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"the electoral process is progressing in terms of the administrative aspects (voter registration, political party registration), but wherever the Timorese are, or ought to be playing an active role (civic and electoral education, consultation mechanisms for the future Constitution), the process becomes stuck. As Xanana Gusmão has pointed out, many international officials appear slow to realise that “democracy is not something that is taught, but practiced” " East Timor Observatory
See also: Portuguese: Jun 18 OTL: Transição e processo eleitoral  Report

We should all understand that Liberation of the Fatherland is only half the objective of independence.
After independence, Liberation of the People constitutes the other half of the objective of independence.
(Xanana Gusmão, 1999)

East Timor Observatory

Ref.: POL03-18/06/2001eng

Subject: Transition and the electoral process

The Facts


Sérgio Vieira de Mello’s first formal meetings with Timorese leadership to discuss the election process were held in November 2000. Agreement was reached quickly: the first election should be for an Assembly whose task would be to draw up independent East Timor’s first Constitution. This was the logical step to follow the divisions in the CNRT that surfaced at its congress in August. The pro-independence Front, set up to unite forces against Indonesia, was split on the question of forming the new Government. On one side, led by CNRT president, Xanana Gusmão, there were most of the small parties and independents, supporting idea of a National Unity Government. On the other side, were the main historical parties, FRETILIN and UDT, eager to stand independently in the forthcoming elections. The CNRT ceased to be the place in which, amid agreement and disagreement, the first steps were being taken towards independence, and the new forum for political game playing became the National Council, the consultative and legislative body appointed by Sérgio Vieira de Mello. The dates suggested for the first election and for independence, 30 August 2001 and late 2001/early 2002 respectively, are ambitious view of the administrative and organisational shortcomings at all levels. In spite of the difficulties, some generated by international “experts” incapable of understanding local realities, the electoral process is progressing in terms of the administrative aspects (voter registration, political party registration), but wherever the Timorese are, or ought to be playing an active role (civic and electoral education, consultation mechanisms for the future Constitution), the process becomes stuck. As Xanana Gusmão has pointed out, many international officials appear slow to realise that “democracy is not something that is taught, but practiced” (Visão, 7-6-2001).


The UN Transitional Administration for East Timor (UNTAET) was given full authority by the Security Council to organise the elections and to lead the territory to independence, but the Council recommended that, in doing so, it should “consult and cooperate closely with the Timorese people” (resolution 1272). To fulfil this mission, Sérgio Vieira de Mello turned for support to the CNRT and to Xanana Gusmão, and set up Councils. One was the 15-member mixed (Timorese and international staff) Consultative Council that functioned from December 1999 to July 2000, when it was substituted by a National Council (NC), an entirely Timorese body of 36 members nominated by political and social forces, but still not having any democratic legitimacy. Alongside the political parties (see ETO, POL02), the emerging civil society became dotted with a variety of forces ranging from NGOs, a dynamic movement outside political parties’ logic, to the traditional authorities (elders, clan leaders, churches) that are capable of influencing democratic choices or rivalling them. This entire process is developing in an atmosphere of deep socio-economic crisis in which international weight is often overpowering due to the disproportionateness of available resources.

The facts:

1. Transition

a) “I would not be surprised if they [Timorese] ask for elections on 30th August next year” said Sérgio Vieira de Mello in August 2000; “Their impatience is there. They have waited 500 years, so why should they wait any longer?” (Kyodo, 19-8-00). The political calendar proposed by Xanana Gusmão in November set the election date for 30 August 2001, the second anniversary of the referendum, but José Ramos Horta downgraded the date’s importance: “We have waited for 500 years ...we could put this back a few weeks or months if necessary” (BBC, 6-12-00).

b) Following a Security Council mission to Timor, mission chief Martin Andjaba stated that, in spite of “problems here and there”, “Our assessment ... is that the East Timorese are ready for independence” (UNTAET, 14-11-00). During the visit, the Timorese NGO Forum asked: “Is UNTAET committed to the participation of East Timorese civil society or only to consultation in the performance of the mandate?”, and pointed out that the National Council was not a democratically elected parliament and that, therefore, “UNTAET should not treat it as such”, but rather ensure greater participation from civil society (NGO Forum, 13-11-00).

