Dili 5 April 2000
Transcrição de coletiva para imprensa sobre a situação do governo transitório em Timor Leste em 5 de abril 2000
A near verbatim transcript of a press briefing by SRSG Sergio Vieira de Mello.
SRSG: Before I leave Dili next Friday I would like to apprise you of the main developments in the mission since I last met you.
The PKF has two main scopes: security of the territory and support for the other two pillars of UNTAET. The security situation is calm and under control.
The threat levels in the western districts have been reduced, and that is a welcome development, and tension has decreased overall in the last two months. [By this] I mean internal tension. We hope to be able to sign the MOU with the TNI on border management next week.
The PKF has been facilitating the transportation by road, sea and air of support of the humanitarian pillar and it has also been coordinating closely support by its engineers to the GPA engineering capacity. Here I am thinking in particular of the help the Bangladeshi battalion is providing us in the repairs of the Becora prison.
As you know, on 27 March we inaugurated the new Police Training College here in Dili. You know the numbers, 50 trainees of whom 11 are women. In the next batch we are hoping that more than fifty per cent will be women. This is a good sign also for the recruitment of the new civil service.
There are also cadets from all the thirteen districts, which therefore provides for broad representation in the newest Timorese police.
I also wanted to inform you that I have sworn in on 24 March the five Timorese and two international members of Public Service Commission, which will be in charge with the recruiting of civil servants, and in fact recommending them to me for appointment. I repeat that we are hoping to have a lean and efficient civil service – one that the future East Timorese government budget can support.
The Commission has already met twice and is already discussing concrete terms of employment, conditions of employment hours of work and holidays. As soon as the cost of living survey is completed it will also be deciding on the new salary scale for the civil service. Last but not least on civil service matters, the Civil Service Academy will start on 1 May and it will begin modestly with the training of trainers on language, management and vocational skills.
On the judicial system, you remember that I appointed 12 judges and prosecutors in January. I met with them again ten days ago and I must tell you that I was quite impressed with their assertiveness and self-confidence, and with the progress in their training. This shows that even though some of the East Timorese, perhaps many of the East Timorese we may be recruiting into the new civil service, into the new judiciary, into the new police, might only have university training or other types of primary school or secondary education, they are more than capable and eager to learn. What I have seen at the Dili District Court ten days ago gave me the conviction that we are on the right path. As a result, I will be appointing another 12 judges and prosecutors tomorrow that were recommended to me by the Transitional Judicial Services Commission, led by Bishop Basilio do Nascimento. Most of them will be appointed to Baucau and Oecussi. So we are beginning to spread this new judicial system to districts other than Dili.
Seven judges and three prosecutors will be appointed immediately to Baucau, and one or two will be deployed to Oecussi where the population feels the need for judicial support, judicial action, particularly on minor offences that can not obviously be dealt with from Dili.
The judges and prosecutors that I have appointed in January have received training in the last couple of months in human rights and forensic techniques. They have also, as you know, been advised by a team of international judges that are working with UNTAET and who are backing them up. I have already told you that that I am very, very satisfied indeed with the progress achieved.
I would like you to pay a particular attention to what I am going to say now, especially our East Timorese media colleagues. It relates to the involvement of Timorese people in the administration of this country.
Yesterday, in the meeting of the NCC I briefed the members, well some were absent but I have been keeping in touch with those who are absent, especially with Xanana Gusmao, I briefed the members and obtained their endorsement for the establishment of District Advisory Councils. I will be issuing an instruction to all District Administrators today asking them to establish these Councils with broad participation of representatives of political parties, the Church, women and youth groups. We wish to establish advisory councils in the districts that are representative of the East Timorese civil society more than was possible in the NCC.
I will also be instructing our colleagues to appoint as many women as possible. Not just women form women s organizations, but women representing all the sectors of the East Timorese civil society. Unless we do that we will not make progress in asserting rights of women, to which UNTAET and the CNRT are fully committed.
Secondly, and this is another important decision, I am considering, in fact I have decided, to appoint Timorese as deputy district administrators and Timorese deputy heads of departments in our public administration her in Dili, in the central public administration.
These appointments will go through the Public Service Commission so that persons that I will appoint are selected on the basis of their personal qualities, competence, integrity and not because they belong to given political party, or because they happen to be known to one or the other influential figure in this country. So, these persons will serve the nation, will serve the people not particular interests.
