Subject: Protocol of National Unity Platform (text)

Full English text as distributed at the launching ceremony of this platform at Hotel Timor, Dili, 7 April 2003. Texts in Tetum and Portuguese were also distributed.

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PROTOCOL FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE PLATFORM OF NATIONAL UNITY

The youngest nation in the world and the first of the new millennium, the Democratic Republic of East Timor, emerged from a long, bloody and unforgiving struggle for liberation which as well as costing the lives of thousands of lives of our brothers also raised a consciousness that we could only reach our goal of national independence through unity. In this way, hand in hand, and with our eyes on God, through an unequivocal show of national unity, on the 30th of August 1999, the overwhelming majority of our people placed in the ballot boxes their wish to live freely and in dignity in an independent East Timor. The occupier and their collaborators reacted by killing the innocent, pillaging, burning houses, destroying priceless treasures reducing to ashes important marks of our history and withdrew sweeping all that was in their path.

The world awoke from their lengthy and lethargic sleep with a long line of nations providing support, through military, humanitarian, and financial assistance and with material and human resources. And thus began the reconstruction of our destroyed country. The political class participated in the reconstruction, displaying maturity and a true national sentiment through the celebration of the Pact of National Unity, formally signed by all nationalistic political parties. The people and the international community celebrated the act of enshrining National Unity, because everyone thought that it would ensure that all Timorese would be called on to participate in the national reconstruction and construction. That was a temporary dream with. Following the elections conducted by UNTAET for the Constituent Assembly, the political party which gained the most seats in the Constituent Assembly, broke all the commitments taken before the nation, took power alone and ignores the wishes and aspirations of the people and of its owns members. Nevertheless given its history in the struggle for independence, all political parties and the people in general decided to exercise tolerance and allow time for it to ponder on its mistake and return to sail the waters of National Unity.

Nonetheless, in less than one year of independence, the discredit, disappointment and frustration have become ingrained in all sectors of life. The government has not been able to develop a policy capable of defeating poverty, corruption, nepotism, collusion, ignorance, illiteracy, injustice, insecurity, fear lack of transparency and political lies. The people feel insecure, live with fear, don't have faith in the authorities, have many needs and is discontent.

The party in government has been placing itself above national interests and the interests of the people and its intention to size power in all its forms is clear, leaving to others what can be understood as the most basic right to survival.

The government does not have an economic policy based on the real capacity and potential of the country. It is not surprising therefore that the people do not have buying power and consequently does not have quality of life and continues to be impoverished and with the passing of each day is becoming poorer, Even then the government raises taxes, placing more importance on money then on its people. The well being of the people is not part of the government's priorities, this being the reason why the government confuses what is to the people a basic need item as a luxury item.

In public administration, in the corridors of power, vacancies are reserved firstly to relatives, friends and "comrades" of the party. The leftovers, if there are any, are then given to other Timorese.

In public life corruption is considered normal, with no signs of measures being taken to counter it nor with any apparent will to eradicate it.

The inexistence of an effective and efficient local authority, the ignorance of and lack of consideration for traditional authorities has complicated further the framework of insecurity in which we find ourselves given that the local population does not how, when and who they should approach.

By placing its party above everything, the government has permitted that the state apparatus be substituted by the party apparatus. To the government these are the same and because of this it has not allowed room for those who think differently. By placing party interests above those of the state, the government has not made the best use of available technical cadres vital for the country, including those educated in Indonesian time. The government has marginalized them. Hurt personally and professionally by the government's arrogant attitude, these invaluable resources are reduced to waiting for better times, when the government in power will give them the opportunity to serve their country with all their knowledge.

Through its incapacity to maintain law and order, creating problems that reach all parts of the country, the government has allowed East Timor's image to become negative with a projection the world over, so that we are perceived as being unable to manage our independence.

The government has also extended its influence into other areas of power and has created the perception that the National Parliament is merely an arm of government, without possessing its own initiative or independence, practising imitation and gratuitous politics.

Insecurity have reached even the sensitive domain of the armed forces and the police, institutions which aught to be credible and respected by the people but which actual fact have not been exempted from the wave of violence and discontent which is devastating the country.

Considering therefore that:

1. The Democratic Republic of East Timor is the product of the great majority of its people as expressed freely in the popular consultation of 30 August 1999, promoted, implemented and supervised by the United Nations;

2. The consciousness that the struggle for independence could only be victorious if the different ideologies present were relegated to a secondary plane, making way for a profound sentiment of national unity;

3. The National Unity, which has been built on the bodies of more then 200,000 Timorese, with blood sweat and tears that permitted the victory of the 30 of August 1999, is today in danger of becoming again a "cape of remnants" where the real ruling power is found in the back channels without the blessing of real democracy;

4. In the absence of a genuine effort by the managers of the nation to eradicate the existing divisions, based on primordial ideological interest, the power base of some and the hunger for niches of others, together with the criminal negligence of the needy, is slowly transforming East Timor into an arena of intrigue and disputes, that can submit the people to be once again submitted to worst suffering then that of the recent past;

5. The constant and systematic attempts to quash political pluralism based on a multiparty system through the exercise of monolithic power as a means of safeguarding the objectives of its practitioners, is a threat to independence, liberty, political and social stability, economic progress in summary a threat to reconstruction and construction of the well being of the Timorese people;

6. The National Parliament conceived irresponsibly by UNTAET at the expense of interests that used the majority elected to the Constituent assembly, is not the result of direct legislative elections, where a majority with democratic legitimacy could be called on to form a government, therefore has been used by its creators to the detriment of real national interests.

Attentive to the need to stop all attempts to use the inexperience of a newly independent nation for the benefit of interest other then those of the nation, the political parties, conscious of our democratic and patriotic responsibilities, have decided to establish, proclaim and celebrate this political protocol which seeks to:

1. Create an alternative to the current political power, that will be based on political pluralism, with democratic legitimacy obtained through legislative elections;

2. Create a democratic, credible, and competent government of national unity, whose first task would be to build a responsible development of Timorese society in the process of social reconstruction and construction as "sine qua non" in finding concrete and practical solutions to effectively combat poverty, hunger, sickness, unemployment illiteracy and insecurity;

3. Defend democracy against amnesia, silencing, dictatorship, radicalism, authoritarianism and political selfishness of the majority;

4. Attain democracy through the complete exercise of freedom by increasing and intensifying the people's direct participation in the process of decision making in the main national and international policies.

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This protocol is open to adherence by other political forces who identify with the terms and objectives contained in the declaration.


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