Subject: UNOTIL Daily Media Review - 14 December 2005


Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Daily Media Review

Wednesday, 14 December 2005

National Media Reports

Ramos-Horta on Civil Society's Moral Authority to Criticize Xanana

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Jose Ramos Horta has said that members of Timor-Leste civil society who do not agree with the Truth and Friendship Commission (TFC) have the right to their opinions but do not have any moral authority to criticize President Xanana Gusmão. Speaking to journalists on Tuesday after participating in the World Bank/Government Consultative Meeting at the Government Palace, Horta declared that President Gusmão's contribution to the independence of this country is more meaningful than all of Timor-Leste civil society. He said that civil society is arrogant, believing that only their opinion is correct, and that the government's is incorrect, adding that civil society must realize that the President has been elected by the people. Regarding the letter sent by the Catholic Church to the UN Secretary General recommending the establishment of an International Tribunal, Horta said that it is not the Secretary General himself who will deal with the matter, but the Security Council, and that if such a court were to be established the Church and Civil Society must then be prepared to accept the consequences, such as an impact on relations with Indonesia and other countries in the region. (STL)

World Bank Proud of Developments in Timor-Leste

The World Bank is proud of Timor-Leste's development in the past three years, according to Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Jose Ramos Horta. Speaking after the first Consultative Meeting held between the World Bank and the Government, Horta said that the Bank told the Government that it is very pleased that even though it has only been three years, Timor-Leste continues to demonstrate progress. "The World Bank Chief who has come here said that he has been to many countries, but has never seen an experience like Timor-Leste's, where in three years Timor-Leste has made significant progress", related Horta. He said that as such the Timor-Leste government is also very proud to receive such recognition from the World Bank. (TP, STL)

MP Gonçalves: CAVR Work Pertinent

Member of the PSD bench in the National Parliament, Joao Mendes Goncalves has said that the CAVR recommendations are pertinent and justified, considering the extensive contact that the CAVR had with victims and the public hearings that they held. He said that he thinks some of the recommendations can be accepted and implemented immediately, while others will be difficult to implement. Speaking to journalists at the National Parliament yesterday in relation to the President's statement that the CAVR report is imaginary, Goncalves said that the President has the right to express his opinion, but this does not mean that everyone must agree with him, and indeed some people will disagree. He said that the President's statement shows that he is more concerned with the security and stability of the state, but that in his (Goncalves') opinion, while this and good relations with Indonesia are important, it is also important not to forget the demands of the victims for justice and the truth. (TP)

President criticizes Indonesian NGOs

President Xanana Gusmão has criticized some Indonesian NGOs who insist on talking about the 1999 violence in Timor-Leste, but who do not look to incidents in their own country such as the 1984 Tanjung Priok massacre, among others. Speaking at the airport on Monday on his return from Malaysia, in response to Hendardi's (from the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute) comments that the establishment of the TFC has saved Indonesia from having to bring the masterminds of the 1999 violence to justice, the President said that although he does not wish to offend friends in Indonesia, it is not just Timor-Leste that owes democratic society in Indonesia for helping to bring down Soeharto, but that each owes the other, as they also used the war in Timor-Leste to bring down Soeharto. (TP, STL)

CAQR will present Report to President Gusmão in late December

It is reported that the Commission for Resistance Cadres Affairs (CAQR) will present its final report to President Xanana Gusmão on 31 December. Speaking to Timor Post on Monday, the Coordinator for the Commission Vasco Gama a.k.a Criado stated that the report to be presented to President Gusmão covers the activities of the Commission, including its structure, as well as the database on the total number of resistance members who have died, those who are still alive and those who have not been listed. Moreover, he said that a total number of the resistance members who have been listed is around 39,800 people, adding that the list of these people will be shown publicly both at national and district level in order to anticipate any claims from the community on its legitimacy. (TP)

MP Santos: The Church Is Against the Principle of Truth When Sending letter to UN Secretary General on Truth and Friendship Commission

Speaking to the media on Tuesday, MP Joaquim Santos of the ruling party, Fretilin had been quoted as arguing that Timor-Leste's Church sending a letter to the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, urging him not to support the Truth and Friendship Commission (TFC) shows that the Church is against the principle of truth, which it has been defending so far. "I am not saying that the Church is now involved in practical politics, and in principle the Church wishes to seek for truth, and now the Church questions the existence of TFC which is mandated to seek truth which the Church has been defending" said dos Santos. Moreover, dos Santos argued that the Church and the religious institutions of Timor-Leste should have supported the establishment of TFC since TFC's mandate is to seek for truth and create friendship among the people of the two nations. "We respect the freedom of expression of individuals, institutions and organizations with regards to the policy of TFC, and all people can mark their position as Timorese. However, we should bear in mind that the establishment of TFC is to clarify the truth on the process of war for the last 24 years. In the past Timorese and foreigners have testified for CAVR except the Indonesians, and that is the problem," dos Santos argued. In addition, dos Santos argued, "I am not sure which one is the truth; the one which is taught by the Church or the one that was initiated by the two countries? The religion teaches us to forgive each other, and the state takes the position to reconcile so that the people can accept each other, but the Church considers it to be wrong." (STL)

