La'o Hamutuk Annual Report
La’o Hamutuk (“Walking Together” in English) is a seven-year-old Timor-Leste organization that monitors, analyzes and reports on the principal international institutions present in Timor-Leste as they relate to the physical, economic and social reconstruction and development of the country. La’o Hamutuk believes that the people of Timor-Leste must be the ultimate decision-makers in this process, which should be democratic and transparent.
La’o Hamutuk is an independent organization which works to facilitate effective Timorese participation in the reconstruction and development of the country. In addition, La’o Hamutuk works to improve communication between the international community and Timor-Leste’s people. Finally, La’o Hamutuk is a resource center, providing literature on development models, experiences and practices, as well as facilitating solidarity links between Timor-Leste groups and groups abroad with the aim of creating alternative development models.
La’o Hamutuk does not accept financial or other support from the principal institutions with interests in Timor-Leste – United Nations agencies, international financial institutions, major donor governments, international businesses operating here, etc. Although this makes it more difficult for us to finance our work, it is essential to providing objective analysis and monitoring of those institutions. We rely on funding from foundations, NGOs, and governments of small countries, as well as individuals.
La’o Hamutuk tries to follow a model of equitable cooperation between Timor-Leste and foreign activists, and our Timor-Leste and international staff have equal responsibilities and receive equal pay and benefits. We are committed to positive representation for women and capacity-building among our staff, which at the end of 2007 included four women and four men working full-time, as well as one man working part-time.
Indonesia’s 24-year occupation of Timor-Leste was horrific, causing the deaths of more than 100,000 Timor-Leste people. In 1999, the Indonesian military and their militia proxies launched a wave of terror and devastation before and after the vote for independence. In response, the international community established the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET).
During the subsequent eight-month “emergency period,” many international organizations came to Timor-Leste. These multilateral, governmental and non-governmental agencies provided desperately needed resources and expertise, but coordination was often poor, and many international workers were insensitive toward local needs and capabilities. Combined with errors and systemic weaknesses of UNTAET, the World Bank and other organizations, these factors led to numerous problems. Some decisions taken during that time, particularly regarding the military, police and justice, returned in 2006 to haunt the people of Timor-Leste.
On 20 May 2002, sovereignty passed from the UN to Timor-Leste’s elected government. Foreign governments, international financial institutions, and multinational corporations continue to play major roles. The third UN mission (UNMISET) ended in May 2005, although the UN maintained a smaller presence in the form of the United Nations Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL), which had been scheduled to be reduced again in mid-2006.
Billions of dollars have been spent on aid projects, but much remains unreconstructed and widespread skills shortages remain. The international community has not met its commitment to end impunity for crimes committed during the Indonesian occupation. As the ongoing crisis vividly demonstrates, policies advocated by international financial institutions, foreign governments, foreign companies, international agencies and advisors have often not worked for this country. These agencies are particularly involved in key areas like exploiting Timor-Leste’s petroleum resources, directing and screening donor contributions to Timor-Leste, providing “advisors” in all sectors of government, and advocating fee-for-service, private-sector economic policies as they have in many other developing countries.
Since 2006, Timor-Leste has faced a multidimensional crisis, a consequence of centuries of colonization, 24-years of occupation and the uncompleted process of self-determination. State institutions remain fragile despite international community support, the government depends on petroleum revenues, unemployment is high and increasing every year, a culture of impunity culture is developing and law enforcement and the judiciary are very weak, to name a few problems.
The crisis took more than a hundred Timorese lives, destroyed thousands of houses, displaced tens of thousands of people, and made some institutions non-functional, including the command structure of the national police (PNTL). The crisis also reduced confidence in Timor-Leste’s leaders and state institutions. The new Government has to resolve those problems, include restoring public trust in the PNTL and military (F-FDTL).
In 2007, Timor-Leste’s people elected a new President of the Republic and 65 Parliamentary representatives. These are the first national elections administered by Timorese institutions, although the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), UNDP and foreign security forces played important roles in the process and follow-up. Timor-Leste’s Government continues to consolidate itself, but international financial institutions, foreign governments, foreign companies, bilateral and multilateral agencies, and international advisors still have powerful roles.
During the crisis, the United Nations expanded its mission in Timor-Leste, but questions remain about future prosecutions for crimes against humanity, economic development, and international support to strengthen Timor-Leste’s democratic structures and practices. UNMIT is helping to reform, restructure and rebuild national police institutions and the security sector, and to help the Government reinforce other state institutions and aspects of democratic society.
Following three peaceful, democratic elections in 2007, a new President and Government have taken office. Although the previous majority party, FRETILIN, declines to formally recognize the legitimacy of the new AMP coalition government, Parliamentary and other political debates have become more lively, open and substantive. Although the AMP government occasionally rejects good policies or vital experience developed during five years of FRETILIN rule as “not invented here,” La’o Hamutuk and others in civil society are building on our experience since 2000, and are more actively engaging the government and trying to influence policies. We are also helping the Government get its information out; La’o Hamutuk emails and web pages are often the first public circulation of important government documents.
Much international money spent in Timor-Leste continues to bypass local government processes. Foreign companies dominate telecommunications, the oil industry and other key sectors. International financial institutions remain influential. Although Timor-Leste and Australia have reached an interim compromise on maritime resources, long term economic independence remains precarious, relying on petroleum under the Timor Sea outside of Timor-Leste’s control.
Powerful international forces will continue to buffet this small, new nation for the indefinite future, and the people of Timor-Leste continue to need and want the information, research and monitoring La’o Hamutuk provides. Our radio program reaches the entire nation; our Bulletin has a circulation larger than any Timor-Leste newspaper (in addition to our large readership via email and the web); our global connections have no parallel in Timor-Leste. People in Timor-Leste civil society, government, the media and international institutions tell us that La’o Hamutuk’s work remains essential, and we expect to continue for a long time.
La’o Hamutuk helps foreign agencies and Timor-Leste people better understand each other as this new country defines and evolves its internal systems and its position in the international arena. La’o Hamutuk’s role is also important in supporting our nation to avoid the resource curse that afflicts nearly all impoverished, oil-dependent countries.
It will take many more years of learning and support before Timor-Leste’s leaders, people and political institutions can be confident and secure in the stability and openness of their political system. La’o Hamutuk recently replaced “reconstruction” with “development” in the long version of our name, a symbol of our continued participation in this process, encouraging and influencing constructive international engagement with Timor-Leste’s reconstruction and development.
The principal objective of La’o Hamutuk is to increase the Timor-Leste people’s knowledge about and participation in the reconstruction and development of their country. We are implementing this with the following strategic goals:
The main focus of our attention is investigating and monitoring international institutions active in Timor-Leste. The findings from that research are conveyed through several media and programs:
The La’o Hamutuk Bulletin provides high-quality, comprehensive analytical information based on our research to the public and to decision makers. We publish the Bulletin in English (circulation 2,000) and Indonesian (circulation 3,000 - larger than any of Timor-Leste’s newspapers). The Bulletin is distributed at no charge to schools, churches, government offices, and international and local NGOs throughout Timor-Leste with help from district-based organizations. In Dili, we distribute to embassies, IFIs, the UN, hotels, restaurants, libraries, and other public places. The Bulletin is also circulated by email and posted on our website, where it is read by people in Dili and around the world.
Since 2000, we have published 39 Bulletins, ranging from eight to 24 pages. Each has a main topic, a few other articles, “in brief” news items, reports from activities and editorials. La’o Hamutuk staff write most of the articles, with occasional contributions by Timor-Leste specialists or experts relating the experience of other countries.
During the 2007, we published three Bulletins (fewer than the five we planned), and another will be published in January 2008.
« Issue focus: Timor-Leste’s Petroleum Fund
« Return our Natural Resources: Report from the Oilwatch Forum
« Public meeting on CMATS Treaty
« Public meeting on UNPOL-PNTL cooperation
« Lessons for the UN from Timor-Leste
« Editorial: National Parliament, Don’t pass greedy pension laws
« Issue focus: Screening PNTL back into service
« Restructuring petroleum regulation
« Alliance for an International Tribunal plans strategy
« Unfulfilled promises for justice
« CMATS: Timor-Leste’s fifty-year loss of sovereignty
« Political parties debate petroleum revenue management
« Editorial: Amnesty law perpetuates impunity
« Issue focus: Vocational Education in Timor-Leste
« Proposed changes in petroleum regulation
« Gareth Evans visits, refuses to apologize
« Women’s movement looks back and ahead
« President will not sign Amnesty Law
« Re-orienting La’o Hamutuk’s approach
« Editorial: Timor-Leste Local Content
Our website contains more than 1,000 reports, statements, analyses and press releases. An issue index makes it easy to find material on specific issues, which are organized into broad areas of justice and human rights, oil and gas, international financial institutions, global trade and markets, Timor-Leste government finances, aid to Timor-Leste, United Nations, militarization, agriculture, popular education, and solidarity and activism. Several topic pages contain basic background and links to other documents on subjects including:
During 2007, an average of 685 people visited our website every day, 65% more than during 2006.
The objective of La’o Hamutuk’s Igualidade Radio Program is to disseminate information about the issues that we monitor, considering the reality that half of the Timorese people cannot read. We produce Igualidade weekly and broadcast it through the government network Radio Timor-Leste (RTL) which is heard in much of the country, and also started broadcasting in October on Radio Communidade Atoni in Oecusse. With the integration of the radio program into our investigation teams, this program has become better coordinated. We also use our radio program for advocacy, as well as to collect information.
Appendix II lists the 43 programs La’o Hamutuk produced and broadcast during 2007, nearly twice the number we broadcast during 2006.
La’o Hamutuk’s public meetings facilitate communication between civil society and decision makers, creating discussion and participation space among society on particular issues. The public meetings are organized by each investigative team, and each team has the responsibility to initiate and coordinate the meetings based on its research.
Our public meetings play an important role, discussing important issues from a variety of perspectives, helping to inform both the community and the speakers.
