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Lao Hamutuk Annual Report

Calendar Year 2002
Report written March 2003

PDF Format: English | Bahasa Indonesia

Table of Contents

I. Introduction

II. Overview of our work

III. Program Activities

IV. Plans for 2003

Appendix I: Financial Information

Appendix II: Bulletin Focus and Major Articles

Appendix III: Radio Programs and Public Meetings during 2002

Appendix IV: Staff and Executive Board Biographies

I. Introduction


La'o Hamutuk ("Walking Together" in English) is a hybrid East Timorese-international organization that monitors, analyzes, and reports on the principal international institutions present in Timor Lorosa'e (East Timor) as they relate to the physical, economic, and social reconstruction and development of the country. La'o Hamutuk believes that the people of East Timor must be the ultimate decision-makers in this process, which should be democratic and transparent. La'o Hamutuk is an independent organization and works to facilitate effective East Timorese participation in the reconstruction and development of the country. In addition, La'o Hamutuk works to improve communication between the international community and East Timorese society. Finally, La'o Hamutuk is a resource center, providing literature on development models, experiences, and practices, as well as facilitating solidarity links between East Timorese 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 East Timor -- United Nations agencies, international financial institutions, major donor governments, international businesses operating here, etc. Although this makes it more difficult to raise funds, it is essential to our role of providing objective analysis and criticism of those institutions. We rely on funding from private foundations, NGOs, governments of small countries, and individuals.

La'o Hamutuk was initiated by East Timorese activists asking for help in understanding and interacting with the multitude of international institutions which arrived in East Timor after the Indonesian military and militia violence of 1999. Working together, East Timorese activists and international solidarity activists started the organization in mid-2000.

From the beginning, La'o Hamutuk has tried to follow a model of equitable cooperation between East Timorese and foreign activists, setting an example not often seen in the United Nations or the foreign governments, international NGOs, or multilateral agencies operating here. Our collective staff structure, with everyone sharing responsibility equally, is virtually unknown here.

We are both a national (East Timorese) and international Non-Governmental Organization, participating in coalitions and networks with both types of NGOs -- a role unique in this country. Most of our materials are published both in English and Indonesian in order to be accessible to various constituencies; our radio program and popular education materials are in Tetum.

La'o Hamutuk's six East Timorese and three international staff have equal responsibilities, and receive equal pay and benefits. We are committed to gender balance and capacity-building among our staff, which currently includes four women and five men. Our Executive Board includes three East Timorese and one international, active in different sectors of East Timorese civil society.

La'o Hamutuk endeavors to involve interested individuals and organizations from throughout the world in its activities, and to draw on a variety of funding sources. We have dozens of experts -- development practitioners, human rights advocates, academics, and solidarity activists -- as an unofficial, global advisory board through an internet discussion group. Our website includes materials in English, Indonesian, Tetum, Portuguese and Japanese, and is used as a reference for people both in East Timor and around the world.

Situational Background

East Timor, a small half-island between Indonesia and Australia, was colonized by Portugal from the 1500s until 1975, except for three years of devastating Japanese military occupation during World War II. In 1975, as Portugal prepared to withdraw, Indonesia invaded with support from Australia and the United States. A then-impotent United Nations protested but did nothing, and the Indonesian military occupation, met with guerrilla resistance from a few and civilian resistance from almost everyone continued for 24 years, taking 200,000 lives, one-third of the pre-invasion population. After the collapse of the Suharto dictatorship in 1998, Indonesia allowed the United Nations to conduct a referendum in East Timor. Undeterred by a campaign of terror organized by the Indonesian military, 98% of East Timor's voters went to the polls on August 30, 1999, voting 78% for independence from Indonesia. In the three weeks before international forces arrived, Indonesia's military and their East Timorese militia proxies devastated the country, destroying 75% of the building and infrastructure, and displacing about 75% of the people to the mountains or to Indonesian West Timor.

From the end of 1999 until mid-2002, the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) ruled as a benevolent dictatorship, headed by Brazilian Sergio Vieira de Mello. More than two billion U.S. dollars was spent to rebuild the territory and prepare it for independence, although most of that money didn't stay here. In 2001, elections were held for a Constituent Assembly, which wrote a constitution. Resistance leader Xanana Gusmão was elected President in April 2002, and the Constituent Assembly, with an absolute Fretilin majority, because East Timor's Parliament. Although some progress was made in reconstruction, economic development, creating administrative procedures, and inventing democratic structures during UNTAET, huge tasks were left to the new government, as described in the May 2002 La'o Hamutuk Bulletin.

East Timor became the first new independent nation of the millennium on 20 May 2002, with sovereignty passing from the United Nations to East Timor's elected government and parliament under the newly-written constitution. Many of the emergency and aid organizations have now left, but foreign governments, international financial institutions, and multinational corporations continue to play a major role in East Timor. International advisors and trainers are pervasive in government; the current UN mission (UNMISET), although scaled down, is still responsible for key sectors; and foreign agencies are ubiquitous.

Thus far, the international community achieved many successes in trying to reconstruct East Timor as it struggles to recover from almost 24 years of terror. Despite glaring failures by the international community to achieve accountability for the architects of East Timor's devastation, most people are getting on with their lives. However, approximately 30,000 East Timorese refugees remain in Indonesia (230,000 have returned), many unable to return home due to misinformation or intimidation. Within East Timor, unemployment stands at more than 75%; many of the buildings and homes destroyed in 1999 have not yet been rebuilt; and the judicial, educational and other government systems are barely functioning.

During the first year of political independence (July 2002-June 2003), public expenditures for East Timor are projected to be US$266 million, with more than two-thirds spent directly by foreign agencies, bypassing East Timor government processes. Of the $85 million projected to be spent by the East Timor government, about 40% will come from foreign donors, mediated through a World Bank-controlled financing mechanism. Foreign companies control the electronic media, the oil industry (which is key to East Timor's economic independence), telecommunications and other key sectors.

Initially, La'o Hamutuk perceived our mission to coincide with the transitional period while East Timor was governed by international institutions. In this era of globalization, we have realized that powerful international forces will continue to pressure East Timor for the indefinite future, and that the East Timorese people continue to need and want the information and monitoring we provide. Our radio program reaches the entire nation; our Bulletin has a circulation as large as any publication here; our global connections have no parallel in East Timor. People in East Timorese civil society, government, and international agencies tell us that La'o Hamutuk's work continues to very important, and we now expect the organization to continue for many years.

Goals and Objectives

The major roles played by international institutions in East Timor have unavoidably created many misunderstandings and lack of communication both among the East Timorese people and among the many foreigners working here. The East Timorese people, colonized and occupied for centuries, have only been dealing with these institutions since 1999. At the same time, thousands of international civil servants, consultants, soldiers, police, "volunteers" and "experts" have relocated to a country most of them had hardly heard of three years ago. Consequently, rumors and confusion abound in the mélange of languages, backgrounds, education, cultures and work experiences that exists in today's East Timor.

The principal objective of La'o Hamutuk is to increase the East Timorese people's level of knowledge about, and effective participation in, the reconstruction and development of their country. We are implementing this with the following Strategic Goals:

  1. To monitor, analyze and provide information on the reconstruction process and the broader development of East Timor, and to help make that process and development more just and responsive to East Timorese needs and desires.

  2. To empower East Timorese to more effectively participate in the development process.

  3. To facilitate relationships between East Timorese and the international solidarity network to provide information on alternative development models.

  4. To increase communication between East Timorese and international institutions and donors.

  5. To advocate for improvements in transparency, economic and social justice, human rights and democracy.

  6. To strengthen La'o Hamutuk's internal organization.

II. Overview of Our Work

La'o Hamutuk investigates, primarily through interviews and documents, the activities, histories, and priorities of the international agencies active here, and reports on them in ways accessible to the East Timorese public. Through our Bulletin (a periodic publication with in-depth analytical articles and editorials), Surat Popular (popular education-oriented, illustrated pamphlets for those with less formal education), radio programs and public meetings, we provide information to the East Timorese people. At the same time, the English edition of our Bulletin, together with our web site, email list and other media, help internationals in East Timor and around the world better understand what their colleagues are doing here, and how the East Timorese people perceive them.