Confusions among the victims due to the lack of information on CTF/TFC

Domingas Maria, a victim of human rights violation told media that the national dialogue held at Dom Bosco Comoro hall sponsored by the church entitled, "Placing Justice in its right place" brought much confusion to the victims of human rights violation because they were not aware of the Commission of Truth and Friendship/Truth and Friendship Commission (CTF/TFC), reported Diario Tempo. She argued that the above situation occurred due to lack of information from CTF/TFC to the public, particularly the victims of human rights. Responding to the above concerns, the President of Timor-Leste's CTF/TFC commissioner, Dionisio Babo told media that the public or the victims of the human rights violations are confused about the nature of CTF/TFC due to the lack of access to information regarding CTT/TFC. He added the concern of the public or victims of human rights violations over the clarification is another aspect of the commission's work -- to spread information as well as to provide clarification to the public in Timor-Leste over their concerns. Babo further stated that CTF/TFC was created based on Timor-Leste government's policy which is based on social, political, economic and cultural constraints that Timor-Leste is facing. He also stressed that CTF/TFC is established to reveal the truth together with Indonesia's government but not to take people to court. Meanwhile, the President of ASDT, Francisco Xavier do Amaral stated at the National Parliament that "justice would always be sought in whichever country. But, making Indonesia face the International Tribunal is a suicide for Timor-Leste. He added that Timor-Leste should play a justice that would save its current and future generations or otherwise the Independence the country has now means nothing at all. (DT)

TVTL News Headlines

Ø Gusmão's upcoming presence at NP questioned: MPs from the opposition were reportedly surprised that the President Xanana Gusmão would visit the Parliament soon. The Chief of PSD bench at the National Parliament, Maria Paixão MP, told TVTL that if the President was to come to the plenary session and no MP knows, it is a big mistake by the Parliament. Meanwhile, the Chief of FRETILIN bench, Francisco Branco confirmed that the President's presence was in relation to the project law for the veterans. According to plan, the draft law will be submitted for discussion at specialization next week.

Ø Xanana Gusmão reacts to Catholic Church, Civil Society and the UN on CTF: Speaking at the Dili International Airport in a press conference, upon his return from Malaysia on Monday, President Xanana Gusmão told journalists that he was surprised that the Catholic Church and Civil Society had sent letters to the UN Secretary General. Gusmão said that he was going to meet the UN Secretary General soon to tell him that it was fine for the UN to support or not to support the CTF. Gusmão reportedly added that the UN has no appreciation to internal process in Timor-Leste in this regard. He also criticized the CAVR as holding an "Imaginary Timor-Leste" in its report and that the Commission has not been very reflective on the reality in Timor-Leste.

Ø Women Training in Baucau: From Baucau, TVTL reported that the UN Agency, UNIFEM, in cooperation with National Directorate of Territorial Administration of Timor-Leste conducted training for women in Baucau District. The training to capacitate women in rural areas was reportedly attended by some 60 women from the Sub-Districts of Laga, Baucau and Vemasse. Lino Torrezao, the Director of National Directorate of Territorial Administration, told TVTL that the training was aimed at capacitating the women in rural areas to ensure their involvement in the process of National Development.

Regional Media Reports

Indonesia, East Timor, United States: A tale of power politics

Released recently by the independent Washington-based National Security Archive (NSA), the documents showed American officials were aware of the invasion plans nearly a year in advance. They adopted a "policy of silence" and even sought to suppress news and discussions on East Timor, including credible reports of Indonesia's massacres of Timorese civilians, according to the documents.

East Timor is today an independent state. The people of East Timor voted in favour of breaking away from Indonesia in a UN-sponsored ballot in August 1999 before gaining full independence in May 2002 after more than two years of UN stewardship. But the path to independence was bloody. Militia gangs reportedly directed by Indonesia's army went on a killing spree before and after the East Timorese referendum, killing about 1,400 independence supporters.

Thirty years after the Indonesian invasion, the formerly secret US documents showed how multiple Administrations tried to conceal information on East Timor to avoid a controversy that would prompt a congressional ban on weapons sales to Indonesia. "I'm assuming you're really going to keep your mouths shut on the subject", then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told his staff in October 1975 in response to reports that Indonesia had begun its attack on East Timor.

The Administration of President Gerald Ford knew that Indonesia had invaded East Timor using almost entirely US equipment, and that the use of that equipment for that purpose was illegal, the documents showed. In 1977, officials of the Administration of Ford's successor, Jimmy Carter, blocked declassification of an explosive cable transcribing President Ford and Kissinger's meeting with Indonesian President Suharto. At the meeting in December 1975, they explicitly approved of the East Timor invasion, according to the documents. Through the 1980s Washington officials continued to receive -- and to deny or dismiss -- credible reports of Indonesia's massacres of Timorese civilians. The National Security Archive had provided more than 1,000 formerly classified documents to help an East Timorese commission of inquiry into human rights abuses that occurred between 1975 and 1999.

Brad Simpson, Director of the National Security Archive's Indonesia and East Timor documentation project, said he expected the commission's final report to show that Indonesia's invasion of East Timor and resulting crimes there "occurred in an international context in which the support of powerful nations, especially the United States, was indispensable. (Monday Morning)

National News Sources Timor Post (TP) Radio Timor-Leste (RTL) Suara Timor Lorosae (STL) Diario Tempo (DT) Diario Nacional Seminario Lia Foun (LF) Televisaun Timor-Leste [TVTL]

These Items Do Not Reflect the Position or Views of the United Nations. UNOTIL Public Information Office END -

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