I am also requesting the Public Service Commission to launch the recruitment of the 7,000 civil servants that we are planning to recruit into the new East Timorese civil administration in the year 2000. What we will be witnessing in the coming weeks is this dynamic transformation of UNTAET, which is perceived by many as an international superstructure imposed on the East Timorese population although I hope you have realized [that] we have not been working that way, into a new East Timorese civil administration. [It will be] composed of civil servants recruited in each sector of activity by the Public Service Commission and through the appointment of deputies at the central and at the district level, with decision making, executive authority. These deputies will have many international staff, many UNTAET staff under their authority. I believe this is a significant step forward.
You know that NCC has been accused by some of being a secretive body, of lacking transparency, and to some extent these perceptions are correct even though that is not our intention. So, in order to open up the NCC to public scrutiny in the last two sessions of the NCC I have decided to invite, with the consent of all members, representatives of non-governmental organizations and yesterday also of Falintil. Yesterday we had a number of NGOs sitting in the room, as well as commandant Emeno of the Falintil, and contrary to the rules of the NCC I also gave them the floor, for them to express their concerns, ask questions and we had a very interesting debate in which Jose Ramos Horta, who is not a member of NCC, also participated. This is another attempt at involving more representatives of the East Timor civil society in decision making.
Finally on this matter of consultations with East Timorese people – I have received on Monday representatives of the Muslim and of the protestant communities and discussed the specific situation of the Muslim community here in Dili. I also sought their support in conveying our message to the Timorese people, and support through advice and particular concerns that both the protestant and the Muslim communities might have so as to improve our ability to respond to our expectations. I have also requested the UNTAET Radio to be open to messages from these communities, and in fact, immediately after they met with me they were interviewed by Radio UNTAET, it went into the news and was immediately broadcast. In fact in their interventions yesterday, they were not so critical. But I told them that we don t mind criticism, as there is no democracy without the right to criticize.
Let me move to social questions [that], as you know, we have been facing here in Dili with frequent demonstrations of job seekers, of the unemployed. I have received a group of them on Monday afternoon and we had a very good discussion. They explained to us their disappointment; what they perceive as a confused way in which UNTAET has been advertising vacancies, distributing application forms without proper information, without proper indication if when replies would be provided to different groups of applicants. We have agreed to take measures to establish a centralized job, employment bank, in Dili to begin with and possibly in all the districts at a later stage. [This is] so that people can apply only once, leave their record, inform us of their skills. Then any employer, be it UNTAET which cannot employ all the jobless Timorese obviously, or the World Bank through its labor intensive projects, or any other potential employer can go and match their needs with the labor offer in the market.
Unemployment is related to reconstruction and you know that we ve come under criticism for the slow process in rebuilding, or building, the country. I have been explaining time and again that destroying is easy and rebuilding is extremely difficult, lengthy, time consuming, if we want to do it in a sustainable manner. So, last Saturday I signed half a million [dollars] project, funded by the World Bank and to be implemented by UNDP, which will provide some 600 jobs for people from different succus in Dili. It will focus on cleaning up the rubble and debris, and this should improve the looks of this town and make it easier to repair and rebuild, and reoccupy some of the buildings especially here in the downtown Dili in the coming months.
You remember that I signed with Jim Wolfhenson when he visited Dili the famous Community Empowerment and Local Governance Project, and I am told by our friends in the World Bank that the first payments to communities will be made very, very soon. These early disbursements will enable communities to carry out rehabilitation works, with emphasis on local procurement and local employment.
The infrastructure program, which as you know was appraised by the Asian Development Bank in late January-early February, has now been approved and will be signed this week. That is the first large-scale reconstruction program [worth] close to 30 million US dollars for roads, power and ports. The contract will be let quickly for five road projects and should be mobilized by mid-May. This will be the first materialization of very hard work on the part of the Bank and UNTAET on the preparation of reconstruction programs.
Small and medium enterprises is one of the World Bank projects to which I am particularly attached, because it will provide local, East Timorese initiatives with credits, with cash to go ahead with their projects. This should be signed shortly. I was in contact with the World Bank in Washington last Friday, and the money is available. I hope I get to sign it before I leave on Friday. Otherwise, we will sign it by fax. The main idea is to promote the recovery of the private sector, of the East Timorese private sector. Not foreign companies, not foreign investors but East Timorese private sector.
Finally the grant agreement for the education sector will be signed towards the end of April. The health and agriculture sectors programming missions are working in country right now.
