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BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor

Overview of Reconstruction and 'Aid & Development'
Vizaun Jerál hosi Rekonstrusaun i 'Ajuda i Dezenvolvimentu'
Visão Geral de Reconstrução e 'Ajuda e Desenvolvimento'
Pembangunan Kembali:

Overviews of social and economic reconstruction following the massive violence and destruction of infrastructure committed by militia groups trained and supported by the Indonesian army.

Updated: 17 Aug 2005

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

Major Reports
Articles and News

Major Reports

31 Jan 2000 KPP HAM's Secret Report on Crimes Against Humanity in East Timor
"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. Statements provided generally affirmed that the scorched earth was implemented by the militia and elements of the security forces, or at least elements of the security apparatus from TNI and police elements did not carry out acts of prevention towards the scorched earth that took place.
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. This scorched earth by the militia and the TNI is said to be only a manifestation of the dissatisfaction of the militia and the pro-integration population towards the result of the ballot because of fraud by Unamet."
Indonesian Commission of Investigation into Human Rights Violations (KPP HAM)

Apr 20 2001 SMH: James Dunn 'Crimes Against Humanity in East Timor, Jan-Oct 99'
Executive summary and recommendations
"The wave of violence led to very serious crimes against humanity. They include: killings, including mass murder, torture, abduction, sexual assault and assault against children, as well as mass deportation, and forced dislocation. The crimes against humanity also include the massive destruction of shelter, and of services essential to the upholding of the basic rights of the East Timorese to healthcare and education. In addition there was a massive theft of the property of the people of East Timor. ...  As the result of these crimes East Timor was left without an infrastructure, with its towns and villages in ruins. Its development was in effect set back more than a generation. ... "
James Dunn, Crimes investigator for United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), 14 February 2001

Feb 17 2001 Conference on Sustainable Development a great success 
Release added July 25
" ... sustainable development should be the basis for planning and implementing development in East Timor. ... The conference accepted for East Timor, the internationally recognised definition that "sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". Sustainable development addresses the linkages between environment, economy and social well-being. ... [Recommendations] included the key recommendation for sustainable development to be written into East Timor’s Constitution." Conference on Sustainable Development in East Timor coordinating committee

Bahasa Indonesia:
Jan 25-31 2001 KPB: Pembangunan Berkelanjutan di Timor Lorosa’e 
Article added July 27
"Konferensi ini mengusulkan agar definisi yang sudah diakui dunia internasional tentang pembangunan berkelanjutan akan dipakai di Timor Lorosa’e, yaitu: “pembangunan yang memenuhi kebutuhan-kebutuhan generasi sekarang tanpa mengurangi kemampuan generasi yang akan datang untuk memenuhi kebutuhan-kebutuhan mereka”. Pembangunan berkelanjutan menjawab keterkaitannya antara lingkungan hidup, ekonomi dan kesejahteraan sosial. ... Kemajuan hanya dapat dicapai apabila ada keberanian untuk mengambil tindakan. Tindakan-tindakan untuk memulai penerapanpembangunan berkelanjutan sebaiknya dimulai hari ini, dan sebaiknya tidak ditunda-tunda untuk dilakukan suatu saat nanti di masa depan." Konferensi Pembangunan Berkelanjutan di Timor Lorosa'e

Jan 25-30 2001 CSD: Introduction to Conference on Sustainable Development 
Article added July 25
" ... the human system is an integral part of the ecosystem. A society is sustainable only if both the human condition and the condition of the ecosystem are satisfactory or improving. If either is unsatisfactory or worsening, the society is unsustainable.
... The livelihoods of East Timorese people depend on a healthy and productive environment. All people and industries for example, depend on a healthy water supply. Agriculture, fisheries, and tourism also depend on the environment. To meet people’s needs now and for future generations, East Timor’s natural resource base must be conserved and improved."  Mr Jose Lobato, Timor Aid

Jan 25-31 2001 CSD: Program for Conference on Sustainable Development 
Summary up-dated Aug 3
"The 22 workshops on sustainable development issues first identified 4 priority issues and then listed strategies to address them. ...
Summary includes: Sustainable Economic Development; Education -at all levels of society; Capacity Building -at all levels of society; Transparent and Integrated Planning Process; Clear Policies -developed in consultation with the community; Transparent System of Regulations, Enforcement and Penalties; Recognition of Traditional Structures and Knowledge." Conference on Sustainable Development in East Timor

