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BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor

Early Articles & Reports:


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Oct 25 2000 WSWS: Timor Gap dispute highlights motives behind Australian intervention  Article added May 4
"Australian media commentators have expressed concern that the Howard government's intransigence on the border dispute will discredit the official humanitarian rationale for the dispatch of Australian troops to East Timor. “Some observers believe,” noted a front-page article in the Sydney Morning Herald last week, “the Howard government is attempting to conceal its bid to minimise East Timor's share of Timor Sea mineral wealth because it would be unpopular domestically where there is strong support for the long suffering East Timorese. It could also damage Australia's international reputation as the saviour of East Timor.” ... Throughout all the twists and turns of Australian policy — from justifying the 1975-99 military subjugation of Timor's people at a cost of some 200,000 lives to suddenly claiming to be preoccupied with rescuing them from Indonesian-backed militias — successive Australian governments, both Liberal and Labor, have had a common objective — to secure a controlling stake in the Timor Sea oil and gas reserves." Mike Head

Oct 9 2000 AAP: Australian Labor Party / Australian Democrats back East Timor on Gap Treaty  News added Feb 27
* "Such a settlement [a boundary between Australia and ETimor equi-distant from both nations] would place major gas and petroleum reserves within East Timor's maritime boundaries and constitute a just outcome consistent with the law of the sea," Laurie Brereton, Australian Labor Party foreign affairs spokesman
* "[Australian] Democrats' foreign affairs spokesperson Vicki Bourne said she favoured a proposal which would give 90 per cent of all revenue from gap development to East Timor." AAP

Portuguese:
Out 2 2000 OTL: Educação, início do 1º ano escolar em Outubro de 2000  Report added June 27
"Sob a administração indonésia, apenas 6% dos 6672 professores primários (timorenses e indonésios) possuíam as habilitações curriculares necessárias ao ensino (Columbia University, 1999). O teste de selecção ao qual foram submetidos os professores parece essencialmente visar a redução do seu número e, assim, do seu peso sobre o orçamento da educação. O corte drástico, para menos de metade dos efectivos, contradiz a proclamação do acesso à escola primária para todas as crianças. A relação professor/alunos, 1/55, não é de molde a melhorar a qualidade. As exigências do Banco Mundial para a qualidade das construções e mobílias – e financiamentos implícitos oriundos do TFET- não parecem ter equivalente nos meios humanos que dependem do orçamento corrente." Observatório Timor Leste

Oct 2 2000 ETO: Education - 1st school year starts in October 2000  Report added June 27
"In Indonesia’s administration, only 6% of the 6,672 primary teachers (Timorese and Indonesian) held the necessary teaching qualifications (Columbia University, 1999). The purpose of the nationwide teacher selection examination appears to have been to cut back on their numbers and, thus, on education budget spending. Such a drastic reduction – down to less than half original numbers – flies in the face of the proclaimed access to primary school education for all children. At 1:55, the teacher/pupil ratio is not one that will enhance quality. The World Bank’s emphasis on quality when it comes to buildings and furniture – and the availability of funding from TFET – do not seem to be echoed in the area of human resources that depend on the current budget." East Timor Observatory

Portuguese:
Set 14 2000 OTL: Agricultura, reabilitação e desenvolvimento  Report added May 17
"Apesar de todos os condicionamentos resultantes da destruição de Setembro de 1999, quando os indonésios se retiraram de Timor-Leste, a actividade agrícola, a que mais depende dos próprios timorenses, é a que dá os maiores sinais de recuperação: em seis meses, a produção de cereais voltou a 75% do nível anterior e a do café aos 100%. ... A diversificação é a melhor protecção contra a insegurança alimentar da população, mas não parece preocupar os intervenientes externos que apostam no café." Observatório Timor Leste

Sep 14 2000 ETO: Agriculture, rehabilitation and development  Report added May 17
"In spite of all the setbacks caused by the destruction last September [1999], when the Indonesians withdrew from East Timor, agriculture is the activity that depends most on the Timorese themselves and is also the area that is now showing the clearest signs of recovery ... The people’s best protection against food insecurity lies in diversification," East Timor Observatory

Aug 2000 AID/WATCH: Partnership versus ‘consultation’ in East Timor  Analysis added Apr 4
"UN officials have consistently marginalised the Conselho Nacional de Resistencia Timorense (CNRT), insisting it be accorded consultative rather than partnership status. The CNRT insists it is a national council, not simply a political party, or ‘the biggest NGO in East Timor’. It brings together a range of political forces, and the CNRT argues it should have been recognised as the Timorese-run transitional government from the outset. Nonetheless, the CNRT reluctantly agreed to participate in the UN’s ‘National Consultative Council’ (NCC), although several prominent CNRT figures refused to join. Reflecting the NCC’s consultative status, the UN retains the ability to rule by decree, rendering the council toothless on key issues. Policies such as the introduction of sales taxes and the introduction of the US dollar as the local currency, have simply been imposed." James Goodman, academic, activist, member Committee of Management of AID/WATCH