Few words on the visit to Jakarta, because I am sure you will be asking questions about that so I don t need to go into details. First I went to Kupang for a meeting with the Defense Minister Sudarsono and Major-General Syhanakri. Later [I traveled] to Jakarta for meetings with president Gus Dur, Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab, again Defense Minister Sudarsono and Attorney General Marzuki Darusman. I also met all the representatives of all the donor countries, including all the five permanent members of the Security Council. In Kupang, I also met with Mr. Armindo Mariano, former Speaker of East Timor Parliament. And, in Jakarta, I met Mr. Domingos Soares and five of his colleagues. As you know, Domingos Soares is the leader of UNTAS, the pro-autonomy umbrella organization and I can brief you on all of these meetings in a moment.
I will be leaving on Friday afternoon. I am visiting Tokyo first, attending a conference of the trilateral commission and then holding meetings with Japanese officials. From there I am travelling to Beijing for meetings with Chinese Government. I will then move on to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur for meetings with both prime ministers and the other representatives of Singaporean and Malaysian governments. And between Beijing and Kuala Lumpur I am planning to take a week off in China with my sons.
We are working very closely with the World Bank, the IMF, UN agencies and the Timorese in preparing the Lisbon Conference. We have agreed at the donors conference in Tokyo in December last year that we will have a follow up conference in Lisbon. (next sentence inaudible)
Q: How many people are currently employed in projects facilitated by UNTAET? Do you have a figure on this?
SRSG: I honestly don t, but it is difficult to say that projects are facilitated [by UNTAET]. We have all kinds of small projects going on right now. Some of them are funded by our Quick Impact Project Fund.
Q: How many people are employed under that program?
SRSG: I don t have these figures. I believe that in total there are 2,000 under our QIPs. But then you have other QIPs by UNHCR, by OCHA; you also have bilateral projects which are implemented, in coordination with us, by UNDP and other agencies. [They are] funded by DFID, AusAid, by USAID, never [worth] more than half a million dollars and are also providing employment. The figure is still being put together, a few thousand I would say. But not many, not enough.
SRSG: That figure is an arbitrary figure. I don t know who came up with that figure. I believe that it is fairly arbitrary, unverifiable. What we know is that unemployment is a serious problem. I keep repeating that it is my nightmare in urban centers like Dili. But, how many exactly are unemployed, I don t think there is a reliable figure.
Q: Is there a plan to establish some rules governing workplace relations?
SRSG: Workplace relations, what do you mean by that?
Q: Industrial relations.
SRSG: You see, we have colleagues from International Labor Organization in Dili right now who are helping us in different areas. One of them is legal conflict prevention and resolution; the second is labor laws, and I presume that was your question; and the third one is what I mentioned the establishment, here first and than in all the districts, of employment banks. In these employment centers people can turn up, provide their CVs, indications of their skills and where employers can go and seek interesting applications, rather than having Timorese apply to different employers without any indication when they might, or might not be employed.
Q: Do you have any idea when will these ILO experts, in consultation with Timorese judiciary, have something in place, some kind of legislation or regulation?
SRSG: No, I can not give you a precise date. We had on Saturday afternoon when I returned from Jakarta a large meeting here, which they attended, where these decisions were taken. They are here only for a short period of time. They are working with our GPA colleagues, but hope is that they will produce this before they leave.
Q: When will the survey on the cost of living, that you mentioned earlier, be finished?
SRSG: This survey was requested by the NCC, and without which they said, and they were right, was impossible to decide on the new salary scales for the civil service. UNDP is coordinating that and it should be ready by mid-April. It began in mid-March and I was told it would take about a month to complete.
Q: While in Jakarta, did you invite Domingos Soares to come and visit East Timor?
SRSG: Yes, I invited both Mr. Armindo Mariano and Mr. Domingos Soares and those who were there with him. I can provide you with their names because I am sure East Timorese friends know them: Domingos Policarpo, Manuel Boavida, Jose Ferreira Martins, Florenco Mario Viegas and Francisco Fernandes. I did invite them to come and visit Dili. This was also an invitation from President Xanana Gusmao, with whom I had discussed this just before I left for Jakarta, and just before he left Maputo for Brazil.
With Domingos Soares we discussed a letter he had addressed to me on 9 March and my reply to him, which attempts to provide the clarifications he was seeking on the electoral process last year, on the outcome of the Popular Consultation while at the same time reminding him that there is an empty seat [on the NCC]. An empty seat that was very visible, very noticeable in this room during the special meeting of the NCC on the occasion of President Wahid s visit here on 29 February. I drew President s attention to the fact that the seat is empty and that a representative of UNTAS would be welcome to join us.