c) Sérgio Vieira de Mello, Xanana Gusmão, various cabinet ‘ministers’ and political party leaders had a first in-depth discussion on the election process on 17 November. (UNTAET, 21-11-00); “common understandings” emerged out of the “intense discussion”, said Vieira de Mello, one of which was that the first election would be to elect a Constituent Assembly (AP, UN, 28-11-00).

d) On 29 November, Xanana Gusmão proposed a 15-point political calendar to be discussed by the National Council at its 12 December meeting (UNTAET, 1-12-00). When Sérgio Vieira de Mello announced the political calendar at the Donors’ Conference held on 5-6 December, before it had been discussed by the NC, he implied that he gave little importance to the views of the Council. At the same time, the Timorese “ministers” threatened to resign from the Transitional Government because they felt they were being treated like “caricatures of members of a Banana Republic” (AP, 3-12-00 and address by Mário Carrascalão and S. Vieira de Mello, Brussels, 6-12-00).

e) “UNTAET will be fully responsible for the conduct of the elections”, states a report by the UN Secretary General. International teams for electoral education and planning were sent to Timor in October and November (UN-SC S/2001/42, 16-1-2001).

f) Delays in registration and other electoral processes led the newspaper ‘Suara Timor Lorosae’ to ask whether it might not be preferable to agree on a provisional administration and hold the elections in 3 or 5 years time (editorial, 2-2-01).

g) The National Democratic Institute (NDI), founded by the (US) National Endowment Democracy and supported by the Timorese NGO Forum, organised 14 meetings at which homogenous but diversified groups (farmers, fishermen, former Falintil, activists, leaders -traditional or otherwise-, women, students – secondary or university -) discussed political and electoral issues. The predominant feeling was one of frustration: “The Timorese are united in their frustration about the transition period. Clearly this is not the way they had imagined their society when they voted massively on 30 August 1999...” (NDI report, March 2001)

h) After visiting Jakarta, Xanana Gusmão says that elections are now the priority (Timor Post, 23-4-01). Manuel Carrascalão, new National Council president, believes that it is too soon (South China Morning Post, 24-4-01); his brother, João, ‘minister’ for infrastructures and president of the UDT, asks for the elections to be postponed (Lusa, 27-4-01).

i) José Luís Oliveira, lawyer and head of the [non-governmental] ‘Working Group on Elector Education’, thinks that some important questions ought to have been asked: Are the Timorese are still traumatised by the 1999 vote? Do they want to be members of a particular political party? Do they know that this election is to select people for the Constituent Assembly? (Timor Post, 10-5-01). “With this election we are building the foundations of our State and those foundations need to be solid” (AP, 12-3-01).

j) “I respect all opinions but it is not possible to accommodate them all”, the election date of “30 August was consensual” and will not be changed, said Sérgio Vieira de Mello (Lusa, 16-5-01). This is also the view of Xanana Gusmão and Bishop of Dili, Ximenes Belo.

2. Registration

Identification services were dismantled, records destroyed or removed to Indonesia. Not only does there have to be voter registration, but also an entire identification process must be started from scratch.

a) UNTAET recruits 25 Timorese, who will have one month’s training before opening the Central Identification Service, which will start operating and issuing the first identification cards in December 2000 (UNTAET, 7-11-00). Registration can start on 1 February 2001 (UNTAET, 13-12-00).

b) Between 21 November and 30 January, 130 UN Volunteers (UNV) arrive to assist with registration (UNTAET, 21-11-00). According to a report by the UNV in Dili, over 800 UNV will be taking part in the registration and electoral process (UNV, 30-1-01).

c) Registration is obligatory for all people over the age of 16 years; they should also register their children and incapacitated dependants. Voter registration covers everyone over 17 years of age born in East Timor, their husbands/wives, and children whose father or mother was born in East Timor. However, registration will be undertaken solely in East Timor, so those residents abroad will have to go to the territory if they wish to register and vote (Kyodo, 6-2-01; UNewservice, 13-3-01). The official reason is financial (STL, 21-2-01) but the impossibility of organising impartial registration and a free vote in the refugee camps in Indonesia, controlled by the militias, must have been a key consideration.