La'o Hamutuk also helps the people of East Timor hold international institutions accountable. This involves advocating for transparency and clarity about their activities, as well as creating channels for grassroots people to communicate with these institutions. Every Bulletin includes editorials which represent East Timorese civil society perspectives. We also hold frequent public meetings, where decision-makers in international institutions meet with East Timorese activists to explain what they do, answer questions, and listen to concerns. La'o Hamutuk is an active participant in many Working Groups and coalitions of East Timorese Church and civil society organizations, which do research and advocacy on subjects such as justice, women's rights and constitution-building. We facilitate exchanges and study tours between East Timorese activists and their counterparts in other countries.

Throughout our work, our staff shares skills and expertise. The East Timorese and the internationals who work at La'o Hamutuk learn from each other, increasing our capacities for the future. Since the internationals have had more opportunities for formal education, research and above-ground activism, the East Timorese can increase their effectiveness as advocates and citizens in this phase of their history. The internationals also learn from their East Timorese colleagues about East Timor's history and culture, and about how to adapt foreign styles of working and communicating to be more effective in East Timor and elsewhere.

Accomplishments during 2002

In our first thirty months, we have significantly improved the understanding among civil society of many of the international organizations here. We have also helped the internationals better understand East Timorese perspectives. In addition to our printed materials, La'o Hamutuk staffers are frequently consulted by journalists, researchers, other activists and staff of international institutions. We are widely seen as a source of objective, analytical information which is hard to obtain elsewhere -- and one which strives to view this information from the perspective and interests of East Timorese civil society.

La'o Hamutuk has been heavily involved with East Timorese NGOs, who often look to us for support and leadership. Our staff participates in various local coalitions, including the Working Group on Gender and the Constitution, the NGO Constitutional Working Group, and projects relating to justice and donors conferences. In recognition of our expertise and leadership, La'o Hamutuk staffers have often been chosen to represent the NGO community in international conferences:

We are also part of the network of international NGOs working in East Timor, participating in their meetings and discussions. Our perspective often reflects that of the East Timorese we work with. For example, we often differ from the larger international NGOs in our consistent advocacy for the need to respect East Timorese NGO decision-making and on whether internationals working here should pay wage tax.

La'o Hamutuk's ties with international experts and activists extend beyond East Timor. Many of our staff have extensive contacts with people who have studied, worked on, or experienced development, transitional government, popular education or other related issues in other countries. We are able to draw upon these resources by facilitating visits by such people to East Timor or asking them to write articles or provide input for our Bulletin, thereby giving East Timorese the opportunity to hear perspectives other than those employed by international agencies operating here. In addition, La'o Hamutuk operates an email list where these issues can be discussed by dozens of concerned and informed people around the world.

In East Timor, much activity is centered in the capital Dili, whose population has nearly doubled since 1999 but is still less than 25% of this country's people. The districts outside Dili have limited communication and transportation, so non-Dili people are often excluded from decision-making. As part of our efforts to overcome this disparity, La'o Hamutuk distributes our information throughout East Timor.

III. Program Activities

The largest part of our staff time and attention goes into investigation and monitoring the international institutions active in East Timor. The findings from that research are conveyed and reported through several media and programs, as described below.

During 2002, a major focus of our investigation was the bilateral aid programs of the United States, China, Japan, Portugal, Australia and others. We did extensive research and advocacy on Timor Sea oil and gas issues in coordination with OilWatch and local and Australian NGOs, and on the transition from UNTAET rule to independence. We continued monitoring World Bank Projects here, and explored and educated on the implications of East Timor joining the World Bank Group and on the fiscal policies and controls the Bank applies to East Timor. Justice for East Timor and gender equality were also priorities for our work.

Our investigatory reports, our statements on tax responsibility and the 4 December disorder, and our reports on Timor Sea oil brought important issues to public light. This work is covered extensively in local and international media, receives much positive feedback, and often significantly changed the scope of public discussion.

Many of the activities listed below are means to disseminate the information from our investigations and monitoring (Bulletin, Surat Popular, Radio program, public meetings). Through our activities, we build alliances with other organizations. The information we collect helps us advocate for more equitable processes and for economic and social justice.


La'o Hamutuk conducts research into the programs and operations of international institutions here, in the historical and global context of their work. Our findings are published in the La'o Hamutuk Bulletin, which is published approximately every six weeks in English (circulation 1,000) and Tetum and/or Indonesian (circulation 2,500; larger than either East Timorese daily newspaper) and is distributed at no charge.

We published eight Bulletins in 2002, ranging from 12 to 24 pages. Each has a main topic and a few other articles, "in brief" news items, and editorials. Articles are usually written by La'o Hamutuk staff researchers, and occasionally by East Timorese specialists or international experts relating the experience of other countries. Appendix II lists the main focus and major articles of each Bulletin.

We distribute the bulletin nationally to schools, churches, government offices, and international and local NGOs throughout East Timor with help from district-based organizations. Within Dili, we distribute to embassies, the World Bank, ADB and IMF, central government offices, hotels, restaurants, libraries, and other public places. The Bulletin is also circulated by email and posted on our website, where it is read by UN staffers throughout East Timor and interested people around the world.

Radio Programs and Public Meetings

Radio is the most effective medium for conveying information to the East Timorese people. Given the high illiteracy rate and limited access to print media outside of Dili, most people in the districts rely on radio for information, and our program helps experts and activists with diverse knowledge share their information with the larger community. For the last two years, La'o Hamutuk has produced an hour-long program on Radio Timor Leste and its predecessor Radio UNTAET, with more than 60 aired so far. The program, which features La'o Hamutuk staff interviewing knowledgeable guests, is broadcast in Tetum or Indonesian Saturday afternoons in every district in East Timor.

Approximately once a month, La'o Hamutuk organizes a public meeting, inviting people from local NGOs and others. These meetings feature local or international specialists, speaking and answering questions about their areas of expertise. The discussion between members of civil society and people with knowledge usually accessible only to "experts" or those inside the system helps to break down the cultural and information barriers that separate the East Timorese people from those who govern them. La'o Hamutuk staffers are often asked to give presentations to conferences or trainings.

Appendix III lists the radio programs and public meetings La'o Hamutuk produced during 2002, and a few of the presentations we have given.

Popular Education

"Popular education" describes a philosophy and methodology of community organizing in which all people are both teachers and students, working together for social justice and freedom from exploitation. Since a large portion of East Timor's population has not received the benefits of formal education, popular education techniques are among the most effective ways to communicate, thereby empowering people to participate in East Timor's political and development processes.

Surat Popular

La'o Hamutuk publishes a 'People's Page,' the Surat Popular, a four- to eight-page illustrated Tetum publication which aims to bring our work to the grassroots of the country with language and concepts accessible to people without much formal education. The publication is a tool for popular educators and community organizers to present complicated issues in a simple form to grassroots communities and to spark discussions that value the rich knowledge of all East Timorese people. Each Surat Popular includes questions to help spark discussion.

5,000 copies of each issue are circulated throughout East Timor through La'o Hamutuk's own networks and the National Network of Popular Educators (Dai Popular - see below). During 2002, La'o Hamutuk staff went into several rural communities to refine the use of the Surat Popular as a discussion tool, and to demonstrate this use to local community organizers.

The four Surat Popular published during 2002 (and others earlier) can be downloaded from La'o Hamutuk's web site. They discuss:

Intercambios (Exchanges)

As a joint East Timorese-international organization with strong ties with East Timor's international solidarity network, La'o Hamutuk is well positioned to coordinate international exchanges between East Timorese activists and development workers, educators, and activists from other countries. These south-to-south exchanges help to build and strengthen solidarity relationships and broaden discussions of development models.

Brazil and Popular Education

In September 2000, La'o Hamutuk helped sponsor two Brazilian popular educators who came to East Timor for a month. The following June, La'o Hamutuk and the Brazilian group EQUIP (Escola de Formação Quilombo dos Palmares) organized seven East Timorese women and four East Timorese men to go to northeastern Brazil for five weeks to learn about popular education. After their return, La'o Hamutuk worked with them to publish a pamphlet, Memoria/Hanoin kona ba Edukasaun Popular iha Brasil.