I made this point again to Mr. Domingos Soares. He asked me to pass a very positive message back to President Xanana Gusmao and to all the members of the NCC. He agreed to discuss my letter and its annexes with the leadership of UNTAS and to come back to me on the next steps. He was certainly forward looking, he repeated twice that UNTAS did not support violence, that UNTAS would do what it could to put an end to violent tactics, and that UNTAS supported peaceful, democratic dialogue and was hoping to be able to, sooner or later, to join the political process in East Timor. I told him that, as far as UNTAET and CNRT were concerned, we shared his views.
Q: You mentioned earlier centers for job seekers. Will this policy apply only in Dili or in the districts also?
SRSG: We will start in Dili and then we will move to all the districts.
Q: There should be a mechanism to prevent movement [of population] from districts to Dili
SRSG: I know that. I agree with you. We are conscious of the danger and we are discussing with the World Bank the need for all these large projects that I mentioned earlier to be launched preferably in the districts rather than in Dili, so as not to attract more people to the capital. But I take the point and I will discuss it with my colleagues to see if we can do simultaneously what I mentioned, open one here but also at least a few in the districts.
Q: We heard you talk about a program by UNTAET and CNRT to offer a seat in the NCC to UNTAS, but what about human rights issues that people are waiting for? (translated from Tetum)
SRSG: By human rights, I suppose you mean justice?
SRSG: I think Xanana and ourselves, and many more, have said clearly that there will be no reconciliation without justice. The two go together. And we have experienced that in many other similar situations in the past. So, one is not exclusive of the other. You know that in late November, when we were discussing the composition of the Consultative Council, it was held that we should reserve three seats for political formations that had campaigned for autonomy. Two of them have accepted, the third one in those days, the FPDK, never replied. Now, the FPDK does not exist any more, and what we have is this umbrella organization called UNTAS. I have, therefore, reiterated the invitation we extended in December for UNTAS now to be represented in the Consultative Council.
Justica means several different things. First of all, it means investigating thoroughly and credibly that have been brought to our attention or crime scenes that have been discovered. As you know, work began with the Interfet military police. We took it over in January, and it is now under the joint responsibility of our Human Rights Division and a special investigation unit of CivPol and they are, as you know, conducting very serious and thorough investigations including forensic analysis of all crime scenes and bodies that have been exhumed. This will form a body of evidence that can be provided to different jurisdictions. First and foremost, the Timorese jurisdiction.
As you know, we have adopted about two to three weeks ago a regulation on the organization of courts in East Timor. Section 10 of that regulation stipulates that there will be a special court in Dili which will have national jurisdiction and that will look into serious crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, murders and serious sexual offences.
We also have, as you know, a judicial process beginning in Indonesia. You remember the Komnas Ham investigation and report. I met with Attorney general Marzuki last week in Jakarta on the conclusion of a Memorandum of Understanding on legal, judicial cooperation between Indonesia and UNTAET. As you know from the media, Attorney General Marzuki is constituting his investigating teams and he intends to send one of these teams to East and West Timor to begin the collection of evidence to launch the judicial process in Indonesia. So, all the evidence that we have collected and will continue to collect, will also be put at the disposal of Indonesian judiciary, as well as at the disposal of any other jurisdiction that may, through the proper procedure, request our cooperation.
But justice can also means other types of non-judicial processes. We may have to resort to that in many less serious cases. Less serious in comparative terms, because in a normal environment a person who sets a public building ablaze would probably take 10-15 years in jail, certainly in Brazil. But, in the particular instance of East Timor we can not fill jails that we don t have. We cannot overload a weak judicial system. Therefore, for these people who have not done bodily harm, who do not have blood on their hands, we will have to find alternative, community service type of sentences, outside the judicial mechanism.
Q: When is UNTAET expecting to have Timorese appointed [as deputies] in the districts? (translated from Portuguese)
SRSG: I signed that decision today and it will take at least three to four weeks [before the appointments are made]. We are expecting lists of possible candidates for appointment, which would then go to the Public Service Commission so that the appointments are made in accordance with the regulation, in an objective and transparent manner without favoritism. (translated from Portuguese)
Q: Do you have any concerns about the way some businesses are operating in East Timor?
