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BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor

Reconstructing suitable sustainable infrastructures
Rekonstrui Infraestrutura ne'e
Reconstruir infra-estruturas adaptadas e sustentáveis
Pembangunan Kembali:

A collection of items about the reconstruction of infrastructures following the massive violence and destruction of infrastructure committed by militia groups trained and supported by the Indonesian army.

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Up-Dated: Jan 29, 2002

NEW = Added to BACK DOOR Website since last Monday's Emailout

Main Contents: BD: Reconstruction and 'Aid & Development' 

Sep 20 A Popular Challenge to UNTAETís Achievements  Statement added Sep 20
"UNTAET has recently published in the September issue of its broadsheet Timor Tais 20 of the UNís major achievements in East Timor. Many of these achievements are either misleading or things that UNTAET has been forced to do under pressure from Timorese people, civil society and leaders and international critics. ...
11. Physical Reconstruction: The country is still littered with the destruction from 1999. It is the most dramatic feature of the Timorese landscape, still. Slowly this is being addressed by Timorese themselves, in small ways in different places. ...
15. Road Rehabilitation: There is road construction in a number of areas. Yet, those responsible leave behind markers along the way. Some are from governments, some from NGOs and some from individual  military contingents.  Why is there not a national road programme? The result is that UNTAET mostly mends potholes."

Sep 11 AW: Operations of Telstra in East Timor  Letter added Sep 17
"Telstra at present ... [has] a near monopoly on internet services [in ETimor]. ... internet services had been set at US$2 per hour. ... significantly higher than Australian rates. However, because average East Timorese wages (and most people do not have a wage) are less than one tenth of Australian wages, telephone services are mostly un affordable and the prices on internet services are prohibitive. ... Telstra continues to make multi-billion dollar profits, and it seems to me bizarre that it should extend its profit taking ethos to the poorest corners of our region, and in particular to a devastated country which is really still trying to get to its feet." Dr Tim Anderson, Researcher for Aidwatch

August 2001 LHB: Childbirth: A Major Health Concern for Women  Article added Aug 22
"East Timor faces many serious health problems; for women, childbirth is one of most pressing. ... And it must always be understood that womenís health problems are deeply related to their socio-economic situation. Basic infrastructure and transportation are also needed to mitigate health-related problems. Women and their newborn children must be ensured the right to lead healthier lives." La'o Hamutuk: East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis

Major Report
Apr 30 KPP HAM's Secret Report on Crimes Against Humanity in ETimor  Extract added June 30
"Chapter III: The pattern of violation of basic human rights crimes against humanity
III.6 Scorched earth & destruction
84. Field study carried out in East Timor provided clear proof that there had been damage, destruction and burning on a large, planned and systematic scale in various cities (Dili, Suai, Liquisa etc). Scorched earth was implemented in relation to civilian housing, shops, stalls, hostels and office buildings. ...
85. In this scorched earth policy there also happened various acts of looting, stealing and robbery of goods. The violation that occurred was violation of the right to property. It is estimated that around 70% of the civilian buildings (shops and residences) were smashed or burnt after the announcement of the ballot, including thousands of vehicles. ... "
Indonesian Commission of Investigation into Human Rights Violations (KPP HAM)

Major Report
Apr 25 Suppressed UN report on East Timor destruction  Extract added June 30
"VII. The Major Crimes and the Killing Fields
28. In summary the following violations represented a massive onslaught on the human rights and well-being of the people of East Timor.
f. The willful destruction, damaging and ransacking of the houses or shelter: This massive scorched earth campaign caused the destruction of the basic shelter of more than 80% of East Timorís population. In the urban areas at least, ransacking and pillaging denied tens of thousands of East Timorese of their worldly possessions. There was no subsequent attempt by the Indonesian authorities to organise the return of these goods.
g. The willful destruction, ransacking or damaging of schools, health centres, etc.: The right to education and health are today widely considered fundamental rights. The destruction of these facilities has in effect severely set back these services in East Timor, especially in the field of education."
James Dunn, Crimes investigator for United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), 14 February 2001

Dec 22 2000 OTL: Reconstruir infra-estruturas adaptadas e sustentáveis  Report added Apr 4
"a chegada dum grande número de estrangeiros com necessidades de conforto e capacidades financeiras superiores levou à satisfação prioritária deste sector, ocupando edifícios e casas menos destruídas ou dando-lhe primazia na reconstrução e fornecimento de bens. Mais de um ano depois da chegada das NU, a imensa maioria dos timorenses, sobretudo em Dili, vive em ruínas." Observatório Timor Leste

Dec 22 2000 ETO: Reconstructing suitable sustainable infrastructures  Report added Dec 30
"The large influx of foreigners with different standards of comfort and greater financial capacity has meant that satisfying their needs has become a priority area: they took over the less damaged buildings and houses, and were given priority in reconstruction and supply of materials. Meanwhile, a year after the UN's arrival, the vast majority of Timorese, especially those in Dili, are still living amidst the ruins." East Timor Observatory

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