Subject: UNOTIL's Daily Media Review 20 October 2005

[Poster's note: Long repeats of international articles already sent out to the east-timor list ( have been removed.]


Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Daily Media Review

Thursday, 20 October 2005

National Media Reports

TNI Must Be Committed At The Borders: Martins

It is reported that PNTL Commander Paulo Martins has told the media that PNTL officers stationed in the border of Oecussi enclave have appealed to the population in the area not to retaliate to attacks by their neighbour to avoid further conflicts as PNTL and TNI have commenced firm discussions which will proceed the following day. Martins asked the people of Oecussi to maintain calm. He added that if anyone wishes to visit their relatives in Indonesia or visa-versa that they must use formal procedures to avoid arrests. He added that although people from neighbouring Indonesia had entered TL territory and reportedly caused suffering to the population along the border the situation was now under control.

The PNTL Commander reportedly noted that the incident of 13 September had left people across the border not accepting the attitude of some of the members of Oecussi population. "I told TNI during the meeting on 11 October that, the position of TNI and PNTL is to maintain security for the population in the two areas. TNI and PNTL should not go against each other, so that if there are any problems, these two authorities are able to resolve the issues rather than other institutions," Paulo Martins reportedly said. He added that although the situation in the border remains calm, at times groups such as former militias are trying to aggravate the situation.

In a separate article, Diario Tempo quoted the Secretary-General of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Nelson Santos who reportedly said that the incidents in some areas of the enclave are due to a lack of information from the Indonesian side, with the people of Oecussi suffering. Santos said the Indonesian villagers living along the border have not recognised the demarcation line which has been authorised adding, "although we are neighbouring countries we must go and see, what we can resolve. This week from the border team and from our leaders many have travelled to Oecussi to find out whether the situation from our side can be controlled but from their side, why can't they control it". He added that to avoid an escalation of the problem, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation together with the team in charge of the border and some members of the international community are travelling to the border to view the overall situation. (DT)

PM: Regional Secretaries Will Not Be Responsible for Planning

Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri on Tuesday handed responsibility to Virgilio Smith, the Secretary of State for Region II for Manatuto, Ainaro and Same. Before formally handing over responsibility, the Prime Minister explained that the role of the Regional Secretary of State is not to conduct planning, but to coordinate with the central government regarding the implementation of national programmes at the district level. He emphasised that the role of the Regional Secretaries of State is separate to that of the District and Subdistrict Administrators, because they submit their work reports to the Ministry of State Administration, whereas the Regional Secretaries of State will be submitting their reports to the Prime Minister himself. Commenting on his new position, Smith said that he will work together with the people of Region II in overcoming the difficulties that they confront every day. The Prime Minister also took the opportunity to explain to the thousands of local people present at the handover ceremony about the recent establishment of a new Cabinet. (TP)

Permanent Working Group discusses abortion

In their fourth meeting on Tuesday, members of the Permanent Working Group discussed the issue of abortion in this country. The Head of the Government delegation to the working group, set up as a result of an agreement signed between the Government and the Church last May, explained to journalists that during the meeting three speakers gave their opinion from the perspectives of justice, health and religion. "The objective is to get a deeper understanding about this subject", said Minister Antoninho Bianco. He said that in this meeting the group came to the conclusion that as abortion is a sensitive issue, they would still need to obtain input from other groups in society such as women's groups, and that they would soon be meeting with a group of approximately 20 women's groups to discuss the issue. (TP)

Teacher suspended on sexual abuse charges

A teacher with the initials JC, accused of sexually abusing primary school students in Grades 5 and 6 at Aiturilaran Primary School, has been suspended by the Ministry of Education. According to the Director of Administration and Finance Antoninho Pires, the teacher has been suspended for a period of 120 days beginning 14 October, for investigation purposes. He said that depending on the court decision, the Ministry of Education may also apply sanctions to JC according to the statute of public functions in place in Timor-Leste. Asked whether JC could be fired for his behaviour, Pires responded that this depends on the extent of the criminal charges against him. According to Pires, the incident occurred some time ago, in 2004/5, however the issue has only just become known to the public. (TP)

Saldanha: Brief training period of PNTL

In order to resolve the problem of police violence in Timor-Leste, there is a need to establish an organization that monitors police behaviour. According to political and economic analyst Joao Mariano Saldanha, when asked his opinion on the continual incidents of police violence and in particular the recent Laleia incident, Saldanha said that we must also consider the difficulties that the police themselves face, possibly due to the very short training period that they undergo. He said that this limited physical and mental training influences their responses when faced with challenges in the community. He said that an evaluation needs to be conducted on the effectiveness of the human rights training that the police receive, and that along with the many special police units that now exist, it would be useful to have a law and order unit among them, that could consider police violations when they occur. He said that this issue is also related to the courts, where the work of judges is sometimes limited due to a lack of facilities, and even a small salary, which may cause them to feel a lack of enthusiasm to do their job well.

Saldanha explained that there is also the problem of the impact of a large number of police commanders, ministers, vice-ministers and others, with confusion as to who is responsible for police misconduct, and that sometimes the police behave in a manner that is of a political nature rather than in the interests of maintaining law and order. He added that it is important for the police to maintain discipline, neutrality, and support for the people, and for this reason there is a need for a special police unit to review police violations. He recognised that the police have done a good job so far in maintaining law and order, in particular during the recent large Church demonstration against the government. However in other cases the police have been accused of violence. (TP)

TVTL News Monitoring

1. PM Presents Regional Secretary of State: The Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri presented the Regional State Secretary for Region II to the population in Manufahi. In his speech, Alkatiri was reported as stating that job the Regional State Secretaries are only to coordinate the plans and programs of the central government, but not to make their own plans and programs.

2. Regional State Secretary versus Administrative Region: The Prime Minister was also reportedly affirming that appointing Regional State Secretaries does not mean creating administrative regions. However, it was reported, it is a mechanism of the central government in approaching the people to hear their problems.

3. Democracy and Electoral System Seminar: Members of Timor-Leste National Parliament and Parliamentarians from Sweden conducted a three day seminar at the National Parliament in Dili, TVTL reported yesterday. The main objective of the seminar is to exchange information on electoral regulations and democracy between the two countries.

4. Akui Leong's Lawyers: The lawyers of Aqui Leong, have reportedly filed a complaint to the Dili District court regarding the accusation of defamation made against them by the Prosecutor General, Longinhos Monteiro.

Regional Media Reports

Ramos-Horta Strong Candidate for UN Secretary-General

Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta admitted to be a candidate for the post of UN Secretary-General and said that "the previous Secretaries-General have done a modest job," suggesting that he could do better. Ramos-Horta, who is a clear supporter of Washington, contends that a Secretary-General must always be in harmony with the five permanent members of the Security Council, and he criticised Kofi Annan for a too ambitious agenda that he was unable to achieve. (Diário de Notícias, Lisbon)

National News Sources Timor Post (TP) Radio Timor-Leste (RTL) Suara Timor Lorosae (STL) Diario Tempo (DT) Diario Nacional Seminario Lia Foun (LF) Televisaun Timor-Leste [TVTL]

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