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"The National NGO Forum of East Timor is seriously concerned with the decision-making processes in the National Council (NC) of East Timor. The decision regarding the East Timor Defence Force (ETDF), in which the National Council did not have enough time to study the regulation and consult with the communities and groups that they represent, is disturbing." National NGO Forum of East Timor

NGO Forum of East Timor

Statement to the National Council and the Transitional Government UNTAET/ETTA

The National NGO Forum of East Timor is seriously concerned with the decision-making processes in the National Council (NC) of East Timor. The decision regarding the East Timor Defence Force (ETDF), in which the National Council did not have enough time to study the regulation and consult with the communities and groups that they represent, is disturbing.

On 29 January 2001, the NC adopted a two-month regulation regarding the formation of the ETDF. The discussion held that day should have been comprehensive and serious because the draft concerned was very important in that it related to the future of the ETDF, however UNTAET put pressure on the NC to adopt the regulation in a very short period of time. On that day, 29 January, the NC was forced to agree to the adoption of the regulation so that the timetable for the dissolving of Falintil and the formation of the
ETDF could proceed. We believe that many members of the National Council feel that one-day was not sufficient to discuss the regulation. A compromise was finally reached when the regulation was adopted for a period of two months only. Only 16 members of the NC are believed to have been present when the decision was taken.

The adoption of regulations such as that on the formation of the ETDF has serious consequences for the future of East Timor. The NC should not be forced to consider, discuss and adopt regulations such as this in one day. We are very surprised as to why a regulation such as this one about an issue, which is very important for a new, emerging country, appears to be only a temporary regulation.

UNTAET and ETTA should give enough time for the NC to study and discuss draft regulations such as this one before they make a decision.

The NGO Forum also believes that there is a need, as soon as possible, for facilities for NC members so that they can carry out their tasks as people’s representatives in the NC during the transition period in East Timor.

We are very worried with the development in the NC where many decisions are taken which are not debated and where there is not broad consultation with the people of East Timor because the NC members are not given enough time and they do not have the facilities and funding to carry out their activities.

Many people, particularly those living in villages in East Timor, do not yet feel that their voices are being represented in the NC sessions, because the members of the NC, in particular those from the districts, have not received assistance with facilities or sufficient funding which enables them to carry out consultation with the communities that they represent.

Because of this, we urge UNTAET/ETTA to:

We are also disappointed that only 16 members of the NC were present during the NC debate on the formation of the East Timor Defence Force. We would like to urge NC members to be always active in debates that raise matters concerning the future of East Timor. The people of East Timor want to see that members of the NC are those that can represent the aspirations of the people. National NGOs under the NGO Forum want to support an East Timorese NC which is capable and which is responsible to the people of East Timor for all decisions that are taken at the NC.

With this we would like to urge the NC to:

This statement we make with the hope that UNTAET/ETTA and the NC will all fulfill their responsibilities.

This statement we agree to and sign under the East Timor NGO Forum starting from the 31 January 2001.

For further information, please contact the NGO Forum on mobile numbers 0418 200 697 or landline number 03 332 773.

NGO Forum of East Timor

Please sign the enclosed statement to the NC and UNTAET/ETTA
Release on 31 January 2001, Five National NGOs had sign the statement.

http://www.geocities.com/etngoforum/index.html

E-mail: etngocentre@hotmail.com


East Timor National NGO Forum
VISION: To contribute to the building of a pluralist, democratic, just and sustainable East Timor through the development of a strong, independent and responsible civil society committed to upholding and making real in the daily life of the community, both village and urban, the full range of human rights so that all East Timorese, particularly the poor and disadvantaged, can enjoy the fruits of liberation and development in an East Timor forever free.
MISSION: To realise its vision by promoting a culture of learning, cooperation, partnership with the community and respect for human rights and good practice amongst East Timorese NGOs and between them and other development actors, both domestic and international, and by serving as a collective, independent voice for the rights and needs of the community.
VALUES AND PRINCIPLES: a rights approach to development; inclusiveness, participation; accountability; gender balance; respect for the environment; non-party political; non-sectarian; good governance; volunteerism.
Kaikoli Street, Dili, East Timor. Tel 322 772.
E-mail: etngocentre@hotmail.com  Homepage: http://www.geocities.com/etngoforum/index.html
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