Subject: UNOTIL Daily Media Review 22-24 April 2006


Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Daily Media Review Saturday & Monday, 22-24 April 2006

National Media Reports Petitioners Protest

The ‘petitioners group’ is scheduled to protest today with the support of 5,000 sympathizers, reported the media on Monday. Spokesperson for the group, Salsinha Gastão, told the media on Saturday that sympathizers from 10 Districts were expected to join the protest. Gastão said the ‘petitioners group’ planned to hold the demonstration in F-FDTL military uniform, following law and order, assuring it would be a peaceful demonstration and that security was under PNTL control. The venues of the protest include the Government Palace, the National Parliament, the Court of Appeal, and the Palace of Ashes ending at the seashore, Gastão said.

STL reported on Saturday that a meeting took place between PNTL Commander Paulo Martins, Operational Commander Ismael Babo and ‘Petitioners Group’ spokesperson, Salsinha Gastão delineating plans of the protesters. The trio also held a press conference later.

In the meantime PNTL Commander Paulo Martins reportedly said police are prepared to provide security during the four day protest adding he has asked the group to follow law, though if there are major disturbances, the police have the competence to stop the demonstration and to prevent victims and damages that have occurred in similar past events.

Bishop Basilio do Nascimento asks the leaders to listen to the ‘petitioners’ even if the solution cannot be found straight away, reported Timor Post today, adding that the group is holding the demonstration for a reason that needs to be looked into by both sides.

In a separate article, Diario Nacional reported F-FDTL Chief-of-Staff, Lieutenant Colonel, Lere Anan Timor as saying Minister of Defence, Roque Rodrigues, Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak, accompanied by the Permanent Secretary of Defence, Filomeno Paixão and Major Coliati departed Sunday to Malaysia for an official visit. The delegation will participate in an exhibition regarding military equipment scheduled for today and will return on April 28. Anan Timor reportedly said Taur Matan Ruak would spend three days in Bali before continuing his trip to Timor-Leste where he will rest for two days before proceeding on an official trip to the USA.

MP Clementino do Amaral (KOTA) is of the opinion that any citizen has the right to support any group holding a demonstration and that includes priests in the name of the church, reported STL Saturday. (STL, TP, Diario)

Government Wants To Urgently Define The Electoral Law

The government wants to define the fundamental principles of the electoral law as soon as possible to allow many people to participate in the debate on the elections, as well as on candidature and voting procedures, reported STL. According to the report, the Council of Ministers raised the topic during Thursday’s meeting. The Council also discussed other topics including combating HIV/AIDS and the organic structure of the public administration. (STL)

UN Supports Portuguese Magistrates

Three Portuguese magistrates accused of being 'colonialists' by the Minister of Interior last week were cleared of the accusations by the United Nations. Speaking at a press conference on Friday, SRSG Hasegawa emphasized that the investigation following the accusations by Timor-Leste Minister of Interior, Rogério Lobato “reveals that by no means did this reflect colonial attitudes, nor was there evidence found of misconduct, dereliction of duty or absence without due authority by any international prosecutor”. In response to the SRSG’s conclusion, Prime Minister Alkatiri said, “I recognize that work has been done in the Prosecutor’s office since the Portuguese began working there”. On the accusations made by Minister Lobato, Alkatiri said, “one thing is the absence of the Portuguese prosecutors, duly authorized, the other is negligence and worse is to consider their attitude as colonialist. “ I have knowledge of some situations in the Prosecutor General’s office where Timorese and expatriates have had conflicts, but I recognize work has been achieved since the Portuguese prosecutors began work in that area,” he said. (STL, Lusa)

Fretilin Wants To Strengthening National Unit

Fretilin’s Secretary General, Mari Alkatiri, reportedly said the names Maubere, Timor-Leste and Mount Ramelau have important significance in strengthening national unity. Alkatiri said the three components are in the hands of Fretilin. Speaking at the party’s central committee in Comoro, Mari Alkatiri affirmed the importance on reflecting and reviving the main symbols for which Fretilin fought. He explained the concept of Mauberismu (Maubere) and why Fretilin values it.