In January 2002, La'o Hamutuk helped organize a three-day meeting where the participants in this exchange discussed what they had learned -- and the East Timorese Popular Educators' Network (Dai Popular) was formed. Now including 26 East Timorese organizations, the Dai Popular is a national network to develop popular education as a tool for democratization and social transformation. La'o Hamutuk is active in the Dai Popular's Central Committee, and assisted with financial management until the network hired its own staff. La'o Hamutuk continues to work in coordination with the other active members to strengthen and develop this important network.

Nicaragua and Gender-based Violence

Gender-based violence is endemic in East Timor, and La'o Hamutuk, together with NGOs and women's groups, developed the idea of bringing trainers from Nicaragua to East Timor, using a feminist popular education approach in an effort to educate and involve more men in gender equality work. Unless these critical issues are addressed, women's participation in planning, implementing and benefiting from East Timor's development will continue to be seriously limited.

In March and April 2002, La'o Hamutuk brought Madlyn West of the Nicaraguan Women's Network against Violence and Ruben Reyes of the Nicaraguan Association of Men Against Violence and Puntos de Encuentro to East Timor for five weeks. Working with the East Timorese NGOs and the Dai Popular, they conducted week-long workshops on "Gender, power, violence and social change" in Dili, Baucau and Oecusse. The workshops included equal numbers of men and women, representing eight of East Timor's 13 districts. La'o Hamutuk is publishing a book Memoria Intercambio Nicaragua-Timor Lorosa'e.

The exchange and a follow-up workshop sparked the formation of the East Timorese Association of Men Against Violence (Assosiasaun Mane Kontra Violensia) and a National Movement Against Violence (including a dozen organizations). The AMKV has been holding grassroots discussions in the districts since July, has written several articles for local newspapers, and established an office in December. AMKV and the government are discussing how to incorporate gender issues and domestic violence in school curricula and legislation.

Globalization and International Financial Institutions

As East Timor becomes politically independent, its economic independence is precarious in this era of globalization and international financial institutions. Shortly after 20 May, East Timor joined the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank Group, and the Asian Development Bank. La'o Hamutuk continues to provide information on these critical issues from experts around the world, and to help East Timorese better understand the risks and compromises that come with them.

The World Social Forum II was held in Porto Alegre, Brazil in February 2002. Ten East Timorese attended the Forum in a delegation which was organized by Oxfam Australia. The delegation included Thomas Freitas of La'o Hamutuk, who presented a paper on the role of international financial institutions during East Timor's transition to independence.

Thomas Freitas was a founding member of the Dili-based Study Group on the World Bank and IMF (Kelompok Kajian Bank Dunia/IMF) which brings together activists interested in learning more and developing together a strategy for collective action. The Study Group held a seminar in October to build a dialogue between government officials, international financial institution officials, and NGO activists throughout the country. It has also been building links with Bangkok-based Focus on the Global South, facilitating meetings with Shalmali Guttal when she visited East Timor.

La'o Hamutuk was asked by exiled members of the democratic movement in Burma about the role of IFIs and the aid industry here, and we helped send a presentation to their conference in northern Thailand. We have also had numerous discussions on our and others' radio programs about these issues, and are in dialogue with the World Bank about how to improve their programs in East Timor.

Petroleum Development and East Timor's Future

The single factor which will have the most impact on East Timor's economic future is the oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea between Australia and East Timor. The two countries have continued negotiating agreements to share these resources, but the currently proposed agreement, like its predecessors negotiated by Indonesia and the U.N. transitional government, gives Australia an unfair proportion of East Timor's natural resources. La'o Hamutuk has analyzed these issues in depth, and we believe that about 60% of East Timor's legal entitlement would go to Australia under the Timor Sea Treaty which the two countries signed on Independence Day.

We have continued to follow this issue, publishing many articles in our Bulletin, five in local newspapers, participating in international conferences, consulting with international experts (including hosting a meeting in Dili with New Zealander international law professor Dr. Roger S. Clark). Our work has been a valuable resource and reference for others trying to learn about this complex issue.

Together with other East Timorese NGOs, La'o Hamutuk initiated weekly public discussions on issues relating to petroleum resources, and wrote a letter to East Timor's parliament about the proposed Timor Sea Treaty. These activities have developed into the Independent Information Center on the Timor Sea (CIITT), an NGO coalition which held a series of "audiences" with high East Timorese government and community leaders to discuss their concerns. CIITT also organized a seminar in Suai (on East Timor's south coast, near the oil fields) to bring information about these issues to the public.

In late May, La'o Hamutuk invited and facilitated a short visit to East Timor by two experts from the OilWatch network, Esperanza Martinez from Ecuador and Hemantha Withenage from Sri Lanka. OilWatch includes organizations from tropical forest, oil producing countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, who work to counter the negative environmental, political, social, economic and human rights effects of the petroleum industry. Esperanza and Hemantha described experiences in other southern countries with petroleum development and what can be done, and their visit helped broaden East Timorese attention to petroleum beyond only the money that it will bring to East Timor. La'o Hamutuk featured the issues explained by OilWatch in our July Bulletin. Following their visit, Adriano do Nascimento and Charlie Scheiner of La'o Hamutuk attended a regional meeting of Oil Watch in Denpasar, Indonesia. The exchange with OilWatch followed on and strengthened La'o Hamutuk's continuing work on petroleum development in the Timor Sea, and laid the basis for future networking between people grappling with similar issues around the world. La'o Hamutuk has joined OilWatch, and we are exploring ways to work together in the future.

In June, La'o Hamutuk staffer Adriano do Nascimento represented the CIITT at a petroleum industry conference in Darwin, Australia. (Adriano was the only East Timorese who attended the South East Asia Australia Offshore Conference (SEAAOC) as a participant, although Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri gave a keynote address and then left). SEAAOC focused on regional offshore technology development, especially the Timor Sea. While in Darwin, Adriano met with Australian government offices and organizations concerned with oil-related issues including labor, the environment, and solidarity with East Timorese civil society. In August, Adriano and a few other East Timorese activists went to Darwin for a discussion initiated by the Australian Council of Trade Unions about equitable participation for East Timorese and Australian workers in the oil industry in the Timor Sea.

Between July and October, the Australian Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Treaties gathered submissions (testimony) and held hearings on the Timor Sea Treaty. La'o Hamutuk's submission, as well as the one we wrote on behalf of CIITT, provided valuable information to Parliamentarians and were frequently quoted in the Committee's minority report and on the floor of Parliament. In early October, La'o Hamutuk's Adriano do Nascimento and two other East Timorese activists journeyed to Darwin yet again to testify in person at the Committee's invitation.

We also wrote four extensive opinion articles for the East Timorese daily newspaper Suara Timor Lorosa'e, and provided information to countless journalists and activists in East Timor, Australia, and around the world. In addition to the 26 pages of Bulletin articles we published on Timor Sea issues during 2002, La'o Hamutuk began compiling a CD-ROM reference volume with a wide range of information on this subject, which we will publish in early 2003.

Independence Day Celebrations

On 20 May 2002, East Timor became independent. This historic event, attended by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and heads of state from around the world, also drew many international activists who had supported East Timor's struggle over the last quarter-century. As a bridge between East Timorese civil society and international activists and organizations, La'o Hamutuk was extremely busy during this time, often working together with the International Federation for East Timor (IFET). Among the activities we organized or helped organize were the following:

  • Wrote an overview of the challenges facing East Timor after the UNTAET transitional administration -- an eight-page section of the May Special Independence Issue of our Bulletin.

  • Hosted an Open House for visiting international solidarity activists every afternoon during the week before independence. East Timorese and international activists gathered at La'o Hamutuk to meet each other, discuss various issues, and plan activities.

  • Organized an informal Solidarity Dinner for local and visiting activists, including some who have become East Timor government officials, which drew more than 100 people.

  • Coordinated, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for solidarity activists to participate as honored guests at the main independence day festivities at Tacitolu. We distributed guest passes to more than a hundred people, mostly international but also some East Timorese, who had been strong advocates and workers for East Timor's independence.

  • Organized, together with other East Timorese and international organizations, peaceful demonstrations to protest Australia's theft of East Timor's oil resources and Indonesia's continuing repression in Aceh and West Papua.