Jan 25-31 2001 CSD: Recommendations of Conference on Sustainable Development 
Added Aug 3
"In addition to the many specific suggestions arising from the Conference papers and workshops, seven overarching recommendations are made. These represent important starting points to begin the journey towards sustainable development in Timor Lorosa’e." Conference on Sustainable Development in East Timor

Articles and News

La'o Hamutuk nian Surat Popular: [PDF formatu]
Saida mak desenvolvimentu?:

Dec 3 OTL: A Reconciliação
Reportagem de Dec 18
"A reconciliação é dinâmica. A afirmação da sua necessidade desde o início por Xanana e o CNRT permitiu provavelmente que o regresso de 190.000 refugiados, entre os quais milhares de ex militares, polícias e mi1ícias, se fizesse com poucas dezenas de actos de vingança. O caracter reduzido dessa violência foi também possível porque o presente é, ainda, percebido como um tempo de transição para um futuro melhor, a independência. Se a falta de empregos, as dificuldades na educação e saúde se agravam no futuro, a necessidade de encontrar responsáveis poderá aumentar. Parafraseando as palavras do bispo Belo de que os sobreviventes querem mais que os progressos materiais poderíamos todavia pensar que esses bens poderão ser essenciais para consolidar a reconciliação." Observatório Timor Leste

Dec 3 ETO: Reconciliation  Overview added Dec 15
"Reconciliation is dynamic. The fact that Xanana and the CNRT have been advocating reconciliation from the very outset is likely to have been decisive in the return of 190,000 refugees, including thousands of former soldiers, police and militiamen, with few accompanying acts of vengeance. The Timorese still regard the present time as a period of transition to a better future, independence, and this fact has also contributed to the relatively reprisal-free return of the refugees. However, if employment shortages continue, and education and health provision do not improve in future, then, increasingly, people will want to find someone to blame. Paraphrasing Bishop Belo’s words, the survivors are looking for more than material progress. Nonetheless, material progress could well be the key to consolidating reconciliation." East Timor Observatory

Out 25 OTL: A Indonésia deixa o regresso dos refugiados nas mãos dos dirigentes pró-autonomia
Reportagem de Dec 18
"A ajuda financeira internacional para os refugiados não pode ser atribuída na base dum recenseamento que as próprias autoridades indonésias reconhecem não ter significado. ... A ajuda internacional atribuída neste quadro só serve para prolongar esta situação. As agências internacionais no terreno são a resposta mais apropriada mas a Indonésia não toma as medidas necessárias ao seu regresso, particularmente o julgamento dos milicianos responsáveis pela violência." Observatório Timor Leste

Oct 25 ETO: Refugees’ repatriation to ETimor in the hands of pro-autonomy leaders  Article added Nov 8
"International financial assistance for the refugees cannot be attributed on the basis of a registration exercise that the Indonesian authorities themselves admit was meaningless. ... In such circumstances, [of 'refugee' camp control militias] international assistance only serves to perpetuate the situation. International agencies on the ground are the most appropriate response, but Indonesia is not implementing the measures that have to be taken to ensure their return, particularly in terms of bringing to justice the militiamen responsible for the violence." East Timor Observatory

Oct 11 Woodcroft-Lee: Friendship Cities: Relationships between Localities in Australia & Timor Lorosa'e  Overview added Oct 11
"The following is a summary of the information I have been able to obtain by discussions with representatives of several Melbourne councils, the Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA) and two regions in New South Wales, concerning their friendship city programs with various towns and districts in Timor Lorosa'e. ... A key principle underlying the friendship relationship is that it should function both ways. ... I would welcome any suggestions as to how we [Canberrans] could initiate the steps necessary to set up a partnership arrangement, either with a specific region or with grassroots organisations in Timor Lorosa'e." (Mrs) Patricia Woodcroft-Lee, Canberra ratepayer [Australia]

Oct 10 ABC: Gusmao: Priorities for the New Nation  Interview added Oct 13
"I not against an international tribunal, I just say that we as East Timorese we have other priorities and if it is an international tribunal let international community to set up this, don’t demand us to do this. We will anyway we will help this tribunal but don’t give to us this burden because our burden is more than to seek for justice, we are now, our people are dying, our children are dying, the elder people are dying without health care. We are depending on NGO’s help in the health, education, we have 24 per cent of our population under 20 years of age, 44 per cent of our population under 14, enormous challenges. We have our roads repaired but we know that next rainy season will destroy everything all over again. so many difficulties. Agriculture, people are in a subsistence way of production, we must some way resolve and please let the international community, the duty to establish this." East Timor’s poet revolutionary and presidential nominee Xanana Gusmao

