Subject: east timor headlines/16August2001

Bahasa Indonesia Headlines -- Thursday 16 August 2001

1. 200 ex-Falintil at UNTAET sit-in 
2. Ramos-Horta: Megawati’s position on Timor Lorosae clear
3. IEC shortcomings in handing electoral incidents


1. 200 ex-Falintil at UNTAET sit-in (Suara Timor Lorosae, front page headline) 

About 200 ex-Falintil members on Tuesday staged a one-day sit-in at UNTAET headquarters to demand that the United Nations fulfill its promises to the former freedom fighters.

Domingos da Silva, spokesperson for the ex-Falintil said the group of freedom fighters that did not meet the grade to enter the Timor Lorosae Defense Forces (FDTL) were in dire straits.

“From January to May, these former Falintil fighters were getting US$100 a month as living expenses. Now they are struggling because these payments from the IOM have stopped,” he added.

Domingos said jobs and housing were promised to the Falintil veterans but the UN agencies had yet to fulfill these promises.

Meanwhile, former CNRT President Xanana Gusmao when contacted said the issue was an internal matter.

“We, being the ex-Falintils, have nothing much. But we have to work for ourselves and look for business opportunities. It’s a matter of filling our bellies,” he said.

But ex-Falintil Julio da Costa said there were some ex-Falintil members who were disabled from the war the war.

“Many of them are handicapped physically, after being injured in the war, and are unable to work. These former fighters need help and we just can’t ignore them,” he added.

2. Ramos-Horta: Megawati’s position on Timor Lorosae clear (Suara Timor Lorosae, front page second lead) 

The position of new Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri, on Timor Lorosae, is clear. It hinges on strengthening diplomatic ties between Indonesia and an independent Timor Lorosae.

This was stated by Jose Ramos-Horta, ETTA’s foreign minister in a telephone interview with STL yesterday.

He said the joint communiqué between Australian Prime Minister John Howard and Megawati ­ issued during the premier’s visit to Jakarta ­ indicated both countries commitment to have better bilateral ties with Timor Lorosae in the future.

“I value that joint communiqué. It is a concrete indicated that the sovereignty of Timor Lorosae is respected,” added Ramos-Horta.

Commenting on Megawati’s Cabinet, Ramos-Horta said there were several ministers who have paid close to the question of Timor Lorosae.

“I’ve known the Foreign Minister Hasan Wirayuda for about 10 years. He has been a good friend and I know he respects Timor Lorosae’s sovereignty. I also know Susilo Bambang Yudoyono and he wants Timor Lorosae to be a good neighbour of Indonesia.”

3. IEC shortcomings in handing electoral incidents (Suara Timor Lorosae, front page third lead) 

The Independent Electoral Commission seems ill-equipped to handle electoral incidents that are now surfacing in the campaign.

One possible reason is that the IEC from the start of the political campaign never issued a Code of Conduct for political parties.

This was stated yesterday by Azelito Soares, a member of the Jurists’ Association of Timor Lorosae. Azelito is also an adviser to the Legal Aid Board of Timor Lorosae.

“After they [IEC] were criticized on their working style, suddenly the IEC came out with regulations which stated that each party which committed an electoral offence could be fined at least US$5,000. The politician concerned, from the party, could also face a jail term of five years,” said Azelito.

But Azelito warned that the IEC had to be careful in issuing such regulations.

“Is the IEC trying to side-step the courts? It’s only the courts who can decide whether a person or a political party is guilty or not,” added Azelito.

Azelito accused the IEC of making regulations without consulting the legal community, Civpol and the Courts.

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