Subject: UNMISET Daily Media Review 21 December 2004

UNMISET Daily Press Review

Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Daily Media Review Tuesday, 21 December 2004

Timor-Leste and Indonesia attempt to resolve border issue

Teams from Timor-Leste and Indonesia will meet this week in an attempt to resolve a “border dispute”. Officials from Dili and Jakarta will gather on the Indonesia resort island of Bali, where Timor-Leste’s President Xanana Gusmao last week met his counterpart Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for the first time since the Indonesian leader took office. A statement issued by Dili says the two sides have now agreed on the demarcation of 93 percent of their border and are close to settling the final stretch. Timor-Leste broke away from Jakarta rule in 1999, following a vote on independence marred by violence carried out by the Indonesian military and pro-Jakarta militias, in which more than 1,400 people were killed. (AFP, ABC)

UN Secretary-General urged to support justice for Timor-Leste

The International Federation for East Timor (IFET) urged the Secretary-General to establish a Commission of Experts to investigate whether the perpetrators of serious crimes committed in Timor-Leste have been brought justice. IFET wrote to Secretary-General Kofi Annan, “to encourage [him] immediately to appoint a Commission of Experts to continue the international community’s unfulfilled task of ensuring justice for crimes against humanity committed in Timor-Leste during the Indonesian occupation”.

The letter states that the UN Secretary-General is scheduled to meet the Foreign Ministers of Timor-Leste and Indonesia this afternoon to discuss a plan by the two countries to form a joint Commission on Truth and Friendship. “Names have been named; truth has been reported. What remains is to bring the perpetrators to justice,” IFET argues in its letter. (East Timor Action Network)

Council urges Government to ‘come to table’ on Timor Sea

The Australian Catholic Social Justice Council (ACSJC) has called on the Australian Government to do all in its power to ensure Timor-Leste has early access to revenues from the oil and gas resources of the Timor Sea. The Timor Sea dispute comprises a number of boundary issues but the most immediate relates to the Greater Sunrise oil and gas fields. At stake is the development of billions of dollars worth of revenue. A reasonable share of this revenue is desperately needed to secure the economic viability and sustainable development of Timor-Leste. ACSJC Chair Bishop Saunders said, “A rich nation like Australia can endure delays in these negotiations. Timor-Leste cannot”. Bishop Saunders pointed out that Timor is among the poorest nations of the world, and the Timor Sea is the “only resource available to Timor-Leste to provide adequately for its growing population.” (Catholic News)

Downer says Australia’s intervention in Timor-Leste was difficult

After nearly nine years in the job, Australia’s Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, has pointed to Australia’s intervention in Timor-Leste as the most difficult decision made during his time in the job. Mr Downer today became the country’s longest-serving Foreign Minister, surpassing Richard Casey’s term in the government of Sir Robert Menzies in the 1950s and 1960s. He says that while the decision to become involved in Iraq was also challenging, it was not as tough as putting Australia forward as the main player involved in Timor Leste’s struggle for independence, “that obviously lead to a very significant deterioration in our relationship with Indonesia and we knew that would happen and it involved quite a lot of risks as well so I think that’s probably been the most difficult and the decision about Iraq was a very difficult decision but the involvement by Australia in that operation was much smaller than in Timor-Leste.” (ABC)

Prime Minister: Christmas strengthens National Unity

Addressing his Christmas message to the nation on Monday, Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri said that Christmas was a time to strengthen national unity. “To do so, there is a need to consolidate first the democracy. In so doing, we will also strengthen the stability so that each of us will work and contribute for the development,” Alkatiri added. Moreover, the Prime Minister said that the Catholic Church and the State should continue working together in order to maintain social solidarity and become an invaluable essence for national independence. “We have hope that the Catholic Church can become a great element for our national unity,” he said, and further added that the stability of the nation during this Christmas was much better, stating that it was the first time where all of the security power was with the State of Timor-Leste. (Timor Post, STL)

Commissioner Martins: PNTL and F-FDTL have solid cooperation

PNTL Commissioner, Paulo de Fatima Martins, said that despite the Becora incident on December 16 and other frequent incidents that have involved officers from F-FDTL and PNTL, both security agencies still maintain solid relations. Furthermore, both agencies are currently sharing information in investigating the recent incidents. He confirmed further that the agencies are studying the results of the investigation in order to determine how many personnel of each respective institution have been involved in the incidents.