A few weeks prior to the Parliamentary election, we organized a major debate among ten political parties on petroleum revenue management which drew more than 250 people.
A list of the ten public meetings La’o Hamutuk organized during 2007 is in Appendix III.
La’o Hamutuk staff often give talks or serve on panels at public events organized by other organizations and institutions. Appendix III includes descriptions of eight such events during 2007.
Our resource center continues to provide books and audiovisual materials in several languages which visitors to our office can use, as well as to inform our own research. However, limitations on office space make it less accessible than it should be, which is one of the reasons we hope to move to a larger office during 2008.
Media is very important for advocacy, and La’o Hamutuk frequently gives interviews or provides information to visiting journalists or those who contact us. In the past, local media coverage of La’o Hamutuk activities sometimes misunderstands La’o Hamutuk’s role, and many local journalists don’t know how to use our information to support their work. We are working to improve this by giving a presentation at a journalist training program and writing articles for the local media.
During 2007, La’o Hamutuk was interviewed or featured on Timor-Leste radio and television more than a dozen times, and reported on in local newspapers at least that often. We were cited by media outside Timor-Leste more than 15 times during 2007. A partial list of articles written by or featuring La’o Hamutuk is included in Appendix IV.
During 2007, we reorganized our approach to investigation work, moving from an institutional to a topical perspective. We identified five important topics to cover: Natural Resources, Agriculture, Governance, Economic Development and Social Services.
Our new approach grows from lessons we learned over the past seven years. We found that nearly all donor-funded projects have the same problems: insufficient consultation with the community; arrogance by international consultants to local staff and beneficiaries, resulting in inadequate transfer of skills or delegation of authority; unsustainability; inadequate coordination and communication with the Timor-Leste government and other donors; failure to consider relationships between the need addressed by a project and other needs of the community; and use of inappropriate models from other projects or countries conducted by the same institution. In many cases, projects dogmatically follow principles of privatization, fee-for-service, “free” trade and prioritizing commodity exports over domestic use, even when these are inappropriate or undermine the effectiveness of the project.
These deficiencies are pervasive in the worldwide development industry. If our monitoring focuses on projects, donors set the agenda and limit our scope. We may miss addressing larger needs or learning about experiences elsewhere which could provide lessons for Timor-Leste.
Although we are completing project investigations already started, new La’o Hamutuk research will be more holistic, analyzing a problem or sector and examining how international agencies address it.
Following this reorganization, we organized our monitoring and advocacy in three areas during 2007:
In 2008 and 2009, as our experience and number of staff grows, we plan to add two more issue areas:
The rest of this section discusses the work done during 2007 on each of our areas of research. The impacts of that work are described later in this report.
Oil and gas production and sales are critical to Timor-Leste’s economy, providing over 97% of Government revenues. The objective of La’o Hamutuk’s advocacy is to prevent Timor-Leste from falling into the “resource curse” trap which engulfs most oil-dependent, undeveloped countries. We provide information and alternatives for the Government and educate civil society about these dangers and possible solutions. Therefore, our advocacy regarding petroleum development in Timor-Leste is not only about revenue management, but also covers the impacts of petroleum exploration and exploitation on human rights and the environment, the need for effective regulation of oil companies and the maritime boundary dispute with Australia.
We provide alternative ideas through several channels of communication and encourage other interested organizations and individuals to assist and lobby our Government. The following are the main areas of our work in this sector during the reporting period.
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Plant
In April 2006, La’o Hamutuk began to research the possible negative and positive impacts of a possible natural gas liquefaction plant on Timor-Leste’s shore which would process gas from the Greater Sunrise field to be shipped overseas as LNG. We hope to explain the economic and social risks and benefits of this facility for the Timorese people, and to provide recommendations to the Government, oil companies and civil society about how to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks. During 2007, we continued to collect information, write and edit this report. La’o Hamutuk published the 134-page report in English in February 2008, and an Indonesian translation is in process. We are socializing it with seminars in Dili and the south coast, radio programs, popular versions, newspaper articles and other media. This work is supported financially by Oxfam Australia and CAFOD.
In April 2007, La’o Hamutuk was invited to participate in a roundtable discussion on the LNG plant organized by Timor-Leste’s Prime Minister, and we raised many issues, including environmental concerns, governmental responsibilities and how the plant will impact on local people. We discussed similar concerns about the LNG plant with the Prime Minister’s advisors.
La’o Hamutuk has worked on this issue since 2001, raising public awareness and campaigning locally and internationally for Timor-Leste and Australia to have a maritime boundary and for Timor-Leste to enjoy the economic and political rights it is entitled to under international law.
In January 2006, Timor-Leste and Australia signed the CMATS Treaty to provide legal and financial stability for oil companies to develop Greater Sunrise. The Treaty also allows Australia to exploit other areas in the Timor Sea and prohibits either country from claiming maritime boundary rights for 50 years. Timor-Leste’s Parliament ratified it in February 2007, but Australia enacted the Treaty without parliamentary ratification.
To maintain public awareness for this issue, we organized public meetings and radio programs and gave interviews to Timorese, Australian and international media. We wrote submissions to the Timor-Leste Parliament and the Australian Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Treaties. Our June Bulletin included an article about the CMATS ratification process. We also encouraged other interested groups and individuals in Timor-Leste, Australia and elsewhere to advocate for a maritime boundary and provided updated information through our website (www.laohamutuk.org/Oil/Boundary/CMATSindex.htm) and email list. La’o Hamutuk continues to play a critical role in informing and stimulating local and international campaigning, analysis and commentary on Timor-Leste’s maritime territorial rights.
We have engaged with the Petroleum Fund issue since 2004, when the Government drafted the Petroleum Fund Act. Our objectives for our work on the Petroleum Fund are to strengthen the implementation of the Petroleum Fund Act, expand and support transparency and accountability mechanisms, and raise civil society awareness about the Petroleum Fund and concern about the risks of petroleum dependency.
Since the Fund began operating in 2005, the Banking and Payments Authority (BPA) has published nine quarterly reports on it. The Ministry of Planning and Finance published the Fund’s first annual report, covering September 2005-June 2006, in June 2007, and the second (covering July 2006-June 2007) in December.
Late in 2007, the AMP Government began to circulate the idea that the Petroleum Fund law should be revised to make it easier to spend more money faster. La’o Hamutuk is following this issue closely, and will try to ensure that Timor-Leste’s birthright petroleum wealth is not squandered, leaving nothing for future generations.
La’o Hamutuk disseminated information on the Fund in a variety of ways during 2007:
La’o Hamutuk is involved with the international Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) to monitor the implementation of EITI by the Government of Timor-Leste, to raise civil society awareness around the EITI implementation and to strengthen the Government’s commitment to implement transparency in relation to petroleum development. Although our Government stated its commitment to EITI principles when EITI was launched in London in 2003, Timor-Leste did not take initial steps to implement it until October 2006.
To disseminate information and educate civil society about these principles, we organized a radio program, discussed them with the Core Group for Transparency, and participated in a one-day workshop on EITI in Timor-Leste. Santina Soares helped organize the August 2007 Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Regional Workshop in Bali, in which Guteriano Nicolau and the Core Group on Transparency (see coalitions below) also participated. Santina now serves as one of two Southeast Asia representatives on the worldwide PWYP Strategic Advisory Group.
Santina was elected to represent NGOs in the multi-stakeholder EITI Working Group established by the Government. The Working Group includes Government, oil companies involved in Timor-Leste’s jurisdiction, civil society, the World Bank and the Banking and Payments Authority. This group is overseeing the implementation of EITI processes in Timor-Leste. We discussed their Terms of Reference and work plan with other civil society organizations in Timor-Leste, and provided recommendations for the Working Group, advocating for greater transparency, gender balance and disaggregation than some “stakeholders” would prefer. At the request of the Working Group, La’o Hamutuk is publishing their work plan on our website and in our Bulletin.
Helping Timor-Leste’s government regulate oil company activities
Through this work, we intend to raise public awareness about the risks inherent in the petroleum industry, to help improve regulation and practices of oil companies operating here, and to ensure that Timor-Leste laws and practices to regulate the companies will protect our citizens, environment, and peoples’ right to information, as well as follow best international principles on transparency and accountability.
During 2007, La’o Hamutuk was actively involved in the legislative process. In late March, the Government proposed three new dangerous, poorly-drafted decree-laws to restructure petroleum regulation and establish a national oil company, and La’o Hamutuk was the only Timorese organization to make a submission during the two-week public consultation. We disseminated information through our website and mailing list and successfully encouraged other experts, organizations, and civil society organizations to submit their analyses to the Ministry of Natural Resources, Minerals and Energy Policy. With the Core Group for Transparency we held press conferences asking the Government to extend the consultation. We also organized translation of the draft laws from Portuguese to English with help from the Revenue Watch Institute and circulated them, discussed the draft laws with Government officials and advisors, and published articles in our Bulletin and website.
Our April submission had major impact; together with discussions with National Directorate of Petroleum and Gas (DNPG), international advisors and the Minister, it halted the process which was on track to enact these laws by May. Government officials and advisors have told us that our ideas improved the process within the Ministry, supporting their efforts to drastically revise the legislation and make the process more consultative. We made a more detailed submission in July. The new government formed in August, had decided not to enact these laws in their current form, and has started a new drafting process, in which La’o Hamutuk will continue to be engaged.
In June, the Italian oil company ENI began planning a 3D marine seismic survey in several blocks in Timor-Leste’s part of the Timor Sea for which they had signed exploration contracts in 2006. The DNPG held a public consultation about Eni’s environmental plan for the seismic study, and La’o Hamutuk was the only NGO to make a submission. We highlighted the problems with undertaking petroleum activities before a comprehensive and effective legal structure is in place. We also met with ENI to discuss their involvement in Timor-Leste, local content, EITI and other petroleum-related issues.