Sep 27 Woodcroft-Lee: Canberra Plans for Sister City Relationship with Dili  Letter added Oct 11
" ... the Chief Minister, Mr Gary Humphries has made a commitment that the Liberal party, if elected, will inaugurate a sister city relationship with Dili, the soon to be capital of the independent republic of Timor Lorosa'e. Many residents of the ACT will welcome this commitment, as there is much goodwill here toward the people of Timor and a desire to assist in the rebuilding of the country.  ... A model of cooperation which may better fit the current circumstances is the Friendship City Program ... It is essentially a series of grass roots people to people initiatives, for which the city or shire council provides an administrative framework and contributes its expertise in areas such as urban planning and services." (Mrs) Patricia Woodcroft-Lee, Canberra ratepayer [Australia]

Sep 20 Alkatiri: Swearing-in Ceremony of Members of the Transitional Government  Speech added Sep 22
"We will set up the institutional mechanisms to ensure consultation with all religious confessions. However, we appeal to the Catholic Church to play a leading role in the fields of education and health. The tradition, the institutional structures and experience of the Catholic Church in East Timor are precious assets in the restoration of the ethics needed to develop our new Nation. ... Our primary investment focus shall be directed to the social sectors like education, human development, health services and to the economic sectors like agriculture, trade and commerce. A strong emphasis will be placed on the promotion of productive sectors of the East Timorese economy." Mari Alkatiri, Head of Government, East Timor

Sep 20 A Popular Challenge to UNTAET’s Achievements  Statement added Sep 20
"UNTAET has recently published in the September issue of its broadsheet Timor Tais 20 of the UN’s 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. ...
14. Basic Public Services: The experience of East Timorese in terms of basic services does not match UNTAET’s description. ...
15. Road Rehabilitation: ... Why is there not a national road programme? The result is that UNTAET mostly mends potholes. ...
20. Rehabilitation of Arable Land: There is no evidence of this. Some was done by CNRT."

Sep 7 RDP: New ETimorese gov't sets anti-poverty fight as main objective  Interview added Sep 10
"The eradication of poverty needs to be the main priority of this country. This means we should not only improve agricultural production, but we should also improve the educational system, the health service, the housing stock and the supply of water and electricity. These can be achieved in several ways: Firstly, through the decentralization of development, secondly, by solving the poverty problem, thirdly, by giving incentive to what I would call the urban exodus ... " Mari Alkatiri, secretary general of the winning party Fretilin Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor

Sep 6 CONG: Anniversary of Suai massacre & Atambua murders  Statements added Sep 7
"If we in the United States and the international community are not to fail the people of East Timor once again -
* We must support an International Criminal Tribunal  ...
* We must take immediate steps to protect and return home safely the East Timorese refugees ...
* We must continue to provide humanitarian, economic and development aid to East Timor ...
* We must continue to suspend all U.S. military aid and training to the Indonesian military ...
* We must strongly and unambiguously support the independence process in East Timor, ... " Rep. James P. McGovern

Aug 28 AGE: The path to freedom by Bishop Belo  Statement added Sep 1
"Today Dili is thriving. We are opening schools and health clinics, markets and shops. To a visitor this rapid progress appears to be popular and widespread. It would be a mistake, however, to believe in the permanence of these material goods, because this rapid growth is only skin deep. Travel beyond Dili, or a few of the main towns, and you will see no more expensive cars, refrigerators or restaurants. Outside the main towns life has changed very little. Unemployment is high and the young people are disillusioned." Carlos Belo, the Catholic Bishop of Dili, co-recipient of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize

Aug 28 SMH: To forge a future, Timor needs justice for the past  Article from ETimor added Aug 30
"Genuine development in East Timor should not merely concentrate on material progress. Human development requires addressing the trauma and injustice experienced by almost all East Timorese. Long-term development is just as unlikely to occur in East Timor as in the other post-colonial nations of Africa and Asia without a comprehensive process which enables people to heal and overcome the past. The path to independence follows the road of justice and reconciliation." Bishop Carlos Belo

