Subject: East Timor headlines/1June2001

Bahasa Indonesia Headlines ­ Friday 1 June 2001

1. Funding for political parties must be made known 
2. Peter Rimele: 558,348 Timorese residents registered 
3. If elections are violent, where would people take shelter as refugees?

1. Funding For Political Parties Must Be Made Known (Timor Post, Front Page second lead)

Members of political parties must be able to question their leaders on the sources of funding for their political parties.

Responding to questions from the Timor Post on claims that money politics was beginning to surface in Timor Lorosae, Aderito de Jesus Soares of the Sahe Institute of Liberation, said political party leaders had to be more transparent to answer questions from their members.

“The problem of money politics must be tackled right from the grassroots to the top,” said Aderito.

The Sahe director said it was not unusual for money politics to rear its ugly head here.

“People in this country had been exposed to a system of corrupt practices [under the Indonesians]. So it’s not unusual for money politics to be practised. Because of that, we need transparency,” said Aderito.

Aderito said it was still considered taboo by the Timorese people to question their leaders.

“That taboo, however, can be broken through proper voter education ­ educating the people to question their political parties.”

2. Peter Rimele: 558,348 Timorese Residents Registered (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page headline)

Since civil registration opened, 558,348 residents or 68.7 per cent of the population of Timor Lorosae have been registered at the various registration centers.

This was stated yesterday by the Head of the Civil Registration Unit, Peter Rimele while reporting on the results to the National Council.

“A total of 558,348 residents or 68.7 per cent of the total population in Timor Lorosae have been registered. The total population of Timor Lorosae is estimated at 812,293 in the 13 districts. At the moment part of the population are in West Timor and therefore the remaining population [in Timor Lorosae] is estimated at about 760,000,” said Rimele.

Rimele said the registration process was going on smoothly despite initial problems in the districts and sub-districts.

Meanwhile a delegation from Aileu District reported that in the area certain organizations were threatening people to prevent them from registering. This, they said, made the district have the lowest number of people registered for the 30 August election.

3. If Elections Are Violent, Where Would The People Take Shelter As Refugees? (Talitakum news magazine, 4 June 2001 edition)

Editor’s note: The following is an interactive dialogue between West Timor Governor Piet Tallo and Udayana Commander General William da Costa. The interview was conducted by Metro TV.

Metro: Many Indonesian soldiers died while they were serving in Timor Lorosae. How many lost their lives?

William: According to available data, 5,000 were killed. While we don’t have any figures on the maimed and injured, it is estimated to be in the tens of thousands. The ones that are handicapped are receiving a pension.

Metro: After the referendum, most of the troops returned back to Indonesia?

William: A large number of the troops in Timor Lorosae were Kostrad forces. There were also organic forces like Korem and Kodim. They were large -- more than 3,000.

Metro: This is for Pak Piet Tallo. Several ex-Indonesia civil servants have returned to Timor Lorosae. Have they been received well?

Piet: From our information, these ex-civil servants are not suffering. They are being used by UNTAET. When I was in Timor Lorosae the ex-Indonesia civil servants did not have any problems.

Metro: Pak William, there have been cases of troops [Timorese in the Indonesian Armed Forces] returning to Timor Lorosae. Are they treated just the same as the ex-civil servants, as mentioned by Pak Piet?

William: The troops that returned number 145. Some East Timorese who were soldiers and police in the Indonesia Armed Forces did not flee the country as refugees. They stayed behind. They have been discharged from the Indonesian Armed Forces. But I really don’t know whether they are part of the Timor Lorosae Defense Forces or the local police.

Metro: That means the refugees [in West Timor] need not be afraid of coming back home to Timor Lorosae?

Piet: If there are assurances of safety and a decent living given by UNTAET and the leaders there. But I think whatever it is, a person must have a longing to be in his village ­ near the graves and spirits of his ancestors.

Metro: The economic condition in Timor Lorosae is difficult. Is that a factor preventing the refugees from returning?

Piet: I hope their choice to return home comes from their heart. We will see what happens at the registration. For those who opt to stay, we will assess their capabilities; their capacity for work etc.

Metro: Isn’t the registration a second referendum ­ that is the refugees have to choose between Indonesia and Timor Lorosae.

Piet: On the registration, we do realize our moral obligation. It might be painful but we have to do it. No this is not a second referendum but is linked to an ongoing process.

Metro: Pak William, it won’t be long before Timor Lorosae has its election. Is TNI anticipating any violence?

William: As a military we have an obligation to ensure that the border is peaceful for the crossing of civilians ­ both official and unofficial. We have already made our analysis. If there is violence then there is a great possibility the people of Timor Lorosae will cross the border and be refugees in West Timor. Where else are they going to flee? Take to the seas?

Metro: That means you are anticipating a flow of refugees again? What preparations are being made by TNI?

William: Yes….we will do what has to be done. The least we can do is help them build tents again. We can’t just chase them away.

Metro: What about their sovereignty?

William: We are coordinating with PKF. The PKF is a peacekeeping force. But their role is not just to secure the border area. They also have to mix with the population. If there are conflicts in Timorese society, the PKF too have to act as a peacekeeping force. And this includes the elections. The PKF must prevent Timorese from becoming refugees again.

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