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BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor

May 2001 News, Articles & Reports:


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May 2001 AsiaFound: Nat'l Survey of Voter Knowledge  Foreword and executive summary added June 28
"This report presents the findings of the first ever random nationwide survey to assess East Timorese political opinions and knowledge. ... The survey involved 1,558 in-person interviews of potential voters in a total of 392 Aldeia in 196 villages in all the 13 districts of East Timor. It addresses critical issues related to the national mood; voter and civic education issues; access to media; language use and preference; and demographics." The Asia Foundation

May 30 AAP: East Timor's Horta calls for over 90 pct of Timor Gap royalties  News added June 25
“Eighty-five per cent I hope is the minimum that the current [Australian] government will offer, ... (But) I hope that John Howard and Alexander Downer will want to do more than what Labor [opposition party] has offered. ... Kim Beazley and Laurie Brereton have said a Labor government will offer 90 per cent of the revenues to East Timor. ... So if I were John Howard and Alexander Downer, I would never allow Labor to be seen as more generous that I. ... So the minimum that the current government should do is to offer 91 per cent or 95 per cent. The Australian community will applaud that,” Dr Ramos-Horta

May 29 A People’s Constitution for East Timor  Release added June 22
“A constitution should be a living document reflecting the needs, hopes and aspirations of the Timorese people. It is important that the Constitution is not only owned by the elite, but also by ordinary men and women. It is important that all the Timorese are involved enough in the process so that we can call it a People’s Constitution,” Joaquim Fonseca, Advocacy Officer, Yayasan Hak

May 28 AidWatch: Letter to World Bank  Letter added June 9
"At the seminar you [Mr Klaus Rohland] explained World Bank reasons for vetoing the public grain silo. ... However you did not address the main point of my question, which was: how was this ‘vetoing’ of funds, given for the people of East Timor by the donor countries, consistent with the human right of self-determination of a people (Article One of both the Covenants of the International Bill of Rights)?"  Tim Anderson, researcher, AID/WATCH: Monitoring the Development Dollar

May 25 GLW: World Bank dictates development  Article added June 9
"There is a common perception that the World Bank is a subsidiary or support group for the UN, which is not the case. ... The World Bank is indirectly at the moment - and I think with stronger pressure in the future - pushing the East Timorese into developing cash crops for export, in particular, organic coffee. This will create pressure on old traditional title and [lead to] the resolution of land disputes in favour of large landholders [who seek] to consolidate and create cash-cropping areas, which also poses the threat of environmental degradation." Tim Anderson, researcher, AID/WATCH: Monitoring the Development Dollar

May 23 Rondo: East Timor's Refugees: the Growing Crisis  Event added May 24
"Indonesian plans for refugee registration on June 6 by military and militia-associated groups will put the refugees in grave danger. ... Mr. Rondo and CIS are currently working to ensure the refugee registration process scheduled for June 2001 allows refugees to choose between repatriation to East Timor and resettlement within Indonesian freely and without intimidation. Concerns include the prominent role of the Indonesian military and militia in the process."

May 20 FRETILIN: Electoral Commitment 2001  Position statement added July 4
"The struggle of our People was always aimed at restoring independence. FRETILIN, as the driving force of the resistance, believed in the unwavering capacity of the Maubere People to resist and to win. ... Together we will Restore Independence and Free the People. Vote for FRETILIN." FRETILIN: Frente Revolucionária Do Timor-Leste Independente

May 17 ETO: East Timor Defence Force: the price of security  Report added June 8
"Continuing instability (largely due to the behaviour of militias, and Armed Forces and Government of Indonesia) has forced the international community and the Timorese to shift from their original position that the territory should not have armed forces. By the end of 2001, only 600 members of the ETDF will have been trained, which means that the presence of international military and observers will have to continue, until militias in West Timor are disbanded, disarmed, and their members brought to trial." East Timor Observatory

Portuguese:
May 17 OTL: Forças de Defesa de Timor Leste: custos da segurança  Report added June 8
"A situação de instabilidade continuada (fortemente dependente do comportamento das milícias, Forças Armadas e governo indonésio) obrigou a comunidade internacional e os timorenses a alterar a posição inicial de não criação de FA para o território. Apenas 600 efectivos das FDTL serão treinados até finais de 2001, o que impõe a necessidade da continuação de uma presença de militares e observadores internacionais até que as milícias em Timor Ocidental sejam desmanteladas, desarmadas e os seus elementos levados a julgamento." Observatório Timor Leste

May 17 ETAN/US: U.S. House of Reps Supports Timor Rights & Reconstruction  Release added May 19
“U.S. support is critical to East Timor’s future, and we appreciate the deep continuing involvement demonstrated by the House of Representatives. We must build on this step to institute socially, environmentally, and economically just relations between the two countries. Given past U.S. support for Indonesia’s illegal occupation, that is the least our country can do for the people of East Timor,” Karen Orenstein, Washington Coordinator, East Timor Action Network/U.S.

