International experts and representatives from Political Parties and civil society will discuss the future Constitution of East Timor at a one-day Seminar in Dili. The seminar will be held at the Canossian Sisters, Becora, on 30 May 2001. The Seminar is organized by the NGO Constitutional Working Group and supported by the Asia Foundation.
The Constitutional Working Group, a coalition of International and National NGOs, believes that the full participation of East Timorese men and women in the constitutional process is a priority. The seminar is an opportunity to explore different options of how East Timorese can effectively contribute to the Constitution-making process.
International experts from Thailand, Fiji and South Africa will share the different constitutional experiences of their countries. “In Thailand, we wanted to get the whole country behind the constitution. We had a broad 8-month campaign to inform the public about the constitution and to listen to their views,” said Somkiat Onwimon, a Senator from Thailand.
“We can learn from the experiences of different countries. One of the ways that we can achieve a good consultation process is through having an Interim Constitution for East Timor. It is important that East Timorese men and women have enough time to express what they want for their future. An Interim Constitution and future consultation process will allow more time for adequate consultation with the people. This cannot possibly be achieved in the one and a half months currently planned,” said Aderito Soares from the Jurists Association.
“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,” said Joaquim Fonseca, Advocacy Officer for Yayasan Hak.
For further information contact:
Soares 0409 263 718
Joaquim Fonseca 0417 068 993
Somkiat Onwimon 0409 263 718
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