Subject: Open letter to Commander of Australian ISF in Dili

Open Letter 11 August 2009

To Commander, International Stabilisation Force Camp Phoenix Caicoli, Dili, Timor-Leste

Dear Sir,

I am a Japanese graduate student. I visited Aileu on 5 August 2009, dropping in to a restaurant in the town en route to another location in the district. I arrived at around 1300, and encountered seven Australian ISF soldiers there, drinking beer. They were in combat uniforms, with guns; some of which were on the table, while others on the floor. I didn't notice their names or ranks, but among them I recognized one soldier, whose name tag seemed to say "Smith". Outside the restaurant, a military truck was parked, apparently heading towards south, with three other military personnel. Encountering drinking soldiers with guns frightened me very much.

Previously I have seen Australian military personnel carry guns while in restaurants, grocery stores and DVD rental shops, among other places. This is insensitive and inappropriate given the relatively calm security situation. It makes people feel unsafe.

I would like to ask the following questions in relation to the regulation of firearms use by Australian military personnel:

1. Are Australian military personnel permitted to carry guns while drinking alcohol?

2. Under what precise circumstance are Australian military personnel permitted to carry guns? When will the current policy on carrying long arms be reviewed?

3. What is the process of registering and addressing complaints?

I look forward to your reply and strongly recommend that your answers with specific reference to operational guidelines on carrying guns should be made public to both Timorese and foreigners in Timor-Leste as this is a safety issue, and thus of public concern. Similarly information on how Timorese and foreigners can register complaints and how these are addressed should be made public.

Yours sincerely,

Takahashi Shigehito Contact: takahashi.shigehito@vega.ocn.ne.jp

[Tetun translation] Surat Nakloke/Karta Aberta 11 Agosto 2009

Ba: Komandante, ISF (Forsas Estabilidade Internasional) Australia Camp Phoenix Caicoli, Dili, Timor-Leste

Ho respeito,

Hau esutudante ida husi Japaun. Hau vizita ba Aileu iha loron 5 fulan Agosto, 2009, no tama restaurante ida iha Vila. Hau too iha neeba mais ou menus tuku 13:00, no hasoru ho soldadu ISF Australia nian nain hitu (7), neebe hemu dadauk serveja. Sira hatais farda funu ho kilat, balun tau iha meja leten, seluk soe hela iha rai. Hau la hatene sira nia naran ou diviza, maibe hau haree soldadu ida ho ninia naran tau iha farda hakerek hanesan "Smith". Kamioneta militar nian para hela iha restaurante nia oin, karik ba diresaun sul. Ema militar nain tolu (3) tan hein ho kamioneta ida nee. Hasoru ho soldadu lanu no kaer kilat halo hau tauk lahalimar.

Durante nee hau haree soldadu Australianu sira kaer kilat iha restaurante, supermercado no toko Rental DVD, no fatin seluk-seluk tan. Hahalok hirak nee la sensitivu no la apropriadu, tanba situasaun seguransa kalma hela. Sira halo ema hotu sente la seguru.

Hau hakarak husu pergunta tuir mai, neebe relasiona ho regulamento kona ba kilat ba soldadu Australianu sira.

1. Soldadu Australianu sira autoriza kaer kilat bainhira hemu dadauk tua?

2. Situasaun saida mak soldadu Australianu sira hetan lisensa atu kaer kilat? Bainhira atu haree fila fali politika kona ba autorizasaun kilat?

3. Prosedur atu hatama keixa oinsa?

Hau hein Ita-Boot nia hatan no rekomenda Ita-Boot atu fo-hatene ba Timor oan ho ema estrangeiru sira hotu iha Timor-Leste kona ba Ita-Boot nia hatan ho "guideline" operasional kilat nian atu ami hotu bele hatene. Tanba ida nee kona ba seguransa ka keselamatan, no nuu nee preokupasaun publiku.

Obrigado ba Ita-Boot nia atensaun,

Takahashi Shigehito


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