In June, the DNPG also held a public consultation on a Local Content Policy decree-law which defines how oil companies should maximize the positive economic spin-offs of their spending. We were again the only NGO to make a submission (there were two from oil companies), and followed up with discussions with the DNPG and its advisors. We also participated in a meeting between ENI and local NGOs organized by the NGO Forum, raising concerns about the use of Timor-Leste’s money for oil company public relations. Our Bulletin editorial on this topic prompted some prospective recipients of “local content” money to ask La’o Hamutuk for advice on the implications of accepting funding from oil companies.
After the new government formed in August, La’o Hamutuk hosted a public meeting for the new Secretary of State for Natural Resources to explain his policies and plans. This September meeting was the first public glimpse into the new petroleum regulator’s ideas, and its results were requested by numerous diplomats, embassies, companies and Timorese embassies overseas.
To help all La’o Hamutuk staff know more about the “resource curse,” Inês Martins attended the Asia-Pacific Women’s Conference on Mining organized by Oxfam in Papua New Guinea. We also sent staffers from our Natural Resources and Agricultural teams to the NGO activities which paralleled the UN conference on Climate Change in Bali in December, strengthening our awareness and communications with people in other countries who work on similar concerns.
Governance is a broad category which incorporates several topics regarding justice, security and democracy. We don’t currently have a specific team focusing on governance, and all La’o Hamutuk staff share responsibility for parts of this issue.
During 2007, La’o Hamutuk worked on justice for 1975-1999 crimes against humanity, investigated the reconstruction of the Polisia Nasional Timor-Leste (PNTL), opposed a foolhardy pension law, monitored UN activities, explored security issues, publicized impending militarization, opposed a dangerous amnesty law, observed three elections and advocated for the housing right of IDPs (internal refugees).
Our objective is to keep the issue of justice in the public arena, working with the international solidarity movement to maintain concern about impunity for crimes against humanity and other serious crimes committed during the 24-year Indonesian occupation of Timor-Leste. The accountability of those actors is critical to effective law enforcement and to ending the persistent pattern of impunity. The lack of justice was a major contributor to the 2006-2007 crises, and we continue to demand that the international community set up an international tribunal or other effective mechanism to provide justice.
Most of our work in this area is done in coordination with the National Alliance for an International Tribunal (ANTI), whose March 2007 strategic plan assigns La’o Hamutuk the responsibility for liaison and sharing information with international solidarity and justice movements.
In August, former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans visited Dili on behalf of the International Crisis Group. La’o Hamutuk, together with other NGOs, organized a peaceful demonstration to ask him to apologize for signing the 1989 Timor Gap Treaty with Indonesia, which formalized Australia’s theft of Timor-Leste’s oil resources. Evans declined to accept responsibility, saying it was Australian policy at that time to accept Timor-Leste’s integration into Indonesia.
During 2007, we undertook the following activities regarding justice:
One effect of the crisis was the collapse of the command structure and Dili component of the National Police (PNTL). Public trust in PNTL also declined, making it difficult for PNTL to carry out its mandate. To restore this institution and public confidence, a screening process is underway to evaluate each PNTL member to see if he/she is eligible to return to police work. With the new mandate of UN, the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) through the UN Police (UNPOL) has important roles in the screening process, security sector reform, and restructuring and rebuilding PNTL.
Completing work begun in 2006, we published a Bulletin article on the PNTL screening process. We also produced three radio programs on the screening process and had meetings with all parties involved.
Advocacy against the law on pensions for former Parliament members and office-holders
In January 2007, the National Parliament passed a law establishing lifetime pensions for former members of Parliament and high Government officials. Under this law, former Parliament members and office-holders get 100% of their salary and other privileges for life beginning immediately when they leave office. This law is very bad for Timor-Leste and inconsistent with our social and economic reality, considering that Timor-Leste is a young and poor country, thousands of people are still living in IDP Camps, 50% of the women are illiterate, and the country faces many other social problems.
Together with other civil society organizations and student movements, we organized a public debate in Dili about the law, and provided financial and material support to Community Based Organization in Baucau to organize another debate. With other organizations, we formed a Coalition against the pension law, wrote a pamphlet, circulated it through email and internet, and wrote a Bulletin editorial about the law.
Although the law has been promulgated, many parties running in the election promised to review it, and the new Government views it as unsustainable and is likely to revise or repeal it.
Parliament passed a Clemency (Amnesty) law in June, which blocks accountability for the authors of crimes in the 2006 crisis and extends the culture of impunity in Timor-Leste. Since March, La’o Hamutuk actively advocated against the law, initiating and participating in civil society discussions, holding a public meeting, lobbying Parliament and political parties, providing information to the local and international media, writing a Bulletin editorial and asking the president not to sign it. Other organizations, including HAK, JSMP and UNMIT also opposed this law. We continue to look at other alternatives to resolve last year crisis without circumventing legal mechanisms. In a meeting in early July, President José Ramos-Horta promised La’o Hamutuk he will not sign the law, and in August the Court of Appeals issued an advisory opinion that the law violates Timor-Leste’s Constitution.
During 2007, Timor-Leste held its first national elections since independence: two rounds of a Presidential election, and a vote for Parliament. La’o Hamutuk conducted several activities to support a free, fair and transparent election process:
We also worked to encourage the parties to address issues during the campaign:
Other Governance work
Our Governance work also included engaging with and monitoring the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT). We have ongoing discussions with UNMIT officials through email, participate in outreach meetings organized by their Public Information Office, interview UN officials, and invite UN staff to share their information and perspectives in our public meetings. We are also following the UNMIT-coordinated International Compact for Timor-Leste by which the UN responds to criticism of the lack of the economic development programs during its first seven years in Timor-Leste. We continue to encourage UNMIT to publish all of its documents relating to Timor-Leste, and La’o Hamutuk’s website includes many, some of which have not been officially released.
In January 2007, Parliament approved a law on military conscription, which requires all Timorese men and women 18 to 30 years old to do 18 months of military service. This is a very dangerous law, considering that Timor-Leste endured a repressive, dwi-fungsi military regime for 24 years and that incipient low-level, relatively unarmed violence is a major part of the ongoing crisis. It has not yet been implemented. We had discussions with other NGOs, including HAK Association, Belun and JSMP, and are trying to increase public awareness and NGO advocacy against military conscription.
In mid-2007 La’o Hamutuk established a team focused on agriculture, which is the livelihood of about 80% of the Timorese population. The objective of this team is to monitor and advocate for sustainable agriculture development. The first six months of agricultural team’s work focused on monitoring and gathering information about the development of agriculture in Timor Leste and its problems, and on building relations with government and organizations related to agriculture.
We interviewed government authorities, citizens and agricultural activists to build a base to start our work in this area. Our principal findings were broadcast in four radio programs. To increase public participation in developing a sustainable agricultural program, we organized two public meetings on agriculture, with speakers and participation from Government and Civil Society.
The Oecusse Community Activation Program (OCAP) is funded by the European Community through UNDP and implemented by UNOPS. This program aims to reduce poverty and increase income for the rural community in the Oecusse enclave. We started researching this project during 2006 as part of our Bilateral Assistance team, which evolved into Agriculture. In March 2007, we visited Oecusse to collect information about OCAP and how it is implemented, interviewing local people who are the intended beneficiaries of OCAP. The report was almost finished by August, but when we sent a draft to OCAP implementers, they asked us to re-visit Oecusse because they said they had resolved many of the problems we identified, and our researchers returned in October. The article was published in January 2008, and a report-back meeting will take place in Oecusse later in 2008.
La’o Hamutuk’s work in this area provides information on bilateral projects and strengthens the government and the people of Timor-Leste’s participation to make those projects better address local people’s needs. This work is being merged into our teams focusing on each sector.
The governments of Portugal and Brazil support vocational education in Timor-Leste, and have created two vocational education centers: one in Tibar, funded by the Portuguese government and one in Becora, funded by the Brazilian government. The programs are intended to train Timorese youth who didn’t have access to formal education. We initiated monitoring and research in 2006, but it was interrupted by the crisis. During 2007, we completed our report on this program, which was published in our September Bulletin. We also organized a public meeting on this topic, and broadcast two radio programs about it. Our report identified follow-up information about graduates of these programs as a critical need, the East Timor Development Agency (ETDA) conducted such a survey a few months later.
We continue to monitor Cuba’s support for Timor-Leste in the health sector, which is different from most bilateral aid programs. More than 200 Cuban doctors are working in Timor-Leste, and about 700 Timorese medical students are in Cuba, in addition to 150 studying Medicine at the National University in Timor-Leste. Most of the results of our monitoring and investigation have been publicized in three radio programs during 2007. We organized also a public meeting with speakers from Timor-Leste’s Government and the Embassy of Cuba. We plan to publish a Bulletin article about this cooperation in 2008.
To share information, strengthen advocacy and reinforce local and global civil society movements, La’o Hamutuk joins with many other organizations in international and local coalitions or networks whose focus overlaps the topics that we monitor. During the reporting period, we worked with the following:
The Core Group on Transparency was formed in 2005 to monitor the RDTL national budget, including oil and gas revenue. The CGT advocates for transparency and accountability for government revenues and the budgeting process. La’o Hamutuk’s research and publications on petroleum revenue management (97% of government income) and on petroleum company activities helps inform the Core Group’s work.
In early 2007, two members of Core Group (Santina Soares of La’o Hamutuk and Carlos Florindo of ETADEP) were elected to represent Civil Society in the multi-stakeholder EITI Working Group. The CGT has also worked with us to advocate around the proposed decree laws on petroleum restructuring. About ten CGT members participates in the Regional Publish What you Pay Workshop in Bali in August.
Timor-Leste National Alliance for an International Tribunal (ANTI)
The objective of this coalition is to advocate for an end to impunity for crimes against humanity committed in Timor-Leste during the 24-year Indonesian occupation. La’o Hamutuk has been involved since the beginning, and is one of the most active ANTI members. At ANTI’s strategic plan in March 2007, La’o Hamutuk was elected to be a Board member, with responsibility for liaison with the international solidarity, human rights, and justice movements. Our work in this coalition is described under “Justice” above.
