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"Politically, the May 2002 Agreement potentially jeopardises the sovereignty of East Timor, as we will be losing territory in the Timor Sea outside the zone of co-operation for the development of oil and gas resources. ... [it] denies East Timor access to four oil and gas fields (79.9% of Greater Sunrise, 100% of Corallina, Laminaria and the Buffalo). ... [it] has not provided for a fair participation of Timorese workforce. ... The construction of a more costly gas pipeline to Northern Territory instead of one to Timor is another example of the irrational economic decision made to date." Independent Centre for Information on the Timor Sea
This page last updated: 5 Aug 2004


CENTRU INFORMASAUN INDEPENDENTE BA TASI TIMOR

(CIITT)
Independent Centre for Information on the Timor Sea



Contacts:

Mr. Deometrio Amaral
, Spokesperson of CIITT
Mobile: + 670 723 2851

Mr. Cecilio Caminha Freitas, Member of CIITT & Chairperson of East Timor People's Action (ETPA)
Mobile: + 670 723 3062
E-mail:
ratumean@hotmail.com


Source of statement: Mr. Cecilio Caminha Freitas (Content validated 5/8/04)


Contents:
CIITT 2004 Statement on Timor Gap Treaty
- CIITTdemands
Members of CIITT



2004 Statement on Timor Gap Treaty




The Democratic Republic of Timor Leste (RDTL or East Timor) is a new nation with a defined land, air and sea territory. This territory is enshrined in the Constitution as well as reflected in our law and legislation. This legal framework has been developed based on established international principles and conventions.

Most countries set their sea boundaries and maritime law based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Under this Convention the sea boundary of a nation extends to 200 nautical miles from the coast. In the case of the Timor Sea, there is an overlapping region between Australia and East Timor. Normally in this situation and in accordance with UNCLOS principles, the sea boundary should be the median line between the coasts of the two nations. However, Australia has pulled out of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) claiming that its Timor Sea boundary should be based on the flawed and outdated continental shelf principle, which stretches its boundary into Timor's territory.


The implication of Australia's stance for East Timor is serious. The oil fields of Bayu-Undan, Laminaria/Corallina and a large section of the Greater Sunrise are by rights within the jurisdiction of East Timor. As such, the natural resources within the territory of East Timor should be explored and used for the development of East Timor and with the aim to benefit the Timorese people. The rushed Agreement, that was signed on the 20th May 2002 entered into with the Australian Government to explore the oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea is inconsistent with the Constitution and the maritime law of East Timor. Additionally, they contradict with the principles of and the provision of international convention such as the UNCLOS. The current Agreement compromises the rights of Timorese people and our fledgling nation state politically, legally and economically.


Politically, the May 2002 Agreement potentially jeopardises the sovereignty of East Timor, as we will be losing territory in the Timor Sea outside the zone of co-operation for the development of oil and gas resources. The treaty sets up a Joint Petroleum Development Area, the JPDA that is much smaller in area than East Timor's entitled seabed boundary.

Outside of this area, the territory is under dispute. We maintained that no exploration of oil and gas resources should take place until the boundary issue is resolved.


Economically, the May 2002 Agreement denies East Timor access to four oil and gas fields (79.9% of Greater Sunrise, 100% of Corallina, Laminaria and the Buffalo). Cummulatively, these fields are 3-4 times more than the reserve at Bayu-Undan which is currently being developed by Conoco Phillips. By Australia refusing to negotiate a meaningful and equitable maritime boundary with East Timor, and by claiming more than 60% of Timor's resources as Australian, East Timor will be losing millions of dollars in revenue each year. At this point in time, East Timor is in dire need of income for the reconstruction and development activities. If the annual estimated US$300 millions oil and gas revenue from the Laminaria-Corallina fields enters into the coffer of East Timor, it will significantly lift the prosperity of our society and hence reduce our heavy dependence on foreign aid and donor countries.


In addition, the May 2002 Agreement has not provided for a fair participation of Timorese workforce. Up until now, workers from other countries like the Philippines, Korea, Australia and others have dominated the workforce of the Timor Seas project. There have only been fewer than 200 Timorese workers employed so far. If the UNCLOS is adhered to, the above project will fall within the territory of East Timor. This will facilitate the inclusion of a larger Timorese labour force into the project thereby solving the chronic unemployment problem in our country.


The May 2002 Agreement provides only limited economic benefit from the Bayu-Undan field for East Timor. The construction of a more costly gas pipeline to Northern Territory instead of one to Timor is another example of the irrational economic decision made to date. Despite the higher construction costs, the pipeline will be channelled to Australia, which is farther in distance if compared to a pipeline to the shore of East Timor. Technically and economically, it is more viable to construct the shorter pipeline.



Based on the above context and thinking, CIITT hereby present our demands as follows:


I. We call for the Australian Liberal Party, who has a very important role in managing the Federal Government and making a political decision for its Timor Gap Treaty ratification so far, to assist East Timor towards the fair legal process.