Aug 2000 CNRT/NC: Draft resolution on human rights  Added Dec 26
"* Taking into account the many long years of pain and suffering resulting from the denial of our basic rights and freedoms as a people and as individual men, women and children;
* Acknowledging that while these abuses were inflicted by individuals, they were essentially the outcome of an oppressive system and policies which legitimised and institutionalised the violation of human rights and fostered impunity and the abuse of power;
* Recognising the necessity to ensure that such violations are never repeated in an independent East Timor and that it is therefore our duty to build a new society which embraces human rights as the basis of democracy, good governance, the rule of law and sustainable economic and social development for all the citizens of East Timor, especially the disadvantaged and minorities;
* Endorsing the principles and undertakings of the CNRT Magna Carta Concerning Freedoms, Rights, Duties and Guarantees for the People of East Timor adopted in 1998;
* Re-affirming our acceptance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Civil, Political and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and other human rights instruments endorsed in the CNRT Magna Carta;
* Declaring our support for the newly established International Criminal Court and the Rome Statutes which govern it; ... " CNRT/National Congress

Aug 30 2000 IHT: A Year Later, East Timor's People Are Still Waiting for Justice  Article added June 30
"The United Nations should immediately set up a human rights tribunal for East Timor. ... The United States, Britain and Australia have a special responsibility to ensure that this happens because for more than two decades they backed Indonesia's occupation of East Timor. Their active support for an international tribunal will help them atone for their complicity. It will also help to heal the wounds of those who were most victimized and to build an independent East Timor which respects the principles of democracy and human rights." Aderito de Jesus Soares, founder, East Timor Jurists Association

Tetum:
Boletim La’o Hamutuk: [PDF formatu]
Vol. 1, No. 2, 17 Julho 2000
Protesaun ba meio ambiente iha TL:
http://www.etan.org/lh/PDFs/bulletin02tetum.pdf

Tetum:
Jul 17 2000 BLH: Ajuda Internasional ba Timor Lorosa’e: Misericordia?  Editorial from ETimor added Apr 4
"La’o Hamutuk husu ba nain ulun UNTAET tahan atu fo osan ba Timor Lorosa’e nudar “misericordia”, ita tenke hare sira nudar modesto hanesan compesacao husi governo nebe fahe sira nian responsabilidade ba povo Timor Lorosa’e nia terus no destrucao nacao-la’os deit iha Septembro 1999, maibe durante 24 anos nia laran." La’o Hamutuk, Instituto Timor Lorosa’e ba Analiza no Monitoring Reconstrucao

July 17 2000 LHB: International Funding for East Timor: Charity?  Editorial from ETimor added Apr 4
"La'o Hamutuk calls upon UNTAET officials to refrain from referring to funds donated to East Timor as "charity" -- especially when the vast majority of these funds come from national governments which provided significant economic, military, and diplomatic support to Jakarta and its illegal occupation of East Timor. Rather than seeing these funds as "charity", we should see them largely as a modest beginning at amends from governments who share in the responsibility for the suffering of the East Timorese and the destruction of the country -- not only in September 1999, but in the almost-24-year period that preceded it." La'o Hamutuk: East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis

Portuguese:
15 de julho de 2000 Presidium da Juventude Lorico Asswain de Timor-Leste  Link to documents added Sep 2
FRETILIN site: http://www.geocities.com/alextilman/presidiumjuventude0600_declfinal.html
" ... 1º Congresso Nacional da Juventude de Timor-Leste: ... A Juventude de Timor-Leste, filha legítima e heróica do Povo Maubere, cumpriu o seu importante dever durante o processo da luta da resistência contra a ocupação ilegal, quer na frente armada, como na frente clandestine e na frente diplomatica. Com o sacrifício de todo o Povo, a luta da resistência forçou a comunidade internacional a abrir os olhos para as flagrantes transformações do direito do Povo de Timor-Leste à autodeterminação e independência e, conseguiu quebrar os grilhues do poderio da ocupação militar e fascista indonésia. Uma luta determinante e heróica conseguiu levar-nos para uma nova fase, que é a da libertação do Povo de todas as formas de repressão e exploração e, também, para uma nova fase de luta que é a da reconstrução das estruturas sociais que viabilizara todo o Povo a viver livre da ignorância, doenças, repressões e explorações. ... " Juventude Lorico Asswain de Timor-Leste

Tetum:
Boletim La’o Hamutuk: [PDF formatu]
Vol. 1, No. 1, 21 Juñu 2000
Rekonciliasaun:
http://www.etan.org/lh/PDFs/bulletin01tetum.pdf

