International Federation for East Timor
Observer Project

Issue #4: Week ending July 24, 1999

Registration Observation and Report

Since the registration process began on July 16, IFET-OP observers in East Timor have visited more than a score of registration sites. In addition to sites in Dili, observers went to registration centers in the Bobonaro, Manatuto and Liquica districts, including some rather remote villages in these areas. There were no serious problems at any of the sites we visited. The process seemed to be moving smoothly.

Based on the information gathered, IFET-OP issued our second report, dealing with the first seven days of registration. The report was released both in Dili and internationally (from New York) on Friday, July 23. In summary, IFET-OP is impressed with how many people have registered thus far. However, we are concerned about the tens of thousands of internal refugees or internally displaced persons (IDPs), about the continuing instances of intimidation by paramilitary groups, and about the ability of UNAMET to accommodate everyone who wants to register, given the short time period and UNAMETÝs level of resources.
IFET- OP therefore recommends that UNAMET establish additional voter registration sites and/or mobile units, that the registration period be extended, and that special efforts be made to ensure that all internally displaced persons can register and vote, whatever their location. The full report is available from the IFET New York office or on IFETÝs website at

Accreditation of IFET-OP Observers Continues

The accreditation of IFET-OP observers continues here in Dili, with 61 already accredited by UNAMET. So far, UNAMET has accredited 139 international observers, and another 511 East Timorese, Indonesian and Portuguese government observers. As applicants who have been accepted by IFET-OP fax their UN observer applications to our Dili office, we quickly submit them to UNAMET, which usually accredits them within 24 hours. Details on the process are available on the IFET-OP web site.

Some accredited observers have received their social-cultural visas outside of East Timor. The first visa was issued in New York, and others have been issued in Darwin, London and Wellington. However, the Indonesian government has placed various obstacles and delays in this process, and several of our observers have had to delay their flights to East Timor while they wait for the visa. We strongly recommend that observers apply for their accreditation and then their visas well in advance of their planned departure dates.

Organizing the Dili Office

IFET-OP better defined its division of labor and organizational structure in East Timor last week by designating interim officers. Marilyn Kajioka is the IFET-OP external liaison, and Will Seaman serves as the consultation (electoral) officer. Mark Rhomberg is working as the logistics officer, while Garrick Ruiz is the interim education officer. Finally, Syl Groulx is the office manager and treasurer, and Joe Nevins is the media/information officer as well as the project coordinator. These assignments are only temporary until the Executive Body is elected and its members arrive in East Timor.


By weekÝs end, all 200 UNAMET registration sites were fully operational with one exception. A registration center in Kassa village, near Ainaro, was closed on Sunday, July 18, 1999 after two unarmed militia members protested against the UNAMET requirement to show two pieces of identification to obtain the voter registration card.

Although voter registration has begun, the U.N. Secretary-General has reserved his decision on whether the consultation can take place as tentatively scheduled on August 21 or 22. We expect further information from the UN Security Council early this week.

Housing Secured

This week IFET-OP secured its first house outside of Dili, in Baucau. In the short-term, teams of observers will stay there for one or two nights to observe the registration process in areas further east than we can easily reach from Dili. Arrangements are also nearly complete for a house in the town of Manatuto. We will secure more housing in other districts in the coming week.

Outside East Timor

Trainings were held at the beginning of the week in Germany and San Francisco, and at the end in Darwin and Washington. More are scheduled in the near future in Oslo, Amsterdam, Chicago and again in Darwin. As increasing numbers of IFET-OP Observers arrive in East Timor, the recruiting, selection, and training phases of this project are winding down. Now we can get on with the real work of observing, distributing our observations, and facilitating a free and fair vote in East Timor.

East Timor field office (Dili)
Tel. 62-390-321969 fax:62-390-321264

International coordinator (New York)
Tel:1-914-428-7299 fax:1-914-428-7383

27 July 1999

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