EAST TIMOR SITREP
November 3, 2000
Representatives from Caritas agencies in Norway, Sweden, Japan, Australia,
New Zealand, Dili, Caritas Internationalis and CAFOD, CRS, JRS, CORDAID
and ICMC, participated in a meeting in Dare on October 28 and 29. The meeting
focused on improving co-ordination between the national and international
Catholic agencies in East Timor and to develop plans to better serve the
needs of the East Timorese people through local partners.
The seminar acknowledged the difficulties and challenges experienced by
the local agencies operating in the emergency and transitional administration
period. Key recommendations form the meeting included a future partnership
seminar to further explore participation and joint decision making amongst
all partners; and an ongoing commitment by those agencies operational in
East Timor to explore mechanisms to improve co-ordination.
Independence leader Xanana Gusmao has been elected as president of the
territory’s first UN-appointed legislature. The ET National Council consists
of 36 members representing districts, community and religious groups and
political parties. The vice president is Milena Pires.
The first rains of the season have begun but as yet there has not been
enough rain to have an impact on roads etc.
UN peacekeepers killed a militiaman on October 24 in a fire-fight that
took place some 6kms from Suai in which a UNPKF patrol encountered three
armed pro-Jakarta fighters shortly after dark. On October 6, PKF shot dead
an armed militia man in Cova Lima. The man was fully armed and combat ready.
Indonesia abandoned its deadline for disarming pro-Jakarta militias in
West Timor. This move represents a significant setback to international
demands that law and order be restored and militias disarmed before UN
aid workers can return to West Timor.
The United Nations has announced that a seven member UN Security Council
delegation will visit the region from Nov. 9-18. Media reports said the
mission would review the UN interim administration in East Timor and also
monitor Indonesia’s implementation of Security Council resolution related
to the killing last month of three UNHCR staff in West Timor. The resolution
called on the Jakarta government to disarm and disband militias that have
been terrorizing refugees, restore law and order, ensure security in the
refugee camps and prevent incursions into East Timor.
Returnees and the Tasi Tolu Transit Centre, Dili
Organized voluntary repatriations continue slowly, with 128 returnees arriving
at the Tasi Tolu Transit Centre in Dili during October. 74 of these came
via Kuala Lumpur on an IOM-chartered aircraft (they came from Kota Kinabalu
Some 642 refugees have spontaneously repatriated in October (as at Oct.
27). In addition a group of 121 people crossed into Oecussi at the end
of October with another eight families following. All of the returnees
are originally from Passabe in the enclave, and they crossed over at Passabe.
Caritas Australia assisted with the transport of these returnees to their
homes. The returnees reported that they only had rice and water in the
camps from which they came.
UNTAET radio expected to have transmitters operational in Maliana, Suai
and Oecussi by the end of October. A mountain-top transmitter will soon
be installed in Balibo that should ensure that UNTAET’s radio transmissions
reach nearly all the refugee-affected areas of West Timor.
The first rain fell in Oecussi on October 12, a little earlier than expected.
There is still some confusion over when the passenger ferry service between
Oecussi and Dili will begin operation and the details of how it will operate
Vegetable Seed: Women’s groups in 62 selcoms have received a distribution
of vegetable seeds. Over ten varieties of seeds were given to each of the
Vulnerable Group Feeding and Geographic Vulnerable Group Feeding: This
program continues as usual with a few additional selcoms receiving support.
Food for Work : Caritas Australia continues the distribution of food for
this program which is operating across the enclave.
World Food Program: WFP has expressed its intention to remain operational
in East Timor for another four to five years. The agency will continue
to operate under EMOP (emergency Operations) status for 2001 as this will
allow flexibility in responding to food needs. There will then follow a
PRRO (Protracted relief and rehabilitation operation). Following this phase,
through 2003/4 will be a very targeted, development phase of operation.
Over 500 housing kits have now been distributed widely to the more remote
areas of the enclave. At least 200 of these kits have begun or completed
WFP provided helicopter transportation for 35 shelter kits to villages
which are inaccessible by road. The Humanitarian Pillar (HAER) has also
expressed their intention to provide helicopter support for distribution
of the Caritas kits.
Reroofing of teacher’s houses and other community buildings has commenced.
Crimes Evidence Training Program (CETP)
The two-day Training for Local NGOs dealing with Sexual Assault was conducted
in Dili in October. Thirty-five participants were involved in the
highly successful workshop, which was jointly organised, by Caritas Australia
As part of the support to the local NGOs engaged in human rights activities,
visits have been made by the Caritas Australia legal adviser to Baucau
At the request of the NGO Forum, the legal adviser has also provided comment
on two draft pieces of legislation: one on political parties, the other
Caritas Australia is assisting the Justice and Peace Commission in Baucau
in the production of a video. The video will be as a tool for civic education
and will feature the history of East Timor and future goals from the Church’s
perspective. The video will be produced in both Tetum and English.
VISITORS in October:
Jack de Groot, National Director, Caritas Australia
Margaret McCafferty, Program Manager, Caritas Australia
Catherine Chalk, AUSTCARE
Visiting members of the CI network (see Minutes of meeting)