquarters compound in November 2000). The message is that women should provide sexual services to Peace Keeping Force (PKF) soldiers if they want to feel safe. That a T-shirt and poster like this exist highlights the fact that sexism is institutionalized within the military. (Colonel Kelly of PKF’s Legal Affairs Division has recently assured La’o Hamutuk that the T-shirt will not be worn by any PKF soldiers.)

For years advocates of women’s rights have been organizing to ensure justice in cases of sexual violence against women by military personnel. In the case of United Nations security forces, there are some specific considerations. Currently, all PKF have immunity against prosecution for their crimes, which can only be lifted by the nation from which the PKF soldier comes. If it is not lifted, as in the case of the Oecusse PKF, it is the responsibility of the accused’s home country to ensure a complete process of justice. If the UN does not feel that the country in question is fulfilling this responsibility, they can reject future participation from that country in peacekeeping missions.

When CivPol personnel are accused of a crime, they also hold the privilege of immunity. Their immunity, however, may be waived by the Secretary General or the Transitional Administrator. The Transitional Administrator has recently shown a commitment to justice by waiving the immunity of a CivPol officer accused of rape. This man will now be tried in a Dili, where the case is being monitored by both local and international organizations.

Immunity means a freedom from prosecution in the national legal system.  There is warranted fear that immunity often leads to impunity  a complete lack of any prosecution or justice. The justification for UN civilian personnel and peacekeepers to have immunity is that some national governments may have particular political or historical agendas that would undermine the justice system. During UNAMET, for example, UN personnel could not be tried by the Indonesian government. While this makes good sense when the UN is the guest of another nation, it does not apply in East Timor currently. As the United Nations is the present governing authority, to apply immunity is effectively admitting that its own justice system is not impartial.

Colonel Kelly of PKF’s Legal Division explains that there are UN procedures for investigating and prosecuting alleged crimes by UN personnel, and it is not a question of immunity leading to impunity. Many, however, both within and outside the UN, note that many allegations are not fully investigated and the procedures are inconsistent, difficult to understand, and not open for public review. As the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Radhika Coomaraswamy recently said, “It is absolutely essential that all UN forces are held to the same standards of international human rights law as are nation states…To do otherwise creates a climate of impunity in which offences proliferate.”

Within the UN’s international security forces, there must be zero tolerance for attitudes and behaviors that objectify or degrade women. And when crimes are committed, there must be a clear, thorough, and transparent procedure of justice.

See also:
BD: East Timorese Women's Issues - A collection of recent information, petitions, articles and news  [sections on Law & Other Violence against women]




Catholic Women’s Conference in Rome

Earlier this year, the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations (WUCWO) held a conference of members in Domus Pacis, Rome. Two East Timorese women, Sr. Maria Dias of PAS Clinic and Laura Abrantes of Fokupers attended the conference. Both women are also active with the East Timorese Women’s Network.

Founded in 1910, WUCWO is an international non-governmental organization with a membership of nearly 20 million women from around the world. WUCWO’s objective is “to promote the presence, participation and co-responsibility of Catholic women in society and the church, to help them fulfill their prophetic mission and work for human development…in solidarity with women who suffer the consequences of poverty, war, oppression, marginalization, and repressive traditions.”

At the WUCWO meeting in Rome, international representatives approved a list of 15 resolutions, which they have since forwarded to Pope John Paul II, the United Nations and many other influential individuals and organizations. Some of the resolutions passed include:

*       To work with men, within the Church and society, to eliminate violence against women in all its forms and throughout all countries.

*       To fight against the patriarchal structures that reduce women to merchandise and commit ourselves to take action to improve the disparaging image of women in society, church, the family, and in the media.

*       To give special attention and care to women and babies who are victims of sexual crimes in war and to do everything possible to stop the crimes of war and violence.

*       To stop the sexual exploitation of children through education and advocacy for stronger international laws eradicating “sex tourism” and all commercial forms of sexual exploitation of children.

*       To encourage the Catholic Church to review all of its structures and systems to ensure that women are not excluded from decision-making processes of the Church even at the highest level.

*       To support women’s equal representation in leadership positions in the Catholic Church.

*       To urge the leaders of our Christian Churches to respect each other in their differences and to show respect and understanding for those who  by culture, birth or conscious choice  have different religions.

*       To support fair trade policies and ethical investment and to pressure global companies to adopt ethical trade practices which will facilitate the economic growth of poorer countries, rather than their decline.


