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HAK Association / Asosiasaun HAK
Everybody has rights and rights are for all / Ema hotu iha direitu no direitu ba ema hotu

Press Statement
“Human Rights Situation in Covalima and Bobonaro”

16 February 2010

Link to complete report (PDF)

Komunikadu Imprensa
“Kondisaun Direitus Humanus iha Covalima & Bobonaro”

16 Fevereiru 2010

Ligasaun ba relatoriu tomak (PDF)

As an organization that works for human rights, HAK Association is concerned with the situation in Bobonaro and Covalima Districts, especially the population’s right to security. HAK considers the reaction of the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) to the “Ninja” group as an obligation of the competent organs of the state to comply with their human rights commitments. To assure that the police response actually is in accordance with the law and human rights principles, HAK sent a monitoring team to observe the human rights situation in the two districts from 31 January to 4 February 2010.

1.   Results of HAK Observations of Rumors of “Ninja” in Bobonaro and Covalima Districts

HAK’s observation revealed, confirmed by community authorities, local government, victims, suspects and some community members in places where “Ninja” terror is said to exist, that the people do indeed feel panicked by the rumors but that the communities themselves have not yet seen who or what “Ninja” are. Local authorities in the two districts also informed the monitoring team that they have not received any complaints from the community or victims about “Ninja” behavior.

The incidents, one child’s death and the death of one young woman, were individual crimes and there is no relationship between them or connection from one location to another. There is also no evidence of organized crime or large criminal groups. The rumors about the “Ninja” group lead people to imagine an organized criminal group, but this is contrary to the actual situation. The groups CPD-RDTL (Popular Council for the Defense of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste) and Bua-Malus (Betel Nut) do exist, and individuals from these groups have engaged in criminal behavior motivated by personal hatred and desire for revenge that is falsely attributed to the groups.

The police operation, begun on 22 January 2010 has failed to identify perpetrators involved in a “Ninja” group that is terrorizing communities in the two districts. Through its operation, the police have arrested 20 members of CPD-RDTL and Bua-Malus who they suspect as “Ninja,” but when brought to court the judge released 18 of them based on proof of identity and residence (TIR) due to insufficient evidence to uphold the charges of the police against the suspects. Two of the detained were placed in preventive detention due to a strong indication that they were involved in the death of the young woman in the village of Atus in Bobonaro District.

HAK Association has identified human rights violations and behavior in violation of the law by individual police officers involved in the operation in the two districts, including ill treatment such as ramming with riffle butts, kicking, beating with batons, cutting people’s hair with a knife, threatening their life, and speaking sharply to people when detaining someone and in detention when they do not reveal who is a “Ninja”.

2. HAK’s Concerns

Based on our observations, HAK Association is concerned that the PNTL commando operation does not respect the constitution of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (RDTL) Article 9 and Law No 3/2008 (State of Siege and Emergency), because an operation with large numbers in an extraordinary situation requires authorization from an organ competent to declare a Situation of Exceptional Circumstances. The action of the police is a precedent that is contrary to strengthening the rule of law in a democratic state.

Additionally, according to HAK’s observations in the two districts, the police operation demonstrates disharmony and inconsistency with the policy outlined by the IV Constitutional Government regarding reform of the PNTL, due to its militaristic character rather than an approach characteristic of community policing. This situation is due to the lack of optimal government attention to the development of the nature of the PNTL as a community police force.

During the operation individual police have violated human rights, carried out actions contrary to the law or abused their power such as arresting people without a court order and persecuting members of an organization, in addition to the violations cited above. This behavior by the police violates the presumption of innocence consecrated in article 34 of the RDTL Constitution, because according to the law only the courts have the competency to decide if someone is guilty.

HAK also observed that local PNTL officers did not respond quickly or act immediately to investigate or arrest the suspects in the homicide and death that occurred in the two districts that finally evolved into “ninja” rumors. Incidents such as these require immediate and urgent remedies by the State of Timor-Leste to prevent additional suffering and for people to believe that PNTL can guarantee their right to security and justice.

3. HAK’s Recommendations

To prevent a worsening human rights situation in Bobonaro and Covalima Districts and to prevent the population from suffering more, as well as to prevent similar experiences in the future, HAK recommends:

  1. The situation in the two districts does not require a large PNTL commando operation because it does not meet the criteria for an Exceptional Situation. Consequently, HAK suggests the competent organs in the security sector quickly examine the policy for the “ninja” operation currently underway in Bobonaro and Covalima Districts.