  • Convened, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a 22 May conference on "The Role of International Solidarity in an Independent East Timor." The conference was addressed by Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, President Xanana Gusmão, Foreign Minister José Ramos-Horta, East Timorese activist Bella Galhos, and IFET Secretary (and La'o Hamutuk staffer) Charles Scheiner, and involved more than 120 participants in lively discussions.

  • The following day, La'o Hamutuk organized and facilitated a meeting for East Timorese Civil Society and International Solidarity. East Timorese activists were able to express their needs and priorities to international activists, continuing an exchange of views which developed into the editorial in our July Bulletin.

Other issues

During 2002, La'o Hamutuk did in-depth investigations of bilateral aid to East Timor. Our Bulletins featured cover-page reports about aid from the United States, Japan, Portugal and Australia, and each report gave an overview of the country's projects and priorities here, as well as an exploration and analysis of the area of aid which each country sees as the most important.

On the area of justice and reconciliation, we reported on efforts to secure justice for the Indonesian military officials who committed crimes against humanity in East Timor during 1999 and before. As a founding member of the National Alliance for Justice, La'o Hamutuk has joined other East Timorese NGOs in lobbying the United Nations, East Timor's officials, and foreign governments not to allow the generals to escape with impunity. We also explored new agreements between East Timor's government and the United States and the United Nations which grant impunity to certain foreigners in East Timor, and undercut the International Criminal Court. As this a topic of global interest, La'o Hamutuk continues to provide information and analysis to international journalists and activists, including the International Federation for East Timor (IFET). We also began an investigation into problems in the judicial system here, trying to identify which of those problems could be attributed to or helped by international institutions, but the situation was too complex, and the responsibility too diffuse, for us to write a report that focused only on international responsibility.

Toward the end of 2002, we began exploring the role of the international police and peacekeeping forces in providing security for East Timor's population, and the effectiveness of transfer of responsibility to and training for East Timorese agencies which will take over these responsibilities. This investigation is ongoing and will be reported on during 2003. Many of the legal documents and agreements on these topics, such as agreements between East Timor's government and the UN mission on the legal responsibilities and authority of UN police and military personnel, are inexplicably kept secret. La'o Hamutuk is looking at how to make them accessible to the public.

In March 2002, La'o Hamutuk was leaked documents showing that UN Headquarters in New York had been pressuring the UN Transitional Government in East Timor to allow a British-owned floating hotel to refuse to pay $750,000 in service taxes, although such taxes were due under regulations enacted by the UNTAET government here. The core issue was whether foreign companies would be given tax exceptions by the UN, overriding East Timor's government. After confirming and updating the information, La'o Hamutuk held a press conference in front of Amos W. floating hotel in Dili, where we distributed a statement, "Can the Rule of Law Prevail? Pressure from UNHQ Exacerbates Amos W. Tax Controversy." This event, and the issues it raised, were covered widely by local and international media. Two months later, UNTAET head Sergio Vieira de Mello followed instructions from the Secretary-General and exercised his absolute power, overruling East Timor's government and Revenue Service and allowing the Amos W. to leave without paying its taxes.

On 4 December, a student demonstration against the arrest of a classmate was escalated and manipulated, resulting in two deaths, and the burning of the Prime Minister's home and a few other carefully selected buildings. Inflammatory reports in international media proclaimed widespread rioting and the worst violence since 1999. (The latter is true, because East Timor has been remarkably peaceful since 1999, but the disorder was neither random nor widespread, but carefully managed.) Two days later, La'o Hamutuk's press release "Disorder in East Timor: The International Community Must Accept Responsibility" explained the underlying economic and political conditions which created the context for the violence. We also pointed out that the UN failed to fulfill its legal responsibility for security, and encouraged East Timorese and UN authorities to explain the truth about what happened. (Three months later, no reports have been released from the several official investigations begun in December.)

Resource Center and Library

La'o Hamutuk has a small library about international institutions, bilateral and multilateral aid, and development in general, including books and videos, several file cabinets of documents, and other documents in electronic form about. These materials are resources for our staff, and are also available to others -- East Timorese and internationals -- who wish to learn more about these issues. La'o Hamutuk's resource center and library carries books and documents in English, Indonesian, Portuguese and Tetum on topics including international development theory and practice, international aid, globalization, East Timorese history and culture, and case studies from other countries relating to these topics. Our resource center also includes locally published newspapers and magazines such as the Timor Post, Suara Timor Lorosa'e, Talitakum, Verde, and Cidadaun. Several university professors regularly send their students to La'o Hamutuk to use our library.

During 2002, we worked to systematize these resources, categorizing and cataloguing our books. We are expanding our selection of books in Portuguese and Indonesian. We are facilitating the translation of East Timor: 500 Years into Bahasa Indonesia by the Sa'he Institute for Liberation.

La'o Hamutuk continues to sell a few books on East Timor and international development issues. While we make a little money from this activity, its main purpose is to help internationals working here learn about East Timor. Most of the books we sell come from the Australia-East Timor Association in Melbourne.

In addition to our physical resources, La'o Hamutuk shares its human resources and expertise. We are often interviewed by local or visiting journalists and students, and frequently write articles for publication in local newspapers.

Working in Dili and in the Districts

La'o Hamutuk's primary office continues to be in the Farol District of Dili, sharing building space with two other local NGOs: Sa'he Institute for Liberation and the Legal Aid Association of Ukun Rasik An. Until March 2002, we provided free space to the Judicial System Monitoring Program (JSMP) which subsequently moved to a larger office. La'o Hamutuk's office, while small for our growing staff, has been ideal in terms of proximity to other partner NGOs and access to visitors.

In late 2001, La'o Hamutuk opened a field office in Baucau, in the eastern part of the country. Our goals were to better disseminate information to grassroots communities and to involve local communities more in our monitoring work. Our two staff in their modest office coordinated activities focusing on the four eastern districts (Lautem, Viqueque, Baucau and Manatuto). This office also coordinated the Nicaragua Exchange, the production and use of the Surat Popular, and coordination with the Dai Popular.

From January to June, La'o Hamutuk/Baucau carried out meetings with local and international organizations, local and foreign government representatives, community leaders, and grassroots organizations in the eastern districts. We discussed La'o Hamutuk's work and concerns from communities relating to international institutions. Based on these meetings, we carried out investigations on United Nation's Civilian Police (CivPol) activities, the World Bank's Community Empowerment Project, and Portuguese government aid to East Timor. Because of our work in the East, we were able to fully involve community groups from these districts in the Nicaragua Exchange and have developed strong organizational ties for the future.

Despite these successes, the office faced various challenges. Some of these challenges reflect the reality of life outside of Dili: infrequent electricity; limited water, no phone access except at the Baucau airport outside of town; no mail service, and limited access to central government and international institutions. We found it difficult to communicate and coordinate between our Dili and Baucau offices. We also found that La'o Hamutuk's work on grassroots education and empowerment was not being integrated into all of our programs, but instead the Baucau office became the focus of our district work.

After long consideration, our staff and board decided to close the Baucau office by September, while maintaining the close ties we have made in the eastern districts. We decided not to open other district offices, preferring to work closely with existing organizations in all districts, discussing mechanisms to increase and strengthen this network. We also reaffirmed our commitment to integrate district work throughout La'o Hamutuk's investigations and activities, and the importance of all staff working at times outside of Dili, where more than 75% of East Timorese live.

Strategic Assessment

At the end of September 2002, La'o Hamutuk held a two-day Strategy Assessment Retreat, involving our staff, Executive Board, and people we work closely with or who represent constituencies we try to serve. We reviewed the Strategy Plan we had made in 2001 and revised in early 2002, and evaluated our activities and programs. We received valuable input from our colleagues, reaffirming our basic direction and programs. We also discussed adjustments to our programs and internal structure, and set priorities and staff assignments for the next six months.

There was consensus about continuing La'o Hamutuk's mission and fundamental principles, as well as our major program areas. We also decided to undertake an assessment of our readership and listenership to make our materials more useful, and to improve the accessibility of our publications and radio program. We also identified gender sensitivity, in-service training, and Executive Board development as key areas requiring more attention. Following the retreat, several staffers formed a committee to revise our internal decision-making process, given that our size has more than doubled, and their recommendations were adopted by the staff collective in October.