August 2001 LHB: Women and the Reconstruction of East Timor  Bulletin intro added Aug 22
"Unfortunately, women’s liberation is not a natural outcome of national liberation. In East Timor, as around the world, women face pervasive violence, both in public and private life. Women face higher rates of illiteracy, malnutrition, and overall poverty. Women as a group lack access to resources and power to impact public policies and development strategies. And while, since 1975, the United Nations has played an important role in international efforts to improve the status of women globally, economic globalization and international militarism continue to disproportionately impact women’s lives in severe and negative ways." La'o Hamutuk: East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis

August 2001 LHB: Women’s Participation at the Rural Community Level  Article added Aug 22
"Present development practices often reinforce these patriarchal and urban-centered structures. In turn, poor women in rural communities are often left out of the development picture. ... Development planning, therefore, often focuses disproportionately on urban development, leaving rural communities neglected and leading to a flux of rural youth to cities in search of work. Instead, we should envision development from the perspective of people’s daily lives and with a focus on the most basic of needs, ... Development policies must focus on the most marginalized people in society  poor girls and women in rural communities - and women must be involved in development planning." Mana Micató, aka Maria Domingas Alves Soares, one of the founding members of Fokupers

Aug 15 Age: Timor's son heeds the call via Oxford and a city tram  Article added Aug 19
“At the moment, everything in East Timor is a problem. From building the infrastructure to building institutions, economic development and food production. If East Timor wasn’t totally destroyed, I would have given up and let somebody else take over, but now the country requires everybody’s time and energy and help. You still have to do your bit. You have an obligation to those people who died.” Abel Guterres

Aug 9 Conference on Sustainable Development update  Added Aug 11
"We have just published the book of Conference Proceedings from the Conference on Sustainable Development in East Timor. ... [it] is available (English and Indonesian versions) in PDF and zip format at ... We have also established a discussion list on sustainable development in East Timor ... To subscribe to the discussion list, visit this website; " Carrie Deutsch and Russell Anderson, Conference on Sustainable Development in East Timor

July 2001 LHB: Reconstruction & Transition: What are the Next Steps?  Bulletin added July 29
"This Bulletin looks at different perspectives on the reconstruction and transition — that of the World Bank and UNTAET and that of the East Timor NGO Forum — in the context of the recently concluded donors’ meeting in Canberra, Australia. Given the intensifying “Timorization” of the territory’s administration and the current planning for the “post-UNTAET” era, these evaluations and recommendations are especially important." La'o Hamutuk: East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis

Jul 22 JRS: Annual Report 2000 E & W Timor  Report added July 22
[Includes sections on human rights, returnees, pastoral, education, community self development, agriculture, self-sufficiency and health. - BD]
"JRS established three rural bases [in East Timor] at the invitation of the communities and their parish priests to provide services and build up local capacity. Our teams developed a reputation for building bridges among people and working alongside them. The team in Dili co-ordinated work in a number of fields. ...
JRS set up in West Timor [Indonesia] in September 1999. A team of 20 Indonesian nationals worked in the camps, collaborating closely with the local church. JRS did not evacuate with other international agencies when the UNHCR personnel were killed, becoming one of the few international organisations to maintain a presence in the camps." Jesuit Refugee Service

Jul 16 Free East Timor Japan Coalition letter to the Defense Agency  Letter added Aug 4
"The enormous budget that would be spent on this proposed dispatch should be used for the rebuilding of East Timor. It would be of far greater benefit to the people of East Timor if the money were spent on things like safe water, medical care, food security, setting up of a legal system, and development of human resources instead of on an army that will only get there when "things have settled down." Free East Timor Japan Coalition

Jul 5 AID/WATCH: The World Bank in East Timor  Briefing added July 14
"AID/WATCH has written to the Australian Government to urge that:
* In all available fora, it insists that East Timorese representatives have the final say on the deployment of the donated Trust Fund moneys.
* In view of East Timor's poor communications (the phone system was destroyed by the retreating Indonesian army and militia) the Government arrange that Telstra offer to the East Timor Transitional Administration an affordable telephone and internet system, cross-subsidised by Telstra's other profitable concerns.
* It make public the details of its negotiations with East Timor over the Timor Gap Treaty, so that the Australian public can assure themselves the East Timorese are getting a fair deal from the Australian Government and the oil companies.
* The Government expand its efforts in education and training support (especially teacher training and medical training) to more than cover the gap left by Indonesia." Tim Anderson for Aidwatch

