Subject: Letter to Ian Martin from Rede Feto (Women's Network) Timor Leste


To Mr Ian Martin
Special Envoy of the Secretary General of the UN for Timor-Leste

Dear Mr Martin

The Rede Feto of Timor Leste, a network composed of 17 womenís organizations working on womenís rights and gender issues, want to express our gratitude to you for taking the time to meet with us on 4 July. Further to the issues raised during the consultation we wish to submit further recommendations in relation to the establishment of the new post-UNOTIL mission.

Political/Good Offices ∑ To involve women in disarmament. Women officers in the police and the FDTL should be involved in the efforts to disarm civilians.

  • The Commission of Inquiry for Timor Leste to consult with Rede Feto to provide information on the recent incidents of violence.
  • To sensitize women to participate and support the campaign for the disarmament of civilians in their capacity as mothers, wives and daughters to promote peace.
  • Include women in all peace building efforts and fully implement SC 1325.

Elections ∑ To facilitate a review of the draft electoral law to include an affirmative action clause with a provision of minimum 30% target for womenís inclusion in winnable positions political party lists and to guarantee womenís participation as independent candidates.

  • Ensure that women candidates have access to means of communication including electronic, radio and television.
  • Ensure a National Electoral Commission.
  • Develop a gender strategy for the electoral process.

PNTL Reform ∑ Establish recruitment criteria and equal benefit package for female and male officers.

  • Ensure recruitment of police who have a good background and terminate those who have been involved in crimes.
  • Increase the percentage of women in decision making positions within PNTL through targeted promotion programs.
  • Guarantee that VPU (Vulnerable Persons Unit) is well resourced and staffed, and ensure continuity of staff.

Peacekeeping Forces ∑ Enforce the UNís policy to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse with clear information on reporting mechanisms.

  • Investigate past allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel and bring perpetrators to justice.
  • Include women in the uniformed and civilian personnel.

Reform of FDTL ∑ Consult womenís groups in the reform of the FDTL, including its mission and objectives.

  • Increase the percentage of women in decision making positions within FDTL through targeted promotion programs.
  • Implement a program to address the specific needs of each veteran group such as women former combatants and youth involved in the recent conflict.

Human Rights/Rule of Law/Serious Crimes ∑ Review immunity of members of parliament and government and disseminate information on how it should be applied.

  • Bring to justice perpetrators of womenís rights violations that occurred in 1999 and womenís rights abuses that occurred in the recent situation.
  • A separate annual fund should be allotted to the judiciary which they could access without the bureaucratic systems. This will avoid any intervention by the ruling officials who will cause delay of release of funds.
  • All legal documents including the penal code, the legislations and procedures should be written in Tetun since 90% of Timorese speak and understand Tetun. It is the preferred language of the people.
  • Court deliberations should also be done in Tetun so the involved parties can understand what was being discussed and decided upon.
  • Improve court proceedings to ensure expedition of hearings and prevent delayed justice and further hardship to victims.

Governance/Institutional Development ∑ Implement the recruitment, promotion and compensation system being developed by the Minister of Planning and Finance that ensures equal opportunity to both men and women.

  • The labor law should include provision to address nepotism in public and private offices.
  • Graft and corruption should be governed by laws and under the penal code to ensure protection of women who want to establish their businesses and/or source of livelihood.

Gender Dimensions ∑ All the government officials including the ministers should have an orientation program on gender.

  • The Office for the Promotion of Equality and Human Rights should become part of the Council of Ministries.
  • At the ministry program level recruitment of women as part of the workforce in the districts is a must, e.g. health workers and staff.
  • Establish a separate office for village health workers under the Ministry of Health and encourage participation of women.

We also want to take this opportunity to ask you to kindly use your good office to convey our remarks on womenís participation in decision making.

Hoping our efforts will be fruitful and considered. Thank you.

Very truly yours,

Executive Director
Rede Feto
July 7 2006

see Women and East Timor page

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