III. Plans for 2003

We spent our first thirty months developing a capable staff and effective programs and internal administration. Although these areas will continue to improve, our basic programs work well and will continue.

Our personnel level will remain at around ten, although we may add one or two if we find exceptional people, and we will replace staffers who leave. We hope to continue to use experienced volunteers, both in East Timor and around the world. Appendix IV profiles our staff and board.

In-service training for staff will be increased during the coming year. Our current in-house classes in English and computer skills will expand, and we plan to organize additional training in research, editing, design/layout, budgeting, popular education and radio production. We are also documenting and improving our methodology of investigation, and involving more staff members in discussions of research in process.

We are undertaking major improvements to our radio program for 2003, including editing, and radio drama production. Working together with an East Timorese community radio station (Radio Rakambia) we will pre-record and edit each weekly program, increasing its quality, flexibility, and ability to convey information. We will incorporate popular participation through vox populi, with people's questions recorded in advance and then played for the interviewee to answer. In addition, we will work with a local theatrical production group (Bibi Bulak) to write, perform and broadcast radio plays about our issues. Both Bibi Bulak and Radio Rakambia have agreed to train La'o Hamutuk staffers, so that we will eventually be able to produce high-quality, creative radio programs on our own.

We plan to increase our capacity for effective work by enlarging our office to provide adequate workspace, or by moving to a larger building. In addition, we will purchase motorcycles and computers to replace some of the donated cast-offs which have served us intermittently over the past two years.

During 2003, we expect to publish at least eight Bulletins and four Surat Populars, conduct ten public meetings, and broadcast more than 40 radio programs. We also plan to assess the needs, desires and capabilities of our readers and listeners, and improve the usefulness, production quality and accessibility of our materials and programming.

In addition, we will increase our activities outside of Dili, with more frequent travel to all districts and closer collaboration with organizations there. Although we no longer plan satellite offices in the districts, we intend to spend more time teaching and learning from people in rural communities.

For 2003, our highest priorities for investigation and monitoring are as follows. In each of these areas, we will analyze impacts on gender and power relations.

  • International Financial Institutions. East Timor joined the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and Asian Development Bank a month after becoming independent; they continue to implement programs here and exercise control over East Timor's government expenditures and policies. Our first Bulletin of 2003 highlights the ADB and its microcredit program. We will continue to participate in the local Study Group on International Financial Institutions, and work with Focus on the Global South, the World and Asian Social Fora, and other local and international networks working for sustainable, people-centered economic development.

  • Bilateral aid to East Timor, especially from the United States, Japan, Portugal, Australia, and the European Union. East Timor will rely on these donors for a large portion of its public budget for several more years, and their activities, priorities, programs and projects require continued monitoring.

  • International companies and markets. East Timor is heavily import-dependent, but its export capabilities are primarily limited to coffee. In addition, foreign banks, telephone companies, hotel operators, construction businesses, petroleum companies, and other private corporations are coming to East Timor. East Timor's foreign investment laws are embryonic, and regulation of powerful transnational corporations will be difficult, requiring awareness and vigilance from civil society. Related issues, such as imports substituting for locally-made products, trafficking in illegal migrant workers, and protection of workers from foreign exploitation will also require attention. Except for coffee, this is a new area for La'o Hamutuk.

  • Natural Resources (oil and gas). Beginning in 2004, revenues from the oil and natural gas in East Timor's Exclusive Economic Zone will provide the foreign exchange and the resources to allow this nation to enjoy true independence. But maximizing East Timor's return and minimizing collateral damage will be difficult, given the competing interests of multinational oil companies, the Australian government, and the promoters of private profit over public services. La'o Hamutuk will continue to pay close attention to these issues. During 2003, we will publish the La'o Hamutuk OilWeb CDROM. We also intend to organize a group of leaders from East Timorese civil society to visit West Africa to learn about the effects of the oil industry there.
Our second-tier investigation priorities are the following:
  • United Nations. The United Nations Mission in Support of East Timor (UNMISET), as well as other UN agencies, continue to play a major role in East Timor, especially in areas of police, military, fiscal administration and justice. As we have for the past two years, La'o Hamutuk will research the mandates and performance of these institutions, and help explain them to the people they ostensibly serve.

  • Justice and reconciliation. East Timorese victims of 24 years of internationally-supported Indonesian crimes against humanity continue to demand justice, although processes in Jakarta and Dili have not held the perpetrators accountable. We will continue to monitor these processes, as well as developments relating to an international tribunal, refugee return, and reconciliation within East Timorese society, and to advocate for justice.

  • East Timor's relations with Indonesia and Australia. As East Timor's independence develops, its economic, resource, transportation and security concerns will necessarily be intertwined with its two much larger neighbors, who have historically undermined East Timorese sovereignty. We will monitor the establishment of East Timor's land and sea borders, and examine negotiations, migration and trade across them.

  • Militarization and security. East Timor's nascent defense forces receive support from foreign governments, often outside the purview of East Timor's democratic process, and their activities are at the margins of established law. We will investigate the influence of overseas pressures on military policies here, and monitor the evolving security responsibilities and relationships between civil society, international civilian police (CivPol) and military (PKF), and the East Timorese government's police and military forces.

  • East Timor's relations with Portuguese-speaking countries. Portugal, Mozambique and other countries in the Lusophone Community (CPLP) are providing significant aid, training and personpower to East Timor, especially in the education and judicial sectors. We will monitor this, and explore whether this assistance involves policy compromises or decisions which favor certain segments of East Timor's population.
We hope to organize two international exchanges during 2003:
  • Popular Education and Health with the Centro Memorial Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Havana, Cuba.

  • Effects of Oil Development with OilWatch/Africa and Earth Rights Action in Ogoniland, Nigeria.

Appendix I: Financial Information

All amounts are specified in United States dollars. La'o Hamutuk's fiscal year is the calendar year. By mid-2003, we will have an audited financial statement for 2002.

To maintain our independence and objectivity, La'o Hamutuk does not accept funding from institutions with major involvement in East Timor -- the UN and its agencies, the World Bank, ADB, IMF, the governments of the largest donors, or multinational corporations doing business here.

La'o Hamutuk works hard to keep our expenses down. Our international staff are paid the same as our East Timorese staff ($400/month), a high local wage, but extraordinarily low compared to what the UN or international agencies pay foreign staff and "volunteers." At times, the expenses of our international staff have been covered by other organizations; others have worked as short-term, unpaid volunteers. Although La'o Hamutuk pays for one round trip airfare to East Timor for each of our international staff, other international travel is covered by inviting organizations or other donors. International staff accrue a "readjustment" payment of $400 for each month worked up to the end of the first year, which is payable after they finish working with La'o Hamutuk and return to their home country.

Much of our computer and transportation equipment has been donated, and we have foregone "luxuries" used by many other organizations, such as air conditioning, automobiles, or a generator (although Yayasan HAK generously supplies a little generator electricity during the frequent power outages).

Balance at start and close of year

Balance2, 31 December 200170,9550(6,000)64,955
Income during 2002121,851   
Expenditures during 2002(94,326)3 (6,500) 

Balance, 31 December 200298,480(1,990)4(12,500)83,990
Reserve fund1 obligation, 31 December 20016,000   
Expenditures from reserve fund0   
Obligations to reserve fund during 20026,500   

Reserve fund obligation, 31 December 200212,500   

1 La'o Hamutuk reserves money for the readjustment payment for international staff members. This is accrued at one month's pay per month for the first year the person works, payable when they return home but set aside into a reserve fund as it is accrued. One staff member finished her contract in 2002, and her readjustment will be paid in 2003.

2 Includes all cash and bank account assets and debts as of the end of 2001.

3 Not including money set aside during 2002 into the reserve fund, although this is shown as an expenditure below.

4 This is money in La'o Hamutuk's accounts at the end of 2002 which belongs to the Sa'he Institute for Liberation (see "Sponsored Projects" and note 8(a) below).

During 2002, our expenditures were lower than projected (see below), and consequently we ended the year with a surplus of approximately $20,000. We have decided to apply that money to our operational budget during 2003 (see note 12).