May 16 SBS: See No Evil  TV documentary added May 18
"We reveal the extent of intelligence gathered by the Australian Army in East Timor after the ballot and the bloodshed in 1999. And we show how that information was withheld at a critical time. This report from Mark Davis examines Australia‘s ongoing silence - a silence which has helped rehabilitate Indonesia in the eyes of the world, and continues to impede the establishment of an International War Crimes Tribunal." SBS Dateline (Australia)

May 16 DPA: U.S. reassures East Timor leaders of support  News added May 18
“There is no alternative but for the (U.N.) Security Council and the secretary general of the United Nations to push for a war crimes tribunal,” Ramos Horta, Nobel Peace laureate

May 16 IHRN & ETAN: Rights Groups Oppose Military Cooperation with Indonesia  Release added May 20
"The East Timor Action Network (ETAN) and the Indonesia Human Rights Network (IHRN) today condemned Indonesia’s participation in joint military exercises with the U.S. The groups warned that any military cooperation sends the wrong message to the Indonesian military (TNI), which has yet to be held accountable for past human rights abuses in both East Timor and Indonesia and continues to engage in systematic violations across the archipelago."

May 14 SC: Petroleum Related Education, Training And Employment For East Timorese  Release added June 9
"The Steering Committee ...  is pleased to announce that its Member Organisations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop programs designed to enable East Timorese people to compete effectively for employment in the oil and gas industry and related East Timor Government administration." Dr Mari Alkatiri, Chair of the Steering Committee

May 14 LH: NGO Forum declines to join UNTAET Constitutional Process  Letter added May 16
"The NGO Forum has chosen to coordinate with, but remain independent of, the UNTAET Constitution building process because of strong concerns that UNTAET’s process is rushed and highly inadequate." Lao Hamutuk, East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis

May 14 IHRC: NZ Foreign Minister Urged To Act On International Tribunal  Release added May 20
"The Indonesia Human Rights Committee has written to the Minister of Foreign Affairs [Aotearoa New Zealand] to urge him to mobilise international support for an effective international tribunal to try those responsible for mass murder in East Timor. The Committee also wants stronger action to enforce an end to militia violence in the West Timor refugee camps and on the border with East Timor." Indonesia Human Rights Committee

May 11 STL: Peter Galbraith: Timor Gap negotiations Slow But Certain  News from ETimor added May 13

May 10 RadNeth: Horta - Bumpy Road to Independence  News added May 19
“As long as necessary, at least the peacekeeping forces should stay beyond independence for two or three years to guarantee peace and security in the territory. After independence, we will still need quite a few international advisers for various sectors, particularly banking, finance and justice. But they will be there at our request under the responsibility of the elected Timorese government." Ramos-Horta

May 10 Woodcroft-Lee: Concerns over expatriate attitudes  Reflections updated May 12
"My observations of the following is cause for concern:
a total lack of cultural and political awareness; a reluctance to involve local East Timorese staff in the running of organisations; an apparent disregard of proper industrial relations; and the ‘foreigners know best’ attitude."
Trish Woodcroft-Lee, volunteer in East Timor

May 10 Reut: Portugal lawmakers censure E. Timor administration  News added May 13
"UNTAET was exemplary in accomplishing its mission to maintain security and socio-economic stabilisation in the territory, ... But its administration is costly and not very efficient and has not brought about the prompt preparation of Timorese bodies for future administration,” report compiled after a visit by a Portuguese parliamentary commission

May 9 GLW: UN lets Indonesian military off the hook  Article with comments from BACK DOOR updated May 16
"The East Timorese people have been extremely patient over these last 18 months both in coping with the trauma and subsequent disruption of their lives caused by the TNI-directed destruction, as well as having to cope with the large, well-paid and arrogant foreign presence of the UN here. However, this patience is wearing thin.  Without organised, consistent pressure from the East Timorese people and their international supporters, those who laid waste to East Timor will get away with their crimes unpunished." Vanya Tanaja

  TV documentary added May 13
"In an extraordinary investigation, reporter Mark Davis returns to East Timor to disclose disturbing new revelations about Australia’s secret intelligence information prior to the country’s independence referendum. ... A senior officer has now revealed for the first time that Canberra knew the Indonesian Army had plans to destroy East Timor and murder independence supporters, and failed to alert those most at risk." SBS Dateline (Australia)

May 8 JP: Atambua sentence: Ever elusive justice on  Editorial added May 10
"International condemnation came swift and fast on Friday as soon as a district court in Jakarta sentenced six pro-Indonesia East Timorese to between 10 and 20 months in jail for their roles in the September murder of three United Nations humanitarian aid workers. ... As people in this country and abroad must realize by now, it is one thing for Indonesia to carry out due process of law and completely another whether this process ensures the delivery of justice, which is the very objective of this whole exercise." Jakarta Post editorial

May 8 Catholic aid agency CAFOD calls for war crimes court on East Timor  Release added May 10May 9 SBS: Australias East Timor secret
“It is clear that there is no political will in Jakarta for any serious steps to be taken against those who commit human rights atrocities. Jakarta’s efforts on this front have lost all credibility. ... One of the best steps towards the development of democracy in the long-run is the promotion of justice and the rule of law. CAFOD is concerned that groups being seen as clearly above and outside the law will affect the development of democratic principles in both East Timor and Indonesia, and will only promote the use of violence in both societies. ... It is time for the international community to realise that we can best support these fledgling democracies by bringing to justice those guilty of such atrocities. Indonesia cannot and will not do this itself, and it is time for the establishment of an international tribunal on East Timor.” Catherine Sexton, CAFOD Programme Officer for East Timor

