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The following statement was signed by many national, regional and international organizations. Click here for the accompanying press release, for background information in English or Tetum, or to sign an English/Tetum petition supporting these goals.

Timor-Leste should remain debt-free.

8 September 2011

Timor-Leste tenke nafatin livru ho deve.

8 Setembru 2011

We, the undersigned Timor-Leste and international organizations, urge the government of Timor-Leste to keep the nation debt-free and refrain from borrowing money from international lenders.

We do not take this position to hold Timor-Leste back, but to protect its future generations. Rather than repeat the mistakes of other developing countries that have struggled with debt during recent decades, Timor-Leste should learn from their experiences, which often inflicted great hardships on their people. This is especially important because of Timor-Leste’s high dependence on exporting non-renewable oil and gas wealth, a resource which will run out soon.

More than thirty years ago, lenders made loans to developing countries, creating unsustainable debt and causing the "debt crises" of the 1980s and 1990s. Today, creditors continue to drain scarce resources that could have been spent on essential services like health care, education, water and sanitation. International financial institutions - like the IMF and the World Bank - forced countries which owed them money to implement so-called austerity measures, demanding cuts in public services in order to repay debt. This has included the privatization of state services like water and electricity. The poorest and most vulnerable members of society have been forced to pay more for essential services, and salaries of public servants have been lowered. Even when loans are made at concessional interest rates, borrowing countries are often legally obligated to prioritize debt payments above their people's needs.

Some argue that revenue from Timor-Leste’s oil and gas wealth can provide a cushion against which to borrow. History proves such thinking is wrong. The more oil a country produces and the greater its dependence on petroleum exports, the more debt that country is likely to accumulate – and Timor-Leste today is the most petroleum-export-dependent country in the world, with oil and gas providing 95% of state revenues. Oil prices and interest rates are very volatile and beyond Timor-Leste’s control, leaving it especially at risk, as petroleum revenues will decline and interest rates may rise while loans are still being paid back. When Timor-Leste's oil and gas run out in less than 15 years, and debts still must be repaid, Timor-Leste’s children and grandchildren will suffer the consequences.

In most developing countries with oil resources, worsening economic and development conditions with little long term benefit are the result, including increased conflict, impoverishment, and corruption. Timor-Leste should avoid such a tragedy by learning from other’s experiences, not repeating them.

The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste began life in 2002 without owing money to anyone. For the sake of an equitable, prosperous, and environmentally sound future for today’s and tomorrow’s children Timor-Leste should remain debt-free. We urge Timor-Leste’s leaders and international institutions to use other ways to finance the country’s much-needed development.

Ami ne’ebé asina iha karik, representa hosi organizasaun nasional no internasional, husu ba Governu Timór-Leste atu manteín nafatin Timór-Leste nudar nasaun ne’ebé livre hosi deve, no hases-an hosi deve osan hosi keditor internasional sira.

Ami foti pozisaun ne’e la’os atu lori dada fali Timór-Leste mai kotuk, maibé atu proteze ninia jerasaun futuru. Infez ita repete erru sira ne’ebé nasaun sub-dezenvolvida sira komete iha pasadu, iha ne’ebé sira luta ona durante dekade barak nia laran, Timór-Leste tenki aprende hosi esperiénsia hirak ne’e, ne’ebé dala barak lori naha todan ba sira nia emar sira. Ida ne’e importante tebes tanba Timór-Leste nia dependensia ba exportasaun riku soin mina no gas as tebes, no rekursu ida ne’e sei hotu iha tempo badak.

Tinan tolu nulu liu ba, kreditor sira fo tusan ba nasaun sub-dezenvolvido sira, kria deve ne’ebé la sustentavel no sai kauza ba “Krize Deve” iha dekade 1980 no dekade 1990. Ohin loron, kreditor sira kontinua atu foti hotu rekursu oit’oan ne’ebé bele uza lori fornese asistensia sosiáis hanesan saúde, edukasaun, be mós no saneamento. Instituisoens internasional – hanesan FMI no Banku Mundial – obriga nasaun sira ne’ebé tusan ba sira atu implementa saida mak sira bolu austerity measures, lori obriga nasaun sira ne’ebé deve ba sira atu hamenus asistensia publiku atu bele selu fila-fali sira nia tusan. Ida ne’e inklui mós privatizasaun ba asistensia estadu nian hanesan be mos no eletrisidade. Membro sosiedade ne’ebé vulneravel no kiak liu hetan obrigasaun atu selu asistensia sira ne’e barak liu no salariu offisiais publiku ne’ebé tun los. Maski deve ne’e nia funan ki’ik, nasaun ne’ebé deve dala barak iha obrigasaun legal atu fo prioridade liu atu selu fila fali tusan antes gastus ba nesesidade basiku nian.