Income during 2002

Donations from individuals2,428
Intercambio support619,868
Campaign support7824
Sponsored projects86,393


5La'o Hamutuk received major grants during 2002 from:
Hivos Foundation (Netherlands)30,523General support (first year of a three-year grant)
Handleman Foundation (USA)26,000General support
Embassy of Finland in Jakarta 35,316Bulletin and radio program
6 Grants designated to support particular intercambios (international exchanges). During 2002, we paid some expenses related to the 2001 Brazil exchange and conducted an exchange with Nicaragua. These include:
OXFAM Australia17,616 for Nicaragua exchange
Solidago Foundation (USA)2,000 for Nicaragua exchange
OXFAM Australia252 for Brazil exchange
7 Grant to support a specific campaign: $824 from Oxfam GB for expenses to attend the SEAAOC oil industry conference in Darwin, Australia. Oxfam also supported representatives from La'o Hamutuk and other East Timorese NGOs to travel to Darwin to testify before an Australian Parliamentary committee, but this did not go through La'o Hamutuk's budget.

8 Income for projects administered by La'o Hamutuk and carried out by others. This includes:

a) Sustainable Agriculture project. La'o Hamutuk received $3,403 from Hivos for this project. $2822 was spent directly by the project, and $581 reimbursed La'o Hamutuk for our office and administrative costs.

b) Translation of the book East Timor: 500 Years into Bahasa Indonesia by the Sa'he Institute for Liberation. La'o Hamutuk received $2,990 during 2002 from Nagasaki University. $1,000 of this was paid to Sa'he, and the balance is in La'o Hamutuk's account to be paid to Sa'he as the project is completed.

9 Bank interest, bookstore sales and honoraria received.

Expenditures during 2002

Our expenditures were lower than projected because one of our international staff left before her contract ended, and gave back her readjustment set-aside. It took months to find a new person, with a resultant savings in personnel costs. In addition, closing our Baucau office and changing our strategy for rural organizing has saved funds, although we will purchase vehicles in 2003 to make districts more accessible.

This table shows what La'o Hamutuk's spent money on. See below for a breakdown by project.
Transportation (local and international)14,354
Services purchased from individuals or organizations7,163
Bulletin (mostly printing)7,063
Popular education (Surat Popular and work in districts)4,982
Fiscal sponsor fees111,400
Communication (telephone and internet)5,551
Equipment (computers, furniture)4,205
Operations (supplies, photocopy, utilities, bank charges)3,713
Sponsored project (Sa'he translation)1,000


10Includes wages ($37,106), wage tax ($2,830), health insurance ($1,776), housing allowance ($2,500) and readjustment set-aside for international staff ($6,500).

11To enable U.S. tax-deductibility for grants and donations within the United States, La'o Hamutuk pays a 5% fiscal sponsorship fee on these grants to the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute, (339 Lafayette St., New York, NY 10012-2725 USA. +1(212)533-4335 ajmusteinst@igc.org)

This table and graph shows our expenses according to the program area and project they were used for. Personnel, supplies and operations costs have been allocated to each program.

Popular education11,390
Campaigns on individual issues9,344
Radio program3,399
Resource center and bookstore4,679
Sponsored projects84,501
Administration and overhead7,510


Project Budget for 2003

This will be our first full year at full staffing level, so our projected 2003 personnel budget is slightly larger. These figures represent what it will take to carry out our program for 2003.

Cash on hand1221,990
Donations from individuals1,000
Intercambio support1340,000
Campaign support3,000
Sponsored projects2,000

Total Income155,140
Transportation (mostly within East Timor)1,200
Bulletin (production and printing)7,700
Intercambios (exchanges)40,000
Surat Popular (production and printing)1,600
Issue campaigns4,000
Radio program editing and production2,400
Resource center and bookstore450
Conference and meeting expenses900
Operations (supplies, photocopy, utilities4,800
Communication (telephone and internet)7,200
Equipment (computers, motorcycles)1411,200
Office expansion or relocation165,000
Sponsored projects3,990
Fiscal sponsor fees1,300
Financial audit1,400
Miscellaneous expenses1,000

Total Expenditures155,140

12During our first two years, La'o Hamutuk's expenditures were less than we projected, primarily due to delays in finding qualified staff. Consequently, we accumulated a surplus. We had planned to save that money for a time when donor funding is less available to East Timorese NGOs, but we recognize that it is socially irresponsible for La'o Hamutuk to make a "profit," and we have therefore decided to spend $20,000 of that money on operational costs during 2003. This figure includes $1,990 which belongs to Sa'he (see note 8b above).

13For international exchanges, with Cuba and Nigeria projected during 2003. We hope to raise project-specific grants to cover these expenses.

14Before working at La'o Hamutuk, most of our staff were volunteer activists, used to working with very limited resources. We know realize that better equipment will allow us to accomplish more, and will purchase several computers and motorcycles during 2003.

15The status of our building, a former Indonesian military residence destroyed by TNI/militias in 1999 and subsequently rebuilt by the three NGOs which share it, is being negotiated with the government. Although we have not had to pay rent up to now, we probably will once the title is settled. We estimate that it will be $250/month.

16Because of our increased staff, we need a larger office to provide adequate workspace for everyone, as well as a conference room and a resource center/library. Depending on the permanence of our legal use of this building (see note 15 above), we will either enlarge our current building or move to a larger space.

Appendix II: Bulletin Focus and Major Articles

Volume 3, 2002

1. Police and Agriculture 2-3. U.S. Aid and Coffee (double issue) 4. Special Independence Issue 5. Timor Sea Oil and Gas 6. Japanese Aid to East Timor 7. Portuguese Aid to East Timor 8. Australian Aid to East Timor

Appendix III: Radio Programs and Public Meetings during 2002

La'o Hamutuk's Radio programs (partial list)

  • East Timor's Draft Constitution (Deonizio Babo, ET Jurists' Assn. -AMNEFTIL-Asosiasi Makaer Fukun Timor Lorosa'e)
  • The Controversy over the Constitutional Assembly being transformed into the National Parliament (Manuel Carrascalão of the Democracy Defense Group, Amandio de Araùjo, University of Timor Lorosa'e; Abel dos Santos of Sa'he Institute)
  • Labor Issues on the Central Maritime Floating Hotel (Luis Soares, Labor Relations Staff of Central Maritime)
  • The Result of Consultations on the Draft Constitution (Mario Araùjo and Delly Soares, Constitutional Working Group)
  • East Timor's National Plan (Emilia Pires, National Planning Commission, João Gonçalves, National Parliament)
  • Development in the Agricultural Sector (Gil Rangel, Coordinator for the World Bank's Pilot Agricultural Service Centers, and Ego Fatima Lemos of the NGO Permakultura Timor Lorosa'e)
  • Controversy around the Japanese Defense Force in East Timor (Mateus Gonçalves, Sa'he Institute; Tomé Xavier, PARC)
  • The Nicaraguan Association of Men Against Violence (Ruben Reyes, Nicaraguan Men's Association against Violence)
  • Women, Violence and Democracy (Madlyn Centeno West from the Nicaraguan Women's Network against Violence)
  • East Timor's Oil and Gas Reserves and the Prospect of Jobs for East Timorese (Jose da Costa, President of the East Timorese Labor Union KSTL)
  • Confronting World Bank and IMF policies (Saleh Abdullah, INSIST; Mateus Gonçalves, Sa'he Institute for Liberation)
  • Gender-based Violence and the Empowerment of Women (Madlyn West, Nicaraguan Women's Network Against Violence)
  • Gender, Political Process and the Election (Delly Soares Cabral, Gender and the Constitution Working Group)
  • East Timor's Oil and Gas Reserves and Prospects for Development (Estanislau Saldanha of the East Timor Study Group and members of the National Youth Council of Timor Lorosa'e)
  • Donors' Conference (Mario Araùjo and Delly Soares, NGO Observers of the Donors' Conference)
  • Free Market: What does it mean? (Julino Ximenes of Yayasan HAK and Mateus Gonçalves of Sa'he Institute)
  • East Timor Post-UNTAET (Thomas Freitas, Mericio Juvenal, and Andrew de Sousa of La'o Hamutuk)
  • Oil and Gas Reserves in the Timor Sea (Eusebio Guterres, National Parliament member)
  • Globalization: What does it mean? (Julino Ximenes of Yayasan HAK, Mateus Gonçalves of Sa'he, staff of La'o Hamutuk)
  • East Timor's Oil and Gas Reserves and Prospects for Development (Olandina Caeiro of the women's organization ETWAVE, Antonio Cardoso, National Parliament, and Deometrio Amaral, Haburas environmental NGO)
  • Bilateral Assistance of United States (Andrew de Sousa and Akara Juvenal, La'o Hamutuk)
  • Portugal aid for education in East Timor (Filipe and Machedo, Portuguese Cooperation Agency)
  • The impact of tax increase on people, (Mariano Sabino, Parliament; Benjamin Corte Real, Rector of UNATIL)
  • The relation between East Timor and Indonesia government (Chalief Akbar, Indonesian embassy and José Belo, UNATIL)
  • Coffee (Mateus from NCBA and Ortencio, representing the people of Ermera)
  • Dai Popular (Nuno Rodrigues, Sa'he Institute; Juana Diaz, PAS Clinic; Diamantino da Cruz, Dai Popular)
  • Foreign investment in East Timor (Humberto José Alves from Laifet)
  • Patriotism and nationalism of Borja da Costa (Mateus Gonçalves from Sa'he and Tomé Geronimo from PARC)
  • World Bank Community Empowerment Project (Alvaro de Soto from CEP and Akara Juvenal from La'o Hamutuk)
  • Portugal Assistance for East Timor (Andrew de Sousa and Inês Martins, La'o Hamutuk)
  • Ratification of Timor Sea Treaty (Avelino Coelho, PST; Manuel Mendonca, Prime Minister's Office of the Timor Sea; Adriano do Nascimento, La'o Hamutuk)
  • Post-conflict reconstruction conference in Hiroshima (Akara Juvenal, La'o Hamutuk)

