terça-feira, outubro 17, 2006



18. The crisis that occurred in Timor-Leste between 28 April and 25 May can be explained
largely by the frailty of State institutions and the weakness of the rule of law. However, this
explanation can only be understood fully in the historical and cultural context of the country. Both the Portuguese and Indonesian eras created and subsumed internal divisions within Timor-Leste.

Political competition within Timor-Leste has been historically settled through violence.
Accordingly, many Timorese view the events of April and May 2006 as a continuum starting from the decolonization process in 1974/75 and encompassing the violence and factionalism of the Indonesian occupation and the violence that accompanied the United Nations-sponsored Popular Consultation in 1999.

Portuguese decolonization

19. The 1974 Carnation Revolution in Portugal triggered political activity in Portuguese
Timor. The Timorese Democratic Union (UDT) was formed in May 1974 and ASDT shortly
thereafter. ASDT became FRETILIN in September 1974. The relationship between these two
parties had deteriorated by mid-1975. On 11 August 1975 UDT launched a pre-emptive armed
attack upon FRETILIN. The counter-attack was launched on 20 August 1975. This date is now
commemorated as the day of the founding of the Armed Forces for the National Liberation of East Timor (FALINTIL). A short civil war ensued in which thousands of people were killed in combat, hundreds of political prisoners were executed and tens of thousands of civilians were displaced to West Timor. On 7 September 1975 the UDT leadership issued a petition calling for the integration of Portuguese Timor into Indonesia.

Indonesian invasion, occupation and the Timorese resistance

20. On 28 November 1975 FRETILIN made a unilateral declaration of independence. The
following day the four other Timorese political parties met in Bali and issued a joint declaration
calling for the integration of Portuguese Timor within Indonesia. On 4 December 1975 a FRETILIN delegation left Timor-Leste to seek diplomatic and economic support for the
anticipated military confrontation with Indonesia. That delegation included José Ramos-Horta,
Mari Alkatiri and Rogerio Lobato. On 7 December Indonesia invaded Timor-Leste.
21. Dili fell quickly to the invading army. Between late 1975 and early 1978
FRETILIN/FALINTIL controlled the interior regions of the country, in which a significant part of the population sheltered. At a FRETILIN national conference that was held in mid-1976, zonas libertadas (liberated zones) and bases de apoio (resistance bases) were established. By February 1979 the last two bases de apoio, which were situated in the west of the country, fell. On 26 March 1979 the Indonesian encirclement and annihilation campaign, Operation Seroja, was discontinued.
Indonesia declared that Timor-Leste was pacified.

Reorganization of the resistance

22. By 1980 the resistance was in disarray. Xanana Gusmão, one of three surviving members
of the 1975 leadership inside Timor-Leste, was elected as both Commander-in-Chief of FALINTIL and National Political Commissar of the FRETILIN Central Committee. In the face of opposition from the hard-line FRETILIN faction, he adopted a policy of resistance based upon national unity rather than upon FRETILIN partisanship. Timorese society was encouraged to suppress internal political differences and unite against a common enemy. In December 1987 Xanana Gusmão resigned from the FRETILIN Central Committee and severed the connection between FALINTIL and FRETILIN. FALINTIL became the armed wing of the newly created National Council of Maubere Resistance (CNRM). This Council included FRETILIN, UDT and other nationalist parties. As a result, FRETILIN lost absolute control over the policies of the resistance. The resulting tensions between Xanana Gusmão and much of the FRETILIN leadership still reverberate within Timor-Leste today.
23. The 1991 massacre at Santa Cruz cemetery, in which Indonesian forces shot into a crowd
of people gathered at the funeral of a youth killed by the same forces, killing 271 persons and
injuring 362 more, both cemented the national unity basis of the resistance and hastened the rise of the civilian clandestine movement. In November 1992 Xanana Gusmão was captured and
imprisoned by the Indonesians, making him the primary political figure of the resistance.
Concurrently, the clandestine resistance movement expanded across the country and a popular
movement was re-established. On 30 August 1999, 78 per cent of the Timorese population voted for emancipation from Indonesian administration in the United Nations-sponsored Popular Consultation. In anticipation of the result, Indonesian security forces unleashed militias upon the population. Wide-scale burning and looting occurred as 1,500 people were killed and hundreds of thousands displaced.