2. We call for the Australian Labor Party, who has the biggest opposition party and a majority of voters in State government, to remind its National Government to resolve the Settlement of the Seabed Boundary under the principles of International Court of Justice (ICJ).

3. We appeal to the Australian People, and Australian Activist and Australian Civil Society Organizations, who are supporting and fighting with us for our independent nationhood. We wish to see again your strong commitment and solidarity in the future.

4. We call on the Government of Australia to abolish the 20 May 2002 agreement, as the agreement is inconsistent with international law. It also goes against the basic principles from which Australia based its development assistance program for an independent Timor Leste. Under these principles, Australia wishes to assist Timor Leste to become a truly independent nation in every aspect, including an economy that is self-reliant and free from dependency on the international community.  

5. We call on the Government of Australia not to issue any new oil and gas exploration or production permit and licences in area of the Timor Sea that are still under dispute between Australia and Timor Leste.

6. We appeal to the Government and Parliament of Australia to settle the boundary dispute between Australia and Timor Leste in accordance with international law and principles. Otherwise, it clearly shows Australia up as not having the political will to assist Timor Leste. This is a clear violation of Timor Leste's rights under international maritime law.

7. We request for the UN and the international community to remind the Government of Australia to resolve the boundary dispute. The UN initiated the negotiation and made the agreement initially when Timor Leste was still inexperienced and was limited in our capacity to comprehend the situation.

8. We request Honorary elected members of Parliament of Timor Leste not to ratify the International Treaty on Unitisation because this Treaty will disadvantage Timor Leste in all aspects - politically, legally and economically.

9. We call on the Government and Parliament of Timor Leste to act consistently with and to uphold Timorese maritime law.

10. We appeal to the Government of Timor Leste to manage and to utilise all income from the oil and gas resources with transparency and accountability for the advancement and progress of the people of Timor Leste.

11. Ensure that a fair proportion of the workforce involved in the Timor Sea project are Timorese workers and that there will be a fair transfer of technology to the Timorese workers.

12. We call on the Government of Timor Leste to fight for the construction of the pipeline to Timor Leste's territory; and finally,

13. We call on both the Governments of Australia and Timor Leste to hold in trust, in an escrow account, all revenue and income from oil and gas exploration and production in disputed areas.





Info on members of:
Centro Informasaun Independente ba Tasi Timor (CIITT)
(Independent Center for Timor Sea Information)
:


This section has been added by Back Door as a service to readers.
(Please notify of any new or updated info or to make corrections: wildwood@pcug.org.au )
updated: Aug 5 2004

HAK Association (Association for Law, Rights and Justice) [Perkumpulan/Perhimpunan HAK]
* About: http://www.yayasanhak.minihub.org/about_us.html
* More about: http://www.pcug.org.au/~wildwood/linksindig.htm#yhakb

Haburas Foundation (Green environmental organization)
* Info: http://www.etan.org/news/2004/04goldman.htm

FOKUPERS Forum Komunikasi Untuk Perempuan Loro Sae (the East Timorese Women’s Communication Forum)
* About: http://www.pcug.org.au/~wildwood/linksindig.htm#fokupersb

La’o Hamutuk "walking together" (The East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis)
* Home: http://www.etan.org/lh
* Timor Oil Bulletins:
--- March 2004 East Timor Government's Budget Deficit: http://www.etan.org/lh/bulletins/bulletinv5n2b.html
--- March 2004 Avoiding the Resource Course: http://www.etan.org/lh/misc/04curse.htm
--- August 2003 Timor Sea Oil & Gas update: http://www.etan.org/lh/bulletins/bulletinv4n34.html
--- December 2002 Timor Oil Chronology: http://www.etan.org/lh/bulletins/bulletinv3n8b.html
--- August 2002 Petroleum Conference in Darwin: http://www.etan.org/lh/bulletins/bulletinv3n6a.html#Report
--- July 2002: Timor Oil, Solidarity: http://www.etan.org/lh/bulletins/bulletinv3n5.html
* Email: laohamutuk@easttimor.minihub.org
* About: http://www.pcug.org.au/~wildwood/linkswatch.htm#lht

East Timor Study Group (ETSG)
* Home: http://www.tids-et.org/

GMPD Pro-Democracy Students’ Movement

CEGETIL

Kadalak Sulimutuk Institute (KSI) "Streams Flowing Together Institute"
* About: http://www.pcug.org.au/~wildwood/linksindig.htm#kadalak

Timor-Leste Labor Union Confederation (KSTL)

Labor Advocacy Institute for Timor-Leste (LAIFET) 

East Timor National NGO Forum Advocacy division [Forum Nacional ONG Timor Lorosa'e (FONGTIL)]
* Home: http://www.geocities.com/etngoforum/index.html
* About: http://www.pcug.org.au/~wildwood/linksindig.htm#etngo

Individuals concerned with the issue



CIITT is an active participant in the:

Movimento Kontra Okupasun Tasi Timor (MKOTT) / Movement Against the Occupation of the Timor Sea


(Please notify of any new or updated info or to make corrections: wildwood@pcug.org.au )


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