International Federation for East Timor
Observer Project

Decision-Making Process
July 19, 1999

There are four areas of decision-making within the Observer Project:
  1. The constituent groups that compose the IFET Observer Project Working Group;
  2. The International Steering Committee (ISC) of IFET;
  3. The Executive Body (EB) of IFET's operation based in Dili; and
  4. The IFET Observer Project Assembly.

I. The Constituent Groups

1) Constituent group coordinators oversee tasks which include:

  1. the recruitment and selection of observer volunteers;

  2. the development of training materials and the organizing of trainings for candidate volunteers;

  3. communicating with the Dili office and the international coordinator on who their volunteers are, their skills, and their arrival and departure dates to and from East Timor;

  4. fundraising for individual, constituency, and a share of common project costs.

II. The International Steering Committee

1) The ISC shall be comprised of representatives of every constituent group of IFET and at least one member of the IFET Observer Project EB.

2) The ISC shall make decisions by 2/3 majority (based on the number of respondents within a time frame the Committee will decide).

3) One member of the ISC shall serve as a contact person (with 24 hour availability) to respond to emergency situations. One of the duties of this person shall be to activate the entire international network in times of crisis.

4) The responsibilities of the ISC include:

  1. formulating appropriate responses to any potential problems between the governments of Indonesia and Portugal and the United Nations as related to the UNAMET mission and mandate, and to any problems between the aforementioned countries, the U.N., and the IFET Observer Project;

  2. formulate broad policies as they relate to the Observer Project within East Timor;

  3. discussing with New York-based U.N. staff matters related to the successful establishment of the IFET Observer Project within East Timor;

  4. coordinating the arrival of human, material, and financial resources into East Timor to assist the Observer Project;

  5. budgeting, financing and fund-raising;

  6. the development of criteria for volunteer selection/screening;

  7. outreach to constituencies and potential coordinators in countries where we do not (yet) have an IFET Observer Project component; and

  8. in conjunction with the Assembly, making the decision to terminate, or to alter significantly the nature and functions of, the Project in the case of extreme circumstances.

III. The Executive Body

1) The EB shall consist of approximately 5 people, all of whom will spend most of their time in Dili. An additional member of the EB shall be chosen by the International Steering Committee from among its own members abroad. The EB has the authority to select new and/or additional members, subject to the approval of the ISC.

2) Constituent groups shall nominate individuals (not necessarily individuals from their own group or country of national origin) to serve as members of the EB. Through its delegate to the ISC, every constituent group shall vote for 5 candidates. IFET volunteers currently in Dili would also be able to put forth candidates and vote as a body. There should be at least one EB member from Europe, from the Americas, from Asia, and from Australia or New Zealand.

3) Whenever necessary and possible, EB in Dili shall consult with the EB member from the ISC. She or he should maintain regular contact with the Dili office.

4) The EB shall decide by consensus.

5) The responsibilities of the EB include the following:

  1. EB shall make all decisions regarding emergency situations; and will set up an "emergency response team" to investigate gross violations of the May 5 accord and emergencies involving Project observers, and will oversee documentation of its investigations. The team shall also oversee emergencies relating to Project observers. The EB shall also decide, based on close consultations with Project volunteers in particular locales, whether or not to withdraw an individual volunteer or an observer team from a specific area. 

  2. The EB would be responsible for approving public statements of the IFET Observer Project, assigning tasks and observation team locations to staff and Project volunteers, structuring the staff within East Timor, and for managing finances. 

  3. The EB has the authority to call an emergency meeting of the Assembly (see below) to decide whether or not to extend or to alter the Project in the case of a significant delay in the vote, or to discontinue the Project if UNAMET proves unwilling or unable to ensure a process that conforms to the May 5 accord. 

  4. The EB will also decide whether or not to enter into coalition with other groups observing the UNAMET process. Were IFET to enter into a coalition with any such group, there would be a need for an appropriate decision-making mechanism. The EB would have the authority to speak for the Observer Project in helping to decide what that mechanism should be. 

  5. The EB will have the right to reprimand, to confine to Dili, and/or to disassociate any member of the Observer Project who violates the Project's principles of neutrality and non- violence, who undermines the organizational integrity of the Project as a whole or that of an individual observer team, violates the IFET code of conduct, or disobeys decisions made by the Assembly or Executive Body. 

  6. The EB will select the officers (see below) of the IFET Observer Project in Dili.

6) If an observer team in the field cannot communicate with the EB in Dili, the team would have the authority to make emergency decisions within the basic framework of the Project's code of conduct, principles and mandate. For example, the team can decide whether to stay in an area of violence or to return to Dili. On a more mundane level, the team would have the power to make decisions regarding specific tasks. When making decisions in the field, teams should operate by consensus.

