ABC Radio Australia
Updated 10 hours 12 minutes ago
US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill has praised East Timor's response to the attempts on the lives of East Timor's leaders in February. [Reuters]
United States Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Christopher Hill has praised East Timor for its response to the attempted assassinations of its leaders in February.
On a visit to Dili, Mr Hill told reporters that the government had handled the crisis "pretty well".
Both President Jose Ramos-Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao were targeted by rebel soldiers on February 11.
Mr Gusmao escaped without injury but President Ramos-Horta nearly died after being shot in the stomach, and has been recovering in the northern Australian city of Darwin.
"We saw a succession, putting in an acting president and issues like that, putting in an emergency rule process," Mr Hill said.
"It was a good sign, (and) I think we can look for a continuation of a consolidation of this state."
However, almost two months after the attacks, Radio Australia's Stephanie March reports from Dili that many of those responsible for carrying out the double attack remain on the run.
Hundreds of police and military have been searching countryside in Ermera district in the mountainous interior without success.
As the hunt continues, there have been a growing number of reports of violence against civilians by the military.
East Timorese MP and leader of the Parliamentary Committee for Human Rights Fernanda Borges says her constituents in Ermera have complained of beatings and aggressive interrogations by military personnel, who are seeking rebel leader Gastao Salsinha.
"There are questions like 'were you involved?' 'did you know him?' and sometimes when the answer is not to their liking they get beaten up," Ms Borges said.
Last month the government acknowledged that inappropriate tactics had been used as part of the operation to locate the rebel attackers, and promised to investigate complaints of abuse.
It has also offered to give each of the 52 communities in Ermera which have complained a $US600 grant towards holding belated Easter parties, although on the condition that military and police officials be invited.
"We want the community to understand first that they should celebrate this Easter together with FFDTL and PNTL," said East Timor State Secretary for Security Francisco Gutteres.
"We would like them to understand that these two institutions are the state institutions that will protect them."
One community which will receive the grant is Erulu, a small mountain village in Ermera which is home to some of rebel leader Gastao Salsinha's family members.
Erulu village chief Lenilda Maia says the community has received an apology after a number of young people were physically abused by military personnel.
She says locals remain nervous, and are reluctant to begin the coffee harvest for fear of encountering military personnel or rebel troops.
She says if the problem is not resolved soon, the harvest will rot and crucial income will be lost.
However she says there is no guarantee an Easter party will restore damaged relations with the military.
"We don't really know if the money makes up for it, but we'll see after the party," she said.
Francisco Gutteres says a number of military personnel have been suspended from active duty pending investigations, but says they will not be dismissed regardless of the investigation outcome.
"We will not dismiss these guys just because of a slap on people," he said.
MP Fernanda Borges says the military's response risks "fostering impunity".
"That is not a strong disciplinary measure, (and) that is not stating 'no-tolerance' to human rights violations," she said.
She has criticised the decision to offer communities money in return for forgiveness of abuse.
"They shouldn't start a practice of using money, because it's still very much an unprofessional force," she said.
terça-feira, abril 08, 2008
ABC Radio Australia
Por Malai Azul 2 à(s) 00:16
Obrigado pela solidariedade, Margarida!
Mensagem inicial - 16 de Maio de 2006
"Apesar de frágil, Timor-Leste é uma jovem democracia em que acreditamos. É o país que escolhemos para viver e trabalhar. Desde dia 28 de Abril muito se tem dito sobre a situação em Timor-Leste. Boatos, rumores, alertas, declarações de países estrangeiros, inocentes ou não, têm servido para transmitir um clima de conflito e insegurança que não corresponde ao que vivemos. Vamos tentar transmitir o que se passa aqui. Não o que ouvimos dizer... "