d) A pilot registration project in Ataúro, small island north of Dili, selected because it has a population of 7.500 and the characteristics of an average sub district (the territory is divided into 65 sub districts), is postponed several times. Four registration centres are opened, each centre has two teams and each team consists of 3 officials – one foreign and two Timorese (UNTAET, 30-1-01). The pilot operation starts on 26 February; was to test out computer software and TV programmes for electoral education. In five days, about 500 people were registered, plus a few hundred children. There were confrontations between members of the CDP-RDTL and FRETILIN (Sidney Morning Herald, 17-3-01). According to the Suara Timor Lorosae newspaper, there was poor coordination and lack of support from the people (STL, 2-3-01); UNTAET reported only problems with the computer software (UNTAET, 6-3-01).

e) On 16 March, after various postponements, general registration commences in 12 of the 13 districts. It is delayed in the district of Viqueque because of disturbances that were not politically related. The National Council decides that registration should be extended until 20 June (STL, 21-2-01). People with only a baptismal certificate were not allowed to register, “but inhabitants in possession of Indonesian ID cards were able to register immediately and get voter cards” (Timor Post, 20-3-01); Mário Carrascalão asks the international staff not to raise objections on account of the baptismal certificates and to clearly specify the location of registration posts (Timor Post, 21-3-01).

f) By 10 April, 153,000 inhabitants had registered, including children. UNTAET was optimistic because numbers registering had risen from 5,500 to 7,500 per day (UNTAET, 10-4-01), but the UNHCR reported that it was slower than expected: there were technical problems and is was unrealistic to think about concluding registration on 20 June (UNHCR JOC n.26, 10-4-01).

g) The liurais (traditional leaders) tell the CNRT that people are reluctant to register: “There were not enough registration officials helping the people to understand the process”; many people have to travel long distances to register, often only to be told by the officials when they arrive that they have to come back the next day; people are also confused by the fact that the voter’s card states that it is obligatory to vote (Timor Post, 16-4-01), when they don’t know parties exist and that parties will be candidates, said Xanana Gusmão (Lusa, 18-4-01). Legalisation of political parties only starts in May.

h) UN bureaucracy delays the arrival of funding for the registration and civic campaigns. S. Vieira de Mello asks for help from the UNDP (Lusa, 11-5-01).

i) 18 new international staff and new computers should speed up registration (UNTAET, 27-4-01). By 17 May, [2/3 into the registration period] 390.000 people have registered out of an estimated population of 812.000 inhabitants, i.e. less than half. The daily average has reached 15.000, so the objectives could be reached (UNTAET, 18-5-01). By 1 June, 558.000 people have been registered (Suara Timor Lorosae, 1-6-01).

j) On the Indonesian side, preparations are underway for a registration exercise on 6 June, which will enable the refugees to express whether they wish to stay in Indonesia or return to East Timor. Refugee registration and choice will be monitored by over 1,600 officers distributed among 507 posts, but there will only be 12 international observers. Leaders of UNTAS, the former militias’ organisation that controls the refugee camps and that had explained that the refugees’ choice was either “to stay in Indonesia or to return to East Timor and be treated inhumanely”, announces that 95% of the refugees are going to stay in Indonesia (Indonesian Observer, 19-5-01). José Ramos Horta states that the elections could be postponed if the return of refugees warranted it. (Kyodo NS, 28-5-01).

3. Civic & Electoral Education

The first free ballot the Timorese ever had was the 1999 UN-organised referendum. Indonesian elections were experiences they do not, in the main, want to see repeated.

a) “Civic education does not mean teaching the Timorese the meaning of democracy – after all, it was they who, in 1999, taught the whole world a lesson in democracy. It means familiarising them with the tools of representative democracy because, obviously, these tools are not part of cultural tradition in the territory.” “They need to learn what political parties are and how they work”, said Pedro Bacelar, in charge of the civic education campaign at UNTAET’s ‘ministry’ of Political Affairs. The campaign should have started in September. Pedro Bacelar proposed involving thousands of unemployed university students in it, but ‘minister’ Peter Galbraith opposed the plan and then proceeded to take 2-months’ leave in December. Bacelar, undermined, resigned. (Público, 26-12-00).