28 April – 5 May 2001 CSW: Joint Mission to East Timor  Report added June 30
"The words of an East Timorese song performed before the 1999 Referendum read thus: "Our people are suffering and dying, our hearts cry out but no one knows. Please remember our little homeland. Please remember East Timor. Oh, our little homeland! Oh, East Timor. Deeply suffering the world’s rejection, stripped by strangers, repressed by torture. Oh, my homeland, will you be free?" We sincerely hope and pray that the people of East Timor will never again have to suffer the anguish of torture, of their land being stripped by strangers, and of being rejected and forgotten by the world. We hope that they will experience true freedom and independence. We will stand with them." Dr Martin Panter & Benedict Rogers, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW)

May 5 GLW: East Timor: Big business press backs Australian oil theft  Article added May 5
"In the wake of the second round of negotiations between Australia and East Timor on the Timor Gap Treaty and the disputed seabed boundary, Australia’s big business press are stepping-up its support for Canberra’s push to deny East Timor a fair share of the revenue from oil and gas deposits. ... There has been no indication that the UNTAET is pursuing any goals [in relation to Timor oil] different to the wishes of the East Timorese leadership. There have been no public criticisms from the National Council or the East Timorese members of the transitional cabinet.  Although the Australian government and its supporters in the capitalist media look set to continue their blackmailing and bullying tactics, and misrepresentation of the views of East Timor’s negotiators, UNTAET and the East Timorese leadership seems determined not to falter." Jon Land, Indonesia - East Timor Campaign Watch

May 4 CNS: Pressure will bring Timorese refugees home, says former JRS head  News added May 10
“The allies of Indonesia can help by direct contact with the Indonesian government or its military, imploring them to take that control, [of the militias] ... There is no process of accountability for the perpetrators of the violence, and in those camps are many militias, ... Without the help of the international community, these camps will not be liberated from the control of the militias, ... The East Timorese people were my first teachers in the field of humanitarian aid [in 1975]. And my first lesson began with that bad smell produced by the false dichotomy ... between principle and pragmatism, ... Being pragmatic does not exclude being principled, righteous and respectful of human rights, ... Foreign policy based solely on pragmatism makes for poor governance," Jesuit Father Mark Raper, former head of Jesuit Refugee Service

Bahasa Indonesia:
May 3 ACFOA: Partai-Partai Dan Kelompok-Kelompok Politik Di Timor Timur  Catatan Briefing added May 16
"Timor-Timur kini tengah memasuki tahap akhir yang penting dari proses transisi menuju kemerdekaan penuh. ... Tetapi sekarang partai-partai boleh menduduki ‘centre stage’ untuk memainkan peranan penting mereka dalam suatu proses demokrasi. Ini adalah suatu kemajuan yang positif dan sehat di mana kelebihan seseorang tidak menjadi faktor yang melemahkan. ... Berapa banyak partai yang akan bertanding dalam pemilihan? Siapa pemimpin partai-partai tersebut dan bagaimana mereka dapat dihubungi? Seberapa berbeda partai-partai ini dibandingkan dengan yang sebelumnya? Apa ide-ide dan kebijakan mereka terhadap pembangunan di Timor Timur, kebijakan luar negeri dan sebagainya?" Pat Walsh, Badan Bantuan Luar Negeri Australia

May 3 IT: War Crimes in East Timor  Letter to the Irish Times [Dublin] added May 10
"Any international war crimes tribunal for East Timor will serve several purposes. It will let the Indonesian people know the full extent of the savagery and horror of what was done in their name. And it will let them and the world know the Indonesian military for what they are - a gang of murderers and criminals. They won’t just become international pariahs, but become pariahs in their own country. Last but not least, for those of us who saw many members of our families die, it will give us some comfort at the thought that those responsible will one day have to face justice and answer for what they did." Jose Lopes

May 3 TP: NC members off to Darwin to gather data on Timor Gap  News from ETimor added May 5
"Twenty-six councilors out the 30-member National Council will be making their way to Darwin between 8 May - 10 May to seek further data on the Timor Gap. This data will be used by the National Council to analyze the involvement of the Australian government and Philips Petroleum in the development of the Timor Gap, said National Council President Manuel Carascalao yesterday." Timor Post

May 2 IO: Solidamor demands Wiranto be charged  News from Indonesia added May 3
"The Solidarity Without Borders (Solidamor), led by its chairman Bonar Tigor Naipospos, was received by senior prosecutor Rahman, who chairs a Attorney General's Office (AGO) team investigating human rights abuses in East Timor. The AGO last week named 18 suspects in the destruction of East Timor by pro-Jakarta militias after the East Timorese people voted for independence from Indonesia on August 30, 1999. However, the list sparked outrage from human rights activists as it excluded Wiranto and other former high-ranking officers," Indonesian Observer


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