Timor Post reported Fretilin’s Secretary General as saying that the church and Fretilin cannot turn their backs on each other, adding that if Fretilin turns its back on the church, it is the same as turning its back on the party. He noted that Fretilin is the church and vice-versa. “Those members of Fretilin, the majority are Catholics. They are part of the Catholic Church. The majority of the people in the church are Fretilin and Fretilin makes up the church,” Mari Alkatiri explained on the occasion of 16th anniversary of the group Frente Timor Unidos (FITUN) in Kuluhun, Dili. Alkatiri appealed to the people to ignore comments made by some priests that if his party wins the 2007 election, some priests’ throat would be cut, calling on the youth to carry forth the notion that religion is sacred and should be respected. Therefore, he asks those priests that want to be involved in politics to establish a political party and to speak like politicians, allowing people to question them.

Government Lacks Capacity To Resolve Citizen’s Problems

Director of NGO Mirror for the People (LABEH) Henry Samson, reportedly said the government cannot resolve his problem which is considered small, let alone the F-FDTL case. Samson said the immigration police have been investigating him for five years and have not yet found any facts that he is of non-Timorese citizenship. He said he is prepared to undergo DNA testing to prove his identity. STL reported the Director of LABEH as saying that the Provedor for Human Rights and Justice must investigate the Minister of State to find out the aim of investigating his identity, noting that the Minister of State initiated the investigation and not the immigration authorities. He says he is prepared to sit and resolve the problems with the authorities. (DN, STL)

PNTL Commander Laments Report

PNTL Commander Paulo Martins told the media he greatly laments the Human Rights Watch report that gave a bad image to PNTL. Martins said he feels sad about the report but that some part of it discriminates against PNTL. Some of the discrimination Martins said the citing of the names of some PNTL officers such as the Commander of Dili District, Eugenio Pereira, accused of infringement in Bobonaro District.

In the meantime the Programe Manager for Law and Enforcement Program, Aniceto Bertenie Neves reportedly said that the Human Rights Watch is a reflection of the current situation in the country. According to Aniceto Neves, PNTL often violate human rights when they perform their duties during patrol among communities. He affirmed that HAK Association has also gathered facts that show that a number of human rights violations within the community involve Timor-Leste police. (TP)

Media still unprofessional in TL: Suni

An organizer of Timor-Leste Journalist Association (AJTL), Francez Suni, reportedly said last Friday that the media of Timor-Leste is still unprofessional and weak in the area of writing news, therefore AJTL launched an open discussion on how to report and write professionally which began by presenting a film in which journalists had fabricated news. Suni noted that the present media in Timor-Leste does not report the news accurately even though the news is obtained based on a talking source. He added there is no one to analyze the news and the journalist writes and reports. He used as an example that journalists reported that about ’80 percent of FRETILIN is not in support of Mari Alkatiri’ pointing out that this piece of news was placed at the bottom of the first page when it should have been at the top. He said that the context of the news is important and it should keep readers interested. (DN)

Regional Media Reports

East Timor troops stage protest

Tensions are high in the East Timorese capital, Dili, amid mass protests by former soldiers.

Thousands are marching on the Presidential Palace to protest the sacking of 591 soldiers in February after they deserted complaining of discrimination.

The former soldiers, mainly from the country's west, claim favoured treatment is being given to soldiers from the east, a key centre of resistance to the Indonesian occupation of East Timor from the mid-1970s until 1999.

Many are also calling on President Xanana Gusmão to dismiss his Fretilin-led government.

A similar protest last month turned into a rampage with shops looted and a policeman stabbed.

Our correspondent in Dili, Eric Campbell, says riot police are out in force, but so far the protest has been peaceful. (ABC)

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 

Back to April menu
March menu     
World Leaders Contact List
Main Postings Menu