Subject: East Timor news headlines/ 28Feb2001

Bahasa Indonesia Headlines ­ Wednesday 28 February 2001

  1. Ad Hoc Committee for Human Rights Cases: UN Must Give Indonesia A Timeframe
  2. Avelino: Border Incident Will Not Affect Elections
  3. Refugees Who Want To Take Part In Elections Must Come Back Home
  4. China Hands Over Aid To ETTA
  5. Seical Flood Victims Yet To Receive Help
  6. Transition Cabinet And The Solving Of Problems

1. Ad Hoc Committee for Human Rights Cases: UN Must Give Indonesia A Timeframe (Timor Post, Front Page second lead)

Director of the Sahe Institute of Liberation Aderito de Jesus said a timeframe had to be given to Indonesia by the United Nations in order for the trials of those suspected of having committed crimes against humanity to proceed smoothly.

Aderito was responding to Jakarta’s comments over the weekend, after Transitional Administrator Sergio Vieira de Melo had met Indonesian House of Representatives Speaker Akbar Tandjung, that and ad hoc committee had been formed to look into the human rights cases.

While the Sahe Institute supported the initiative, Aderito, however, doubted the ability of the Indonesian legal system to deal with cases concerning crimes against humanity.

He said the Indonesian legal system was still developing and leaders in the country did not have the political will to deal with such cases. With the current political turmoil in Indonesia, said Aderito, the ad hoc committee will be given least priority.

“Let me be straight. Though I value Serio de Mello’s efforts in Jakarta, I still think in order to be effective the UN must give Indonesia a deadline to deal with the cases,” said Aderito.

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2. Avelino: Border Incident Will Not Affect Elections (Timor Post, Front Page third lead)

The exchange of gunfire at the border over the weekend will not affect discussions on the political timetable and the reconciliation process. This was stated yesterday by National Council member and general-secretary of the Socialist Party, Avelino da Silva Coelho.

“If they want to scuttle the voter registration process, it will be extremely difficult. The militias are supported by the TNI and there is no way they can enter Timor Lorosae territory,” said Avelino.

On Friday night west of Balibo, along the border with West Timor, Australian PKF members exchanged gun-fire with two militia members. There were no casualties.

“The border incident was just an act of provocation and intimidation. I don’t think it will affect the 30 August election,” said the NC member.

Avelino also urged the UN Security Council to pressure Indonesia into reining in the militias.

“If the UN Security Council can take harsh action against Iraq, why can’t they do a similar thing against Indonesia?” he asked.

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3. Refugees Who Want To Take Part In Elections Must Come Back Home (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page fourth lead)

As many as 60,000 East Timorese still in the refugee camps in West Timor and other Indonesian provinces have the same rights as other East Timorese in Timor Lorosae to take part in the 30 August election.

“The excuse given by the refugees that polling centres need to be camps so that their safety can be guaranteed cannot be accepted. As East Timorese people, the refugees have their rights to take part in the election but they have to come back home and register themselves here,” said the head of the National Council’s Political Affairs Commission, Agio Pereira.

Agio was commenting on the former East Timor Governor, Abilio Soares’ statement that for the sake of the refugees’ safety there should be polling centers in the refugee ccamps.

Agio said the security situation in Timor Lorosae was no longer of concern.

“It’s much more dangerous in the refugee camps because there are militias there,” he said.

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4. China Hands Over Aid To ETTA (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page headline)

Aid from China to Timor Lorosae in the form of machinery like tractors, excavators and agricultural equipment in 78 shipping containers were handed over to the Transitional Administrator Sergio Vieira de Melo by the head of the Chinese mission Shao Quanfo at Tibar yesterday.

Also present at the handing over ceremony was Deputy East Timor Transitional Administrator Jean Christian Cady, PKF and Civpol members.

China’s total aid to Timor Lorosae is valued at USD6 million and would be given in three lots. Yesterday’s delivery of the machines was in the first lot.

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5. Seical Flood Victims Yet To Receive Help (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page top-box)

Help is still a far way for about three thousand people affected by floods, on Feb 7, in Baucau’s sub-district of Seical.

Till today, there has not been any approaches made by ETTA’s Department of Social Affairs or NGOs in the country.

Joao, a flood victim said many families were now taking temporary shelter at Seical’s Town Hall, because their homes had all been destroyed.

Meanwhile, the Baucau District Administrator Marito Reis admitted that till now not even a single staff member from the Department of Social Affairs in the ETTA Cabinet had visited the flood-ridden area to assess the damage and what aid that had to be given to the people.

Marito said two irrigation gates had been destroyed by the floods.

“It’s now a precarious situation. If the gates are not repaired in time, the people of Seical would miss the planting season and we might have hunger in the area,” he said. Seical is one of the main paddy-growing areas in Baucau district.

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6. Transition Cabinet And The Solving Of Problems (Suara Timor Lorosae, editorial Page 5)

People were elated when the UN Transitional Administration announced that it would directly involve the East Timorese people in the administration of the country, to prepare them for the running of Timor Lorosae after the election.

We pinned our hopes on five of our citizens, the five brightest in the country, to lead us in ETTA. Being East Timorese, we thought they would be best placed to understand our problems and help us.

But the pleas of the people of Seical have apparently fallen on these ETTA ministers’ deaf ears. The plight of about 3,000 flood victims there needs Cabinet intervention ­ in particular the Minister for Social Affairs and the Infrastructure Minister. These two ministers are competent enough to deal with the problem, but alas nothing has been done by them. What irks the Seical people, also, is that one of the ministers has gone overseas knowing that the problem comes under his Cabinet’s jurisdiction.

Let it be known that this minister roams the world while his people suffer at home.

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