The UNTAET interregnum, 1999-2002

24. The United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) period was
one of great change. Party politics returned to the country for the first time since 1975. Critically, many of the 1975 political leaders assumed political prominence in the new domestic environment.
In May 2000, FRETILIN held its first major political conference in Timor-Leste in 25 years. The party withdrew from the Xanana Gusmão-led umbrella organization National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT), the successor to CNRM, shortly thereafter. PSD was founded in July 2000, followed by PD in mid-2001. In the August 2001 elections FRETILIN won a 57 per cent majority of the popular vote and all but one of the district seats. Ultimately, FRETILIN acquired 55 of the 88 seats in the Constituent Assembly. Significantly, support for FRETILIN was very high in the eastern districts, but much more diluted in the western districts.
25. The UNTAET period also witnessed the creation of many modern State institutions.
These include the National Parliament, the Council of Ministers, local government structures, the police service and the defence force. The current functioning of the police service, PNTL, and the Defence Force, F-FDTL, in particular, is hampered by a perceived lack of legitimacy arising from the manner of their creation. PNTL was founded with a core of Timorese who had served previously in the Indonesian police force. During 2000 FALINTIL fighters from many different regions were cantoned in Aileu. This forced cohabitation exposed long-standing political rivalries.
The faltering cohesion and discipline were manifest. In late 2000, UNTAET bowed to pressure
from Xanana Gusmão and agreed that the selection process for the new defence force would
remain an internal FALINTIL matter. This excluded the FRETILIN leadership. On 1 February
2001, FALINTIL was retired and FDTL established.
26. Between October 2001 a transitional administration was formed. All parties participated
in Government [?], with Mari Alkatiri as the Chief Minister. The Constitution of the Democratic
Republic of Timor-Leste was drafted by the FRETILIN-dominated Constituent Assembly. A
number of its sections were contentious among opposition parties. The adoption of 28 November as national independence day commemorated the 1975 unilateral declaration of independence by FRETILIN. The FRETILIN flag and anthem, Patria Patria,were adopted as the national flag and anthem. The recently formed FDTL was renamed FALINTIL-FDTL (F-FDTL) in an attempt to link the future defence force with FRETILIN history and overcome the 1987 withdrawal of FALINTIL from FRETILIN by Xanana Gusmão.
27. F-FDTL suffered a broad public backlash, particularly from the veterans’ organizations
which came into existence in 2001. Rogerio Lobato made populist appeals questioning the
legitimacy of F-FDTL to assume the mantle of FALINTIL. Veterans groups, including Colimau
2000 and Sagrada Familia, became the focal point for anti-F-FDTL rhetoric. Following the 2001
elections these groups agitated for the reconstitution of the defence force after the restoration of
independence on 20 May 2002. Rogerio Lobato was considered for but denied the position of
Secretary of State for Defence after General Taur Matan Ruak threatened to leave the defence
force. Roque Rodrigues was appointed. In the lead-up to 20 May 2002 Mr. Lobato and his
supporters organized veterans’ marches in Dili. Upon independence Rogerio Lobato was appointed Minister of Internal Administration.

Timor-Leste under the FRETILIN Government

28. Following the restoration of independence on 20 May 2002 FRETILIN assumed total
control over the Government under Prime Minister Alkatiri. While the FRETILIN administration has met many challenges inherent in nation-building, the power imbalance between it and its political opponents has been an issue since 2002 and informed the crisis of April and May 2006.
On 15 March 2005 the last major opposition party leader remaining in Parliament resigned as
Vice-President of the Parliament and quit the legislature completely.
29. The role of and demarcation between PNTL and F-FDTL within Timorese society has
also been a contentious issue since 2002. In early 2003, F-FDTL was called upon to restore public order following attacks by former militia. Rogerio Lobato, by then Minister of the Interior, supported by Prime Minister Alkatiri and the Council of Ministers called upon the United Nations to establish paramilitary police units. The subsequent establishment of the Police Reserve Unit (URP) and Border Patrol Unit (UPF) with responsibility for border patrol, cross-border militia attacks and rural counter-insurgency was not well received by either F-FDTL or opposition parties.
The Minister of the Interior stated his intention to expand URP to a full battalion and orchestrated a recruitment process wherein the majority of officers recruited for this unit came from western districts. The Government was unable to secure weapons for URP and UPF during the United Nations executive mandate. On 20 May 2004 this mandate ended. On 21 May 2004 the Government received a consignment donated by Malaysia of 180 HK33 semi-automatic assault rifles which were given to URP. In September 2004 the Government purchased 200 Steyr semiautomatic assault rifles for UPF. Sixty-six FN-FNC semi-automatic assault rifles were also purchased for the Rapid Response Unit (UIR). A further seven F2000 automatic machine guns were purchased, ostensibly for close protection purposes.
30. The record of PNTL intervention in public demonstrations is mixed. On 4 December
2002 a riot occurred in Dili in which a number of people were killed and wounded. Results of the
subsequent inquiry into the actions of PNTL have never been made public. In July 2004 UIR
officers stopped a demonstration by a veteran in front of the Government Palace. The actions of
PNTL were publicly denounced as being heavy handed and lacking in respect towards a leading
veteran of the resistance. In April 2005, PNTL successfully controlled the Catholic Church-led
demonstrations without resort to violence. The “Church demonstration” presented the FRETILIN Government with its most serious internal political challenge. The Catholic Church issued a statement claiming that the people had lost faith in the Government and sought the removal of Prime Minister Alkatiri. Members of the FRETILIN leadership told the Commission that they believe the demonstration was an attempt to topple the Government and a significant precursor to the crisis in April and May 2006.

