BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor      home    June news

“It is crucial that those attending this meeting do not merely discuss the political and administrative transition, but also consider how rural communities can benefit from donor grants,” Arsenio Bano, Executive Director, ET NGO Forum

Forum Nacional ONG Timor Lorosa'e
The East Timor National NGO Forum

Kaikoli Street,  Dili-East Timor  telephone 322772/

Press Release        7 June 2001

Donors Meeting must be for Rural People

The East Timor NGO Forum is calling on donors for East Timor who are holding their next biannual meeting in Canberra on 14-15 June to ensure that this meeting is really and truly for the sake of ordinary people in rural areas throughout the country.

Hundreds and thousands of East Timorese are yet to benefit from the funds donors have allocated for East Timor through the World Bank and UNTAET. Although donors allocated around $US 563 million for the July 2000 to June 2001 fiscal year, very little of this money has made a difference to communities in East Timor, especially in isolated districts.

“It is crucial that those attending this meeting do not merely discuss the political and administrative transition, but also consider how rural communities can benefit from donor grants,” stressed Arsenio Bano, Executive Director of the NGO Forum.

East Timor is in the process of preparing itself for elections scheduled for 30 August this year to elect a Constitutional Assembly mandated to write a national constitution. Meanwhile, only one and a half months has been allocated for a constitutional commission to conduct public consultations on the constitution in the districts. On top of this unrealistic time constraint, the consultation process is under-resourced and under-staffed.

“We just don’t know how the public is going to be able to comprehend what the constitution is about or how they can involve themselves in such a brief consultation process,” said Aderito Soares, Coordinator of the East Timor Jurists Association and Advocacy Advisor to the NGO Forum. Aderito pointed out that the constitutional commission working in the districts would need around nine months rather than the one and a half months allocated to carry out adequate public consultations.

“But we hope there will still be other opportunities to ensure that the constitution is a people’s constitution. One possibility is to write an interim constitution within the existing process so as to ensure comprehensive public involvement in the formulation of a final constitution at a later date,” Aderito suggested.

Regarding the issues of women, Ajiza Magno from Rede says that, “The planning of development programs in East Timor must be gender-sensitive, providing guarantees for women’s active involvement in all political and economic processes, including decision-making. Now is the time to give serious attention to women’s issues, especially in rural communities and in education and health, two fields that could greatly contribute to improving the lives of East Timorese women.“

For further information contact:

Aderito Soares on 0409 263718

Arsenio Bano on 0418 200697

Ajiza Magno on 0417867542

East Timor National NGO Forum / Forum Nacional ONG Timor Lorosa'e  Updated June 14
Umbrella agency for East Timorese Non-Government Organisations (NGOs)
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  Telephone +670(390)322772
E-mail:  Homepage:

See also:

BD: Financing Reconstruction in East Timor - A collection of recent reports and articles

May 14 LH: NGO Forum declines to join UNTAET Constitutional Process  Letter added May 16
"The NGO Forum has chosen to coordinate with, but remain independent of, the UNTAET Constitution building process because of strong concerns that UNTAET’s process is rushed and highly inadequate." Lao Hamutuk, East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis

BD: East Timorese Women's Issues - A collection of recent information, petitions, articles and news

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