Ema balu argumenta katak rendimentu hosi Timór-Leste nia mina no gas bele hamenus risku hirak hosi deve ne’e. Maibé istoria prova katak hanoin hanesan ne’e sala. Nasaun ida ne’ebé produz no depende ba exportasaun mina as liu, nasaun ne’e akumula tusan barak liu – no Timór-Leste ohin loron hanesan nasaun ho ninia dependensia ba exportasaun mina as liu iha mundu, e mina no gas fornese 95% hosi rendimentu estadu nian. Folin mina no ninia funan iha merkadu internasional muda hosi tempo ba tempo, no Timór-Leste labele kontrola situasaun ne’e. Situasaun ida ne’e hanesan risku boot ida, tanba rendimentu hosi petroleu sei tun no tusan nia funan karik sei sa’e wainhira ita sei selu hela tusan. Wainhira Timór-Leste nia mina no gas hotu iha menus de tinan 15 nia laran, no ita sei nafatin tenki selu fila fali tusan, ita nia oan no bei-oan sira sei sofre hosi konsekuensia hirak ne’e.

Iha nasaun sub-dezenvolvido ho rekursu mina, kondisaun ekonomia no dezenvolvimentu rezulta benefisiu ba tempo naruk ne’ebé oit’oan, inklui konflitu, kiak, no korupsaun. Timór-Leste tenki hases’an hosi trajedia ida ne’e hodi aprende hosi esperiensia nasaun seluk, e la’os atu repete erru sira ne’e.

Republika Demokratika de Timór-Leste komesa moris iha 2002 sim deve hosi ema seluk. Ho razaun justisa, prosperioudade no futuru ne’ebé diak liu ba oan sira ohin loron no iha futuru, ita presiza liu dalan seluk atu hetan osan ba dezenvolvimentu.

Sign a petition to support the goals of this statement.

Asina petisaun atu apoiu objektivu statement iha leten.

Facilitated by:

Timor-Leste Movimento Kontra Deve

East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN), USA

Signed by: as of 10 Sept. 2011.
If your group would like to sign, write to
Karik ita nia grupo hakarak asina, bele haruka email ba


Community Development Interest (CDI)

ETADEP (East Timor Development Action and Peace)

Farming Study Group (FSG)

Forum Lider Comunitario (FLC)

Forum NGO Timor-Leste (Fongtil)

Front Mahasiswa Timor-Leste

Fundasaun Mahein

Haburas Foundation

HAK Association

Hasatil (Haburas Agrikultura Sustentavel Timor-Leste)

Instituisaun Edukasaun Popular (IEP)

Kdadalak Sulimutu Institute (KSI)

Knua Haberan Comunidade (KHC)

La'o Hamutuk (Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis)

Mata Dalan Institute (MDI)

Movimentu Estudantes Fakuldade Ekonomia -Timor-Leste (MEFE-TL)

Ponta-Leste Watch (PLW)

International Organizations

Asian Regional Exchange for New Alternatives (ARENA)

Association of African Women for Research and Development (AAWORD)

CADTM International (Committee for the Cancellation of Third World Debt)

Coalition Against Trafficking in Women – Asia Pacific (CATW)

Focus on the Global South

Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space

IBON International

International Federation for East Timor (IFET)

International Platform of Jurists for East Timor (IPJET)

Jubilee South - Africa

Jubilee South - Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development

LDC Watch

Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA)

Peoples Movement on Climate Change

South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE)

Third World Network


Bangladesh Krishok Federation

Equity and Justice Working Group (EquityBD), Bangladesh

Nabodhara, Bangladesh

Resource Integration Centre, Bangladesh

SUPRO, Bangladesh

Arakan-Oilwatch, Burma

Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF), India

Civil Society Forum for Climate Justice, Indonesia

Imparsial, Indonesia

International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID)