Public Meetings and events organized by La'o Hamutuk (partial list)

Public Meeting on East Timor becoming a member of the World Bank Group. This meeting was organized by those organizations, including La'o Hamutuk, that participated in the World Social Forum.
Press Conference "Can the Rule of Law Prevail? Pressure from UNHQ Exacerbates Amos W. Tax Controversy"
Public Meeting with Madlyn West and Ruben Reyes on the popular movement in Nicaragua, past and present. This meeting was organized with Yayasan HAK and Sa'he Institute and followed up on the Nicaragua Exchange.
Public meeting with former Finance Minister for East Timor's transitional government, Fernanda Borges. The meeting came shortly after Ms. Borges resigned, protesting a lack of transparency in the new government; the talk focused on challenges and models for financial management in East Timor.
Meeting with farmers as part of the activities of the Expo Popular, which was organized by a coalition of local NGOs (HASATIL). La'o Hamutuk was invited to facilitate this meeting to discuss national development, self-sufficiency and the global context.
Public meeting with international lawyer and long-time supporter of East Timor's self-determination, Professor Roger Clark. His talk focused on international maritime law and the history of maritime boundaries between Australia, Indonesia and East Timor.
Public Meeting with Esperanza Martinez and Hemantha Withenage of OilWatch on the impacts of petroleum development globally and what can be done about it (see above for more details).
Press Conference of the newly formed Association of Men Against Violence. This press conference was organized by men who participated in the Nicaragua Exchange on Gender, Power and Violence and marked the formal establishment of the Association. The event was covered widely by radio, television and print media.
Public meeting with Shalmali Guttal from Focus on the Global South about the experience of other countries with the IMF, World Bank and WTO.
Public meeting with Dr. Peter Carey of Oxford University about East Timor's struggle for freedom from an international perspective.
Public seminar organized by La'o Hamutuk (Kelompok Kajian) about East Timor joining the International Financial Institutions. With local leaders, NGOs, government representatives and the local heads of the IMF, ADB and World Bank.
Press conference and national conference to launch Movimentu Nasional Kontra Violensia (national network against gender-based violence).

Presentations given by La'o Hamutuk (partial list)

Presentation by Thomas Freitas on the meaning of "Clean Government" at a seminar organized by the East Timor Study Group. Other presenters included the World Bank and the Inspector General's Office.
Training for U.S. Peace Corps volunteers -- workshop by Akara Juvenal and Charlie Scheiner July Workshop by Pamela Sexton during "Strengthening Response to Gender-Based Violence" training organized by the government Office for the Promotion of Equality August Presentations by Adriano do Nascimento on Timor Gap issues to FOKUPERS (women's NGO) and Dewan Solidaritas (student NGO).
Presentation Adriano do Nascimento and João Sarmento on the role and impact of the media in East Timor at SMU 3 high school in Dili.
Testimony by Adriano do Nascimento to Australian Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, Darwin.
Presentations on justice and community organizing by Adriano do Nascimento and Charles Scheiner to organizer's training run by the Initiatives for International Dialogue in Dare.

Appendix IV: Staff and Executive Board biographies

La'o Hamutuk staff includes ten professionals, seven from East Timor and three from elsewhere, four women and six men (one of whom is on leave). The staff is non-hierarchical and makes decisions collectively, although 2-3 members serve as rotating coordinators to free the rest from routine administrative tasks. All staff members share administrative and program responsibilities, with conscious effort being made to share skills and increase capacities. In October 2002, we refined our decision-making process to work better with our enlarged staff and learn from our experience over the past two years.

During 2002, we benefited from long-term internships through the Japan International Volunteer Center and the Patrick Stewart Fellowship of Amnesty International USA. We use a number of local volunteer and paid translators, and several volunteer illustrators for our publications. In addition, international activists (Ben Rogers, Terry Russell, and Simon Foster) volunteered full- or part-time here for several months each, and we hope to have more in the coming year. People who intern or volunteer with La'o Hamutuk go through a hiring process similar to our international staff and make similar commitments (although the duration and work hours may be less). John Miller of the East Timor Action Network (ETAN) in New York provided invaluable support by maintaining La'o Hamutuk's web site.

The following people are on our staff at the close of 2002:

Cassia Bechara

Cassia Bechara arrived in East Timor from Brazil in November 2002 to work with La'o Hamutuk. She graduated in Social Communication and has worked in India with Tibetan refugees, reporting human rights violations in Tibet. For the past two years, she has been involved with indigenous communities and grassroots organizations in Brazil, developing popular and alternative communication methods and working with indigenous and African-Brazilians rights. She speaks Portuguese, English, Spanish and Tetum. At La'o Hamutuk Cassia focuses on popular education, international exchanges, and investigations of UNMISET and East Timor's relationships with Portuguese-speaking countries.

Thomas Sebastião Rosario Freitas

Born in Dili, Thomas studied at Udayana University (Bali) from 1996 until 1999, where he was a member of the then-underground Indonesian People's Democratic Party (PRD). Thomas was also active in the East Timorese clandestine resistance network, coordinating the Maubere Youth Alliance in Bali. He coordinated the return of over a thousand East Timorese refugees from Bali after the referendum. He was on the Constitutional Working Group Steering Committee, and is a prominent advocate of international justice. Thomas joined La'o Hamutuk in April 2001, and his work includes organizing public meetings and La'o Hamutuk's weekly radio program, as well as illustrating the Bulletin and Surat Popular, and maintaining close communications with East Timorese NGOs. He speaks Tetum, Indonesian and English. In January 2002, Thomas represented La'o Hamutuk at the World Social Forum in Brazil. He took leave in Australia in November 2002, to rejoin us in May 2003.

Mericio "Akara" Juvenal

Born in Lospalos, East Timor, Mericio completed an anthropology degree at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta in August 2001. He joined La'o Hamutuk in November 2001. Formerly assistant manager for World Vision International's shelter program, Mericio also worked with the International Rescue Committee. He founded Centro Cultural Maubere, which promotes East Timorese culture, and Fundasaun Lero, a foundation that builds local skills in education and agriculture. At La'o Hamutuk, Mericio focuses on popular education, international exchanges, and gender. He speaks Tetum, Fatulucu, Indonesian and English. In November 2002, Mericio was invited to a UN conference on Post-Conflict Reconstruction in Hiroshima, Japan.

