Subject: UNMISET Daily Media Review 23 March 2005

UNMISET Daily Press Review

Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Daily Media Review Wednesday, 23 March 2005

Ramos-Horta protests Human Rights Commission

The report of the Human Rights Commission in Geneva regarding the human rights situation in Timor-Leste has received strong criticism from the Timor-Leste Foreign Minister, Jose Ramos-Horta. According to Horta, much of the report does not correspond with the reality in Timor-Leste.

Speaking to journalists in Dili, Ramos-Horta said that the real mandate of the Human Rights Unit in Timor-Leste is to carry out capacity building such as training of police and judges in the area of human rights. The Commission's mandate is not to monitor the human rights situation.

Ramos-Horta said that the report gave rise to questioning the competence of the Human Rights Unit in Timor-Leste, forcing its mandate, or terms of reference, to now be reviewed. The Foreign Minister has demanded that the Commission withdraw its report, and said that if the Commission wishes to conduct monitoring of the human rights situation here, then they must make a new agreement with the government.

When asked by journalists what he would do if it turned out that the contents of the report were accurate, Ramos-Horta said that he did not intend to question the whole report, but he is concerned with the purpose and intention of the report (Timor Post, STL)

Lucia Lobato: Parliament is violating Provedor law

Member of Parliament from the Social Democratic Party, Lucia Lobato, has accused Parliament of violating the Provedor law. According to Lobato, the law states that the Provedor must be elected one month after the approval of the law.

The law was approved in May last year and almost one year later the Provedor still has not been elected. Lobato also said that according to the law, political parties are not the only entities able to present candidates but that the general public also has the right to nominate individuals.

Meanwhile, Jacob Fernandes, Vice-President of the National Parliament said that the Provedor election will be held this coming Monday even though some of the party factions have not yet presented their candidates. Head of the Fretilin faction in the Parliament, Francisco Branco, told journalists that he is certain that Fretilin's candidate will win the Provedor position because all Fretilin's Members of Parliament have agreed to vote for this candidate. (Timor Post)

Penal Code may violate media freedom

The draft Penal Code currently being formulated by the Ministry of Justice, may impact on the freedom of the press, according to some of the speakers at a meeting held at HAK Association in Dili on Tuesday. Speaking at the discussion forum, Members of Parliament, Manuel Tilman and Dionisio Babo of the Asia Foundation said that articles 173 and 174 regarding defamation are of concern for media freedom, while Aderito Hugo da Costa, director of Timor Post, said that the draft holds no hopes for development of the media, and does guarantee freedom of the press as enshrined in the Constitution. (Timor Post, STL)

WHO Regional Director visits Timor-Leste

Regional Director for the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Samlee Plianbanchang, is currently on a official visit in Timor-Leste. This is Dr Plianbanchang first visit to Timor-Leste after having just recently been elected as Regional Director. Dr. Plianbanchang will meet with the Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri as well as visit some health institutions, such as the National Health Laboratory, the Blood Bank, and the Centre for Health Education and Training. (Timor Post)

Terror and manipulation colour village chief elections

Member of Parliament from the Democratic Party (PD), Mariano Sabino Lopes, said that the village chief elections have been characterized by terror and manipulation. He said that the name of one of the PD candidates suddenly disappeared from the list, as well as there being threats to the population that if another party won, the government would no longer provide services to the population. (STL)

Seven youths forced to admit guilt

Seven youths from Liquica District have been arrested by police and forced to write a statement of wrongdoing, according to Member of Parliament Jacob Xavier from the Timor People's Party. The police accused the youths of damaging government infrastructure in Maumeta, Liquica district. After being detained for 72 hours, they were forced to sign a statement of wrongdoing, even though they claim that they did not do anything wrong. According to Xavier, such police behaviour is reminiscent of Indonesian and Portuguese police tactics, and the National Parliament should hold an investigation into the case. (STL)

Protest about police recruitment at National Parliament

Over 100 protesters gathered at the National Parliament building on Monday and Tuesday to protest against the recruitment policy for police, claiming it is unfair and manipulative. The protesters say that while they were originally stated as having passed the test for recruitment as police officers, their names have now been taken off the list of recruits. The protesters say that this shows signs of collusion and nepotism, and they demanded that the Parliament investigate the matter. (STL)

Ramos-Horta not just interested in good name

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Jose Ramos Horta said that the Commission for Truth and Friendship is a means of finding out the truth about 1999, and not a way for him or the President Xanana Gusmao to improve their good name. Ramos-Horta was responding to claims made by some political parties and non-government organizations that Timor-Leste's government have established the Commission in the interests of their own good name. (STL)

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