Communal divisions within Timor-Leste

31. The current crisis has been created partially, but exacerbated significantly, by communal
factionalism. This factionalism is most commonly articulated in the perception that persons from
the east and west of Timor-Leste discriminate against each other. The Commission has heard
opposing views on the origin and longevity of this cleavage. On the one hand it is suggested that it is a totally new phenomenon, as evinced by the total absence of the issue in the thousands of
testimonies collected by the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation. On the other,
the Commission of Inquiry has been told that it is a long-dormant issue dating from the Portuguese era. Most people interviewed by the Commission agree that the east-west phenomenon was manipulated during the crisis by groups with specific political interests.
32. In the view of the Commission the east-west division is a simplification of a far more
complex issue. Timor-Leste has no modern history of concerted political violence between
easterners and westerners as unified and opposing groups. However, there are sensitive divisions within Timorese society relating to notions of national and communal identity. The poorly defined national identity, particularly in the absence of a common enemy post-1999, is critical to an understanding of how the east versus west distinction has arisen in recent years. This division infected both F-FDTL and PNTL prior to 2006, as manifested in actual or perceived acts of discrimination and nepotism. Additionally, political interests and communities have become embroiled in the issue.

The emergence of the April and May 2006 crisis

33. The first signs of the current crisis emerged with the advent of the group now known as
the petitioners and the subsequent manner in which F-FDTL managed their allegations of
discrimination within F-FDTL. A petition dated 9 January signed by 159 officers and other ranks of F-FDTL alleged mismanagement and discrimination within F-FDTL. The petitioners were drawn from almost every unit in the defence force. The petition, addressed to President Gusmão and copied to the Chief of the Defence Force and the Minister of Defence, was received by the President on 11 January 2006. As of 1 February no response had been received by the petitioners.
On 3 February the petitioners abandoned their barracks, leaving their weapons behind. They
gathered in Dili and sought an interview with the President on 7 February.
34. On 8 February 418 petitioners held a march at the Presidential Palácio das Cinzas.
Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak refused the request of President Gusmão to attend the march and instead sent F-FDTL Chief of Staff Colonel Lere Annan Timor. The Minister of Defence attended at the invitation of the President. President Gusmão ordered the petitioners to return to the F-FDTL training centre at Metinaro and to participate in a commission of investigation which would examine the allegations raised in the petition. On 10 February the Commission was established; it comprised F-FDTL officers and two Members of Parliament. The Commission conducted its activities from 12 to 17 February. The Commission failed to resolve the problems extant between the petitioners and the F-FDTL command. On 17 February the petitioners left their barracks after being granted leave. They elected not to return.
35. In mid-March Brigadier General Ruak announced the dismissal of 594 soldiers with
retroactive effect as at 1 March. There is no evidence before the Commission of Inquiry that the
dismissal was officially executed. The Commission notes that approximately 200 of the personnel dismissed were not petitioners, but officers and other ranks who had been chronically absent without leave in the months and years prior to March 2006. On 21 March the Prime Minister expressed his support for the decision. The dismissal was not accepted by the petitioners, who announced their intention to appeal the decision to President Gusmão.
36. On 23 March the President addressed the nation on the issue. He stated that the dismissal
was within the competency of the Chief of the Defence Force, but also stated that the decision was unjust. In quoting the words of the petition, the President gave credence to the petitioners’ claims that the problems within F-FDTL were due primarily to discrimination by easterners against westerners. The Commission does not question the intention of the President, but most
interlocutors have told the Commission that his speech was perceived as being more divisive than helpful and as fostering rather than resolving communal conflict. Between 25 and 31 March
multiple disturbances in Dili assumed an east versus west dynamic as youths from both regions
became embroiled in the petitioner issue. On 3 April the petitioners moved to the place known as the Carantina in Taci Tolu. On 17 April the petitioners commenced preparations for a five-day protest.


Sem comentários:


Todas as traduções de inglês para português (e também de francês para português) são feitas pela Margarida, que conhecemos recentemente, mas que desde sempre nos ajuda.

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... "

Malai Azul. Lives in East Timor/Dili, speaks Portuguese and English.
This is my blogchalk: Timor, Timor-Leste, East Timor, Dili, Portuguese, English, Malai Azul, politica, situação, Xanana, Ramos-Horta, Alkatiri, Conflito, Crise, ISF, GNR, UNPOL, UNMIT, ONU, UN.