IV. The IFET Observer Project Assembly

1) The Assembly will consist of members of the EB and a representative from each constituent group. Each Assembly representative would be required to be present in East Timor on August 1, as well as around the time of the official announcement of the results of the Consultation. Constituent groups can change their Assembly delegate during the course of the process.

2) The Assembly would make decisions by 2/3 vote. Members of the Executive Body would also be delegates to the Assembly.

3) The Assembly will be responsible for establishing broad policies relating to the OP's work within the territory.

4) The Assembly will meet in Dili on Sunday, August 1 to review and assess the Project's existing policies and practices, and would establish guidelines for the activities of the OP through the time of the actual vote. The EB would draw up the agenda, subject to the approval of the entire Assembly. The Assembly would also meet within three days of the actual Consultation to formulate the OP's response to the vote and the UNAMET process, and to establish guidelines for the final IFET Observer Project report.

5) Members of the Assembly may provide input regarding Project-related issues at any time. The EB would do its best to keep Assembly members apprised of EB activities and decisions. When feasible, the EB will consult Assembly members about important matters, and seriously consider their opinions.

6) The Assembly, in conjunction with the ISC, would have to meet and make the decision to terminate, or to alter significantly the nature and functions of, the Project in the case of extreme circumstances.

V. Officers of the IFET Observer Project in Dili

The EB will appoint the following officers (who should be multinational, as far as is practical):

  1. External Liaison: Responsible for relations with UNAMET, "foreign" NGOs, the Indonesian government, and religious bodies. He/she will also be responsible for maintaining contact with East Timorese and Indonesian NGOs. In addition, this person will also keep track of IFET-OP's accreditation process and communications with UNAMET, and meet with representatives of the Indonesian government and/or pro- independence actors when necessary. 

  2. Logistics Officer: Responsible for keeping track of all IFET-OP volunteers who arrive in East Timor and what their skills are, and will also determine the composition of the teams that will be present in different parts of the territory. As such, the logistics officer will oversee the establishment of contact with hosts in the districts, will coordinate the housing for and will arrange the transport of volunteer observers to district towns. The Logistics Officer will also keep track of where IFET observers are located. 

  3. Two Information/Communications Officers (with support from others as needed): They will prepare press releases, write periodic reports of IFET's work in the territory and the general situation surrounding the vote, and serve as a liaison to journalists within East Timor. The I/CO's, with help from others, will report violations of the May 5 agreement, evaluate the voter registration process, voter education, and political campaigns, and receive information from IFET observers in the field. They will also monitor press and other reports. One person will be responsible for writing periodic reports from the IFET-OP. One person will edit and prepare the weekly IFET Observer Project Bulletins. The I/C Officers, in conjunction with the EB, will develop procedures to ensure that Observer Project volunteers' input is included in the comprehensive IFET-OP report on the Consultation that will be distributed to the UNAMET Electoral Commission, the media and other interested parties. 

  4. Electoral Officer: This person will be responsible for designing IFET Observer Project's procedures and documents relating to the observation and analysis of the steps in the Consultation itself: voter registration, the UNAMET public education effort, the political campaigning, the actual voting, and the counting of the ballots. The Electoral Officer will be in charge of relations with the UNAMET Electoral Commission and other UNAMET personnel regarding Consultation irregularities. In terms of training, the Consultation Officer will work closely with the Education Officer. 5) Education Officer: This person will coordinate the training and orientation of the observers in Dili. This person should be well-versed in human rights and election monitoring and will also be in charge of ensuring that IFET observers are conducting themselves in a manner consistent with the project's mission. 

  5. Chief Officer: This person will be responsible for overseeing and ensuring the smooth running of the overall IFET-OP mission in East Timor, and coordinating and delegating tasks to the other officers. 

  6. House Manager: This person is in charge of orienting people to the house in Dili, and to the city itself. The House Manager will, among other things, explain to newcomers how things work around the house, will ensure that the cooks and helpers receive their pay, and will ensure that there are enough places for people to sleep, that we have drinking water, that the water tanks are full, that the bathrooms work, and that we have gas for the stove. 

  7. Office Manager: The Office Manager will be responsible for the computers (to manage the computers; and work out usage schedules), the fax machine, the phones, office supplies, and the files. 

  8. Treasurer: Make disbursements, keep track of financial records and balances, prepare financial reports for the EB and the ISC, and be ultimately responsible that money is spent appropriately. 

  9. Conflict Resolution Officer/Mediator: The IFET-OP agrees to deal with all conflicts in a constructive manner. The EB will do its utmost to make available at all times a suitable mediator who will support parties to work towards mutually agreeable outcomes. Conflicts may include those between members of IFET-OP, between members of IFET-OP and outside bodies, including such organizations as UNAMET, Indonesian government officials, East Timorese individuals and/or organizations.

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