KOMEG was established in 2006 by the Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Church, Asosiasaun HAK, Judicial System Monitoring Program, Women’s CAUCUS, La’o Hamutuk, Rede Feto, Progressio, Luta Hamutuk, the Protestant church and the Muslim community. This network monitored the 2007 Presidential and Parliamentary elections, with people in every polling station. La’o Hamutuk staffer Inês Martins is on KOMEG’s board; she and Yasinta Lujina observed all three elections with KOMEG.
Sharing Knowledge Network (Rede Fahe Matenek)
Rede Fahe Matenek (RFM) is a network established by national NGOs who receive funding from Trocaire and CAFOD. The objective of this network is to facilitate the NGO members, who work in different sectors, to share their knowledge with each other. RFM helps its members develop their knowledge on areas they are not focused on, learning from others focused on these areas. La’o Hamutuk hosted one of four RFM meetings during 2007, where the members agreed to sign Terms of Reference for the network. This network continues to work mostly through sharing knowledge by email, and hopes to develop better in 2008.
Timor-Leste Sustainable Agriculture Network (HASATIL)
Although La’o Hamutuk is not formally a member of HASATIL (Timor Leste Network for Sustainable Agriculture), our Agriculture Team actively participated in almost all HASATIL programs. It is the biggest network for agriculture in Timor Leste, including more then thirty NGOs, including the National University’s agricultural team. La’o Hamutuk will become a member of this network, to support its advocacy for the Sustainable of Agriculture in Timor Leste.
Housing Rights Network (Rede Direito ba Uma)
This network was established in 2007 by KSI, UNMIT Human Rights section, the NGO Forum, La’o Hamutuk, Forsane, FTM, Peace Center, Front Mahasiswa, Hafoti, MDI, Denore and NRC, and is supported by COHRE (the Center on Housing Rights and Eviction, in Australia). The objective of this network is to advocate for adequate housing for all communities. So far, the network has issued a statement and made a submission to the Government of RDTL, demanding that the Government take responsibility to prepare adequate houses for people who lost their homes during past crises.
SEACA (South East Asia Committee for Advocacy)
The objective of the SEACA is civil society advocacy capacity building. La’o Hamutuk is member of SEACA and participated in SEACA activities, including a 2006 conference on Civil Society Engagement with ASEAN. In March 2007, staffer Santina Soares attended a SEACA Board meeting in Thailand, discussing Timor-Leste civil society involvement in SEACA and bringing our advocacy concerns to the regional level. We will continue to coordinate with SEACA, but at present don’t have the human resources to expand our organizational commitment.
Oilwatch, based in Ecuador and Nigeria, is a worldwide network of people opposing the negative impacts of oil development in tropical forest countries. La’o Hamutuk is a member of Oilwatch since 2002, and we are active in the Southeast Asia region and globally. In 2006, La’o Hamutuk staffer Santina Soares attended the Oilwatch Assembly in Ecuador, and we are increasing our activity in the regional network, learning from others’ experiences and sharing information about Timor-Leste’s petroleum development. In March 2007, we published an article about Ecuador’s experience with oil projects. We participated with Oilwatch at the civil society meetings parallel to the UN Climate Change conference in Bali in December 2007, and Oilwatch paid the expenses of one of the two La’o Hamutuk attendees.
Publish What You Pay Coalition (PWYP)
La’o Hamutuk has cooperated with the Publish What You Pay Coalition (PWYP) which includes around 300 groups around the world. This coalition urges oil and mining companies to publish their payments to governments, as a way of reducing corruption in countries rich in natural resources. During 2007, Santina Soares of La’o Hamutuk accepted an invitation to be on their worldwide advisory group. La’o Hamutuk helped organize the first Asia-Pacific regional PWYP conference in Bali in August, 2007.
The Solidarity Observer Mission for Timor-Leste (SOMET) is a non-partisan project to observe the 2007 Presidential and Parliamentary elections in Timor-Leste. SOMET was created by the U.S.-based East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN), in cooperation with groups in the Netherlands and the Philippines. It works with several Timor-Leste civil society organizations to support a peaceful, free, fair and transparent election process. Three La’o Hamutuk staffers observed the Presidential election rounds with SOMET, and a fourth joined for the Parliamentary election. We have made our office facilities available to SOMET. La’o Hamutuk helped write, edit and lay out SOMET’s reports, and participated in their press conferences.
This section describes activities which La’o Hamutuk planned to do in 2007, and where we changed or were unable to fulfill our plans. This was a year of consolidation and strengthening for La’o Hamutuk, with four new staff (three Timorese and one international) joining our team, fulfilling our recruitment plans for this year.
Building staff capacity
During the beginning of 2007, Indonesian writer Nugroho Kacasungkana helped some of La’o Hamutuk’s staff improve their writing and editing skills.
During the last few months of 2007, and continuing into 2008, financial trainer/mentor Michelle Whalen worked with Yasinta and Odete, La’o Hamutuk’s finance team, to improve our systems and increase their familiarity with Quicken and Excel. Hivos has arranged for Michelle to give individual training to several of their partners.
In addition, La’o Hamutuk staff attended workshops on Excel, Financial Management, and Proposal Writing, provided by Hivos, Concern and Progressio. We are developing a longer-term partnership with Progressio to enhance our research, analysis and writing skills.
La’o Hamutuk always brings a gender perspective to our monitoring and reporting. During 2007, La’o Hamutuk staffers participated in two international conferences which helped sharpen this part of our analysis: “Reflecting on and Revitalizing the Women’s Movement with Young Feminists in Indonesia and Timor-Leste” organized by Hivos in Indonesia, and “Asia-Pacific Women’s Conference on Mining” organized by Oxfam in Papua New Guinea.
Two members of La’o Hamutuk’s Natural Resources team participated in a regional workshop on Publish What You Pay which increased their knowledge if transparency and accountability in other countries. In December, experts, activists and political leaders from around the world, including two from La’o Hamutuk, converged on Bali for the UN Climate Change Convention.
Fulfilling our plans
We organized ten public meetings, as planned.
We produced 43 radio programs in 2007, nearly meeting our goal of 48.
We published three Bulletins in 2007, less than our goal of five.
In previous years, La’o Hamutuk had problems with bookkeeping and financial reporting. During 2007 we completed reports and conducted external financial audits for both 2005 and 2006, and are now up to date. Late in 2007 La’o Hamutuk hired Odete Moniz as a dedicated financial and office manager. Her past experience, as well as additional training while working at La’o Hamutuk, will help us improve our financial systems and maintain effective, accurate record-keeping and fiscal management.
We planned to publish three Surat Populars during 2007, but did not publish any. We are suspending this part of our work until we have more capacity to do popular education at the grassroots level.
We planned to move into a new office and expand our resource center during 2007, and we hoped to recruit a student volunteer to manage the center. This will provide more space for the center, making it easier for researchers to work there. However, partly because the Government took no action on their plans to take over our building, we have not moved and the resource center remains undeveloped.
We cancelled our plan to investigate the effectiveness of UNDP’s efforts to encourage women’s participation in development, because we need to focus on agricultural issues.
La’o Hamutuk continued to improve our international structure and functioning, increasing our capacity by improving work systems, internal coordination and communication among staff and with our board, to help us be more effective, transparent and accountable. We also reorganized our approach to our research from an institutional to a topical framework (see Research section above).
In early 2007, we finalized our annual and three-year strategic plans. Our organizational constitution and internal policies have been drafted, revised and discussed with our board; we amended around 25 articles of our statutes. These have been nearly completed, with assistance from La’o Hamutuk Board members Selma Hayati and Justino da Silva, and will be formally approved in 2008.
Our computers are now all virus-free, with an internal LAN network, regular backups and a shared internet connection. We re-established our internal Intranet, which contains numerous documents and down-loaded websites, allowing fast and free access to overcome Timor-Leste’s internet access challenges. During 2007, we added wireless capability to our LAN and upgraded our internet connection to a less-slow ISDN.
We published annual reports for 2005 and 2006 in early 2007, and conducted external audits for both years, with improved findings by the auditor. We also organized a mid-year evaluation with our board in early July, and held and evaluation and wrote an Action Plan in December. Our fundraising continues to provide enough income for the organization to operate, with support from Hivos (Netherlands), Trocaire (Ireland), Development and Peace (Canada) and project-based grants from Oxfam (Australia).
Over the six years that La’o Hamutuk has advocated for a fair maritime boundary with Australia, the knowledge and activism in both Timor-Leste and Australia has increased markedly. Under various agreements with Australia, Timor-Leste has increased the percentage of its legal petroleum entitlement it will receive from 0% (1989) to 23% (2000), 42% (2003), and now 60% (2007, under CMATS). The current agreement was put into force in February 2007 without approval by Australia’s parliament, because their Government wanted to avoid a debate including civil society in both countries. However, Australia’s parliament did conduct an inquiry (receiving six submissions in support of Timor-Leste), and their report made numerous references to La’o Hamutuk’s submission.
La’o Hamutuk’s public education and advocacy on petroleum revenue management has increased awareness among organizations, political leaders and the public. The Banking and Payments Authority (BPA) created a new website with information on the Petroleum Fund, and the government’s first Annual Report on the Petroleum Fund implements La’o Hamutuk’s recommendation of listing every payee into the fund. Our debate and interactions with government and politicians helped inform the political parties and newly-elected government and parliamentary officials about managing petroleum revenue, transparency and accountability mechanisms, the dangers of petroleum dependency, and the need for sustainable spending. We also informed many international journalists, NGOs and election observers.
The Timor-Leste Government has initiated the Multi-stakeholders Working Group to oversee implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) implementation, and La’o Hamutuk was elected to represent civil society. Civil society understanding about EITI increased, and the Provedor’s office has engaged in EITI and used the EITI mechanism to promote good governance in Timor-Leste. La’o Hamutuk’s critical optimism about Timor-Leste’s mixed record on transparency to date has helped inform a number of print and electronic media, and one of our staffers was elected to represent Southeast Asia in the Strategic Advisory Group of the Publish What You Pay campaign.
