Subject: UNMIT Daily Media Review - 28 May 2008

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


(International news reports and extracts from national media. UNMIT does not vouch for the accuracy of these reports)

Ministry of Justice: the Government does not need to report to NP about its recommendations – Diario Nacional and Televisaun Timor-Leste

Minister of Justice Lucia Lobato said that the Ministry of Justice does not need to notify the National Parliament on what they have recommended to the president.

Minister Lucia Lobato said that the Constitution does not say that the President has to inform the National Parliament before giving pardon to prisoners.

"All of us know, especially the deputies, know the duty in all institutions of the Government based on the Constitution.

What is the authority of Parliament, the Government's authority, President's authority and the Court's authority? Each institution has its own area of authority to carry on as the constitution states.

In connection with the pardoning of prisoners by the President, particularly the deputies want to know about prisoner Rogerio Lobato. I think Constitution does not say that when President wants to extend forgiveness to the prisoners he must inform the deputies in National Parliament.

If it is written in Constitution, I humbly ask the deputies to show me the article," said Minister Lobato.

She also said that the Ministry of Justice still has not received any information from the president about granting pardons to the prisoners as the case is being taken to court.

ASDT withdraw from AMP – Timor Post, Suara Timor Lorosa'e, Diario Nacional, Radio Timor-Leste and Televisaun Timor-Leste

The Social Democratic Association of Timorese (ASDT) decided to withdraw form the Alliance of Majority in Parliament (AMP) on Tuesday (27/5), saying that the party's has not yet received any response from Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão on its demands.

ASDT President Francisco Xavier do Amaral stated that ASDT is no longer a part of AMP. Any difficulties people face can be directly addressed to CNRT, PD and PSD.

Earlier ASDT had proposed to Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão to remove the Minister of Commerce and Tourism Gil da Costa Alves and the State Secretary of Environment Abilio Lima from their positions. ASDT is also asking the Prime Minister to place ASDT members as much as possible in the role of ambassador, district and sub-district administrators in areas where the party received the majority of more votes during parliamentary elections.

"Up until now we have no response from the Prime Minister. Such political dynamics may have a strong impact on the economic crisis in the country and people will lose their confidence in the AMP," said ASDT President Xavier do Amaral on Tuesday (27/5) in Lecidere, Dili.

Mr. Xavier said that people's lives were getting more difficult as the large state budget approved by the National Parliament has not yet reached the people.

"Starting from today (27/5), we declare directly to the people that everything that is going wrong is the fault of AMP fault. Just ask CNRT, PD and PSD. ASDT has no responsibility anymore for decisions made by the AMP Government," he said.

ASDT President Xavier do Amaral also said that he is still concerned with some of his members' statements that they want to be independent MPs in the parliament.

"I (Xavier) ask them (ASDT members) to respect to the votes of ASDT supporters when they make decisions. The members in the parliament have rights and in a democracy can do it. But they were not voted in by the parliament/government. They were chosen by the ASDT supporters to take a seat in parliament, so they have to follow ASDT. They are free to discuss anything but we [ASDT] do not regard them as ASDT members and their statements are not considered as representing the party," said Xavier.

Another ASDT member of the NP, João Manuel Carascalão said the as an MP will continue to support the AMP Government.

"As an MP, I have a moral conscience and a big responsibility to serve the community and state, not only the party.

In parliament, we are the representatives of the community, not only the representative of the party," said Mr. Carrascalão.

With other ASDT MPs, Mr. Carrascalão said that they are not concerned about ASDT's decision concerning them.

PNTL human rights violation against people continues to take place – Televisaun Timor-Leste

A human rights violation victim, Silvina Assuncão de Jesus yesterday (27/5) reported her case to Committees A and B in the National Parliament. Silvina said the case occurred when the members of the Task Force forced them to leave the place where they were staying. At that time, the members of Task Force destroyed the victim's kiosk, causing here to lose approximately US$200. Ms. Silvina is asking the Government to reimburse her loss.

In a separate matter, Chefe Aldeia of Caicoli, Tomas Jose Goncalves said the Government should inform the local authority in the community before they send the population to live there.

"If the Government wants to relocate some part of the population to any place in the community, they have to make an agreement or hold a dialogue with us first so that we can be on the alert and prevent any disturbances. Also, we can know whether those people have their own house or not", explained Tomas.

In response to this case, President of Committee A, Antoninho Bianco said he has instructed the victim to report the incident to the PNTL in order to investigate those members who tortured the population.

"Some of members of the Task Force yesterday tortured a victim in Caicoli. In relation to this, we have directly contacted the PNTL and asked them to gather evidence from the victim to thoroughly investigate all the parties involved. Also, we have also contacted the Provider of Human Rights and asked them to also gather evidence from the victim, so that if there is no follow-up from PNTL about this case, the Provider of Human Rights can present this case to General Prosecutor to be investigated", confirmed Bianco.

The Commander of Joint Operation Command Filomeno Paixão said the JOC also has taken any measures regarding human rights violations which were allegedly committed by the members of the F-FDTL during its field operations. According to Filomeno, 73 cases have been identified so far - 39 of the cases were committed by F-FDTL and the other 34 were committed by the UN.

