BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor    home | themes | finance |search

BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor

The United Nations (UN) and the Reconstruction of East Timor
Nações Unidas (UN) / Nasoins Unidas (UN)
Bantu uang: Rékonstruksi :

A collection of recent reports and articles on the impacts of the funded inequity (apartheid) between UNTAET staff and the East Timorese people. 

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Up-Dated: Nov 5

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Main Contents: BD: Financing Reconstruction in East Timor

Oct 30-Nov 5 Tempo: The Disparity Between UNTAET and E.Timorese  Article added Nov 4
"The contrasting incomes and lifestyles between the expatriates and nationals in Timor Loro Sa’, particularly in Dili, has caused deep envy and anger among the local population. That’s why rock attacks still happen occasionally, even if the war has ended. Those rocks are being thrown at UNTAET cars during night time, smashing window screens. This outpouring of anger is triggered by the flagrant display of wealth amidst the widespread poverty around the local people." Raihul Fadjri (Yogyakarta), Setiyardi (Timor Loro Sa’e).

Oct 30-Nov 5 Tempo: Foreign Pie in a Local Kitchen (UNTAET’s Budget for 2000)  Info added Nov 4
"Salaries of military personnel US$220 millon; Salaries of civilian personnel US$199 million; Salaries of international staff US$112 million (monthly average of US$7,800 per head); Dental care for military personnel US$7 million; Laundry cost of military personnel US$2.1 million; Drinking water for military personnel US$3.65 million; Salaries of local staff US$5.5 million (monthly average of US$240 per head); Total Budget 2000 US$549.15 million " Raihul Fadjri (Yogyakarta), Setiyardi (Timor Loro Sa’e)."

Oct 30-Nov 5 Tempo: 100s of UNTAET employees stay in Timor's Floating Hotels  Article added Nov 5
"In its one year of operation under contract with UNTAET, [Hotel] Olympia is believed to have made at least US$40 million in profits—eight times the amount UNTAET spent in salaries to its local employees during the same period. ... Having won independence, the Timorese are awakening to a new reality. The sight of Lobato sleeping on the pavement of a pot-holed road and old rickety buildings lining the beach stands in stark contrast to the [floating hotel] Central Maritime display of good living—a reminder to the Timorese that they still have to face another enemy in their midst—poverty." Setiyardi (Timor Loro Sa’e)

Oct 24 UNTAET: Two New Institutions to Fight Poverty Approved  News added Oct 30
"The East Timorese Council of Ministers today approved the creation of two new institutions, a Foundation for the Reduction of Poverty in East Timor and a Society for Micro-finance in East Timor, following agreements between UNTAET and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed in December 2000." United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor

Oct 10 Timorese journalists: UN not up to task  News added Oct 13
"[Carlito] Caminha said the UN was trying to lead a “new colonisation” of East Timor. ... Caminha added that in his native Tetum language, UNTAET (United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor) translates colloquially as “UN Comes To Destroy East Timor”. [Gil] Da Costa said that the UN exploited the local Timorese workers by paying them $US6 a day for jobs for which they themselves earned top international dollars. As a result of these wage disparities, UN workers were the only people that could afford to visit the sole Westernised grocery store on the island, which is run by Australians." East Timor Press reporting team

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. ...
16. Formation of a Central Fiscal Authority: It is not clear to Timorese what financial state the country will be in when UNTAET leaves. ... 17. Collection of Taxes: How can the transitional administration legitimately collect taxes when it is not delivering basic services to the population? ... 18. Establishment of a Central Payments Office: There is still not a functioning bank in East Timor. ... 19. Establishment of a Small Enterprises Project: How can this succeed given the tax system?"

June 2001 IFRC: East Timor Diary (World Disasters Report 2001)  Excerpt added July 6
"That night on the way home from work, I pass a ship the size of an oil tanker, dwarfing the palm trees. It is the UN hotel. International staff serve, manage and cook. Food comes from Singapore and Australia. It serves 600 guests, paying AS$ 150 a night. Not a cent gets into the local economy. That is, if you exclude the shy girls, sitting next to aid workers in their four-wheel drive cars. They aren’t imported from elsewhere. They’re cheaper here." Kies Rietveld, a medical doctor who has worked in Afghanistan and East Timor

May 10 Reut: Portugal lawmakers censure E. Timor administration  News added May 13
"UNTAET was exemplary in accomplishing its mission to maintain security and socio-economic stabilisation in the territory, ... But its administration is costly and not very efficient and has not brought about the prompt preparation of Timorese bodies for future administration,” report compiled after a visit by a Portuguese parliamentary commission

Abríl 2001 BLH: Faktos Kona Ba We Botir  Overview added June 27
"Botir plastiku mamuk nian iha quartel UNTAET nia liur. Ida ne’e bidon recycle (mengembalikan) ida, maibe sei barak tan; botir barak mak sei soe namakare halo foer. ... Estimasaun distribuisaun ba tinan ida: botir 10,5 miliaun ... Estimasaun ba kustus tinan ida nian laran: 4 miliaun dolar" La’o Hamutuk, Instituto Timor Lorosa’e ba Analiza no Monitoring Reconstrucao

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

Abríl 2001 BLH: Komentariu: Taxa iha Timor Loro Sa’e  Comment added July 24
"Situasaun Taxa iha Timor Loro Sa’e komplikadu teb-tebes. Lei ba taxa nian hosi Indonejia sei la’o hela desde UNTAET hahú, maibe la iha administrasaun taxa nebe la’o atu kolekta hosi vendedor no individual sira, ... Regulamentu UNTAET 2000/32 konfirma katak laiha taxa seluk ruma nebe tenke kolekta wainhira UNTAET to’o iha Timor Loro Sa’e. ... Prinsipiu baziku hosi kaixa jeral taxa nian iha fatin hotu-hotu mak taxa tenki selu iha fatin nebe osan simu ba, duke hetan hosi rai na’in. ... Tanba empregadu ONU la selu impostu, miliaun nuluan dolar bar-barak nebe preciza teb-tebes ba povu Timor Loro Sa’e mak la iha. ... Oituan liu, UNTAET tenke suporta fo aten brani ba planu kontribuisaun empregadu oluntariu hodi suporta governu nebe foin hamriik." La’o Hamutuk, Instituto Timor Lorosa’e ba Analiza no Monitoring Reconstrucao

April 2001 LHB: 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

Jan 8 SMH: Racist, Cynical, Wasteful: How UN Workers 'Help' Timor  News added Jan 17
"For every dollar spent by the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) on direct assistance to the East Timorese, 10 more are spent on running its own overheads, a situation that Sergio de Mello, the transitional administrator, described as "frankly absurd"." Denis Dragovic

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