Yasinta Lujina

Yasinta was born and grew up in Oecusse, the enclave of East Timor surrounded by Indonesia. She studied at the Social Welfare School 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, and Dawan. With La'o Hamutuk, Yasinta investigates UNMISET and UN Agencies and works on Timor Sea oil and gas issues. She also coordinates our Surat Popular and resource center.

Inês Martins

Inês was studying economics at the University of East Timor before the Indonesian military destroyed it in September 1999. Born in Bobonaro, East Timor, she worked with ETWAVE (a local NGO which focuses on human rights of women and children). Inês is fluent in Tetum, Portuguese and Indonesian. 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 popular education exchange to Brazil in July 2001, is active in Dai Popular and coordinates La'o Hamutuk's radio program.

Adriano do Nascimento

Adriano joined La'o Hamutuk in November 2001. A former English teacher from Suai, Adriano was also very active with the East Timor Student Solidarity Council, KSI (Kdalak Sulimutuk Institute), and other youth groups. Adriano was targeted by militia before the 1999 referendum and forced to leave Suai; he went overseas to campaign for the East Timorese people. He speaks Bunak, Tetum, Indonesian and English. Adriano is a leading organizer of the Independent Center for Timor Sea Information (CIITT), including representing the group in Australia three times in 2002 and in meetings and testimony before the Australian Parliament. He coordinates production of the La'o Hamutuk Bulletin.

João da Silva Sarmento

João coordinated Dewan Solidaritas Mahasiswa Timor Timur (East Timor Student Solidarity Council), and was on La'o Hamutuk's Board, until he joined our staff in August 2002. He studied English at the University of East Timor. His undergraduate thesis is about East Timor's education system under transition. He also coordinates reporters for Suara Timor Lorosa'e (STL), a local newspaper. He speaks Tetum, Indonesian, English, Portuguese, Makassae and Javanese. At La'o Hamutuk, João works on international financial institutions, justice and reconciliation, and militarization, and coordinates our public meetings.

Charles Scheiner

A New Yorker, Charlie joined La'o Hamutuk in Dili in August 2001, although he had been supporting the organization from the USA since its inception. A computer engineer by training, Charlie was the National Coordinator of the East Timor Action Network (ETAN/U.S.) and represented the International Federation for East Timor (IFET) at the United Nations since 1992. He was International Coordinator of the IFET Observer project during 1999, and continues to work with IFET in East Timor. He speaks English, French and some Tetum. His work with La'o Hamutuk focuses on the Bulletin, finances, justice, the UN, oil and gas, international activist networks, and foreign governments' roles in East Timor.

Jesuina "Delly" Soares Cabral

Jesuina has been with La'o Hamutuk since July 2001. Delly finished a degree in political science at the University of East Timor while working at La'o Hamutuk. She previously has worked at IRC (International Rescue Committee), and was active in Organisasaun Solidaridade Klosan Timor Lorosa'e (the clandestine predecessor of the East Timor Students Solidarity Council), where she worked on self-determination and gender issues. Delly was spokesperson for the Gender and Constitution Working Group, and represented local NGOs at the East Timor Donors Conference in Norway in 2001 and in Dili in May and December 2002. She also works on administration, transnational corporations and East Timor's relations with its neighbors, and cooperates with the National Movement Against (gender-based) Violence NGO coalition.

Andrew de Sousa

Andrew came to Dili from the USA in September 2001 as La'o Hamutuk's first intern. Funded by Amnesty International's Patrick Stewart Scholarship, Andrew volunteered for six months, becoming a regular staff member in April 2002. Andrew was a grassroots activist in the United States and co-founded the Arizona chapter of the East Timor Action Network. Andrew speaks English and has a working knowledge of Portuguese, Indonesian and Tetum. With La'o Hamutuk, he focuses on international financial institutions and international markets. Andrew is also active with the Association of Men Against Violence.

During parts of 2002, La'o Hamutuk staff included:

Mayumi Hachisuka

Originally from Japan, Mayumi arrived in East Timor in May 2000 and joined La'o Hamutuk in July 2001, paid by the Japan International Volunteer Center (JVC). Mayumi worked on capacity building of Timorese NGOs in terms of aid monitoring and impact assessment of Japanese aid to East Timor, and she returned to Japan in January 2002. Vijaya Joshi Born in Australia of Indian parents, Vijaya began working at La'o Hamutuk in August 2001, She focused on international financial institutions and was one of the staff coordinators. She left La'o Hamutuk in April 2002 for personal reasons.

Pamela Sexton

Originally from the USA, Pamela has extensive experience in Indonesia and East Timor. Pamela 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 and June 2000, Pam helped to set up La'o Hamutuk, and she joined the staff in September 2000. She focuses on popular education, gender issues, and international exchanges, and co-coordinated our Baucau office. After more than two years with La'o Hamutuk, Pam left East Timor in November 2002, although she continues to support our work as a volunteer in the United States.

La'o Hamutuk Executive Board

La'o Hamutuk is fortunate to have an Executive Board of leading figures in East Timorese civil society. The Board gives overall guidance and ideas to our program, as well as connecting La'o Hamutuk with broader networks in East Timor. It includes the following people, and we are in the process of adding new members.

Sr. Maria Dias

Maria is a Catholic nun and the director of Pronto Atu Servir (PAS--Ready to Serve), a grassroots health project. Through their clinic in Dili and work on Ataťro Island (one of the most isolated and impoverished areas of East Timor) PAS serves the poorest of the poor. While providing treatment for medical ailments, PAS works to address conditions that lead to illness. PAS puts heavy emphasis on popular education for health helping to train local health facilitators, with the goal of creating a sustainable national health system based on local resources. During the Indonesian occupation, Maria ran a clandestine clinic for FALINTIL members and frequently visited the guerrillas in the mountains to treat the wounded. She represented East Timorese women's organizations at the December 2001 donors' conference in Oslo, and has met with others doing similar work in other countries. During 2002, Maria was the link between civil society and the National Planning process.

Joseph Nevins

The only non-Timorese on the Board, Joseph is also the international coordinator of La'o Hamutuk. From May until August 2000, he volunteered as project staff in Dili, helping to establish La'o Hamutuk, and he returned for the same period in 2001. During 1999, he served in Dili as one of the coordinators of the IFET Observer Project, and had visited East Timor three times previously. Joseph has written two books and numerous articles on East Timor, and is a former instructor in International Development Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is conducting research on the interrelationship between reconstruction, reconciliation, and justice in post-occupation East Timor as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley.

Nuno Rodrigues

Director of Sa'he Institute for Liberation, Nuno has worked closely with La'o Hamutuk since it began. He went to University of Indonesia in Jakarta, where he studied communications and was active in the Timorese resistance. In Jakarta he also led a study group on Marxism with Indonesian activists. He returned to East Timor in 1999, and began doing popular education work. Having participated in La'o Hamutuk exchange with Brazilian popular educators, Nuno is a leader of the East Timorese Popular Educators' Network. Nuno is also a journalist for the local weekly publication Talit@kum.

Aderito de Jesus Soares

Aderito is a lawyer and human rights advocate. He is former Director of Sa'he Institute for Liberation, and the founder and Vice-Chairman of the East Timor National Jurists Association. Born in Maliana, East Timor, Aderito lived in Indonesia for many years where he served as director for ELSAM, a Jakarta-based human rights organization. As such, he defended political prisoners throughout Indonesia, most notably in West Papua. Aderito is the co-author of a book on West Papua, and has written numerous articles on international law and human rights in Indonesia and East Timor. In August 2001, Aderito was elected to East Timor's Constituent Assembly, where he chaired the committee dealing with the basic structure of government and helped write the Constitution. In June 2002, he resigned from Parliament and is currently doing graduate legal studies at New York University for one year, from where he continues to provide guidance for La'o Hamutuk.

Lao Hamutuk

The East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis

Dili office: 1 Rua Mozambique, Farol, Dili, Timor Lorosae

Postal address: P.O. Box 340, Dili, East Timor (via Darwin, Australia)

Mobile phone: +670-7234330; Land phone: +670-3325013
Email: laohamutuk@easttimor.minihub.org

Web: http://www.laohamutuk.org