Ministry of Finance to present audit report – Televisaun Timor-Leste

Minister of Finance Emilia Pires said that the internal audit report of the former Government is ready to be presented to the parliament.

"As discussed with the auditors, auditing processes generally take a long time to do complete as they conduct the audit unit by unit. The report has been prepared and still need some work as the previous government did not have a good system in place.

There are no documents and audit archive and it is difficult to find the auditing files," said Minster Emília.

Fretilin-PUN: unhappy with NP plan to buy 65 cars for MPs – Timor Post

MPs from PUN and Fretilin have reacted strongly to the plan of the National Parliament to buy new 65 cars [Toyota Prado] for the 65 MPs in parliament. According to PUN-Fretilin, saying it is unconscionable to proceed with this plan while the people are suffering.

MP Fretilin Aniceto Guterres said that initially Fretilin did not accept the plan of buying cars for the MPs as people are starving due to the food crisis.

"I concur that the parliament need cars to carry out assessments and other duties, but not cars for every MP," lamented Mr. Guterres.

PUN MP Fernanda Borges said that her party is in the parliament to represent people and she is happy with US$10 per diem [per day. There is no need for cars as the cars are so expensive and will put too much strain on the State budget.

"For me this is a serious step to take for the State. If the cars are bought for the current MPs, then the next MPs will also need cars, as we do now," questioned Ms. Borges.

The Vice President of the National Parliament Maria Paixão said that the cars will be bought to facilitate the work of the MPs and may be sold at a lower price.

UNDP Finds "No Mal-Intent" For Money Herfkens Is Asked to Return, Charges Denied – Inner City Press [at the UN: News Analysis], 27 May

Dutch parliamentarians are demanding that Evelyn Herfkens, who took $7000 a month rent from her government while ostensibly working only for the UN Development Program, repay the money. This despite a <> letter last week from UNDP's Kemal Dervis, attempting to whitewash the scandal.

Dervis acknowledges that Herfkens had been handed a copy of the rules which she went ahead and broke, and that governments are charged with knowing these rules. But he concludes, on what basis is not clear, that there was no intention to break the rule, no "mal-intent."

So $280,000 in illegally received money can be kept? The UN speaks from time to time again impunity. But UNDP, even when it's Administrator admits that rules have been broken, tries to promote impunity.

UNDP's Dervis frames the issue, Herfkens $ and PRO-FIT and Zimbabwe answers not shown

Similarly, in Timor Leste, <> UNDP continues to pay Roque Rodrigues, the former defense minister who the UN's commission of inquiry said should be prosecuted for handing out guns to mobs. On May 22, UNDP partially answered these follow-up questions, posed on May 14:

Is UNDP paying Rodrigues' salary?

You say that Rodrigues "does not have any UN status."

What do you mean; he is a contractor, right?

Isn't this his status -- he holds a SSA contract with UNDP? Or are you referring to privileges and immunities; that he has no such status, given that he is a contractor?

Did the Govt of Timor Leste specifically request that UNDP hire Mr. Rodrigues as a consultant?

If so, which official made this request?

UNDP responded that "anyone one on a consultant/SSA contract has only functional immunity so his UN status has no bearing on any potential legal developments in Timor Leste relating to developments prior to his employment with the UN.

In fact, the only immunity he may have relates to his membership of the Council of State. Lifting that would require a decision by the President of the country. The SRSG has already spoken to the President about this who confirmed that he would do so.

The UN in Timor Leste continues to support the work of the Commission of Inquiry is committed to full accountability for all those whom the report names."

On May 22, Inner City Press asked UNDP some questions, some of which have so far been answered as noted below:

Q: What ever happened to the promised investigation by OAPR of UNDP's award of no-bid c<>ontracts to a firm called PRO-FIT?

At the time, UNDP promised its own investigation. did it ever happen? Will UNDP make it public? So far not answered.

UNDP claimed a couple months ago that internal investigations and a Kimberly Process investigation had cleared UNDP from any wrongdoing in Zimbabwe, concerning <>UNDP's Support of Diamond Mining Operations.

But UNDP refuses to make public the investigations.

What is the basis for UNDP not sharing copies of these investigation reports: Will UNDP releases the reports? So far not answered.

Q: Has UNDP hired consultants whose responsibilities include monitoring the computers and communications of staff and other consultants? If yes, are Mr. Dervis and/or Mr. Melkert aware of this monitoring, and are they given any of the information that is collected? Does UNDP or these consultants monitor the computers or communications of the Independent Review Panel?

Partially answered: "On the issue of the monitoring, UNDP does not have any consultants or staff or anyone "whose responsibilities include the monitoring of computers and communications of staff and other consultants." (To use your words). We, of course, are not in any way shape or form monitoring the computers of the Independent Review Panel. Frankly, allegations that UNDP would be involved in such practices are just downright preposterous."

We'll see.

Q: Beyond UNDP, what about the question of UN requiring letter from a media's country's mission for accreditation?

Answered thusly: "I have been advised that for regular accreditation missions do not get involved. However, they do get involved when a visiting senior official travels with a press corps. In those instances, the mission would sent the UN Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit a list of journalists who need to get a one or two day pass."

We less sure of this last answer, as several journalists have been asked to get letters from their country's mission to the UN Developing.


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