In March, the Government tabled three draft decree-laws on petroleum regulation and setting up a national oil company which contained numerous flaws and loopholes. La’o Hamutuk’s submission to the brief public consultation, which was the only one from Timor-Leste, urged that the laws be redrafted and that a more extensive consultation be conducted. The Government accepted our suggestion, extending the consultation for several months, during which time we stimulated submissions by several international experts and made a second, more extensive submission in July. Although many of our recommendations were included in the revised versions of these laws, the were not enacted before the new Government took office in August, and the new Government is still considering its approach in these areas. Nevertheless, La’o Hamutuk’s analysis, organizing and testimony prevented bad laws from being passed, and will inform the ongoing process.
In June, La’o Hamutuk made the only submission to a public consultation on the proposed Environmental Plan for a marine seismic survey to be conducted by Eni. Eni accepted most of our recommendations, including them in the final version of the Environmental Plan.
We also wrote a submission and Bulletin article on proposed guidelines for Timor-Leste local content which would require oil and gas companies to purchase goods and services from Timor-Leste, to employ Timorese workers, and to support the Timor-Leste economy. After we raised concerns about companies using money which would have gone to the Timor-Leste government for public relations activities, several NGOs consulted La’o Hamutuk as they considered whether to apply for oil company grants.
Our public meetings, website and other publications on the new Government’s plans in the petroleum sector were often the first time such information became available, and we received many requests for it from inside and outside Timor-Leste, from within the Government and from outside.
The prevailing impunity for 1975-1999 crimes became a campaign issue for the political parties and remains on the international agenda. In July, the United Nations Secretary-General announced that the UN will not cooperate with the Indonesia-Timor-Leste Truth and Friendship Commission (TFC), demonstrating a result of continuing campaigning. Solidarity colleagues abroad continue to advocate for justice through statements, press releases and information sharing.
Our campaigning and education about the Amnesty Law increased public attention significantly, putting the issue on the ANTI agenda and resulting in modifications of an earlier draft of the law. The final version was still bad, and it became part of the election campaign. The international community, including the UN and solidarity groups, joined our efforts against this law, writing letters to Parliament and the outgoing and incoming presidents. We joined with the Provedor and several other NGOs to ask new President José Ramos-Horta to veto the law, and in a meeting with La’o Hamutuk he promised not to sign it.
Although we were unsuccessful in preventing the Parliamentary Pension law from being passed, it has been recognized as unsustainable by the new government, and is likely to be repealed during 2008.
On the general election, all three elections went well, with more than 80% turnout. Our participation in the SOMET and KOMEG observer projects helped ensure that the elections were largely transparent, relatively peaceful, free and fair despite a few irregularities. In spite of FRETILIN objections, the transition to a new government was generally smooth, although the new Ministers are taking some time to learn their jobs and develop their policies.
In September, our website published the structure, membership, organic law, and program of the new Government, as well as its proposed transitional budget and other key documents. As many of these documents were not available to the public anywhere else, we received thanks and appreciation from a wide range of people and organizations who wanted to know the new Government’s plans.
Bilateral Assistance and Agriculture
Our report on Vocational Education pointed out the lack of follow-up with those who finished the programs, which prevented meaningful evaluation or improvement to help graduates find employment. Subsequently, USAID contracted with ETDA to survey the graduates of the Becora and Fatumaca Technical schools, and their November 2007 report answers many of the questions raised by our article.
During the research and writing of our report on OCAP, we brought many problems to the attention of OCAP management and its funders, who were very sensitive to our criticisms. Some of the problems were resolved before the final version of the article was published, although some were not.
During 2008, La’o Hamutuk plans to recruit two new international staff members and three new Timorese staff to replace one who left early in 2008, increasing our staff to approximately thirteen.
We will seek out ways to increase language skills for both current and new staff, so that they can better understand important documents from Government and international organizations: English and Portuguese for Timorese staff, and Tetum for international staff.
Operations and Coordination
During the last few months of 2007, and continuing into 2008, financial trainer/mentor Michelle Whalen worked with Yasinta and Odete, La’o Hamutuk’s finance team, to improve our systems and increase their familiarity with Quicken and Excel. Hivos has arranged for Michelle to give individual training to several of their partners, and additional training sessions are planned for 2008, which we expect to improve our financial management capacity even more.
To improve our overall strategic effectiveness, La’o Hamutuk is reviewing tasks, responsibilities and processes for the organization as a whole, and will clarify job descriptions, operating procedures and policies. In 2008, we will focus on strengthening our finance and coordination teams, mainly through revising internal policies, but also with external assistance, such as Trocaíre’s leadership and strategic planning trainings and Michelle Whalen’s coaching of finance staff.
We hope to make our outreach activities more effective and efficient, to advance our main goals of 1) increasing communication among government, international organizations and civil society, and 2) improving the Timorese people’s understanding of the goals and programs of government and international and national organizations. We anticipate contracting students to conduct a modest survey in Dili and two rural areas to evaluate our effectiveness, and the results will help us plan better for 2009.
As our work and organization continues to expand, we have outgrown our office. We intend to move into a larger building by the end of 2008, by either purchasing or renting a suitable building. We have begun fund-raising and putting aside money for the costs of upgrading a building, moving and replacing furniture. We are also making contingency plans for our least desired choice: constructing a new building, in case we are unable to find an appropriate one already available.
La’o Hamutuk is working to formalize and strengthen our research work, to make it more time-efficient and to use it more effectively for La’o Hamutuk’s output activities. We determined that our staff can improve in the areas of setting research objectives, data collection methods, scheduling, field work (e.g. questionnaires and interview techniques) and data analysis. La’o Hamutuk staff will participate in research methodology courses organized by the Progressio NGO, as well as radio training workshops organized by Trocaíre and Radio Timor Kmanek. We continue to develop parameters for a Progressio development worker who would provide in-house mentoring on research methodology. We are also exploring possibilities for external assistance to improve staff writing skills.
We will produce and broadcast 44 radio programs during 2008, using the government-owned national radio (RTL) and district-based community radio organizations in Oecusse and Viqueque, with plans to increase rural broadcasting through agreements with other community based radio stations.
We hope to publish at least five Bulletins during 2008. La’o Hamutuk has observed that the use of Tetum is increasing, and we have decided to transform the Indonesian version of our Bulletin into Tetum. This will be a gradual transition, and by the end of 2008 the Bulletin will be entirely Tetum. We will continue to publish it in English as well.
We will continue to participate actively in the Core Group on Transparency regarding oil revenues and other state budget matters, and will contribute to their transparency advocacy campaigning.
As La’o Hamutuk is not yet ready to conduct workshops and trainings to stimulate community input into the Surat Popular, we are not planning to resume these popular newsletters during 2008. Nevertheless, we anticipate increasing our district socialization activities in other ways, including public meetings in Oecusse, along the south coast, and perhaps elsewhere. At our mid-year review, the Surat Popular will be discussed again.
This team focuses on petroleum dependency; revenue management; government policies; environmental issues; and transparency, accountability, and sustainability.
We will continue to monitor oil and gas management in Timor-Leste, through monitoring the activities of the oil and gas companies working here, as well as paying close attention to existing and probable future production activities, and to the involvement of government, business and civil society. Specifically, we will analyze and report on new agreements with oil companies, environmental plans for exploration, and planning for on-shore production facilities. We will publish and socialize our in-depth report on the social, economic and environmental impacts of a natural gas liquefaction (LNG) plant for Greater Sunrise in Timor-Leste, which is based on two years of research, in several languages and media.
This year will see many changes in Government policy and regulations in the oil and gas sector. We will therefore actively monitor the new Government’s evolving legislation on petroleum management, while encouraging public participation. Specifically we will analyze legislation related to the transformation of the Timor Sea Designated Authority into a National Petroleum Authority, and the planning and legislation processes for a National Oil Company, the Optimization Law, an Institute of Petroleum and Geology, the Depletion Law, and the Mining Law.
The team will continue to monitor oil and gas revenue management in Timor-Leste, paying specific attention to the Petroleum Fund and analyzing its reports, and comparing them with information from other sources. Specifically, we will continue advocating for a more disaggregation in reporting as well as disclosure of all production sharing contracts.
We will continue to collaborate with the Oilwatch Network and other coalitions, groups and individuals working on climate justice, environment, petroleum management, and sustainable energy policies in Timor-Leste and around the world.
The objective of this team is to monitor and analyze agricultural developments, and the team focuses on land rights, development of and access to markets, food security, irrigation and other aspects of rural life. It also advocates for sustainable agriculture policies.
The new Government plans new and amended legislation that will effect the development of the agriculture sector in Timor-Leste. This includes land and property ownership regulations which affect agriculture in various ways: they may reduce (or provoke) social conflict in rural areas, open land to foreign investors, or protect farmers’ rights to their land, and may especially discriminate against women. We will continue to monitor and analyze this process, as well as other regulations related to agriculture, including the development of farm-to-market access and the promotion of local products.
The team will continue to monitor sustainability related to improving farmers’ livelihoods through programs and projects by Government and stakeholders. The new government wants to attract foreign investment in agri-business, which can be unsustainable when managed badly. The team will actively monitor developments in this area. Specifically, we will analyze projects related to alternative energy such as the proposed jatropha plantation, using sugar cane as agro-fuel and other projects that impact directly on farmers and rural communities.
Food security cuts across many aspects of life in Timor-Leste. We will monitor developments and emphasize that food security strategies should prioritize promotion and protection of farmers and rural communities.
This year, we will strengthen our involvement in networks active in these areas and conduct a research visit to rural areas in Brazil to learn more, especially in the area of sustainable livelihoods.
We will publish our report on Cuban aid to health care in Timor-Leste, research which began in 2007.
Governance and democracy
This sector includes many aspects related to the legitimacy of authority, human and political rights, and the national state system, such as justice, security, rule of law, civic education, elections, the law-making process, state institutions, decentralization and government administration.