Jun 29 FRETILIN Italia: Open letter to FRETILIN  Letter added June 30
"During the struggle of liberation a surprising energy has been emanated from our people and this energy has to continue to produce the propelling force that is necessary for the development of the country. ... The well-proportioned development of the Timorese society will be realized only within an economical policy that will dispense in a fair way the wealth our country will produce. We have to avoid that a without-laws capitalism lashes our people and our country. " David Dias Quintas Corona, FRETILIN rep in Italy

June 2001 LHB: Can East Timor Survive the Aid Industry?  Article added June 22
"They have come to help, with their 4x4 vehicles and consultants and experience of “helping” in Mozambique and India and Honduras. The United Nations, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, the bilateral aid agencies, and international non-government organizations (INGOs) are there by the score. They rent all the best houses for thousands of dollars a month, and they pay high salaries—$4000 a month or more sometimes—to skilled East Timorese, stealing the best people from already weak local institutions, and ensuring that any skilled people returning from abroad work for them. They are the international aid industry." Joseph Hanlon

June 2001 LHB: Communities working together  Article added June 22
"People are joining together to insist on greater control over the decisions that affect their lives and living spaces. A transnational coalition of development, human rights, and environmental organizations holds counter-meetings called the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Forum at the annual meetings of the World Bank and the IMF. The coalition maintains that citizens must press these public institutions to direct the billions of dollars of public resources each is entrusted with into democratic, socially just and environmentally sustainable development." La'o Hamutuk: East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis

Jun 14 IHT: Ramos-Horta: East Timor Is Worthy of Your Help  Opinion added June 16
"We want to avoid too much dependence on oil and gas revenues, however. For this reason, we greatly appreciate international assistance to help diversify our economy, improve farm productivity, and strengthen small enterprises in manufacturing and tourism. Economic self-reliance is the cornerstone of true independence." José Ramos-Horta

Jun 13 ET NGO papers for Donors’ Conference June 2001  Complete text of Presentation [210 KB] updated June 16
"Includes papers on these topics: Justice and Human rights; Constitution; Women (REDE Statement); Children and Youth;
Education; Capacity building; Health; Agriculture; Environment; Water and Sanitation; Refugees."

May 20 FRETILIN: Electoral Commitment 2001  Position statement added July 5
"See sections on education, health, administration, employment and housing, environment, etc"

Abríl 2001 BLH: Ekipamentu sira presiza husik hela wainhira UNTAET fila  Overview added June 27
"Laiha politika ida nebe konsistente kona ba dispozisaun hosi ekipamentu no sasán nebe sosa ba misaun dame ONU nian. Iha misaun sira nebe liu tiha ona, dala ruma ekipamentu sira ne’e husik hela iha rai-laran wainhira ONU hit ain. La’o Hamutuk husu ba estadu sira hosi membru ONU nian, nebe liu hosi ONU kolektivamente “na’in” ba ekipamentu sira ne’e, atu bele mantein diak ekipamentu sira ne’e. Wainhira ekipamentu sira ne’e iha kondisaun diak no ETTA preciza, ONU bele fo hela sasán sira ne’e ba governu foun nudar hahalok diak ida ka fa’an ho folin ida nebe presiza konsidera mos kona ba depresiasaun nebe maka’as no gastus ba ONU atu tula sasán sira ne’e iha roo hodi sai hosi Timor Loro Sa’e." La’o Hamutuk, Instituto Timor Lorosa’e ba Analiza no Monitoring Reconstrucao

April 2001 Equipment In Good Working Order Should Stay In East Timor's After UNTAET Leaves  Editorial added May 12
"There is no consistent policy regarding the disposition of equipment and material purchased for UN peacekeeping missions. In past missions, the equipment has sometimes remained in the country after the UN's departure. La'o Hamutuk urges the UN member states, who through the UN collectively "own" this equipment, to make it available." The La'o Hamutuk Bulletin Editorial

Apr 14 CT: East Timor suffers under weight of world plans  Article added Apr 19

"Despite the UN’s optimistic view, when you scratch the surface of reconstruction in the emerging nation, the picture that emerges is a profoundly worrying one," Jenny Denton

Nov 11 2000 & Oct 1990 RN: Xanana Gusmao interviews
"what I feel is that if we improve the social and economic situation in East Timor, our people will forgive. This is my own, my personal point of view" Xanana Gusmao - From guerilla fighter to leader of his country.

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