Tetum:
Jun 21 2000 Y-HAK: Lopes: Rekonciliasaun Housi Lei Nia Roman  Article added Feb 23
"Principio katak rekonciliasaun tenke bazeia iha esforsu atu fo justisa ba sociedade, liu-liu ba mutun na’in sira (victima). ... Bazeia ba lia-los ne’e mak ita bele hateten katak procesu lei nian la’o. Procesu lei nian ne’e bele la’o iha tribunal (tribunal formal) no mos bele la’o tuir dalan ne’ebe la-os tribunal, hanesan mekanismo fukun (mekanisme adat). Substancia rua ne’e, justisa ho lia-los, bele hala’o hanesan no dala ida de’it, ho hanoin katak sira na’in rua tulun malu. Procesu lei nian bele mos hala’o uluk atu buka lia-los, no dala ruma ita hetan tiha ona lia-los, tuir mai ita lori problema ne’ebe iha ba tribunal." Aniceto Guterres Lopes, Direktor, Yayasan HAK

Jun 21 2000 Y-HAK: Lopes: Reconciliation from a Legal Perspective  Article added Feb 23
"It is a basic principle that we must base reconciliation on the effort to realize justice for the entire society, especially for the victims.  ... Given the spiritual injury experienced by society, the healing process must be gradual. This reconciliation is inevitably tied to the nature of the legal process. Only if there is justice can true reconciliation, or social healing, occur." Aniceto Guterres Lopes, Director, Yayasan HAK

Portuguese:
25-27 de Maio de 2000 Mini-Conferência Da OPMT, Dili  Link to documents added Sep 2
FRETILIN site: http://www.geocities.com/alextilman/conferences.html
" ... A  Mini-Conferência da OPMT, reunida de 25 a 27 de Maio do ano 2000, considerando os vários entraves sócio-culturais a emancipação da mulher, dentre os quais, se destacam o elevado grau de analfabetismo e a dominância dos valores patriarcais da sociedade timorense, decidiu propor a UNTAET:
- Para que crie mecanismos rápidos de alfabetização das mulheres. Saliente-se que numa população de aproximadamente 800 000 habitantes, 63% são mulheres. Desta percentagem da mulher, 64% é iletrada;
- Para que conceda facilidades de treino e formação técnico-profissional às mulheres da OPMT e, em particular, as viúvas de guerra;
- Para que conceda recursos e meios que permitam a OPMT educar e mobilizar a comunidade, a juventude e o homem na defesa dos direitos humanos da mulher;
- Para que introduza leis específicas na Constituição que protejam os direitos da mulher;
- Para que crie os mecanismos que promovam a criação de centros de apoio às vítimas de violência doméstica .... " OPMT: Organizacao Popular de Mulher Timor / The Popular Organisation of East Timorese Women

Portuguese:
15-20 de Maio de 2000 FRETILIN: Conferência Geral De Quadros, DILI  Link to documents added Sep 2
FRETILIN site: http://www.geocities.com/alextilman/conferences.html
" ... Tem hoje início a Conferência Geral de Quadros da FRETILIN que ao longo dos próximos dias se vai debruçar sobre a sua vida institucional, analisar a situação prevalecente em Timor-Leste e perspectivar os caminhos a seguir, para responder aos desafios, que o futuro nos coloca. Esta Conferência integra-se na dinâmica de crescimento e de reestruturação organizativa da FRETILIN que está consciente do seu papel, da sua responsabilidade e da sua força. Força que lhe advém do Povo, de Loro Sa’e a Loro Mono, de Taci Feto a Taci Mane, de Oé-Cussi, Ataúro e Jaco, como disso nos deram testemunho as reuniões distritais para eleição dos delegados a esta Conferência. A FRETILIN está ciente da incomensurável  determinação do Povo em garantir a Paz, a estabilidade e a unidade nacional. Consolidar a unidade nacional, reafirmar a Nação Maubere e construir um Estado de direito democrático em Timor-Leste são as grandes linhas e os objectivos programáticos que devem orientar sempre a actuação da FRETILIN, hoje, como há 26 anos atrás. A história da FRETILIN confunde-se com a História da Resistência á agressão e ocupação estrangeira. ... " Discurso de abertura do Coordenador Geral do Conselho Presidencial da FRETILIN Camarada Lu Olo