In two separate articles, Members of the National Parliament, Jose Manuel Fernandes and Antonio Ximenes, have expressed their concern over the dispute between F-FDTL and PNTL. MP Fernandes stated that PNTL officers should fully understand their duties as members of a law enforcement institution. He urged PNTL members to act in accordance with the mission or the vision the institution has entrusted upon them. MP Antonio Ximenes suggested that due to the frequent incidents between PNTL and F-FDTL, a military police unit should be established to control both security agencies as well as to promote discipline and to guard against future incidents between the agencies. (STL)

David Diaz Ximenes: Don’t use violence to guarantee stability

Commenting on the recent fighting between PNTL and F-FDTL members, Head of Civilian Security David Diaz Ximenes said on Monday that violence should not be used to guarantee the stability of the nation. “Violence will only produce false stability. Timor-Leste needs true stability in order to develop itself for the future,” Ximenes said. In addition, Ximenes said the two security forces should recognise what their positions are, adding that F-FDTL should not consider itself as in the past as the supreme command of the struggle in the jungle. According to Ximenes, strategic positions in PNTL and F-FDTL should not be given to those who were the product of reconciliation but primarily to those of the resistance whose nationalism and patriotism for this country is no longer questionable, and this can synchronize the two institutions. (Timor Post)

Antonio Ximenes: Timor-Leste should establish military police

Christian Democratic Party (PDC) Representative Antonio Ximenes told the media on Monday that there is a need for Timor-Leste as a country that has recently attained independence to establish military police in order to control its two security agencies, PNTL and F-FDTL. “If there is no military police, problems that arise such as the ones between PNTL and F-FDTL, who is going to apprehend them?” Ximenes argued. Ximenes further stated that the establishment of military police should be more important in Timor-Leste rather than the special police units as created by the Government. Meanwhile, commenting on the Provedor on Human Rights, Ximenes said it is very important for Timor-Leste to quickly have one. Therefore, his party has nominated two candidates for the post, which would be publicly announced today. (STL)

Timor’s leaders say CPLP not backing spread of Portuguese language

Timor-Leste’s heads of government and state have accused the Community of Portuguese speaking Countries (CPLP) of not making sufficient efforts to promote the Portuguese language in the new nation. Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri and President Xanana Gusmão were speaking Sunday at a ceremony marking the first anniversary of Timor’s only Portuguese newspaper, Semanário. Alkatiri said the CPLP would only gain by backing Portuguese in Timor. Portuguese and Tetum are Timor’s two official languages. Bahasa Indonesia and English are also spoken in the young nation. “The CPLP must realise that a success for the choice of Portuguese in Timor will mean the bloc’s own success”, said Alkatiri. (Lusa)

Minister of Interior calls on PNTL to ensure human rights are protected

21 December 2004: The Minister of Interior, Rogerio Lobato, yesterday inaugurated a four-day training workshop focussing on the investigative capabilities of Timor-Leste’s National Police Service (PNTL), calling on PNTL Officers to ensure that the human rights of suspects and the general community are fully protected.

The workshop is expected to train PNTL trainers who in turn will disseminate the best practices in their regions.

During his address, Minister Lobato told the 72 Police Officers taking part in the Skill Development Plan workshop that as well as making sure that the human rights of all are protected, Police Officers are also responsible for ensuring that all investigations are carried out in an effective and efficient manner and in accordance with the rule of law.

The Minister stressed that the compliance of PNTL Officers with all legal formalities in the course of their investigations, such as proper gathering of evidence and its presentation to the courts, obtaining arrest warrants from the judicial authorities and presenting suspects before an investigating judges within 72 hours of arrest, to ensure an effective outcome when the suspect is presented before the Courts.

Minister Lobato called on the participants to acquire and take advantage of the knowledge and skills of United Nations Police (UNPOL) Technical Advisers, and to effectively imbibe the best practices. He also emphasized that PNTL must be a learning organization and all PNTL Officers must continuously endeavour to acquire new skills and capabilities and to develop existing capacities.

The Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Timor-Leste, Mr. Atul Khare, welcomed the comments of Minister Lobato, stating that it is imperative that the investigative capability within the National Police Service fully guarantees that the human rights of suspects are respected and upheld at all times.

Earlier, speaking at the same function, DSRSG Khare also called upon all UNPOL Technical Advisers to continue to demonstrate highest cultural sensitivity towards the Timorese people and their institutions so that the best practices being imparted to the PNTL Officers could be effectively internalised and institutionalised.

The PNTL Officers specialising in investigations, who are taking part in the workshop, are being assisted by United Nations Police Technical Advisers to undertake specific training in areas such as crime scene examination, case preparation, legal procedure and domestic violence. The 72 Police Officers are from all 13 Districts of Timor-Leste. (UNMISET)

Support ETAN, make a secure financial contribution at

Back to December menu
World Leaders Contact List
Human Rights Violations in East Timor
Main Postings Menu