Subject: UNOTIL Daily Media Review 19 - 20 Aug 2006
UNOTIL Daily Media Review
Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources
Saturday 19 Aug, Monday 20 Aug 2006
National Media Reports
Debate on Restructure of TL Defence Force and Police
Prime Minister Ramos-Horta said debate on the future of PNTL and F-FDTL, especially the future defence policy, will take place in the National Parliament with the participation of some entities including the civil society. The Minister stressed there will be restructuring for F-FDTL as a defence institution but not to the commanders, adding his Ministry has presented the restructure plans to the Council of Ministers for discussion before presenting it to the National Parliament. Following the weekly meeting with the President of the Republic on Friday (18/8) Ramos-Horta told the media that on September 14 he would hold a meeting with District Administrators and heads of villages regarding the allocation of the budget to the districts. He said the meeting would be held in Baucau and Suai. (TP, DN)
Public Defenders Should Be Active: Ramos-Horta
On Friday the Prime Minister visited Becora Prison where he met with prisoners to check on their living conditions. According to Ramos-Horta, the conditions have improved a little but he stressed that the government needs to look carefully into the situation to make sure the prisoners are treated with humanity. He also said the government would strengthen the security of the prison as a measure to prevent threats from outside. During the visit, the Minister also appealed to the Public Defender to work harder on pending cases because all are entitled to the right to defense in the courts. (TP)
Former Falintil Members Surrenders to International Forces
A former Falintil members from region III, known as Oan Kiak turned himself in to the international forces on Friday afternoon in relation to accusations related to May 25 incident. According to the commander of international police, Steve Lancaster, Oan Kiak has been accused of murder, possession of illegal weapons and other offences though none related to the shooting of PNTL officers in Caicoli. Lancaster who refused to reveal the place of the surrender said a member of F-FDTL accompanied Oan Kiak who gave himself up peacefully and said he will appear in court next week. The Commander of the international forces also said they are aware of other people currently the subject of arrest warrants and having been involved in the incident and he appealed to them to surrender peacefully like Oan Kiak has done.
On Monday Suara Timor Lorosae reported MPs from UDT and ASDT as saying they totally agree with the statement of Parliament Vice-President Jacob Fernandes that the international forces are not serious in disarming armed groups. According to the two MPs, the international forces have been in Timor-Leste for a while now but the situation remains the same and even though the disarmament process has taken place many groups continue to be armed. The two MPs also claim they received information of shootings from the districts which has been reported to the international forces but the incidents have not been looked into by the forces. Alexandre Corte-Real (UDT) said the ‘door-to-door’ campaign for next year’s elections should start now and he’s worried that the political parties cannot proceed with the activities due to the number of people still in possession of illegal weapons.
In a separate article, MP Elizario Ferreira (Fretilin) said F-FDTL must correctly explain to the population the misunderstanding or behavior that led to the crisis. Ferreira said the defence force must reconcile themselves and try to approach the population to explain the motives that led to the crisis. He said that the Timorese people have been forgiving provided the mistake is acknowledged. He cited the experience of 1999 as an example of that. He suggested that the armed forces put their professionalism above all and embrace all Timorese from east to west. (DN, TP, STL)
SRSG Believes International Forces Can Act To Stop Violence
SRSG Sukehiro Hasegawa said during a press conference on Friday, he believes the international forces are sufficient to handle any type of violence up until the elections in 2007. Hasegawa said the groups attacking the refugees’ camps are not of east or west ethnic background. He added that the UN is concerned about how to scale down the violence that continues on the streets. The Head of UNOTIL said the attack on Obrigado Barrack refugee camp was committed by unknown group as the camp has a mixture of people from east and west. He added that in order for the population to return to their homes, the communities must work together with the international forces. SRSG stressed that the work the UN is currently doing requires the assistance of other agencies to analyze and study the reasons leading to the behavior of the people committing these acts and to remind the offenders that their behavior is not helping the community.
According to Diario Nacional Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Rui Araujo said the government will fund NGOs ‘not to keep their mouth shut’ but with the intention of becoming partners in the implementation of the state budget for fiscal year 2006/2007. Araújo said the support will stop the mistrust between the civil society and the government which is crucial to the development of the country. He said the funding to the NGOs varies from social activities to development and will help to implement the program in the communities. The state budget has been approved by the Parliament and is awaiting the President of the Republic to promulgate it. (DN, TP, STL)
Alkatiri’s Statement Will Lead To Fretilin Loss
Leader of ‘Fretilin Mudança’, Egidio de Jesus said the declaration of Mari Alkatiri regarding his group like a ‘pest’ will lead to the loss of Fretilin in 2007 elections. De Jesus said in order to save Fretilin, Mari Alkatiri and Rogério Lobato should no longer be speaking on behalf of the party. He added both should not take part in Fretilin’s Central Committee (CCF) due to the allegations of guns distribution and they will soon to appear in court. (STL)
TV Monitoring News Report, 18 August 2006
Guarda Republicana Nacional (GNR) was handed over to the UN Security forces.