Bahasa Indonesia:
Policlinica PAS (Pronto Atu Serbi - Ready to Work)  Added Mar 17
Maksud Umum: Untuk menguatuan ketrampilan para kaum awam dalam melayani sesama dan menguatuan kesejahteran masyarakat di pedesaan.
Sejarah Pendek: Kami berdiri/berkarya pada 1996 dengan hasil karyanya sendiri dan sekarang sudah bekerja sama dengan beberapa NGO.
Kegiatan Sekarang lsm dan Kebutuhan Utama: Keadaan sekarang tetap berjalan terutama dalam kesehatan. Kebutuhan utama adalah: 1. Obat-obatan 2. Makanan 3. Dana untuk mengerehabilitakan semua para fasilitas.
Kegiatan Sekarang: Kesehatan; pertanian; peternakan; penjahitan.
Rencana: Semua kegiatan yang kami belum jalankan, akan kami jalankan pada bulan Desember dan Januari  [2001?].

English:
Policlinica PAS (Pronto Atu Serbi - Ready to Work)  Added Mar 17
Agriculture, Health, Cattle Farming, Sewing (Haberdashery)
Policlinica PAS is a registered East Timorese non-government organization (ETNGO)
General Mission: To assist the welfare of rural communities by working with the people to stregthen their skills.
Short History: We were established in 1996 on our own initiative. We are working in cooperation with other NGOs.
Current situation and primary needs: Our primary needs are: 1. Medicine 2. Food 3. Funds to reconstruct all of our facilities
Current Activities: Health; farming; animal husbandry; sewing.
Plans: We hope to be fully operational by December/January [2001?].


Bahasa Indonesia:
Fokupers - Forum Komunikasi Untuk Perempuan Loro Sae  Updated Aug 22
Direktur: Manuela Leong Pereira
Maksud Umum: Fokupers didirikan pada tahun 1997. Organisasi ini membantu korban politik dan juga memberikan nasihat atau ‘counselling’ dan lain lain kepada perempuan yang menderita sebagai bekas tapol, atau yang menjadikan janda karena perang, atau isteri tapol. Selain dari itu, Fokupers mendorong hak asasi manusia, pada khususnya untuk perempuan, dalam masyarakat setempat.
Kegiatan Sekarang: Sudah mengadakan bengkel untuk mendiskusi bagaimana perempuan akan diikuti atau menjadi lebih aktip di masyarakat Timor Loro Sa’e. · Pada saat ini, kami memusatkan perhatian atas latihan ‘trauma counselling’ untuk pekerja Fokupers.

English:
Fokupers - the East Timorese Women’s Communication Forum  Updated Aug 22
Women's Development and Advocacy
Director, Manuela Leong Pereira
Fokupers is a registered East Timorese non-government organization (ETNGO)
General Mission: Fokupers was founded in 1997. It focuses on political victims and gives counselling and other forms of assistance to women victims of violations, including ex political prisoners, war widows and wives of political prisoners. Its mandate also includes promoting women’s human rights among the local population, especially the East Timorese women.
Current Activities: Conducting workshops discussing ways to enhance or develop further women’s participation in Timorese society. · Focusing on receiving trauma counselling training for their staff in order to provide counsel to women victims. Supporting women survivors of violence and to end violence against women through advocacy and education.


REDE: Feto Timor Lorosae Timorese Women's Network   Updated July 13

  • REDE: Feto Timor Lorosae was established in March 2000 and currently encompasses more than 15 women’s organisations. These organisations are representative in themselves of a broad cross section of society as there are mass based organisations with national membership -  down to the village level, cultural, income generating/small business and rights based organisations and organisations affiliated with political parties.
  • REDE and each of the network’s members have been accompanying the political developments in our country [ETimor]. REDE advocates on a rights based approach to development, justice, social inclusiveness and gender equity and equality. REDE is also participating in and contributing to the reconstruction as well as working directly with Timorese women through amongst others, literacy and income generating and poverty alleviation projects to help them break away from the debilitating ties of illiteracy and poverty.
  • Although there have been achievements, progress is slow. Women’s lives in East Timor, as with the rest of the population continues to be arduous. For women this is more so because of the situation of women in Timorese society, cultural perceptions of women, the absence of clear laws which protect women and women’s limited participation in decision making.

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    See also:
    BD: East Timorese Women's Issues - A collection of recent information, petitions, articles and news
    BD: Peoples' Participation - A collection of recent media releases, reports and articles
    BD: Financing Reconstruction in East Timor - A collection of recent reports and articles




    Childbirth: A Major Health Concern for Women

    “Three newborn babies recently died in our village,” a village chief recently told La’o Hamutuk. “It is not uncommon for either the mother or child to die during childbirth here.”