b) In view of past experience, reconciliation and human rights issues were included in electoral education. In February 2001, the first large-scale debate on ‘human rights, reconciliation and elections’ was held in Dili (UNTAET, 12-2-01). The main focus was on ‘reconciliation” rather than on the workings of democracy.

c) Some foreign staff show signs of lacking understanding of the situation and ability to deal with it. Gary Gent, Australian chief of UN police, commented: “the vast majority [of the Timorese] don’t understand what democracy is all about, and that you can have a contrary point of view” (AAP, 8-2-01). As a senior officer, [Gent] “ought to be working with communities to identify constructive strategies for peace”, NGOs stated, requesting without successful they the police chief retract his statement (NGO Forum, 17-2-01).

d) There is great eagerness to become informed and discuss issues. Meetings organised by the NDI (1.g) were intended to last for 2 hours but went on for much longer. The absence of information about the electoral process is a criticism frequently voiced. Asked about important local institutions, participants fail to refer to their representatives on the National Council, or those who were elected to the local Councils organised by UNTAET or those set up within the framework of the World Bank programmes. They do, however, mention traditional chiefs, tribal elders, and/or members of the clergy, who are often local CNRT or FRETILIN leaders at the same time (NDI report, March 2001).

e) Rather than lessons on democracy, what the Timorese need is dialogue and discussion among themselves, according to the Timor Post. At the time of INTERFET (1999), there used to be daily long hours of debate in the Gymnasium in Dili, but these have disappeared – why? (Timor Post, 6-3-01).

f) José Luís Oliveira (1.i) is concerned about the lack of participation by voters, and believes that more time is needed for preparation (AP, 12-3-01).

g) UNTAET’s Civic Education Service failed in its task after the resignation of Pedro Bacelar in December (3.a) and because of “dissatisfaction by various groups, including funders”. Colin Stewart, Director of the Service, told the National Council: “because civic education involved large segments of society, it had to be done by the Timorese people themselves and not dictated by UNTAET or the international community” (STL, 5-4-01).

h) 52 Timorese from the 13 districts are given a 6-day training for trainers’ course in civic education. Sérgio Vieira de Mello insists on the need to raise awareness of rights and responsibilities, especially among women and young people (UNTAET, 27-4-01). Another course involves 442 trainees (Timor Post, 11-5-01).

i) Aderito de Jesus Soares, director of the jurists’ association, ‘Sahe’, and a director of the Timorese NGO Forum, says: “Many local NGOs are reluctant to ask for funds from UNTAET to carry out civic education campaigns. The UNTAET-led programme tends to make the people docile. They are more interested in the elections being peaceful, so the UN can tell the world that the Transitional Administration was a success” (Timor Post, 14-5-01).

j) An Asia Foundation survey carried out by members of 21 NGOs among 1,558 Timorese in the districts revealed that while 94% wanted to vote, only 5% knew that the vote is to elect a Constituent Assembly; 35% did not know the date of the elections, and 16% did not even know there was going to be an election. Published in May, the results refer to a poll carried out in February/March; Colin Stewart (3.g) states that it does not reflect the current situation (Público e SMH, 23-5-01), while Xanana Gusmão says he does not believe the results to be accurate (Timor Post, 24-5-01).

k) “We have finally managed to get UNTAET to trust CNRT personnel, and our members are now undergoing training so they can then be involved in a territory-wide education initiative on justice, human rights and the multi-party system. Everyone wants to know exactly what democracy is so they can then say they are ready. But I have realised that Democracy is not something that is taught, but practiced”, said Xanana Gusmão.