Prime Minister, Dr. Jose Ramos Horta in his visit to the Becora Prison last week reportedly confirmed to the journalists that GNR will be under the UN Security forces. Dr. Horta stated that GNR will not be allocated as permanent guards at every post in Sukus and Aldeias but they will be part of the UN Security Force in the future.
In addition, Dr. Horta reportedly declared to the journalists that the government is working with the international forces to solve the ongoing problem. Asked about the provocation and stone-throwing among the youths in different places in Dili city, Dr. Horta stated that, “In fact the security in some IDP camps is sometime difficult but not serious. However, the provocation also sometimes comes from the IDPs themselves.” At the IDP camp of Jardim-Colmera, in front of the Hotel Timor IDPs started throwing stones at commuters Dr. Horta said. He also told the journalists that in conjunction with the International forces and members of PNTL, the government has planned to start securing one suburb (Bairru) by providing sufficient forces to begin the return of the IDPs who live in this suburb. Then, based on the progress, this process will be continued in other suburbs, he said.
Asked about the objectives of his visit to the Becora Prison, Dr Horta told the journalists that, “The Minister of Justice, Domingos Sarmento and I came to Becora Prison to visit the prisoners and to assess their conditions. Although the prisoners are condemned, they are still human beings who have human dignity as they are part of God’s creation. Not only that, but we also want to see the working conditions of the staff here who were really patient and worked very hard during the past three months. For this, we will compensate them in the future.”
About 600 heads of family decided to leave the Obrigado-Barracks IDP Camps on August 17 2006 an attack by an unknown group.
It is reported that the IDPs who stay in camp across from Obrigado-Barracks complained about the security which they think gets worse from time to time. As a result, 600 heads of family decided to leave the camp. The coordinator of the camp, Liborio reportedly told the journalists that, “because of the ongoing crisis, we came here to seek refuge but now we are suffering as conditions are getting worse and we, therefore, ask all the leaders to resolve this problem as soon as possible in order to reduce our suffering.”
International Media Reports
Correspondents Report - The Pacific 'arc of instability'
Correspondents Report - Sunday, 20 August, 2006
Reporter: Graeme Dobell
HAMISH ROBERTSON: Turning to our own region now, Australia's Defence Minister recently gave a security pledge to the countries in what he calls the "arc of instability", stretching from Timor to the South Pacific. Dr Brendan Nelson says that Australia has a responsibility to defend the interests and values of the nations in its region. This report by Radio Australia's Foreign Affairs Correspondent, Graeme Dobell.
GRAEME DOBELL: The "arc of instability" is an Australian idea born at the end of the 1990s, as the Suharto era ended in flames in Jakarta, and Indonesia left East Timor in ashes. In defining the arc of instability, the strategic thinker Paul Dibb said the arc extended from Indonesia to Papua New Guinea and into the South Pacific. Where Australia might have once hoped for a security shield to its north, Professor Dibb said, now the arcipelago contained a group of vulnerable countries. Australia's Defence Minister, Brendan Nelson, has adopted the arc of instability, but has changed its geographic reach, quietly dropping Indonesia from the definition he offered Parliament.
BRENDAN NELSON: We cannot afford to have failing states in our region. The so-called 'arc of instability', which basically goes from East Timor through to the south-west Pacific states, means that not only does Australia have a responsibility in preventing and indeed assisting with humanitarian and disaster relief, but also that we cannot allow any of these countries to become havens for transnational crime, nor indeed havens for terrorism.
GRAEME DOBELL: Doctor Nelson says the deployment of the Australian Defence Force to Solomon Islands in April, after the riots, and East Timor in May to deal with the political breakdown shows how quickly Australia can respond to security problems in the arc. The Defence Minister says Australia will act to stabilise governments, protect borders, counter-terrorism, and help with disasters.
BRENDAN NELSON: Australia has a responsibility in protecting our own interests and values to support defending and protecting the interests and values of these countries in our region. (sound of parliamentarians saying "hear, hear")
GRAEME DOBELL: It might look like an arc of instability to Australia's Defence Minister, but the countries of the arc don't like the term, any more than they accept being called "failing" or even "fragile". The head of Canberra's Pacific Centre, Professor Stewart Firth, says the arc of instability has some domestic utility in Australia, but it doesn't impress the region.