After last year’s election we will continue to monitor the political process, with specific attention to the transparency and accountability of state institutions and the law-making process.
Perpetrators of crimes against humanity during the 24-year Indonesian occupation enjoy impunity, which continues to undercut stability and peace in Timor-Leste. As part of the Timor-Leste National Alliance for an International Tribunal and with others, we will examine the report of the Truth and Friendship Commission, and continue our campaign for an independent, international tribunal. This year we will analyze and report on developments in the judicial sector, as well as other impacts on the rule of law and human rights.
As donors and international institutions each bring their own development visions to Timor-Leste, we continue to closely watch bilateral and multilateral relations of a more political nature. La’o Hamutuk will advocate for more accountability and prioritization of grassroots concerns during the 2008 Development Partners (Donors) Conference, as well as in discussions with staff and visiting missions from the United Nations, International Financial Institutions, and individual donor governments.
Economics and trade
During 2008, our new Economics and Trade team will begin its work, focusing on economic development in Timor-Leste in sectors other than petroleum and agriculture, including foreign investment developments, privatization, globalization and trade.
The current government dreams of accelerating economic development by creating a climate inviting to foreign businesses. We will monitor government and other stakeholder activities in this area and advocate for economic justice. Specifically we will analyze developments related to lowering of import barriers and concessions to foreign businesses, as well as other tax policies which benefit rich people more than the poor.
Timor-Leste has a huge trade deficit ($200 million in annual imports and $8 million in non-oil exports), so we will monitor promotion activities of local products and businesses, in Timor-Leste and abroad, including a comparative analysis of various private sector development activities by government, donors, and other stakeholders.
Although globally higher oil prices increase Timor-Leste’s petroleum income, they also raise commodity prices here, and the government is struggling to find ways to deal with both. Therefore, all La’o Hamutuk’s teams will work together to analyze the State Budget, including its mid-year review.
All amounts are specified in United States dollars. La’o Hamutuk’s fiscal year is the calendar year.
La’o Hamutuk maintains our policy of not accepting contributions from the UN and its agencies, the World Bank, ADB, IMF, major donors to Timor-Leste and transnational corporations operating here, to preserve the organization’s independence.
The organization has a flat wage structure with both local and international staff receiving a salary of $400 dollars per month. All staff receive benefits that include health insurance, some of which is self-insurance funded from the ‘Health Reserve’ account in the balance sheet. International staff receive one return airfare from their home country, as well as a ‘readjustment allowance’ of $400 for each month worked up to the end of the first year, payable after they finish working with La’o Hamutuk. Staff members who must rent housing in Dili receive $100/month toward those costs.
This table indicates our total cash and bank account balances at the start and end of 2006, amounts of money set aside for specific purposes, and unrestricted money available for general operations.
General support grants
$49,195 from Trocaire (Ireland), $35,998 from Development and Peace (Canada) and $13,396 for institutional support from Hivos (Netherlands). More than expected due to falling U.S. dollar relative to the Euro.
Natural Resource grants
From Hivos for work on natural resources.
Project grants (LNG)
Project completion deferred to 2008.
Indefinitely delayed due to staff changes.
Other project grants
Community Radio workshop (Trocaire), Party debate on petroleum revenues (Oxfam Aust.) and translation of Petroleum Laws (Oxfam).
Reimbursement for costs to attend Revitalizing the Women’s Movement (Just Associates), EITI/PWYP (Transparency International and PWYP) and Climate Change (Oilwatch) conferences in Indonesia.
OilWeb CD-ROM and “Shakedown” book.
ETAN Canada closed its bank account and gave half the balance to La’o Hamutuk.
The following table compares our actual expenditures with what we had projected for 2007.
Includes salaries, health insurance, house rent, visa fees, wage tax and transport for international staff. It took longer to find qualified new staff than we had planned for.
Projection includes LNG Study and SE Asia exchange. The exchange is indefinitely delayed, and most LNG Study socialization and publication will be done during 2008.
Published fewer than planned.
Research-related activities allocated to research.
$1461 of this was covered by an Oxfam grant for the political party debate on petroleum revenues.
We discontinued hiring in-house mentors. Finance and other training was provided free by several donors.
Plans for an overseas LH Board Member to visit Timor-Leste were deferred for their personal reasons.
Arrangement with local community stations not completed.
As planned, we audited both 2005 and 2006 during 2007.
$2,121 was reimbursed; see income on previous page.
We have suspended this publication for now.
Projected Income for 2008
Already received for LNG Study
Received during 2006 which will be spent in 2008 on project support.
General support grants
Includes $13,000 committed from Hivos for organizational support, as well as grants from Trocaire and Development and Peace.
Campaign and project support
Includes $26,000 committed from Hivos for Natural Resources work, plus $11,000 to be raised to publish and socialize the LNG report and $10,000 to be raised for an agriculture research trip.
Reduced because we are closing our account in the USA.
Increased to include sales of our LNG report.
Including carry-over for LNG study.
La’o Hamutuk is in the final year of two- or three-year contracts with all three of our general support donors, so our general support and natural resources grants are already assured.
Projected Expenditures for 2008
Includes supplies, photocopying, local transport, electricity and computer maintenance.
Telephone, internet and web hosting.
To audit report from 2007.
Training for staff
Furniture & computer equipment
For new staff and to replace worn-out computers
Excluding sponsored projects.
Research travel within Timor-Leste.
Radio equipment and supplies
Includes fuel for community radio station generators.
Primarily to support ANTI work on justice.
Per diems and one non-reimbursed conference.
During 2008, this includes publication and socialization of our study of an onshore LNG facility in Timor-Leste, a research trip on agriculture in the Philippines or Brazil.
We plan to move our office during 2008, and will probably have to purchase land and a building or expend significant funds on rehabilitating a destroyed building. (See note 4 above). We will do special fundraising for this one-time cost when we have a clearer idea of what will be necessary.
International Forces Assistance to Timor-Leste. Interview with youth groups, students and leader of Bairo Pite village.
CMATS Treaty. Guteriano Nicolau and Santina Soares (La’o Hamutuk)
International Investigation Commission. Interview with Tiago Sarmento (JSMP)
Police Screening Process. Interview with Agostinho Siqueira (Vice Minister of Interior) and Alipio Jose Viera (Secretariat screening)
International Campaign on EITI. Interview with Diarmid O’Sullivan (Global Witness)
Police Screening Process. Interview with Rodolfo Tor (UNPOL Commissioner) and Alipio Jose (Secretariat Coordinator of the Screening Process)
Training for PNTL members after screening. Interview with Julio Hornai (Director of PNTL academic training)
National Workshop on Vocational Education. Interview with Paul Alves (Vice Director for Professional Training and Employment) and Simão Barreto (Coordinator of Tibar Center)
OCAP in Oecusse. Vox Populi from local people and Interview with village’s leaders.
Cooperation between UNMIT and the Timor-Leste Government for Screening PNTL. Interview with Alison Cooper (UNMIT Public Information), Agostinho Siqueira (Vice Minister of Interior) and Jose Antonio (member of Technical Team)
Provedor (Ombudsman) Report. Discussion with Silverio Pinto Baptista, (Deputy Provedor for Human Rights and Justice)
ANTI Strategic Plan for 2007-2010. Interview with Edio Saldanha and Sixto dos Santos (National Alliance for the International Tribunal (ANTI) Board members)
Informal Education. Interview with Jose Maria (Director Professional Training and Employment), Simão Barreto (Coordinator of Tibar Center) and Alfredo (Program Manager of Tibar Center)
Petroleum Fund. Talk show with the Venancio Alves (Director of the Petroleum Fund, BPA) and Guteriano Neves ( La’o Hamutuk)
Civic Education. Interview with Joaquim Brites (Civic Education Section, NGO Forum) and João Travolta (KOMEG)
Second round of the Presidential Election. Vox populi with voters
General Election. Talk show with José Luis de Oliveira (HAK) and Catharina Maria (SOMET)
Report of the Commission for Truth, Reception and Reconciliation (CAVR). Interview with Jaimito da Costa (Post-CAVR Technical Secretariat) and Maria Afonso (Family Victims, ANTI).
General Election. Vox Populi with voters.
Reflection and Revitalization of Women and Feminists in Timor Leste and Indonesia. Interview with Yasinta Lujina (La’o Hamutuk), Rosi and Maria (Fokupers) and Evelin (Rede Feto)
Clemency Law. Interview with Timotio de Deus (Judicial System Monitoring Programme) and Santina Soares (La’o Hamutuk)
Truth and Friendship Commission Public Hearing in Bali. Talk show with Edio Saldanha (National Alliance for the International Tribunal)
Local Content. Presentation by Jose Gonçalves (National Directorate for Petroleum and Gas) and Guteriano Nicolau (La’o Hamutuk)
Timor-Leste Medical Students in Cuba. Interview with Human Resource Department of Ministry of Health and Sidonio (Student of Medicine Faculty in Cuba)
Solidarity Meeting in Aceh. Interview with Edio Saldanha (ANTI)
EITI Meeting in Bali. Interview with Mario Araujo and Thomas Freitas (Core Group for Transparency)
World Bank in Timor-Leste Development. Presentation by Tim Anderson (Sydney University) and interview with Guteriano Nicolau (La’o Hamutuk)
Learning from September 4th 1999. Interview with Xisto dos Santos (Student’s Front) and Vox Pop of students and youths.
Cuban Doctors Services in National Hospital of Guido Valadares. Interview with Antonio Caleres Jr. (Director of the National Hospital)
Alternative Hearing against the Truth and Friendship Commission. Interview with Jose Caetano (ET Crisis Reflection Network) , Tiago Sarmento (Asia Foundation) and Maria Afonso (Victim’s family)
Land Context in Timor-Leste. Interview with Mateus da Silva (KSI)
New Government Policy on Natural Resources. Presentation by State Secretary of Natural Resources Alfredo Pires.
