BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor home

"... we internationals need to be cautious and refrain from advocating for East Timor if we have not consulted in depth with East Timorese civil society (NGOs) and political leaders. The internationals in UNTAET do this all the time (in fact, they promulgate and carry out policies, not just advocate them) to the detriment of East Timorese self-government, generating disempowerment and resentment among people who have fought so hard and lost so much in their successful struggle for independence. They should be able to make their own decisions." Charlie Scheiner, ETAN/IFET

East Timor and UNCTAD/LDC

Sat 10/02/01 6:15
 

Dear Vivek and all --

In response to the message you posted to this list [east-timor news list] which I have quoted at the end of this message:

Thanks for bringing East Timor's lack of LDC categorization [Least developed countries] to our attention. I think this is probably because East Timor is not yet a country, something which will take another year or so before the UN-ruled transitional period is over.

But your call for action, and your intervention in that meeting, raises another question. I think we internationals need to be cautious and refrain from advocating for East Timor if we have not consulted in depth with East Timorese civil society (NGOs) and political leaders. The internationals in UNTAET do this all the time (in fact, they promulgate and carry out policies, not just advocate them) to the detriment of East Timorese self-government, generating disempowerment and resentment among people who have fought so hard and lost so much in their successful struggle for independence. They should be able to make their own decisions.

Less-Developed Country classification is a mixed bag, as the comment below from Helen Hill suggests. But even if it weren't, it's up to the East Timorese to decide if they want it. Our role as internationals who support their aspirations should be to give them information (and, if asked, suggestions) so that they can make the best decision for themselves.

Helen Hill wrote to another list in response to Vivek's original message (which follows her response, below). I don't agree entirely with her that East Timor has too much aid money now. There is certainly a lot of money there in certain sectors, especially those under the control of internationals. Nevertheless, most of the country has not been rebuilt after the 1999 devastation, and some areas (justice, employment, decentralized or sustainable economic development) are severely under-resourced. I do share Helen's skepticism that LDC categorization might not necessarily help, but again, this is for the East Timorese people to decide.

-- Charlie Scheiner, ETAN / IFET



From: "Helen M. Hill"
Subject: [TimLang] Least Developed Countries
Date: Fri, 09 Feb 2001 07:32:51 -0800

Are we sure that East Timor wants to be considered a least developed country? My experience of some countries in this category is that they go to great lengths to keep this category, thus avoiding doing things that could really help their people. It is an issue of some debate in the Pacific islands whether its worth being a least developed country or whether it holds your economy back. Besides East Timor is not short of aid money, it cannot spend it fast enough. All this money requires project proposals to be written up, contracts to be let, endless more consultants to be hired, East Timor barely has enough people to do that already, they should
be running the country not chasing more and more aid dollars which they can't spend. This is just my personal opinion, I haven't asked any policy-makers this particular question but the existing funds seem to be causing some headache getting spent.

Also East Timor is not yet independent, I doubt that it is eligible.

Helen Hill



At 04:27 AM 2/9/2001 -0800,

Vivek Ananthan wrote:

Hi everybody,

I just came back after attending a conference arranged by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). This was my second meeting at the UN at New York. This was one of the preparatory meetings for a final conference at Brussels in May. 48 countries have been categorised as Least developed countries (LDC). The purpose of the whole project  is  to pump billions of dollars by the European Union into these countries to improve their standard of living. East Timor is not one of the countries listed. And it is sad. I did propose at this meeting to include and we are hoping to cut through the redtape to include East Timor before the final meeting occurs in May. May I therefore please request you all to write, call or fax  to UNCTAD immediately to include East Timor.

Thanks.    Vivek.



Charles Scheiner, U.N. Representative
International Federation for East Timor
P.O. Box 1182, White Plains, New York 10602 USA
Telephone: 1-914-428-7299; fax: 1-914-428-7383  hand: 1-914-720-9205
Internet: ifet@etan.org
PGP Key available on request.
For information on East Timor write info@etan.org
Check out ETAN's web site: http://www.etan.org
IFET information is at http://www.etan.org/ifet
La'o Hamutuk is at  http://www.etan.org/lh
International Federation for East Timor
The International Federation for East Timor was founded in 1991 by East Timor solidarity groups from four continents as a clearinghouse for non-governmental organization (NGO) initiatives on East Timor and to support those initiatives, particularly in United Nations fora. IFET is accredited with the U.N. Department of Public Information and has a U.N. Representative in New York. Our secretariat is in the Philippines. IFET participates in U.N. hearings and conferences, supplies analyses and statements to the media, and lobbies the U.N.-Portugal-Indonesia East Timor talks to ensure that the human and political rights of the East Timorese people
are respected.
Internet: ifet@etan.org  Homepage: http://etan.org/ifet/
East Timor Action Network U.S.
ETAN is a U.S. based activist group presenting a wide range of articles, news reports and press releases related to East Timor. ETAN/US also provides ways to help East Timor, which was invaded and subjugated by U.S. ally Indonesia in 1975. East Timor chose independence in August 1999 and was soon destroyed by the Indonesian military. It is now administered by the U.N.. ETAN advocates human rights accountability, return of refugees and democratic reconstruction of East Timor.
Email: etan@etan.org & info@etan.org  Homepage: http://www.etan.org
east-timor list
About 10 emails a day; 1 full item/email: This list distributes news and other documentation on East Timor from a wide range of sources, including the East Timorese groups and ETAN/US, TAPOL, and other support groups. Reports and translations from wire services and the Indonesian, Portuguese, Australian, British, U.S. and Irish press also regularly appear there, as well as official documents and statements from the U.N., national governments,  NGOs etc. Postings average 10 per day, although the frequency varies with the pace of East Timor-related events.  This list is available via email through a majordomo server called east-timor; write john@etan.org if you want to subscribe or see http://www.etan.org/resource/etlist.htm.
BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor home
Website: http://www.pcug.org.au/~wildwood Email: wildwood@pcug.org.au