Apr-Jun 2000 II: The new Timor Gap: Will Australia now break with the past?  Article added May 4
" ... inflexible pragmatism has its inherent risks, since today's interests may be shortsighted tomorrow. Compliance with now well-defined international law principles may offer more long-term stability. ... East Timorese policy makers will of course have a pragmatic desire to work with Australia. Nevertheless, there are multiple factors tilting the balance towards a permanent median line seabed boundary settlement. ... Australia's foreign minister raising a champagne glass with his Indonesian counterpart is the treaty's unforgettable symbol. Asking the East Timorese to 'honour' the treaty indicates a certain insensitivity on the part of Australia. There will be strong public pressure for East Timor to make a symbolic break with the past. An historic opportunity now exists to remove the Timor Gap from the very short list of the world's disputed maritime areas. The ideal procedure is direct talks between Australia and a democratically constituted government of East Timor. Failing that, the dispute can always be resolved by international arbitration." Geoffrey A McKee, oil industry consultant

1999 Gunn: Timor Loro Sae: 500 Years - Wartime Timor: 1942-45  Book extract added July 10
"Many Timorese including liurai paid with their lives [at the hands of Japanese military 1942-45] either for standing neutral or for alleged support of Australian guerrillas. ... The number of Timorese who died during the war is impossible to calculate with precision but is of the order of 40-70,000 out of a total prewar population of around 450,000. The disruption to native agriculture and the breakdown of prewar society stemming from the harsh system of food collection and corvees imposed by the Japanese inevitably led to famine and other hardships, including debilitating disease. ... The issues of Japanese wartime compensation including the claims of so-called "comfort women" or sexual slavery in Timor first became public in 1997 but only in the Macau media where it was taken up by Jose Ramos-Horta speaking on behalf of the Timorese people." Geoffrey C. Gunn, author, Timor Loro Sae: 500 Years

Nov 1999 NI: We Will not be crushed  Plea added May 24
"I urge each of you to call upon your respective governments to stop sending weapons to Indonesia and all dictatorships around the world. I urge each of you to call on your governments to open a war crimes tribunal on Indonesia. We do not want revenge. We just want those who are guilty of war crimes against humanity to be brought to justice. For the sake of those who were murdered. For the sake of those were burnt to death in their houses. All over the world, we must strive to bring to justice those Indonesian ministers and political leaders who for the past 23 years have executed this crime against a small nation." José Ramos Horta, Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Nov 1999 NI: Make your own militia  Chronology added May 24
"24 July 1999: A secret six-hour meeting of militia and military leaders in Dili is held. They lay out a post-referendum plan that includes instigation of riots, targeting and assassination of independence activists and full mobilization of militias and armed forces. Makarim gives militia leader Eurico Guterres a list of 370 people to eliminate as part of a campaign of terror. All UN staff and foreign journalists are to be forced out of East Timor."

Nov 8 1999 Pat Walsh: From Opposition to Proposition: The National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT) in Transition   Added Dec 30
"It is important that international NGOs understand the history, outlook and role of this unique East Timorese institution [CNRT] and the extraordinarily difficult challenges those who comprise it now face thanks to the devastation visited on East Timor by Indonesia’s destructive exit plan. CNRT’s current life span will be short and will be limited to this period of transition at the end of which political parties will return to centre stage and CNRT will be replaced by a democratically elected government. In the meantime, however, the pro-independence vote has given CNRT a clear political and moral responsibility to determine East Timor’s development at this critical juncture, in close dialogue and cooperation with other sectors of East Timorese society, including NGOs, students and the church. Those recently charged with responsibility by CNRT, whose names are listed in this report, deserve to be given all the space, resources and support they need to carry out their heavy and daunting responsibilities and to enable them to do this in the CNRT spirit of inclusiveness, participation and commitment to the common good." Pat Walsh

Sept 27 1999 Noam Chomsky: East Timor Retrospective - An overview and lessonsAnalysis added Dec 28

July 1999 Arena: Viva Timor L'este: Beyond Silence, Betrayal, Cowardice & Murder  Analysis added Mar 22
"Australian governments all sought to influence the destiny of East Timor. This destiny became one of the longest ongoing acts of genocide since the European Holocaust of the Second World War. I am reminded of the French Vichy Government of that war which supplied and organised the freight train convoys that carried persecuted Jews to the Nazi ovens. Canberra's warts-and-all allegiance with Jakarta; the almost $2 billion in bilateral aid; the million of dollars in military gifts, defence training and defence co-operation; and the political lobbying in the international arena for Jakarta's position, all helped to create a similar cattlewagon, transporting the East Timorese to their diabolical fate." Jim Aubrey, editor, 'Free East Timor: Australia's culpability in East Timor's genocide'

July 1999 Goodman: East Timor: Australia's accountability  Analysis added Mar 30
"For twenty years the Australian Government has consistently failed to support the people of Indonesia and East Timor, choosing instead to support the military and political elites. ... The UN tribunal which will investigate crimes against humanity in East Timor, should also consider the accomplices to those crimes, including governments that assisted the Indonesian military in full knowledge of how that aid would be used in East Timor." James Goodman, academic, activist, member Committee of Management of AID/WATCH


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