JATAM (Jaringan Advokasi Tambang)/ Indonesia Mining Advocacy Network

JATAM/Friends of Earth (FoE) of East Java

Koalisi Anti Utang (Coalition Against Debt), Indonesia

KRUHA Indonesia

Pantau Foundation, Indonesia

Solidaritas Perempuan, Indonesia

Urban Poor Consortium, Indonesia

WALHI - Friends of The Earth Indonesia

ATTAC, Japan

Free East Timor Japan Coalition

Monitoring Sustainability of Globalisation (MSN) Malaysia

All Nepal Peasants' Federation (ANPFa)

Right to Food Network (RtFN), Nepal

Rural Reconstruction Nepal (RRN)

Jagaran Nepal

Aniban ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (AMA), Philippines

Freedom from Debt Coalition ­ Philippines

Freedom from Debt Coalition ­ Iloilo Chapter, Philippines

Freedom from Debt Coalition ­ Negros Chapter, Philippines

Freedom from Debt Coalition - Socsksargen Chapter, Philippines

Freedom from Debt Coalition ­ Western Mindanao Chapter, Philippines

Farmers Forum - South Cotabato, Philippines

Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE), Philippines

Kalimudan Culture and Arts Center ­ Mindanao, Philippines

KAISA ­ University of the Philippines Diliman, Philippines

Partido ng Manggagawa, Philippines

Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), Philippines

Sanlakas, Philippines

Sanlakas Youth, Philippines

Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan (SDK), Philippines

Youth for Nationalism and Democracy (YND), Philippines

Youth Against Debt (YAD), Philippines

Faith-based Congress Against Immoral Debts (FCAID), Philippines

WomanHealth Philippines

Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum

EARTH (Ecological Alert and Recovery Thailand)


Aidwatch, Australia

Australia East Timor Friendship Association SA Inc

Australians for a Free East Timor

Indonesian Solidarity, Australia

Jubilee Australia

Justice for Palestine Matters, Sydney, Australia

Hunter East Timor Sisters, Australia

Pax Christi Aotearoa-New Zealand


Foundation ProPapua, The Netherlands

Stg. Timor Lorosa’e Solidarity, The Netherlands

Vrij Oost Timor / Free East Timor Foundation (VOT), Utrecht, The Netherlands

Jubilee Scotland

Ecologistas en Acción, Spain

Observatorio de la Deuda en la Globalización, Spain

Ongd AFRICANDO Ingenio (Canary islands), Spain

Who owes whom? campaign / Campaña ¿Quién debe a Quién? - Spain

Swedish Association of Free Papua

Swedish East Timor Committee


Jubilee Debt Campaign, UK

Tapol, UK


DIALOGO 2000 (Argentina)

Proceso de Comunidades Negras (Palenke Alto Cauca), Colombia


Centre for Civil Society Economic Justice Project, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Jamaa Resource Initiatives, Kenya

African Forum for Alternatives

Worldview – The Gambia

Daughters of Mumbi Global Resource Center, Kenya

Kenya Debt Relief Network (KENDREN)

Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), Nigeria

African Alternatives, Senegal

Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC), South Africa

Trust for Community Outreach and Education (TCOE), South Africa


Friends of the Earth Canada

WestPAN (Canada's West Papua Action Network)

Baltimore Nonviolence Center, USA

Bank Information Center, USA

Campaign for Peace and Democracy, USA

Fellowship of Reconciliation USA

Friend of the Earth U.S.

Green Delaware

Institute on Religion and Public Policy, USA

Jubilee USA

Jubilee NW (USA)

Madison-Ainaro Sister-City Alliance, USA

Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, USA

Office of the Americas, USA

Oil Change International

Peace Resource Center of San Diego

The Philippine Workers Support Committee, USA

Sustainable Energy & Economy Network/Institute for Policy Studies, USA

Voices for Creative Nonviolence, USA

WESPAC Foundation

The Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis (La’o Hamutuk)
Institutu Timor-Leste ba Analiza no Monitor ba Dezenvolvimentu
Rua dos Martires da Patria, Bebora, Dili, Timor-Leste
P.O. Box 340, Dili, Timor-Leste
Tel: +670-3321040 or +670-77234330
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