Subject: TP Editorial: Quota For Women Is Not A Base In The Emancipation Struggle

Quota For Women Is Not A Base In The Emancipation Struggle (Timor Post Editorial/8/3/01 from Tetin)

In the Timor Post Edition of 6 March 2001, the East Timor Commission for Human Rights (CDHTL) referred journalists to the decision of UN through UNTAET to generously award parties that meet the agreed 30% women quota.

This is the important information of the week from UNTAET. We do not know if UN has consulted with the Timorese, or if this proposal came from women groups in East Timor. If it is the latter, it is suicidal as this proposal lacks a base for the fundamental struggle of women for complete emancipation in the national process. Why? Because we just want to have seats through quota and not struggle for them. To the Timorese women groups who propose quotas to the UN, we say to them that they have forgotten who they are and that they have wrongly interpreted the significance of emancipation.

Sensitive people would react positively to CDHTL's stand on quota and try to change the operation of the international staff in East Timor. Are East Timorese sensitive or not? Can they see clearly or not? Because if not, it would be big advantage for those who try to carry out their project. When the information came from New York, the women groups in particular were very happy, Some East Timorese leaders too. However, they are unaware that this decision, if implemented, would make us ashamed. It is also counterproductive to the work at the base among women to build the future of East Timor.

CDHTL is not an exclusive woman organization but we thank it for its opposition to the quota decision of UN. It shows that they are sensitive to the situation and changes in this transition period. We say that emancipation means that men and women are the same. However that requires more than a decision on quota. Thus it is not a good idea to create quotas in East Timor. A quota system would make us lazy, and forget to work hard and be in touch with the suffering and difficulties of the people. It would kill our creativity. Sorry.

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