    East Timor faces many serious health problems; for women, childbirth is one of most pressing.

    Most women in villages manage their pregnancies and deliveries without trained medical assistance, using only indigenous knowledge. While most births happen without complications, an extremely high number of women and children still die in childbirth in East Timor. According to an August 2000 report by the World Health Organization (WHO), past estimates suggest that 450-500 East Timorese women per 100,000 die in childbirth. But “due to the large proportion of births taking place without skilled birth attendants,” the figure could be as high as 850 deaths per 100,000 live births, states the WHO. In Indonesia, the figure is estimated to be only 390 per 100,000 live births.

    Research conducted in July 2000 by an international NGO in Ermera showed that 85 out of 86 mothers gave birth at home, and many of these births took place without any trained midwife. These figures are likely higher than the national average as they reflect data from two remote villages with very limited access to health facilities. The data, however, point to a serious situation for women in villages.

    La’o Hamutuk had discussions with many community health workers and local and international NGOs working in the health sector. On that basis, there seems to be a consensus regarding ways to improve women’s health in childbirth. Health workers identified the following practical steps as necessary to ensure safer childbirth:

    * General reproductive health education in villages. Timorese women who have no medical training and would not identify themselves as birth attendants would help other women give birth at home. Grandmothers, mothers, sisters and neighbors would act as birth attendants in communities across East Timor. All village women should have enough information both to attend to their own safe delivery and to assist with another woman’s childbirth.

    * Training for traditional birth attendants. Some women call a traditional birth attendant to attend their childbirth. While midwives receive formal medical education and work at clinics or hospitals, traditional birth attendants (‘daia’ in Tetum), assist deliveries without any formal medical education or with minimum practical training. Taking this into consideration, there should be further research on the role of these attendants in villages and they should receive trainings to upgrade their skills.

    * Establishment of networks and support groups

    Women do not have to be isolated if a support group is established in a village. Women need to share information, knowledge, as well as their experiences. One support group could be linked to traditional birth attendants and professional midwives inside and outside of the village. In this way, a better plan would exist for rapid treatment when problems in childbirth occur.

    It is encouraging that local and international NGOs have recently started some grassroots initiatives in the above areas. On the national level, the Division of Health Services (DHS) in collaboration with UNICEF has started training midwives, with the hope that these midwives will provide training and practical advice to traditional birth attendants in villages. In addition, DHS plans to begin reproductive health education in villages in approximately three months.

    It is critical that these programs empower women as well as reduce heath-related problems. And it must always be understood that women’s health problems are deeply related to their socio-economic situation. Basic infrastructure and transportation are also needed to mitigate health-related problems. Women and their newborn children must be ensured the right to lead healthier lives.

    See also:
    BD: Reconstruction and 'Aid & Development' - A collection of recent press releases, reports, and articles  [section on Health]




    The United Nations, Gender Affairs, and East Timor

    Since its inception in 1945, the United Nations has addressed issues related to the status of women. Until the 1970’s, however, women were viewed by the UN System as entities or objects that needed the protection of the world community. In the 1970’s, women’s integration into development began; women were viewed as ‘resources’ whose contributions would improve the development process. Then in the 1980’s, at the end of the UN Decade for Women, the UN officially recognized women’s equality and rights as critical in their own right and “at all levels of the development process”.  Many analysts have noted the shift as one from seeking to integrate women in development to seeking to transform the structures and relationships which perpetuate the marginalization of women.

    The stated objective of the Gender Affairs Unit in UNTAET is to advocate for gender equity and equality, for a situation in which women are “equal partners with men in the promotion of sustainable development, peace and security, governance and human rights.” Various UN charters and the East Timorese Women’s Platform of Action, adopted at the first East Timorese Women’s Congress in July 2000, form a basis for the issues on which the Gender Affairs Unit advocates. The Unit carries out it’s work through capacity building workshops and the development of training materials; ensuring the availability of data/statistics on gender issues; providing ‘gender analysis’ of both existing and proposed legislature; and helping to establish networks (at the international, national, and local levels) to enhance women’s equal participation in the work of the Transitional Administration.

