Movimentu Kontra Okupasaun Tasi
Movement Against the Occupation of the Timor Sea
Rua dos Martires da Patria, Bebora,
As thousands of people rallied peacefully in
front of the Australian embassy in Dili on 22 March, the organizers of
the protest issued two statements, one to Australia
and one to Timor-Leste. Tetum versions and
photos of the protest can be accessed at
The following are English translations of the two statements:
li, 22 March 2016
Against the Occupation of the Timor Sea (Movimentu Kontra Okupasaun Tasi
Timor - MKOTT) is a social movement composed of activists, students,
former resistance fighters and individuals which advocates for legal,
judicial and diplomatic processes between the Australian and Timor-Leste
governments to find a fair solution to the maritime boundary between
these two nations.
MKOTT sees that Timor-Leste is the closest
neighbour to Australia. During the past few decades, people from these
two countries have had good relations. In World War II, many Timorese
people supported Australia, and more than 40,000 Timorese lives were
sacrificed because Australia came to use Timor Island as a base to
defend against Japan. In addition, in 1999 Australia supported
Timor-Leste to end Indonesia’s military brutality.
the history of past good relations has been scarred by Australian
government policy to illegally occupy Timor-Leste’s maritime territory,
because Australia is interested to take resources from this small
nation. Therefore, today, MKOTT returns to call for justice in settling
a maritime boundary which is fair to Timor-Leste’s people.
comes to ask the following demands:
1. Australia should return
to the mechanisms for resolving maritime boundary disputes under the
International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal for the
Law of the Sea.
2. The Government of Australia should respect the
rights of Timor-Leste’s people in the Timor Sea according to
international law (UNCLOS).
3. The Government of Australia should
engage in honest and open negotiations about maritime boundaries, not
only to talk about bilateral relations in general.
4. The Government
of Australia should stop stealing Timor-Leste’s people’s resources,
which reduces opportunities for good lives for women, children, and
vulnerable people in Timor-Leste.
In addition to the above
demands, through this request, MKOTT also asks the Australian people, as
a people who have shown their maturity and strong civic spirit, to:
1. Stand alongside the people of Timor-Leste to fight for sovereignty,
as you did during the Indonesian occupation.
2. Encourage your
Government to respect Timor-Leste’s people’s rights, through deciding a
fair maritime boundary according to international legal principles.
3. Help your domestic politics to become more democratic, respecting law
and human rights, to make Australia an exemplary nation with a
democratic system that other countries in this region can follow.
LONG LIVE TIMOR-LESTE
LONG LIVE THE MAUBERE PEOPLE
THE MOVEMENT AGAINST OCCUPATION OF THE TIMOR SEA
The Movement Against the Occupation of the Timor Sea (Movimentu Kontra
Okupasaun Tasi Timor - MKOTT) is a social movement composed of
activists, students, former resistance fighters and individuals which
advocates for legal, judicial and diplomatic processes between the
Australia and Timor-Leste governments to find a fair solution to the
maritime boundary between these two nations.
|Photo from March 22 protest in Dili. Photos via
As a nonpartisan
citizens’ movement, MKOTT also has a responsibility to defend
Timor-Leste’s people’s rights to access a fair distribution of state
resources, as well as to defend people’s right to information,
transparency and accountability from our leaders. MKOTT believes that
the people of Timor-Leste should be the real beneficiaries and should
determine their leaders’ decisions.
History has shown that, from
the UNTAET administration until today, Timor-Leste’s leaders have looked
for ways to share revenues with the Australian government and oil
companies who exploit our oil and gas from the Timor Sea, rather than
choose for our sovereignty.
MKOTT recognizes that the weak
economic situation when independence was restored in 2002 compelled
Timor-Leste to give in to Australian pressure to sign the Timor Sea
Treaty and International Unitization Agreement which were unfair to
Timor-Leste, because we had just emerged from devastating conflict which
had destroyed more than 80% of our infrastructure. State finances were
stronger a few years later, and MKOTT did not agree when Timor-Leste and
Australia signed and ratified the CMATS Treaty in 2006 and 2007.
Since 1999, Australia has taken in around USD $5 billion in revenues
from oil and gas fields in the part of the Timor Sea which should belong
to Timor-Leste. They got this money from the Elang-Kakatua, Bayu-Undan,
Laminaria-Corallina, Buffalo and Kitan fields, which are now nearly
entirely depleted. The remaining 7% of the Bayu-Undan reserve will be
used up soon.
In our land, the Government of Timor-Leste has
already spent more than $7 billion from these natural resources, and
about $16 billion remains in our Petroleum Fund. MKOTT observes that
this unique resource must be managed well to benefit current and future
generations. When our economy becomes strong, and it no longer depends
on oil and imports, more people will have jobs, household economies will
improve, and the Government will be better able to support women and
men, children, and all vulnerable people. MKOTT believes that a
stronger economy will also strengthen Timor-Leste’s position in maritime
boundary negotiations with Australia.
Therefore, today, in front
of many people, MKOTT gives this mandate to the Government of
- To defend sovereignty ahead of money, or
projects or benefits from Australian donors.
- To use the people’s resources to improve
all people’s quality of life, ensuring equity for everyone.
- To control public finance policies not to
throw money away, or use it to benefit only a few.
- To promote transparency and accountability
about all public decisions to the Timorese people, as the owners of
- As a social movement, MKOTT promises to
watch over this mandate, as one part of our duty as citizens to
defend the people’s interests under the Constitution of the
Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.
(Civil Society), Faustinho Soares (Universities), Jorge "Wemoris" Alves
|A protest calling for the establishment
of permanent maritime boundaries along the ‘median line’ half
way between Australia and East Timor.took place on February 23
outside the Australian Embassy in Dili. The demonstration was
organized by The Movement Against the Occupation of the Timor
Sea (Movimentu Kontra Okupasaun Tasi Timor/MKOTT) has been
formed by activists, students and former resistance groups.
Photo by Juvinal Dias
MKOTT: MKOTT Declaration to the Australian
Government (February 23, 2016)
Protest outside Australia’s embassy in East Timor over the
‘occupation’ of the Timor Sea (February 23, 2016)
Timor Sea page
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