STEWART FIRTH: I've always thought that that is a bit of an overstatement, because you have to look at particular countries in order to determine their particular situation. I mean, Fiji, for example, which was supposed to have been in the arc of instability, is - as far as anyone can see - entering a pretty stable phase, and people are pretty optimistic about Fiji's future. Solomons of course has RAMSI (Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands), and for the moment at least we've got a stabilised situation there. Papua New Guinea, I think, you know, there are too many pessimists about Papua New Guinea. So, I mean, to talk about it as an arc of instability I think is to paint a pretty broad brush.
GRAEME DOBELL: Is it a useful tool for an Australian Defence Minister to use arc of instability? Is it a way of explaining defence policy to Australians? What are the Australian uses of the term "arc of instability"? STEWART FIRTH: Yeah, I think that is right. I think there is a use for an Australian Defence Minister. And you could see that also when Australia intervened in Solomon Islands, that we were able to justify that on the grounds of the possibility of a failed state becoming a haven for terrorists. Although, most people who knew the Solomons thought that this was a pretty way-out idea. Nevertheless, it had some traction and leverage for the Australian voter and I think that in that sense it was a justified kind of approach. And I guess the same thing applies to the phrase "arc of instability" for the Australian audience, but it doesn't go down too well in the region. Pacific Islanders don't like the idea of being labelled as failures, and in a way this is a label.
GRAME DOBELL: What model do you see for Australian policy towards the island arc - if we look at the Australian intervention in East Timor, the Australian intervention in Solomons in the last few months - what is the model of Australia's approach to the island arc?
STEWART FIRTH: Well, I think the existing model is really very much a securitised model. It's all about security, it's about regional security and Australian security. We're intervening in this region, and we're attempting to improve governance outcomes, and so on, in the interests of security. So the model is really built around a security approach. Now, some people would say that while that may be important, we have to look beyond that to a development approach. If you think of Solomon Islands, for example, Solomon Islands, yes we have law and order back, but is that enough? No, it clearly isn't enough, given the fact that within five or six years the logging will just about be finished in Solomon Islands. We've got to think about the Solomon Islands' economic and development future, not just about the law and order situation.
HAMISH ROBERTSON: Professor Stewart Firth, head of the Pacific Centre at the Australian National University. That report by Graeme Dobell. (ABC)
East Timor force vote delayed a week
20 August 2006 By VERNON SMALL The United Nations has delayed by a week a vote on who should control military security in East Timor.
While Australia tries to stay in command, New Zealand supports a recommendation from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that security be placed under a UN umbrella. A spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said yesterday that the vote had been delayed for a week "to try and bridge the differences". The stance taken by Australia is supported by the United States and Japan, which want the UN to concentrate on policing and rebuilding East Timor. It is understood the New Zealand Government would be happy for an Australian to command the force, but would like it put under a UN umbrella, partly because the UN would then pay some of the cost. The Government has said it is comfortable with Mr Annan's recommendation and as a contributor wants the military presence in East Timor to enjoy "broad-based support and international legitimacy". Mr Annan is in favour of a bigger police contingent backed by a military force. However, New Zealand has raised some concerns that a proposed 1600-member police presence may be too big. New Zealand has about 200 troops and 25 police officers in East Timor as part of an Australian-led force that has been in place since trouble flared in May. (www.stuff.co.nz)
Violent incidents in East Timor continue despite foreign troops
August 19, 2006 © 2006 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur
Sydney - Houses have been burned in Dily despite the presence of international troops in the East Timor capital, news reports said Saturday. Australia's ABC Radio reported that several houses have been burned to the ground and two youths detained. While pitched battles between groups of youths from the east and west of the tiny country have subsided, there are still tens of thousands of people living in makeshift refugee camps. East Timor, which became independent of Indonesia in 2002, has been restive since March when soldiers went on strike complaining of ethnic discrimination within the ranks. The mayhem mirrored the upheaval that followed the United Nations-supervised independence referendum in 1999 that ended 24 years of Indonesian occupation. East Timor was a Portuguese colony for 400 years before Jakarta took over in 1975. The violence in Dili drew in foreign peacekeepers. Australia has around 2,000 troops and police in East Timor, who are backed by smaller contingents from Malaysia, New Zealand and Portugal. (<http://www.monsters/>www.monstersandcritics.com)
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]
These Items Do Not Reflect the Position or Views of the United Nations. UNOTIL Public Information Office - END