    In the East Timorese Women’s Network’s Briefing on Women’s Issues (June 2001) for the East Timor Donors’ Conference, there is a call for “the prompt realization of a Gender Unit within ETTA (East Timor Transitional Administration) both now and after independence, and both in Dili and in the Districts administration. This is an urgent requirement so that women can be involved in dialogue so as to ensure that they are not disadvantaged by administration policies.” Whether this office is created will depend largely on the new elected government. If created, its effectiveness will depend on its location in the new government structure, the mandate it carries, and the degree to which its staff understand and commit to that mandate.

    “Mainstreaming Gender”?

    A primary focus of the Gender Affairs Unit’s work is ‘mainstreaming a gender perspective’ within all divisions of UNTAET and all activities of the Peacekeeping Mission. A recent training guide put out by the Gender Affairs Unit defines these terms in the following way: The ‘mainstream’ is the dominant way of thinking about and doing things. To carry the issue of gender equality into the ‘mainstream’ means to question dominant ways of thinking about the roles and rules women and men have in society. ‘Gender’ refers to the different learned roles that boys and girls and women and men have in society. It also refers to the power relations that arise between men and women based on the different roles they play. ‘A gender perspective’ refers to an awareness of inequalities between women and men in society as a whole, in the personal relations between men and women, and in official programs and policies. Thus the goal is that the needs, concerns, opinions, experiences of, and benefits for both women and men are considered and incorporated into all program and policy designs.

    The concept of mainstreaming gender has roots in the international feminist movement and represents a radical step in women’s participation in development. It must be noted, however, that many international development institutions have appropriated the concept and used it to ‘depoliticize’ women’s issues.

    ‘Mainstreaming gender’ must include a commitment to challenge patriarchal, centralized, and hierarchical development patterns, and recognize how oppression relates to divisions based on gender, class, race and nation.


    REDE: Feto Timor Lorosae Timorese Women's Network   Updated July 13

  • REDE: Feto Timor Lorosae was established in March 2000 and currently encompasses more than 15 women’s organisations. These organisations are representative in themselves of a broad cross section of society as there are mass based organisations with national membership -  down to the village level, cultural, income generating/small business and rights based organisations and organisations affiliated with political parties.
  • REDE and each of the network’s members have been accompanying the political developments in our country [ETimor]. REDE advocates on a rights based approach to development, justice, social inclusiveness and gender equity and equality. REDE is also participating in and contributing to the reconstruction as well as working directly with Timorese women through amongst others, literacy and income generating and poverty alleviation projects to help them break away from the debilitating ties of illiteracy and poverty.

  • Although there have been achievements, progress is slow. Women’s lives in East Timor, as with the rest of the population continues to be arduous. For women this is more so because of the situation of women in Timorese society, cultural perceptions of women, the absence of clear laws which protect women and women’s limited participation in decision making.


    See also:
    Jun 13 ET NGO: REDE: Donors’ Conference: Women's Issues in East Timor  Paper
    BD: Peoples' Participation - A collection of recent media releases, reports and articles




    Employment of Women in the East Timor Transitional Administration

    Recently, ETTA led a large-scale effort to recruit and hire East Timorese for civil service positions. These positions will help lay the foundation for the new East Timorese government. The data below show the number of women employed as a percentage of total employment for different departments. Approximately 60% of all civil servant positions are in the education sector, 10% work in the police force, and 9% work in the health sector.

    Department         Total Number Recruited*      Number of Women       % Women

    Education                       5770                                   1657                           29%
    Police                              913                                   167                             18%
    Health                              881                                   281                             32%
    Judicial Affairs                  193                                    33                              17%
    Border Control                  186                                    37                              20%
    Water and Sanitation        130                                    4                                3%
    Agriculture                       123                                    12                              10%
    Labor and Social Services   32                                    9                                4%
    Land and Property              67                                    12                              3%
    Foreign Affairs                    18                                    7                               39%
     

    * ETTA has filled 89% of the total number of positions approved by the Transitional Administration.
    Data provided by CISPE, 31 July 2001

    See also:
    BD: Peoples' Participation - A collection of recent media releases, reports and articles
    BD: Capacity Building - A collection of recent statements, reports, articles and news