4. Political parties

Memories of 1975 and of the post-referendum violence of 1999 are still fresh.

a) In May 2000, UNTAET decided that the political process should be put on ice. It could be “premature” and “risky” to open the Pandora’s box of the political parties at this stage. Nonetheless, one of Vieira de Mello’s assistants believed that “if all goes according to plan, it could be feasible six months from now” (Le Monde Diplomatique, 12-5-00).

b) The CNRT, the pro-independence parties’ front, tries to minimise any campaigning excesses by the parties, among a population that has never had any democratic experience. Its efforts are reflected in the conclusions of the CNRT Congress held in August 2000: The desire of the people now is to live in a democratic and free society, avoiding a repetition of negative experience of political parties (in 1975). This is why it is necessary to inform the people about the laws which guide the activities and existence of political parties, the Code of Conduct and the respective programmes of each political party (...) The Congress recommends that ... parties base their conduct on national unity, independence, non-violence, tolerance and local socio-cultural values. It recommends that civil servants, church workers and members of the armed forces abstain from political activity...; that parties ... abstain from demonstrations, marches and the use of flags-type symbols, and focus their campaigning through the media, meetings and seminars (CNRT, 30-8-00). The Congress proposes a “Pact of National Unity (see ETO, POL02).

c) Xanana Gusmão alerts the international community to the dangers of the “intention of forcing the Timorese to accept [pro-Indonesia] parties that may subvert sovereignty of our future nation”. The law regulating political parties must “fully respect the result of the Popular Consultation held on 30 August 1999” (statement to the donors’ conference, Brussels, 5-10-00).

d) In an ‘open letter’ to the Timorese, Gusmão appealed to party leaders: “We can foresee that the current race for power by the parties that, already, are trying to control the people for that purpose, is going to lead, within the next year, to a repetition of what happened in 1975”. He seems particularly concerned about the CPD-RDTL group, which he says are linked to certain Indonesian generals (IPS, 15-1-01).

e) Those attending meetings organised by the NDI show they have high expectations of party leaders, but are also lacking in information. In spite of UN efforts to the contrary, they reject any participation by pro-integrationist parties almost unanimously. Legitimacy of the transition process is not called into question, and the CPD-RDTL, which rejects it and demands the return of the Republic proclaimed in 1975, seem to have “little or no support” (NDI report, March 2001).

f) The law on political parties is approved by the Government and the NC is promulgated in March by the Transitional Administrator. Political parties need to present 500 support signatures as from 7 May when applying for official registration. The NC, on which the parties are represented, did not make signing the National Unity Pact a pre-requisite (UNTAET, 22-2-01). The election campaign will start on 15 July [the legalised parties and the election campaign are to be the subject of an ETO ‘Memo’].

g) Sérgio Vieira de Mello and political party leaders meet on 4, 19 and 29 May to discuss issues such as women’s participation, a code of conduct, and the signing of a pact between the parties, participation of parties in the civic education campaign.

h) Aderito de Jesus Soares (3.i) criticises political parties: “at the moment, there isn’t a single political party that is talking about bringing back the thousands of refugees across the border in West Timor. (...) Everyone can see that the parties are more concerned about symbols than about the people” (Timor Post, 14-5-01).

i) José Ramos Horta reaffirms before the Security Council that the CNRT will dissolve in June to make way for democratic pluralism. The signing of a National Pact is awaited; it embraces values of tolerance, non-violence, respect for minorities and for the State of law, and will bind all parties to honour the outcome of the elections (UN-SC/7061, 18-5-01).

5. Constitution

The election for Constituent Assembly is scheduled for 30 August 2001.

a) After the election, the Assembly will have just 3 months in which to approve the Constitution. This is enough time in Xanana Gusmão’s view, as he believes the draft Constitution ought to be “simple and universal”, and “debated with the population throughout the territory (...) to enable the people to know the foundations of the Timorese nation”, before being submitted to the Constituent Assembly. “given that the Constitution should not be programmatic or ideological (...) the Constituent Assembly will not need a lengthy period of time to debate the first Constitution of Timor” (New Year’s Message, 31-12-00).

b) On the Constitution will depend the “elections for a president (assuming a presidential system is chosen), the appointment of a government, and the declaration of independence would all take place in the last quarter of 2001” (AP, UN, 28-11-00). The Constituent Assembly could take on legislative functions during the transition period (UN-SC/6999, 26-1-01).

c) On 22 February, the NC approved the Constituent Assembly’s constitution: 88 members: 1 representative per each of the 13 districts, elected at district level, and 75 elected proportionally at national level.

