East Timor

East Timor: Cuba 'taught me to love people and be independent'

[Dr Merita Armindo Monteiro (left). Photo by Tim Anderson.]
By Marce Cameron, Green Left Weekly
November 6, 2011 -- In October, the Sydney branch of the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society (ACFS) toured Dr Merita Armindo Monteiro, an East Timorese doctor trained for free in Cuba. Armindo Monterio is also an activist in the Timor Leste-Cuba Friendship Association.
Since 2004, Cuba has undertaken a large-scale medical training program for East Timor and sent hundreds of Cuban medical personnel to work on the island. Cuban medical collaboration in the region has since been extended to Kiribati, Nauru, Vanuatu, Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands. Papua New Guinea may soon benefit from Cuba’s generosity as well.

'Don't let the bankers occupy Timor', say rights groups

The Movimento Kontra Deve - a coalition of civil society organisations in Timor-Leste opposed to their country taking out loans - and the US-based East Timor and Indonesia Action Network have initiated a petition urging Timor's government to refrain from taking out foreign loans and to remain debt-free.

East Timor: Union officials, workers arrested

October 16, 2011 -- On October 11, the general secretary and national organiser of General Workers’ Union (GWU), as well as 17 workers, were arrested by police while preparing for a peaceful protest in the office of East Timor's justice ministry.
The protest was being staged to support the demands of 19 workers sacked unfairly by the ministry.

East Timor’s petroleum fund in danger

[West Atlas oil rig in the Timor Sea.]
By Tim Anderson
July 17, 2011 -- Substantial changes proposed for East Timor’s Petroleum Fund law will expose the nation’s finances to high risk and open the door to corruption.
Just a few years ago the fund was widely praised as a model of prudential and sustainable management, and a means of possibly escaping the “resource curse” of waste and corruption.
That is all about to change.
East Timor's AMP government, led by Xanana Gusmao, has a bill before parliament that removes most of the prudential controls on the fund.

Timorese activists: ‘We reject Australia’s racist policy’

[Pictured: Luta Hamutuk activists.]
Luta Hamutuk, a Dili-based non government organisation, released the following statement on July 7. It was translated from Tetum by Tomas Freitas.
* * *
The July 7 Java Post said: “Prime Minister Julia Gillard has tightened Australia immigration law. Not wanting to be bothered by the economic and social problems caused by asylum seekers, the Australian leader plans to build a detention center for asylum seekers in Timor-Leste.”
The above statement shows how Australian foreign policy contains “racist characteristics” toward Timor-Leste and the region.

East Timor: 'Foreign soldiers should stay out of politics'

Statement by La’o Hamutuk, 11 March 2010
La’o Hamutuk calls on the military and civilian commanders of Australian and other foreign soldiers in Timor-Leste to direct their soldiers to avoid involvement in local politics, including asking Timorese citizens their political views or encouraging them to identify with one political grouping or another.

Timor-Leste government to exceed sustainable withdrawal from Petroleum Fund in 2009

11 November 2009

The following is an English translation of a letter from La'o Hamutuk to Manuel Tilman, President of Committee C in the RDTL National Parliament, updating our submission to his Committee regarding the proposed 2010 State Budget. Last week, the Ministry of Finance instructed the Banking and Payments Authority to transfer a total of $512 million out of the Petroleum Fund during 2009, which breaks the promise contained in the budget documents sent to Parliament on 15 October, which said 2009 spending would be below the $408 million Estimated Sustainable Income from the Petroleum Fund.

Timor Leste: Defend independent journalist Jose Belo!

Independent journalist Jose Belo has been charged with criminal defamation for an article he published in East Timor. In support of him, a group of journalists, academics and others have prepared this letter to the President of East Timor, Jose Ramos- Horta. If you are prepared to sign this letter, please email as soon as possible.

Drop defamation charges against East Timorese editor

January 26, 2009: The East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) today called on Timor-Leste's (East Timor) prosecutor-general to drop criminal defamation charges against the local weekly Tempo Semanal and its editor, Jose Belo.
"Tempo Semanal and Jose Belo should not have to face charges under this obsolete and repressive law," said John M. Miller, National Coordinator of ETAN. "We urge the prosecutor-general to immediately drop any charges."

Timor-Leste: Women's organisation urges Parliament to speed up abortion law

Televizaun Timor-Leste, August 27: East Timor's Popular Women's Organization (OPMT) urged the National Parliament Wednesday (August 27) to speed up the abortion law to save women's lives and to prevent criminalization of abortion practices in the country.The urge is made by women's representatives from all 13 districts during a one-day seminar to commemorate the 33rd anniversary of the women's organization. OPMT's Secretary General, Melita Alves, said the criminalization of abortion in the country seriously affects women's lives though in fact there was no legal framework for such acts.
OMPT, as Fretilin's women's organization, was established on 1975 to fight for the emancipation of Timorese women.