Subject: UNOTIL Daily Media Review 23 August 2006

Daily Media Review Wednesday, 23 August 2006

National Media Reports

Ministers Must Put Aside Political Interest: Bishop Basilio

The Bishop of Baucau Diocese, Don Basilio do Nascimento said the Timor-Leste government has a large composition compared to some other nations twice as big as Timor-Leste and yet those nations still manage to carry their country forward even with a smaller government composition. Despite the number of ministers and secretaries of state, the Bishop said he hopes the main objective of the government is to carry the country forward adding that each minister knows his/her duty to the nation and personal and political interests should be left aside. He said an accusation made by President Xanana Gusmão that some secretaries of state carry out their work influenced by personal interest is based on information the President, himself, received. He congratulated President Xanana for having the courage to point a finger starting at those who are not performing their duties with integrity.

In reference to the court process against the former Minister of Interior and former Prime Minister, Bishop Basilio do Nascimento is of the opinion that the court must be allowed time to do their work but the court must also be aware that the longer it takes the more the public will begin to doubt the process. (STL)

UN Has Agreed on Police Force but Still Discussing Military Presence: Lu’Olo

Francisco ‘Lu’Olo’ Guterres, President of the National Parliament said the UN has accepted the presence of a UN police force in Timor-Leste but it is still debating over a military component. In response to the concerns of some MPs regarding the security situation, Lu’Olo said the police including the 360 military should all be under the command of the UN. (STL)

Government Allocates US$10m to Rebuild Homes

The President for Commission A of the National Parliament responsible for Constitutional Affairs, Rights, Freedoms and Guarantees, said the government has allocated US$10 million for the people whose homes were destroyed during the crisis. Vicente Guterres said the fund is part of the State budget for the fiscal year 2006/2007. He said the people who lost their homes must present a report with concrete data to government, which will be double checked by a team established by the government on the accuracy of the report and which will take time to resolve. He further said, according to Prime Minister Ramos-Horta, UNHCR will provide tents for temporary use by IDPs who do not have a house to return to. Ramos-Horta said the government will only help the owner of the houses burnt during the crisis and not those who are illegally occupying state houses or those belonging to others. On the question of a new suburb, the Prime Minister said it was an idea raised to create a suburb for those people who did not have homes or were illegally occupying the houses that do not belong to them. (TP)

Petitioners Reluctant In Approaching Government

Lieutenant Colonel Salsinha Gastão, the spokesperson for former military group ‘the petitioners’, said he is not reluctant to approach the government to try and resolve their problem but some of their demands to the government have not been met. Gastão pointed to the detention of Major Alfredo who received an order from President Xanana Gusmão to move to Dili but was later detained and put in prison. He said apart from this, together with his group, they were prepared to travel to Dili to meet and work with the government to resolve their problem as requested by Prime Minister Ramos-Horta. Salsinha added that Prime Minister Ramos-Horta must also resolve the small problems in Dili. For the time being Gastão said, the ‘petitioners’ will wait for the results of the International Inquiry Commission with whom they have already met and for its report to be made public. (TP)

TV Monitoring News Report, 23 August 2006

IDPs in Dili City demand government to review the policy in regard to the integration and return of IDPs

IDPs around Dili city reportedly urged the government to review the government’s policy on the plan to reintegrate and return IDPs back home. They were strongly against the statement made by the Prime Minister in which he said, “Those IDPs who do not want to return home will not get any humanitarian help from either government or NGOs”. Responding to that, several IDPs who were interviewed said that to ease them into going back home the government should do the following:

* Guarantee the security and stability in each suburb by establishing permanent police stations

* Initiate the dialogue and reconciliation among the top leaders followed by the grass roots implementation.

* Continue providing humanitarian assistance regardless whether or not IDPs want to return home.

* Come up with ways to resolve the problems of those IDPs whose houses and properties were totally destroyed or burned.

Some members of Parliament have said that the government should not forcibly push IDPs to go home without looking into the specific condition, security and stability of each IDP. For the purpose of the IDPs’ safety, government should oversee its plan.

During the last three days the IDPs of National Hospital Guido Baladaris were attacked by an unknown group.

The director of the National Hospital reportedly declared that the situation at the National Hospital is not under control as fighting between youths and IDPs has been taking place over the last three days. He said the number of the IDPs drastically increased as many of them moved from Obrigado Barracks and Jardim-Colmera. He also reportedly complained about the ongoing attacks which caused six patients to leave the hospital without doctors’ acknowledgement. Lastly, he informed that as there are no more international forces, people can easily come in and out with sharp arms including machetes, knifes, slingshots, etc.

International Media Reports

Aust police injured in E Timor unrest

Wednesday, August 23, 2006. 6:14am (AEST) - AFP/Reuters

Two Australian policemen have been slightly injured in the capital of East Timor after a mob of youths attacked them with rocks, a Portuguese police officer in the country says. After coming under attack, the Australian police fired live rounds into the air and called in Portuguese police reinforcements, who fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowd, Commander Goncalo Carvalho told the Lusa news agency. The violence comes as East Timorese President Xanana Gusmao suspended emergency measures he introduced two months ago following widespread violence sparked by a split in the country's armed forces. The three patrol cars the Australian police were travelling in "were practically destroyed" in the attack, Commander Carvalho says. Australian police later arrested three of the youths who allegedly attacked them and closed the road leading from the centre of Dili to the capital's international airport, near the area where the attack happened, for two hours. The clash took place after Australian police tried to break up a battle between two groups of around 30 rock-throwing youths in Dili's Comoro neighbourhood, which is located near a camp for internally displaced people. Some 82,000 people are living at four camps set up in Dili for people who were displaced by a wave of violence by machete-wielding gangs which swept the former Portuguese colony in April and May, killing at least 21 people. East Timor invited an international peacekeeping force to the country of around one million people in the wake of the unrest, which was sparked by infighting among factions in the military and police.

Emergency measures

A "state of crisis", which falls short of a full-scale emergency, was declared by Mr Gusmao on May 30 and then extended as simmering violence continued despite the arrival of a 2,500-strong Australian-led intervention force. The statement from Mr Gusmao says the situation in Asia's newest democracy remained "vulnerable", but there has been an improvement since the arrival of a foreign intervention force. The roots of the initial violence were complex, with elements of political and regional rivalries flaring after then-prime minister Dr Mari Alkatiri, who stepped down under pressure on June 26, sacked nearly half the country's tiny army. Dr Alkatiri is suspected of arming civilians during the violence and has been told by the country's Attorney-General that he cannot leave the country. Nobel Peace Price laureate Dr Jose Ramos Horta has since taken over as Prime Minister. (ABC)

Timor Violence Not Serious Says Commander 23 Aug 2006, 7:58 am, The commander of New Zealand police in East Timor, Grant O'Fee, says the country is not returning to the level of violence it experienced earlier this year. There have been reports of renewed fighting and a spate of fires, as well as an attack on an Australian policeman in the capital, Dili. But Grant O'Fee says the skirmishes are being contained. He says his officers have only encountered youths throwing stones and darts from slingshots which they can handle. (www.newswire.co.nz)

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

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