SRSG: Good question. Yes, I had concerns at the beginning, because it seemed to be a free for all . Anyone who wished to open any small business was able to do so. Things are now getting under control. We issued, as you know, a regulation on registration of commercial enterprises so they must register with us. The moment they register with us, they are also notified that they will, when we have that capacity, have to pay taxes retroactively to the date of their registration. So, it is not a tax-free regime that they joined here, this is not the Far West. And my hope is also that through the normal market economy mechanisms, those small enterprises that have established themselves here, that are not sustainable, would not survive and will have to wind up. But, the main purpose of the small and medium enterprises project, through the World Bank, will be to enable East Timorese enterprises to compete with these foreigners that have come with some capital and that obviously have a favorable handicap with regard to the Timorese.
Q: Do you think that some of those businesses have taken an unfair advantage of the situation?
SRSG: The answer is yes, but was the advantage unfair? I mean, they just came in, they took advantage of the situation. Was it unfair? I wouldn t want to pass a judgment, but we certainly cannot tolerate a free for all type of environment to prevail for much longer.
Q: Apart from the registration process, what other mechanisms you have to protect Timorese businesses?
SRSG: Have you read the regulation on commercial enterprises? It is pretty demanding. Of course, as you know, ability to enforce that regulation in particular is still weak. But, as soon as we have the capacity to enforce it you will see [that] there are many objective standards by which we can asses the performance of foreign and national enterprises in East Timor and bring activities to an end if they are in infringement of any of the provisions.
Q: Have any specific businesses come to your attention?
SRSG: Well, some did, as you know, in December. But it was nothing particularly serious. What I am concerned about is that we do not have small and medium enterprises, preferably East Timorese, in sectors that are of particular interest to the Timorese economy and the Timorese reconstruction. I will give you an example: building material. Why should we procure building materials abroad? It should be possible to open a number of small and medium enterprises in East Timor that would provide building materials, that would be able to produce furniture for the new administration. Basic equipment that does not require high technology and that can definitely be produced locally, provide employment, provide training to East Timorese. It is the lack of these medium enterprises important for further reconstruction and rehabilitation of the country that worries me, more than the presence of a dozen or so small foreign businesses.
Q: What about large businesses that have a grip on the economy?
SRSG: Like which? What would you call a large foreign enterprise?
Q: Like (name inaudible)
SRSG: Which does what?
Q: Catering, a food enterprise. You are not aware of them?
SRSG: I mean, I am not aware of all the enterprises. Why do you think I should be worried about that one in particular?
Q: Or companies like Telstra?
SRSG: Telstra is an arrangement, as you know, which was made in very early stages to provide Dili in particular with a cellular telephone system. This was a decision from Interfet days which I extended for a period of 90 days, which I have again extended. You should ask Bob Churcher, the head of our Infrastructure Department to explain to you what exactly are the conditions attached to 90-days arrangement with Telstra. Because, in addition to providing us with cellular services which we badly need, they are also helping us rehabilitate the land telephones here in Dili and soon restore the link with Baucau. At no cost to us. So they are obviously making profits through the cellular system, but they are also reinvesting part of that profit here in the country. Now, they don t have a monopoly in East Timor, I want to be very clear on this. That is why we have given only these 90-day authorizations for them to operate, and when the day comes, when we have the capacity to go out with an international tender, they will be one among other applicants.
Q: Why does the regulation number 12 [on provisional tax regime in East Timor] not affect Timor Gap arrangements?
SRSG: Timor Gap is not easy one, but let me try to summarize that. You know that we have inherited the Indonesian share of the Timor Gap Treaty and UNTAET now represents the East Timor interest in Timor Gap Treaty. That means that any monies that were previously due to Indonesia will from now on be due to East Timor. This is an arrangement that has been made first bilaterally between Australia and Indonesia, and later bilaterally between Australia and us. I have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Australian Government; I have appointed one of my staff as interim Executive Director for East Timor of the Timor Gap Treaty. We are constantly reviewing the terms of that understanding with the Australian Government. We had talks with them two weeks ago in Adelaide and in Canberra. Mr. Mari Alkatiri of the CNRT, and a member of the NCC, was also part of those discussions. So what I am trying to explain to you here is that we are dealing with the Timor Gap Treaty as a separate issue, not as part of any other regulation. You would also probably notice in the regulation mentioned, that all offshore and onshore natural resources will be dealt with separately from that regulation.