Subject: East Timor press headlines /20 & 21 March 2001

East Timor press headlines /20 & 21 March 2001

Translations from TP= Timor Post and STL= Suar Timor Lorosae

  1. Due To Xanana's Statement, UNTAET's Campaign in West Timor Postponed (TP) 
  2. Disturbance In Manleuana: 14 Persons Held, Scores Fled (TP)
  3. Baptism Certificate Not Accepted, Scores Of People Failed The "Census" (TP) 
  4. Hundreds Of Ex-Pensioners Listens To Clarification From UNTAET (STL) 
  5. Mario: International Staff Should Not Create Difficulties For The People (TP) 
  6. Joao Carrascalao: Hotel 2001 Can Be Halted (TP) 
  7. Hotel 2001 Sealed, Staff Ousted By Civpol (STL)

Due To Xanana's Statement, UNTAET's Campaign in West Timor Postponed (TP/21/03/01)

Denpasar - The joint campaign of UNTAET, UNHCR, IOM and Civpol to the refugee camps in West Timor is postponed indefinitely. The head of PMP (the Indonesian body that manages the East Timor refugees problem) Basyiruddin Yusuf announced this in Denpasar, Monday. The joint campaign to the refugee camps was due to have begun on Monday (19/3).

"The campaign is cancelled due to the statement of the President of CNRT/NC Xanana Gusmao, that there are death attempts upon PKF personnel by TNI," he said. The result is that the government of Indonesia and UNTAET has postponed the campaign to investigate the truth of the statement of Xanana. The investigations by both sides prove that the statement is unfounded. UNTAET said that the statement reflects the personal opinion of Xanana.

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Disturbance In Manleuana: 14 Persons Held, Scores Fled (TP/20/3/01)

At least 14 persons are held by police, following clashes between groups in Loscabobo village, Manleuana, West Dili subdistrict on Sunday (18/3). Meanwhile scores of people have fled to surrounding areas and only a small number has returned to their original district. UN Civpol spokeperson, Luis Carilho confirmed the incident to TP on Monday (19/3) night. However, he did not elaborate on the cause of the conflict. Although the situation is still tense, he said that the police is enforcing tight security over the area in anticipation of fresh clashes.

According to information gathered by TP, the incident is a follow-up of that on Sunday (25/2) when youth under Nikolau da Silva Sarmento overwhelmingly attacked and beat up some youth in the village of Manleuana. It is reported that Nikolau da Silva Sarmento, co-ordinator of RDTL Manleuana, is a suspected leader of the incident together with members of RF, DC, GS, DS, R together with his wife Afula. The village head, Alexandre Dias said that a town hall meeting would be held on Thursday (20/3) at 8.00 a.m.between the people and the group that created the chaos. President Xanana, Falintil, UNTAET and Civpol will attend. The problem will be thoroughly discussed.

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Baptism Certificate Not Accepted, Scores Of People Failed The "Census" (TP/20/3/01

Dili - Problems are surfacing in the civil registration operations that began on 16 March 2001. Scores of people in Dili have failed to register, just because they only have baptism certificates issued by the church. However, inhabitants in possession of Indonesian identity cards were able to register immediately and to get voter cards for the elections of 30 August 2001. The enthusiasm to register is still minimal among the inhabitants of Dili as there is a lack of information on the civil registration process and a failure to seek the co-operation of local community leaders.

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Hundreds Of Ex-Pensioners Listens To Clarification From UNTAET (STL/20/3/01)

Hundreds of ex-civil service pensioners gathered again in UNTAET compound in Dili on Monday (19/3). This time, they came not to demonstrate but to hear UNTAET's clarification. Andre Fernandes said, "We came to listen to UNTAET's clarification on the pension of ex-service servants that KUKRI (an Indonesian institution dealing with the interest of Indonesia) had promised to pay from 15 to 23 March 2001." Andre Frenandes, an ex-civil servant, was speaking to STL on Monday (19/3) in the compound of UNTAET. He said that the confusion is making him and his friends a bit emotional. "Why not (emotional)? KUKRI said that the pension would be paid from 15-23 March 2001 while BNU and UNTAET are saying that it is not definitive. Which is true?" he questioned. "UNTAET should pity our friends who have come from afar from the districts, only to be told of this," he explained.

Mr. Andrew Whitley from UNTAET's pension payment section clarified that UNTAET has so far not issued any information on pension payments of ex-Indonesian civil servants. "KUKRI issued the statement that payments would be made on 15-23 March 2001, not UNTAET," he said. UNTAET plans to make general announcement on pension payments of ex-civil servants in the beginning of April via the radio and newspapers.

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Mario: International Staff Should Not Create Difficulties For The People (TP/21/3/01)

Vice president of CNRT/NC holding the Interior Portfolio, Mario Viegas Carrascalao requests international staff who are carrying out the registration for the 30 August 2001 elections, not to create difficulties concerning official documents such as baptism certificates from the Catholic Church. "The information section for election registration of UNTAET' should give clear information to the people, and especially to those who do not have radio and television. Locations of the registration centres should be announced clearly. While educated people can find the locations themselves, international staff should bring the uneducated small people to the centres,' Mario said in his office to TP on Tuesday (20/3).

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Joao Carrascalao: Hotel 2001 Can Be Halted (TP/21/3/01)

Hotel 2001 at Metiaut, Dili can be forced to stop work if the owner disregard the stop work order of 16 March 2001 from the UN Transitional Administrator, Sergio de Mello. Joao Carrascalao, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure of ETTA said to TP on Tuesday (20/3) that the 200-room hotel has not received official authorization from the UN Transitional Administrator. The Cabinet, after deliberation, has ordered a halt to the construction of the hotel. "We should not let opportunists come here to make a fast buck," he said. The hotel owner is said to have a contract with the landowner for 20 years. After 20 years, the hotel would revert to the landowner. The employees are also given 20 years' contract.

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Hotel 2001 Sealed, Staff Ousted By Civpol (STL/21/3/01)

On Sunday (18/3) night, Civpol suddenly sealed Hotel 2001 at Metiaut, Dili, and ousted 80 staff members. Civpol's action is based on a report from the local people that the Hotel does not possess a land use permit and the land is sacred. There was also environmental concern. "We have to go back and see why UNTAET issued a permit to the hotel owner to build. Now that the hotel is about 95 % complete, it is being stopped. What about the 80 odd employees who are now unemployed," said Florencio Amaral de Jesus, coordinator of Pemuda Antik (Youth Against Violence) on Tuesday (20/3).

According to Florencio, several employees, who have been ousted by Civpol, have come and expressed their dissatisfaction with the action of Civpol. They would demonstrate if the outcome were not satisfactory. Pemuda Antik has tried hard to co-operate with Civpol to influence the youth and society not to engage in violence. Ironically, Civpol has acted in a manner that is not desired by Pemuda Antik. Florencio also said that they would meet Civpol with the ousted employees and youth, to find an early solutionto the problem or there would be protests.

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