d) On 16 March, the electoral law was promulgated (2001/2). A proposal that there should be a set quota of women on parties’ candidate lists was rejected by the NC, largely because this was made a condition for the parties to funding for their electoral activities (see ETO WOM01). Sérgio Vieira de Mello reintroduced the proposal in the form of a recommendation included in the electoral law’s preamble. UNTAET organises special training for women candidates (Lusa e UNTAET, 16-3-01).

e) The electoral law requires that “The [Constituent] Assembly should to take into account the results of the community consultations on the Constitution”. On 17 March, 33 Timorese NGOs send a letter to the Security Council asking for the elections to be postponed, because the process of consultation among the population “ought to take at least 9 months, and a further 3 for processing the data” (NGO Forum, 17-3-01).

f) A draft regulation on the National Constitutional Commission (NCC), which would carry out the community consultations, was rejected by the National Council (7 votes in favour, 5 against, 8 abstentions, 14 members of the NC did not attend), following an speech by the FRETILIN representative, who considered the NCC “unnecessary” and “political manoeuvre” (Lusa, 27-3-01).

g) The next day, Xanana Gusmão presented Sérgio Vieira de Mello with his resignation as president of the National Council: “The NC no longer represents the view of the East Timorese”, “I refuse to be part of a politically irresponsible process”, wrote Xanana (AP, 28-3).

h) “He [Xanana Gusmão] feels he was unfairly challenged by some members of the NC and I agree with him”, said Sérgio Vieira de Mello (Público, 29-3-01). “The Cabinet agrees with the Transitional Administrator to support the NGOs’ initiatives on the Constitution issue... and recommends that the Administrator establish consultative mechanisms in the districts, which would seek the views of the East Timorese people on constitutional issues and make these available to the Constituent Assembly” (UNservice, 28-3-01).

i) District Constitutional Commissions (CC) “will be established as an official mechanism to distil the results of these civil society discussions”, says the UN report (UN SC S/2001/436, 2-5-01). These commissions will hold hearings in the territory’s 65 sub-districts between 18 June and 14 July to gather the people’s views on the Constitution. Each district will have its own CC consisting of 5 to 7 members, 1 rapporteur and 1 adviser. The rapporteur will hand over a report to Sérgio Vieira de Mello (UNTAET, 4-6-01).

j) NGOs write to ‘minister’ Peter Galbraith to say that NGOs will not be proposing members for the CCs because, as they had already stated in their March letter to the Security Council, they consider the time allotted for consultation to be insufficient; because the choice of commission members is made exclusively on the basis of lists drawn up by the district consultative councils, and because it is not clear how the results of the consultation are going to be used, especially in terms of their influence on the Constituent Assembly (NGO Forum, 18-4-01).

k) The Independent Electoral Commission (3 international experts and 2 Timorese), responsible for ensuring that the result of the vote reflects the wishes of the people, meets formally for the first time on 31 May. Its first task is to examine any objections to party legalisation. (UNTAET, 31-5-01).

l) 122 UN Volunteers arrive to organise the election, distribute information about the election and civic education, and recruit Timorese staff to work with them in these tasks. (UNTAET, 21-5-01).


1. Just as in the areas of development and administration, where disproportionate resources and means of local Timorese and foreigners working in the territory may be discouraging Timorese initiatives or making them unsustainable, excessive international intervention in the political area could well extinguish the energy released after centuries of colonisation and decades of military occupation.

2. Civic and electoral education, in the learning sense, is unquestionably the most important issue at this stage of the political process. It consists of transmitting the rules, but is essentially the result of discussion and experience. The leading players must be none other than the Timorese themselves, and international ‘experts’ have to realise the limitations of their own role. The fact that it took until April 2001 for UNTAET’s civil education chief to state that this kind of education “has to be carried out by Timorese themselves and not imposed by UNTAET or the international community” is a matter for some concern.

3. Both before and after the Indonesian invasion, structures existed that were called ‘political parties’, but they had little in common with what is generally meant by the term. Since last year, there have been ‘assemblies’ having a degree of popular representation (National Council, local councils elected to share in decision-making on the priorities for applying some development funds). However, for many Timorese “power” is still synonymous with traditional local chief, religious/church leader, former armed resistance commander, or former clandestine resistance leader. There is a cultural component in this reality. It must start to change now, but the effects will be gradual.

