05 Jun 2008 12:28:35 GMT
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DILI, 5 June 2008 (IRIN) - At night Tomas Agusto and his family lie in their tent hoping nobody will set it alight. When he was moved out of the displacement camp in April, he was given US$4,500 to rebuild his house, but he is still too scared to do so.
Agusto was moved out of the camp on the grounds of the national hospital in Dili, the capital, by the Ministry of Social Solidarity, after living there for nearly two years. In early May, his family, their tent and other possessions were trucked back to the site of his former home in Becora, a suburb of the city.
Agusto's house had been destroyed in the civil unrest that left more than 100,000 displaced throughout the country in 2006.
"We're scared," he told IRIN. "If we build our house the neighbours will just burn it down again." Agusto said he and a neighbouring family were the only easterners to have returned. Because much of the 2006 violence was triggered by hostile eastern and western factions, Agusto feels outnumbered. He told IRIN that neither he nor his neighbour would rebuild until more easterners returned.
A few weeks after he moved back, a neighbourhood leader told him to get out, saying he was not welcome there. "[The leader] said the land was his and the people who lived here before couldn't come back," Agusto said.
Land rights and residual tensions are a serious problem in Timor-Leste, according to Valentina Bacchin, return and reintegration officer with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). She told IRIN Agusto's problem was not uncommon.
Although the violence in 2006 was ostensibly sparked by an implosion of the police and defence forces, unknown numbers of homes were simply razed by neighbours eager to oust newer residents. Those newcomers were principally from the east.
Agusto said his family built their house in 1985 during the Indonesian occupation, when there were no land titles. He said he simply cleared some land and built a house. About 40 other families did the same thing. Every single one was destroyed.
Locals were quick to say their enmity was not the result of regional differences. They said eastern families were unpopular because they were squatters - even if they had lived in the same houses for a generation.
Gaspar da Silva, the neighbourhood leader in a section of Becora, recalled that up until the 1980s only one or two eastern families lived in his area. But soon after that the extended families came in from the hills and the neighbourhood was taken over by people who had no respect for local tradition, he said. Since 2006 their neighbourhood had been calmer, he added.
The government's solution to these tensions has been to hold dialogues between factions. However, Da Silva said while he took part in the talks, he did not believe in the process as it had gone nowhere.
Da Silva said he would accept former residents on two conditions: they could show a land title and they would participate in a "tuir adat", a traditional ceremony.
"In the ceremony we would kill a cow or a goat and get the blood and mix it with palm wine and then all drink a cup of it," he said. "Then our problems will go away … that's our tradition."
He might get his wish. After organising dialogues with limited success, Estella Gusmao, the ministry's media officer, said last month the government had begun holding traditional mediation ceremonies.
However, Gusmao added that serious disputes were better resolved by the courts. "If the people in the neighbourhood don't accept the families back, maybe they've had a problem with them in the past because they've committed crimes. These cases have to be taken to the police and then to trial because people have to follow law and order."
But Da Silva is suspicious of the law. "The law is for the important people and the smart people and that's it," he said. "We ignorant people don't understand any of it. But all of us, eastern and western Timorese alike, understand our traditional ceremonies."
Agusto has participated in two government-orchestrated dialogues, but so far no consensus has been reached. He said he would consider a traditional ceremony, but his neighbours had not suggested it.
Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao has said he would like to see the remaining displacement camps cleared by the end of the year, but progress is slow and IOM's Bacchin told IRIN she was doubtful any lasting success could be achieved in such a short time.
segunda-feira, junho 16, 2008
05 Jun 2008 12:28:35 GMT
Por Malai Azul 2 à(s) 04:29
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... "