    Tetum: (the most common East Timorese language)
    La’o Hamutuk, Institutu Timor Lorosa’e ba Analiza no Monitor Reconstrusaun / Institut Permantauan dan Analisis Reconstruksi Timor Loro Sa'e  Updated Aug 18
    Saida mak La’o Hamutuk? La’o Hamutuk organizasaun klibur Ema Timor Lorosa’e no Ema Internacional ne’ebe buka atu tau matan, halo analize ho halo relatorio kona ba hahalok (actividade) instuisaun internacional ne’ebe oras ne’e haknaar iha Timor Lorosa’e, liu-liu hahalok sira ne’ebe iha relasaun ho rekonstrusaun fizika no social Timor Lorosa’e nian. La’o Hamutuk fiar katak Povo Timor Lorosa’e mak tenke hakotu iha procesu rekonstrusaun ne’e nia laran no procesu rekonstrusaun ne’e tenke demokratiku no transparante duni.
    Staf Timor oan: Inès Martins, Fernando da Silva, Thomas Freitas; Staf Internasional: Pamela Sexton, Mark Salzer; Kuadru Ejekutivu: Sr. Maria Dias, Joseph Nevins, Fr. Jovito Rego de Jesus Araùjo, Aderito Soares Durubasa: Benjamin Sanches Afonso, Tomé Xavier Jeronimo, Maria Bernardino, Manuel Tilman, Djoni Ferdiwijaya Ilustrador: Sebastião Pedro da Silva, Nan Porter Design Jeronimo Staf Monitoriu Projektu Judiciariu JSMP: Christian Ranheim, Caitlin Reiger, Rayner Thwaites
    Local Contact:  P.O. Box 340, Dili, East Timor (via Darwin, Australia)  Mobile fone: +61(408)811373;  Telefone Uma: +670(390)325-013
    International contact: +1-510-643-4507 Email: laohamutuk@easttimor.minihub.org  Homepage: http://www.etan.org/lh
    Boletim La’o Hamutuk: [Tetum PDF format]
    Vol. 2, No. 3 Junho 2001 Fundu Monetariu Internasional (IMF) iha Timor Lorosa’e: http://www.etan.org/lh/PDFs/bulv2n3T.pdf
    Vol. 2, Nos. 1-2 Abríl 2001 Vizaun Jeral Hosi Fundu Ba Rekonstrusaun Timor Loro Sa’e: http://www.etan.org/lh/PDFs/lhbl2n1t.pdf
    Vol. 1, No. 4, 31 Dejembru 2000 Banku Mundial iha Timor Loro Sa’e: http://www.etan.org/lh/PDFs/lhbul4tm.pdf
    Vol. 1, No. 3, 17 Novembro 2000 Hari Sistema Saude Nasional iha Timor Lorosa’e:  http://www.etan.org/lh/PDFs/LHbul3tm.pdf
    Vol. 1, No. 2, 17 Julho 2000 Protesaun ba meio ambiente iha TL: http://www.etan.org/lh/PDFs/bulletin02tetum.pdf
    Vol. 1, No. 1, 21 Juñu 2000 Rekonciliasaun: http://www.etan.org/lh/PDFs/bulletin01tetum.pdf

    English:
    La'o Hamutuk: East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis  Updated June 24
    La'o Hamutuk (Tetum for Walking Together) is a joint East Timorese-international organization that seeks to monitor, to analyze, and to report on the reconstruction activities of the principal international institutions. It believes that the people of East Timor must be the ultimate decisionmakers in the reconstruction process and that the process should be as democratic and transparent as possible ...
    East Timorese staff: Inès Martins, Fernando da Silva, Thomas Freitas; International staff: Pamela Sexton, Mark Salzer Executive board: Sr. Maria Dias, Joseph Nevins, Fr. Jovito Rego de Jesus Araùjo, Aderito de Jesus Soares Translators: Maria Bernardino, Tom‚ Xavier Jeronimo JSMP staff: Christian Ranheim, Caitlin Reiger, Rayner Thwaites
    International contact: +1-510-643-4507  Email: laohamutuk@easttimor.minihub.org  Homepage: http://www.etan.org/lh
    La’o Hamutuk Bulletin: http://www.etan.org/lh/bulletin.html
    Mar 23 2001 LH: Job announcement for La'o Hamutuk in East Timor: http://www.pcug.org.au/~wildwood/01marjob.htm
    Activity Report: Mar 16 2001 LH: http://www.pcug.org.au/~wildwood/01marlhreport.html


    See also:

    BD: East Timorese Women's Issues - A collection of recent information, petitions, articles and news

    BD: Sexual & related Violence as a weapon of war - A collection of recent articles and news

    BD: Peoples' Participation - A collection of recent media releases, reports and articles

    BD: Capacity Building - A collection of recent statements, reports, articles and news

    BD: Reconstruction and 'Aid & Development' - A collection of recent press releases, reports, and articles

    BD: Financing Reconstruction in East Timor - A collection of recent reports and articles


    BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor .........home .........August news
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