Subject: E Timorese NGO statement to Lisbon meet

LAYING STRONG FOUNDATIONS FOR EAST TIMOR'S FUTURE East Timorese NGOs Statement to the Lisbon Conference 21st 23rd June 2000

Despite being targeted by the military and militia violence, East Timorese NGOs have been able to reorganize themselves again and are now active in almost every sector. East Timorese NGOs have worked closely with the community for many years and can facilitate and ensure the broader participation of the East Timorese people in the reconstruction. It is important that there is a transition form humanitarian activities to development, to lay foundations for a strong independent nation of East Timor.

Despite the considerable successes of the humanitarian operation since September last year, there have also been many obstacles. The international community has failed to pay sufficient attention to many worries and warnings expressed by national and international NGOs at the Tokyo meeting in December. This meeting is very important to National NGOd to address their concerns and hopes of improvement and aid effectiveness from donors to East Timor in the upcoming period.

Recommendations 1: Transparency and Participation: Involvement of East Timorese in decision making. UNTAET has responsibility to provide information and to consult with the East Timorese people, including NGOs, and to consider the relations that have been built between NGOs and the community. UNTAET must listen to the voice of the East Timorese people. Decision making bodies such as the National Consultative Council need to be expanded to become more representative of a broader spectrum of civil society.

Recommendations 2: Responsiveness: UNTAET must become more flexible in order to respond to the needs of the East Timorese people. UNTAET must adopt a community development approach that involves local decision-making.

Recommendation 3: Priorities. Donors need to priorities shelter, health, education, food security, agriculture, income generation activities, and public transport. Special attention still needs to be given to the remote villages.

Recommendations 4: Right to Information. The community has a right to information about the transition process, which must be respected. The transitional government has the responsibility to disseminate information about their programs and plans. The development of a free and independent media should be prioritized by donors in order to contribute to the development of a dynamic civil society, sustain democracy and respect for differences of opinion.

Recommendation 5: The Legal System. The development of the judicial system has been slow. Priority should be given to the development of a strong and effective legal system. Communities need to see that justice is being done.

Recommendations 6: Human Rights and Reconciliation. Human rights are the foundation of reconciliation. Therefore reconciliation requires an international tribunal for those who committed war crimes.

Recommendations 7: The Return of Refugees Rapidly and Safely from West Timor. More attention should be given to the East Timorese refugees who are still in West Timor. The return of refugees rapidly and safely is important for the rehabilitation of East Timor and the long-term prospects of peace and stability.

Recommendation 8: Gender. There is a need to ensure that East Timorese women play an important role in the reconstruction process. UNTAET and donors must ensure that they consult with East Timorese women at national and district levels. Gender must be adequately resources so that women can fill decision-making positions.

Recommendation 9: Environment. It is important that the environmental issues are priorities by the international donor community. UNTAET also must ensure that the reconstruction conserves the environment.

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