Concept of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty. Interview with Arsenio Pereira (HASATIL) and Nuno Rodrigues (Institutu Edukasaun Popular).
Sustainable Agriculture. Interview with Ego Lemos (PERMATIL)
The Sunrise LNG Plant. Interview with Guteriano and Santi (La’o Hamutuk)
Housing Rights and Eviction. Interview with Natalie Bugalski and Dan Nicholson (COHRE) and Daniel Pereira (KSI), and vox populi from some participants in the three-day workshop on Housing Rights and Eviction in Dare.
The Sunrise LNG Plant. Interview with Adriano Nascimento (Member of Parliament), Francisco Monteiro (LNG Task Force Coordinator) and Lucas da Costa (Rector of UNPAZ)
Cooperation between Timor-Leste and Cuba in the Health Sector. Presentation by Marcus da Costa (General Director of Bilateral Assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Diamantino (Director of Human Resource Department of Ministry of Health), Alberto Vignak Raz (Cuban Doctors’ Coordinator) and Ramon Hernandez (Cuban Embassy in Timor-Leste).
The New Government’s Plans for Agriculture. Interview with Mariano Sabino (Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries).
Civic Education. Interview with Joaquim Brites (Fongtil) and Terezinha (Caucus)
Climate Change, Experience from Bali. Interview with Santina Soares and Maximus Tahu (La’o Hamutuk).
Government’s Policy and Concept on Agricultural Development. Presentation by Valentino Varela (State Secretary for Livestock), Arsenio Pereira (HASATIL) and Mateus da Cruz (Dean of National University’s Faculty of Agriculture).
Government’s Plan for IDPs. Interview with Maria Domingas Alves (Minister of Social Solidarity) and Joao Pequinho (Forum Tau Matan, representing Housing Rights Network).
January: CMATS Treaty. José Teixeira (Minister of Natural Resources, Minerals and Energy Policy), Elizario Ferreira (Member of Parliament), Francisco Monteiro (Adviser to the President on Natural Resources) and Santina Soares (La’o Hamutuk). About 50 people attended.
March: Recall Public Attention for Crimes Against Humanity and the Clemency Law. Eric Tan (Deputy head of UNMIT), Ivo Valente (Deputy General Prosecutor), Elizario Ferreira (FRETILIN Member of Parliament), Edio Saldanha (Alliance for an International Tribunal) and Colin Stewart (UNMIT Political Affairs). About 70 people attended.
April: Trilateral Cooperation among Portugal-Timor-Leste-Brazil on Non-Formal Education. José Ceisar (Timor-Leste-Brazil cooperation Coordinator), Mahafut (Education Ministry), Simão Barreto (Tibar Center Coordinator) and Yasinta Lujina (La’o Hamutuk). Attended by around 50 people from all of the vocational education groups in Timor-Leste, including art groups.
May: Lessons Learned from the two Presidential Elections. Fr. Martinho Gusmão (National Elections Commission), Edgar Sequeira Martins (Technical Secretariat for Election Administration), João Travolta (KOMEG), Roy Pateman (SOMET) and Guteriano Nicolau (LH). 40 people attended.
June: Public Debate among Political Parties on Managing Petroleum Revenues. Ten political parties responded to questions from a panel of NGO experts. This day-long debate was coordinated by La’o Hamutuk with help from FONGTIL and KSUTL, and attended by more than 250 people.
August: Local Content Regulation. Guteriano Nicolau ( La’o Hamutuk), Jose Soares and Amandio Gusmão (DNPG). Around 20 people attended.
September: IFI Roles in Timor-Leste. Tim Anderson (Researcher on IFI activities). 25 attendees.
October: New Government Planning on the Petroleum Sector. Alfredo Pires (State Secretary for Natural Resource). Attended by 44 people.
November: Cooperation between Timor-Leste and Cuba in Health Area. Marcus da Costa (Director of Bilateral Assistance department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Diamantino (Director of Human Resource Department of Ministry of Health), Alberto Vignak Raz (Cuban Doctors’ Coordinator) and Ramon Hernandez (Cuban Embassy in TL). Around 35 people attended.
December: Programs of the Ministry of Agriculture for 2008. Valentino Varela (State Secretary for Livestock), Arsenio Pereira (Coordinator of HASATIL) and Mateus da Cruz (Dean of National University’s Faculty of Agriculture). Attended by around 40 people.
Many press conferences of the Core Group on Transparency, SOMET, KOMEG, ANTI and the Housing Rights Network throughout the year.
May: Public Consultation on the Regulation on Petroleum activities restructuring. Organized by Luta Hamutuk, May 2007. Santina Soares was a panelist.
May: Public Debate among Political Parties on Human Rights, Good Governance and Corruption. All fourteen parties contesting the Parliamentary election participated. The debate was coordinated by the Ombudsman for Human Rights with civil society organizations in Timor-Leste.
August: Implementing Transparency Requires Good Will from Government and Oil Companies. Presentation by Santina Soares at the Asia-Pacific Publish What You Pay Workshop in Bali.
September: Alternative public hearing to the Truth and Friendship Commission. Charles Scheiner testified.
October: Briefing on Petroleum Development in Timor-Leste. By Guteriano Nicolau to journalists training program.
October: Timor-Leste Petroleum Fund management. Presentation by Inês Martins at the Asia Pacific Women Conference on Mining, Papua New Guinea.
November: La’o Hamutuk media activities. Presentation by Yasinta Lujina at the Dili Workshop with community radio stations from all 13 districts.
This lists some of the covereage of La’o Hamutuk’s work and findings in national and international media during 2007, as well as articles written by La’o Hamutuk staff for other publications.
CMATS Treaty. Interview with Santina Soares (La’o Hamutuk), Tempo Semanal, January 2007.
CMATS Treaty. Interview with Guteriano Nicolau. Radio Timor-Leste (RTL), January 2007.
World Bank Involvement in Timor-Leste Creates Problems. By Guteriano Nicolau. Bretton Woods Project Newsletter, January 2007.
East Timor Hits Potholes on the Road to Independence. Lead article by Charlie Scheiner in Estafeta, winter 2006-2007.
Core Group press statement for the public consultation for the three Decree-Laws. Quoting Guteriano Nicolau. Radio Timor-Leste, February 2007.
Petroleum Restructure Law. Quoted Santina Soares intervention in the Luta Hamutuk public meeting, Tempo Semanal, 1 March 2007.
Karta Aberta ANTI no Solidaridade kona ba KVA. Tempo Semanal, March 2007.
National Ombudsman for Human Rights: The Case of Timor-Leste. lead article by Guteriano Nicolau, Hurights Bulletin, Japan, March 2007.
Petroleum Dependency. Interview with Guteriano Nicolau, Aljazeera Television, English version, March 2007.
Public meeting on Justice. Interview with Inês Martins, Television Timor-Leste (TVTL), 28 March 2007.
Failing in Timor-Leste. Quoted Guteriano Nicolau on the international intervention in Timor-Leste. Focus magazine, Action for Global Justice (Ireland), Spring 2007.
Public Meeting on Vocational Education. Interview with Yasinta Lujina (La’o Hamutuk) and Mahfud (representative of Ministry of Education), about the La’o Hamutuk public meeting. TVTL, 26 April 2007.
East Timor Gas Plant Would Provide Much-needed Jobs. Interview with Charlie Scheiner and Santina Soares. SBS TV (Australia), 4 May 2007.
EITI Working Group. Interview with Santina Soares. TVTL, 15 May 2007.
Justice for Timor-Leste. Interview with Yasinta Lujina. LUSA, 25 May 2007.
CNE no KOMEG Husu Presidente Veto Lei Alterasaun 46. Interviews with Fr. Martinho Gusmão (CNE Commissioner) and João Travolta (KOMEG Coordinator) at the La’o Hamutuk public meeting on the general election. Timor Post, 28 May 2007.
Security Council Should Establish an International Tribunal. Tempo Semanal, 29 May 2007.
Report of the Australian Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Treaties regarding CMATS, June 2007. La’o Hamutuk’s submission is cited eight times.
Dezenvolvementu la Depende ba Fundu Petroleu. Interview with TSDA Director José Lobato on the public debate organized by La’o Hamutuk on Petroleum Revenue Management. Timor Post, 22 June 2007.
ONG La’o Hamutuk Organiza Debate Asuntu Petroleu. Interview with Santina Soares on the public debate on Petroleum Revenue Management. Suara Timor-Leste, 22 June 2007.
Faith, Hope and Charity. Quoted Charlie Scheiner on nation building process South China Morning Post, 26 June 2007.
East Timor divided over how to spend badly needed oil revenue. Quoted La’o Hamutuk on petroleum dependency. South China Morning Post, 28 June 2007.
Impacto IFI ba Nasaun Terseiru Mundu. Interview with Ines Martins. TVTL, 5 July 2007.
Clemency Law. Interview with Santina Soares. Radio Australia, 6 July 2007
Horta Promises not to Promulgate Clemency Law. Interview with Santina Soares. Timor Post, 6 July 2007
SOMET Rekomenda Hadia Sistema Eleisaun. Suara Timor Lorosa’e, 7 July 2007.
Mapping the Pursuit of Gender Equality. RDTL Office for the Promotion of Equality with the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, July 2007. Quoted La’o Hamutuk statement and La’o Hamutuk profile.
East Timor: Australian troops provoke more unrest claims biggest party. Cites La’o Hamutuk about oil money Australia has taken from the Laminaria-Corallina oil field which should be in Timor-Leste territory. Adikronos International, 20 August 2007.
New Zealand Media Observation Mission Report on 2007 Timor-Leste Elections. Cites La’o Hamutuk several times.
EITI. Interview with Santina Soares. RTL, 31 August 2007.
State Secretary of Natural Resource’s Policy on Petroleum Development and LNG Plant. Interview with Santina Soares. RTL, 20 September 2007.