4. We have come across no information on the way in which the constitutional commission hearings are to be conducted. Are there any standard criteria or guidelines to serve as a basis for the hearing discussions? If no such criteria or guidelines are applied to the process of eliciting people's views, how are the results of discussions to be "distilled" so they genuinely reflect civil society's views?

5. UNTAET made reconciliation one of the electoral campaign’s key issues but, while everyone realises there can be no lasting reconciliation without justice, or at least without admission of the crimes and a plea for forgiveness, the UN has not provided the judicial enquiries with the resources they need, and backs away from calls for an international tribunal. Does it want reconciliation, or for what has happened to be forgotten? Does it want to establish a lasting democracy, or to numb the Timorese until the UN can pronounce that its mission has been successful?

6. The presence of the UN should have facilitated the introduction of mechanisms, regulations and structures that promote democratic debate among the Timorese. The UN is not being asked to install a ready-made perfect democracy in East Timor, but rather to sow some seeds and nurture their growth for as long as it is in the territory. There will be no success for the UN in East Timor without success for the Timorese, said José Ramos Horta.

Observatory for the monitoring of East Timor's transition process a programme by the 'Comissão para os Direitos do Povo Maubere'
Coordinator: Cláudia Santos 
Rua Pinheiro Chagas, 77 2ºE -  1069-069     Lisboa - Portugal
ph.: 351 1 317 28 60  -  fax: 351 1 317 28 70  -  e-mail:

Observatório Timor Leste  Updated Jan 25
Duas Organizações Não Governamentais portuguesas, a COMISSÃO PARA OS DIREITOS DO POVO MAUBERE (CDPM) e o grupo ecuménico A PAZ É POSSÍVEL EM TIMOR LESTE que, desde o início da década de oitenta, se solidarizam com a causa do Povo de Timor Leste, tomaram a decisão de criar o OBSERVATÓRIO TIMOR LESTE. A vocação do Observatório Timor Leste é, no quadro das recentes alterações do regime de Jacarta face a Timor Leste, o acompanhamento, a nível internacional, do processo negocial e, no interior do território, do inevitável período de transição que se anuncia.
correio electrónico:  URL:

East Timor Observatory  Updated Jan 25
ETO was set up by two Portuguese NGOs - the Commission for the Rights of the Maubere People (CDPM) and the ecumenical group Peace is Possible in East Timor,  which have been involved in East Timor solidarity work since the early eighties. The aim of the Observatory was to monitor East Timor's transition process, as well as the negotiating process and its repercussions at international level, and the developments in the situation inside the territory itself.
E-mail:  Homepage:

Observatoire Timor-Oriental  Updated Jan 25
Deux Organisations Non Gouvernementales portugaises, la ‘Commission pour les Droits du Peuple Maubere’ et l’association oecuménique "La Paix est Possible au Timor Oriental", qui se solidarisent avec la cause du peuple du Timor Oriental depuis le début des années 80, ont pris la décision de créer un OBSERVATOIRE TIMOR ORIENTAL. La vocation de cet observatoire est d’accompagner le processus de transition du Timor Oriental, aussi bien le processus de négociation que ses répercussions au niveau international et l’évolution de la situation à l’intérieur du territoire.
courrier électronique:  URL:

See also:

Jun 18 OTL: Transição e processo eleitoral  Report added June 23
"o processo eleitoral progride nos seus aspectos a dominante administrativos (recenseamento, registo dos partidos) mas, nos domínios onde o papel dos Timorenses é ou devia ser preponderante (educação cívica e eleitoral, mecanismos de preparação da Constituição), o processo emperra. Muitos funcionários internacionais parecem não aprender tão depressa como Xanana Gusmão que: “a democracia não se ensina, pratica-se” " Observatório Timor Leste

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

BD: Calls for International War Crimes Tribunal - A collection of recent reports, articles and news

BD: Truth, Reception and Reconciliation - A collection of recent information, reports, articles and news

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