Subject: East Timor headlines/2May2001

Bahasa Indonesia Headlines ­ Wednesday 2 March, 2001

1. Transitional administration silent on labor problems 
2. School in Wailili burnt 
3. Slashed PKF flown to Darwin 
4. Recommendation to PKF 
5. Timor Lorosae ties and the human rights question

1. Transitional Administration Silent On Labor Problems (Timor Post, front page headline)

The labor sector must be allowed to participate in the political process because they too have rights, said the Secretary-General of the Socialist Party of Timor Avelino Coelho.

Avelino made this statement when asked to comment on Labor Day.

He said the Transitional Administration preferred to remain silent over labor problems, and this in turn allowed foreign investors to exploit workers.

“Workers are not even mentioned in the constitution. The Transitional Administration talks a lot about civil education but they have forgotten that workers are also a part of civil society,” he said.

Avelino said his party, the PST, will champion the rights of workers by working together with other groups like Laifet and the Trablista Party.

Avelino said PST will demand a minimum wage for workers nationally that was tax-free.

“Why are international staff exempt from tax, while local workers earning $100 and more have to pay?” asked Avelino.

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2. School in Wailili Burnt (Timor Post, Front Page second lead)

A school in Wailili village in Baucau was burnt on Monday afternoon by an unidentified group.

This was stated yesterday by CivPol spokesperson Luis Carrilho at a UNTAET press conference. Also said Carrilho, a body was found on Monday in the Desa Malela river in Pasabe district, Oecussi.

Carrilho said both cases were under CivPol investigation.

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3. Slashed PKF Flown To Darwin (Timor Post, Front Page side-bar)

The Australian PKF who was slashed on Sunday at a beach in Hera ­ 10 km east of Dili ­ was flown to Darwin yesterday morning for further medical treatment.

The PKF member was identified as Mark Keeton.

Timor Post went to the beach where Keeton was slashed in the wrist by a gang, while he was swimming with two of his colleagues. The gang fled when one of the PKF members managed to run to his vehicle and draw out a weapon.

Timor Post discovered that a fire had just been lit and several packets of instant noodles had been left behind.

“Mark Keeton was off-duty at that time and maybe he went to the beach to relax,” said Major David Munro of the Australian contingent of the PKF.

“Those who attacked Keeton were petty criminals. They are amateurs,” added Munro.

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4. Recommendation To PKF (Timor Post, Letters column, Page 5)

Following is a letter of a reader Fino from Comoro, Dili.

As a Timorese, I feel very sad at the news published last week by Suara Timor Lorosae on the misdeeds of PKF soldiers at Tiba.

The information said that PKF soldiers got out from a taxi and did not pay 50,000 rupiahs or 5.00 USD. They only paid 0.50 US cents. This is a "dirty" deed towards the small people. Moreover, they took out a pistol and threatened the driver. They did not intend to commit a crime but the PKF soldiers have no morality. In this humanitarian mission, these soldiers had received no education from their commanders or from their countries.

We have seen and heard in Dili and outside in Hera, where there are threats and attacks on persons with sharp objects, knives and parangs. If PKF is showing an example by threatening people with a pistol, such actions will surely happen afterwards. I only want to say that at present Timorese people are working hard to earn a daily living. PKF and foreigners must create a good situation for Timorese people or give as much help to this little land. Not to bring back threats again.

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4. Timor Lorosae Ties and the Human Rights Question (Suara Timor Lorosae, editorial Page 5)

There will be no disagreement to this fact: If Timor Lorosae wants to progress in the future, it must develop good bilateral relations with Indonesia and Australia. The reason is that these two large countries are Timor Lorosae’s immediate neighbours.

When it comes to Australia, it seems easy. Australia is a developed country and it does not have a tarnished image among the Timorese people. Also, Australia has not forgotten the deeds of the Timorese people in helping Australian soldiers during the Second World War.

But for Indonesia it is a different story. The Indonesians have left behind a dark legacy of human rights abuses and torture during the 24 years they occupied Timor Lorosae. The Indonesian military viewed the Timorese people as the enemy and used torture to try to subdue them.

But the past, now, should be put behind. The past might be bitter and painful but we have to move forward.

Let us think ahead. Good Timor Lorosae ­ Indonesia ties will certainly augur well for the country. From the economic side of things we could benefit with cheap imports from Indonesia. The Indonesians would also allow us to use their air-space for airlines coming from Europe and Asia to Timor Lorosae. In addition, we could also use their sea-lanes and air-space to export our goods to Europe and America.

The only way the human rights question can be answered is to wait for the democratization process in Indonesia to be completed. But without doubt, the perpetrators of crimes against humanity must be brought before the courts. Only then can the way be paved for harmonius ties between Timor Lorosae and Indonesia.

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