LNG Plant and Civil Society’s Position. Interview with Santina Soares. Radio Rakambia, 20 September 2007
Protesters allege Commission of the Indonesia Truth “promotes impunity.” Interviewed LH participant in demonstration against CTF hearing in Dili. LUSA, 25 September 2007.
Oil: Timor’s Double-Edged Sword. Quoted Charlie Scheiner on unrealistic expectations of LNG plant benefits. Australian Financial Review, 29 September 2007.
Crossborder: The Price of Peace. Quoted LH on intentions behind CTF. Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, 8 October 2007.
Salva Sunrise. By Guteriano Nicolau. Tempo Semanal, 10 October 2007.
LNG husi Sunrise mai Timor Leste. Interview with Santina Soares. TVTL, 14 October 2007
Housing Rights. Interview with Yasinta Lujina. Diario Nasional, 20 October 2007.
Viability Study on Pipeline, Government will use US$ 4-5 Million from Petroleum Fund. Interview with Alfredo Pires, State Secretary of Natural Resource at the public meeting organized by LH. Timor Post, 22 October 2007.
Cuba and Timor-Leste Cooperation. Interview with Yasinta Lujina. RTL, 27 October 2007
Submission on Adequate Housing for IDPs. Interview with Yasinta Lujina. RTL, 4 December 2007.
Housing for IDPs. Simu Malu Program. Interview with Yasinta Lujina. RTL, 15 December 2007.
Timor Leste: ex-pats with deep roots. Extensive interview with Charlie Scheiner about La’o Hamutuk and the resource curse. Late Night Live, ABC Radio (Australia), 17 December 2007.
At the close of 2007, La’o Hamutuk staff included seven full-time Timorese and one foreign professional, four women and four men, although more will be hired in 2008 to expand our staff and make up for departures. Another international staff member alternates between Dili and New York. The staff is non-hierarchical and makes decisions collectively, although two members serve as rotating coordinators to free the rest from routine administrative tasks. All staff share administrative and program responsibilities, with conscious effort being made to share skills and increase capacities.
The following people are on our staff at the close of 2007:
Yasinta was born and grew up in Oecusse, the enclave of Timor Leste surrounded by Indonesia. She studied at the Social Welfare University in Bandung, Indonesia, and worked at Christian Children’s Fund and Catholic Relief Services before joining La’o Hamutuk in August 2002. She speaks Tetum, Indonesian, Dawan and some English. With La’o Hamutuk, Yasinta monitors bilateral assistance, researches agriculture, and works on personnel, finance and Bulletin coordination. Yasinta represents La’o Hamutuk in ANTI and the Housing Rights Network and was a KOMEG observer during the elections. During 2007, she participated in a workshop on Reflecting on and Revitalizing the Women’s Movement with Young Feminists in Indonesia and Timor-Leste in Bogor, organized by Hivos.
Inês was studying economics at the University of Timor Leste before the Indonesian military destroyed it in September 1999. Born in Bobonaro, Inês is fluent in Tetum, Portuguese and Indonesian, and is learning English. Inês has been working with La’o Hamutuk since May 2000, and has researched many issues including Portuguese assistance and the coffee sector. She participated in the exchanges to Brazil in 2001 and Cuba in 2003. Inês currently works on agriculture research, public meetings, radio program and organizational coordination. In 2007, Inês was a KOMEG election observer and member of the KOMEG board, and she participated in the Asia Pacific Women’s Conference on Mining in Papua New Guinea.
Odete joined La’o Hamutuk in October 2007 as office manager and finance manager. She previously worked as finance auditor in Regional Inspectoral (before the independence), finance and administration in Espada and Fongtil Working Group on Voters Education. She is completing courses at the International Institute of Business. Odete speaks Tetum, Bahasa Indonesia and Bunak.
Viriato was born in Alas, Manufahi District. He has an Electronic Engineering degree from the national University of Timor-Leste and studied Information Sciences at Massey University in New Zealand. Viriato worked for the Judicial Systems Monitoring Programme and UNICEF before joining La’o Hamutuk in September 2007. Viriato speaks Tetum, Bahasa Indonesia and English and is learning Portuguese and attending law school. At La’o Hamutuk he works on natural resources and governance.
Santi was born in Beaço, Viqueque district. She graduated from the Social Welfare University in Bandung. On returning to Timor-Leste in 2002 she volunteered at the Denore Foundation before working at the Peace and Democracy Foundation where she became a Program Manager. Santi joined La’o Hamutuk in August 2005, where she works on natural resources, fundraising and public meetings. Santi speaks Tetum, Indonesian, English, Noeti, Makasae and some Portuguese. Santi represents La’o Hamutuk in the Core Group for Transparency and Oilwatch, is a civil society representative in the Timor-Leste EITI Stakeholders Working Group, and represents Southeast Asia in the Strategic Advisory Group of the worldwide Publish What You Pay (PWYP) campaign. She observed the 2007 elections with SOMET. She helped organize the Asia Pacific PWYP workshop in Bali in August 2007, and in December joined civil society activities in parallel with the Bali UN Conference on Climate Change.
Guteriano joined La’o Hamutuk in June 2004, having previously worked for the Dili-based current affairs magazine, Talitakum. He is completing a degree at the University of Timor Leste in International Relations. Gute speaks Tetum, Bahasa Indonesia, English, Idate and some Portuguese. At La’o Hamutuk, Gute works on natural resources, budget monitoring and computer support, was a SOMET election observer, and participated in the Asia Pacific PWYP workshop in Bali. Guteriano left La’o Hamutuk in January 2008 because he received a scholarship to attend university in the USA.
Tibor is of Dutch and Hungarian origin and has been involved in development work in Indonesia since 1998 and Timor-Leste since 2001. Tibor studied science education and international development and speaks Dutch, English, Bahasa Indonesia and Tetum. Before joining La’o Hamutuk in December 2007 he worked for Timor Aid, Knua Buka Hatene (KBH) and the European Community. At La’o Hamutuk, Tibor focuses on economics and trade as well as natural resources.
Maxi was born in Seloi Karaik, Aileu district. He studied philosophy and theology in Major Seminary Dili for three years. Maxi joined La’o Hamutuk in June 2007, having previously worked as Editor and Coordinator of News Program in Radio Timor Kmanek (RTK). Maxi speaks Tetum, Mamba’e, Bahasa Indonesia and Portuguese, and is improving his English. Maxi works on agriculture, our radio program and governance, and was a SOMET election observer in 2007. In December, Maxi participated in civil society activities in Bali connected to the UN Climate Change conference.
Nug provided in-house training for La’o Hamutuk on issue development, research and organizational structure during January 2007, continuing work begun in 2006.
An engineer and long-time Timor-Leste solidarity activist, Charlie worked at La’o Hamutuk in Dili from August 2001 until April 2004. His work during that time was on the Bulletin, finances, justice, the UN, oil and gas, international activist networks, and foreign governments’ roles in Timor-Leste. During 2007, Charlie worked part-time for La’o Hamutuk from New York, and full-time in Dili from March through July and September through November. His main foci are natural resources and justice, as well as organizational support.
An Indonesian human rights activist, Selma has worked in Timor-Leste since 2001, including with Concern Worldwide, Care International, Oxfam GB. La’o Hamutuk (2003-2004), Oxfam Australia, NGO Forum and UNTAET. Previously she worked for Asia Monitor Resource Center in Hong Kong; and Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation. Now Selma works as a Political Affairs Officer in UNMIT, and is a member of Action Asia on Conflict Transformation based in Cambodia and the “Seidauk Iha Naran (there is no name yet)” literature group in Dili. She writes articles and poetry for various publications.
Joseph is the international coordinator of La’o Hamutuk. During 1999, he served in Dili as one of the coordinators of the IFET Observer Project, and had visited Timor-Leste three times previously. He volunteered as La’o Hamutuk staff in Dili during the summers of 2000, 2001 and 2005. Joe has written three books and numerous articles on Timor-Leste, including A Not-So Distant Horror: Mass Violence in East Timor, published in 2005. After teaching at the University of California in Los Angeles and Berkeley, Joe became a professor of geography at Vassar College, USA in 2003.
Justino da Silva was born in Hato-udo, Ainaro district. He is the team leader of the Advocacy Division of the Timor-Leste NGO Forum (Fongtil). Justino worked as facilitator for Civic Education in UNTAET and for the National Democratic Institute (NDI). He is actively involved in many civic education activities, research and advocacy conducted by Fongtil and its members.
Oscar da Silva was born in Uatu-karbau, Viqueque District, works as a consultant for UNDESA (UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs) and teaches Social Economics at the National University of Timor-Leste. He previously worked for Association HAK and HASATIL. He designed the Community Development Concept Plan and Community Action Plan which were implemented in Laclo (Manatuto District), Laulara (Aileu District) and Atauro (Dili District).
From the USA, Pamela has extensive experience in Indonesia and Timor-Leste. Pam lived in Yogyakarta, Indonesia for two years and speaks Indonesian fluently, as well as Tetum and Spanish. In 1999, she was U.S. coordinator for the IFET Observer Project, and observed the referendum in Suai. In May 2000, Pam helped set up La’o Hamutuk, and she served on our staff from 2000-2002, focusing on popular education, gender issues, and international exchanges. Pam returned to California in November 2002, from where she continues to support our work as a volunteer and a member of our board.
Adérito is a lawyer and human rights advocate. He was founding Director of Sah’e Institute for Liberation, and founded the Timor-Leste National Jurists Association. Born in Maliana, Timor-Leste, Adérito has served as director for ELSAM, a Jakarta-based human rights organization. Adérito co-authored a book on West Papua, and has written numerous articles on international law and human rights in Indonesia and Timor-Leste. In August 2001, Adérito was elected to Timor-Leste’s Constituent Assembly, where he chaired the committee on government structure, helping to write the Constitution. He later resigned from Parliament and did graduate legal studies at New York University. He returned to Dili in 2003 to undertake legal, writing and human rights projects. Since 2006, Adérito has been working on a Ph.D. at Australian National University.
The Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis (La’o Hamutuk)