Dili, 20 June 2001
NATIONAL COUNCIL PASSES RECONCILIATION REGULATION
The National Council today unanimously passed an amended Regulation on the Establishment of a Commission on Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor. The Commission on Reception, Truth and Reconciliation will undertake two primary functions. It will establish a truth-seeking function inquiring into the pattern of human rights violations in East Timor committed within the context of the political conflicts in East Timor between 1974-1999. And it will create a community reconciliation body to facilitate agreements between local communities and the perpetrators of non-serious crimes and non-criminal acts committed over the same period. The regulation stipulates that there can be no further civil or criminal liability for those who comply with the conditions of the Commission. As a follow-up to the passage of the regulation, National Council Member Aniceto Guterres, NGO representative, proposed a regulation calling on the East Timor Transitional Administrator, Sergio Vieira de Mello, to take all steps to establish an International Tribunal to prosecute those responsible for committing serious human rights violations in East Timor. The National Council passed the resolution unanimously.
The National Council then unanimously passed a series of amendments to the regulation that established the Defense Force for East Timor in January. These include amendments inserting a preamble that recognizes the important role played by Falantil in the history of East Timor and prohibiting the defense force from political affiliation. A proposal to include in the regulation the observation of principles of international human rights law which apply during armed conflict was also passed unanimously.
LOS PALOS DISTRICT HIT BY FLASH FLOODS
An estimated 150 people have been forced into emergency shelters in Lospalos town, in the eastern region of East Timor, as a result of heavy flash flooding that swept through the area in the past three days. The nearby areas of Luro, to the west, Illiomar, to the south-west, and Mehara, to the northeast, have also been affected, but to a lesser degree. National Emergency Operation Center (NEOC) officials say that floodwaters in the area are now receding, although weather forecasters are predicting more rain. There have been no confirmed fatalities. Peacekeeping Forces in the area are providing support in setting up relief and protection centers set up in a school and church in Los Palos town. They are supplying food, blankets and medical support, and in rescuing people from isolated areas. A NEOC official who toured the area by helicopter today said the main bridge in Los Palos has been completely destroyed. Tomorrow morning a shipment of 500 World Food Program ready food rations and UNHCR cooking kits will be sent to the area. NEOC officials anticipate the need for further external assistance over the coming days, including in the clearing of mud and debris from the affected areas.
TIMORESE CABINET DISCUSSES THE ONGOING NEGOTIATIONS ON THE TIMOR SEA QUESTION
Today, the East Timor Transitional Cabinet discussed the ongoing negotiations with the Government of Australia on the Timor Sea. The Cabinet also discussed the text of a regulation establishing a proposed Banking and Payments Authority for East Timor. The Cabinet considered a policy proposal on options for the development of a Parliament House in East Timor. Further information on the options proposed will be sought from the Australian Government, who is funding the development. Finally, the Cabinet discussed the issue of maritime boundaries, and agreed to release a policy statement on East Timor's position.
OPENING CEREMONY OF POST OFFICE IN BAUCAU
The Post Office of Baucau was inaugurated yesterday, 19 June, by Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, João Carrascalão. The Post Office of Baucau, the second largest city of East Timor, was rehabilitated by an East Timorese local construction company with the support of the East Timor Transitional Administration Public Works Service, which did the project design. USAID has donated motorbikes. "This is the start of our program to establish a Post Office in each of the remaining 11 districts of East Timor. It will do much to improve communications within our country," Mr. João Carrascalão said. Until the inauguration in Baucau, Dili, the capital, had the only functioning post office in East Timor.