  2. The responsible organs quickly revise the Plan for PNTL Reform in order to assure harmony and consistency between the plan and its implementation.

  3. National Parliament uses its competency of legislative supervision according to Article 92 of the RDTL Constitution to supervise the executive organs, especially how the PNTL enforces the law.

  4. To publicly guarantee accountability of the PNTL, the competent organs (PNTL Justice Unit and Prosecutor) must assure individual members of the PNTL who behaved contrary to the law and violated human rights are held responsible (administratively and criminally).

  5. Future extraordinary operations by the security and defense forces must be coordinated with the Prosecutor’s Office so that orientation of the police adheres to the law, and thus avoids violating human rights.

That is the extent of HAK’s observations, concerns and suggestions about the situation resulting from the “special” PNTL operation in Bobonaro and Covalima Districts. We await appropriate action to assure that all Timorese citizens can be proud of and cooperate with the PNTL and our police officers.

For More Information or a copy of the complete report contact:

Rogerio Viegas Vicente
Law and Human Rights Enforcement Program, HAK Association, +670-729-9366

Rui Manuel Viana
Director, HAK Association, +670-723-7179

Nudar organizasaun nebe servisu ba direitus humanus, Asosiasaun HAK senti prekupadu mos ba situasaun seguransa iha Distritu Bobonaro & Covalima, liu-liu direitu populasaun atu moris hakmatek. Reasaun husi PNTL hodi atua ba grupu “Ninja” ne`e, HAK konsideira nudar komprimentu/obrigasaun orgaun estadu ba povu nia direitu. Atu asegura atuasaun PNTL tuir duni lei no valores direitus humanus, maka iha data 31 Janeiru to`o 04 Fevereiru 2010, HAK liu husi equipa monitorizasaun halo observasaun kona ba kondisaun direitus humanus populasaun iha distritu 2 nebe refere.

1.   Rejultadu Observasaun HAK Rumores Grupu “Ninja” Bobonaro & Covalima

Liu husi rejultadu observasaun no konfirmasaun ba autoridade komunitariu, governantes lokal, vitima, suspeitu no membrus komunidade balu iha fatin sira nebe ezisti teror “Ninja” hatudu rejultadu katak populasaun sira sente paniku duni ho rumores ne`e maibe komunidade rasik sidauk hetan se no saida mak “Ninja” & autoridade lokal iha distritu 2 nebe refere mos informa katak sira rasik sidauk hetan keisa husi komunidade & vitima kona ba hahalok “Ninja”.

Akontesementu labarik 1 mate no violasaun sexual nebe rejulta feto 1 mate hanesan insidente deit ka krimi bain-bain no la iha ligasaun entre aktu krimi husi fatin ida ba fatin seluk & la iha tendensia akontese krimi organizadu nebe boot. Rumores kona ba grupu “Ninja” iha tendensia atu asosia deit ho grupu krimi organizadu maibe realidade por kontrariu. Ezisti duni grupu CPD-RDL ho Bua-Malus nebe individualmente komete duni hahalok krimi ordinariu nebe halo komunidade la konfortavel. Motivasaun husi krimi hirak ne`e tamba odio vingansa & hadau malu poder (xefe Aldeia), maibe ema balun mak tenta politiza hodi klaim ba organizasaun CPD-RDTL & Bou-Malus.

Durante operasaun hatudu katak Polisia la konsege identifika autor grupu “Ninja” nebe halo tauk komunidade iha Distritu rua nebe refere. Iha operasaun ne`e, Polisia halo kapturasaun ba membrus grupu CPD-RDTL & Bua-Malus hamutuk ema nain 20 nebe polisia diskunfia “Ninja” maibe to iha Tribunal, juiz fo deit medidas koasaun ba ema nain 18 tamba la iha evidensia nebe forte atu sustenta Polisia nia akuzasaun iha Tribunal no nain 2 hetan detensaun preventiva tamba iha indikasaun forte involve iha kazu oho labarik feto nain 2 iha Suco Atus/Bobonaro.

Asosiasaun HAK mos identifika aktu violasaun direitus humanus & hahalok infrasaun kontra lei nebe komete husi individu-individu Polisia nebe halo operasaun iha Distritu 2 nebe refere liu husi meius halo tortura & tratamentu at hanesan fai ho kilat, tuku tebe iha isin lolon, baku ho stick, lori tudik koa ema nia fuk, amiasa ba vida no fo sai lia fuan kroat ba populasaun iha situasaun kaer & iha detensaun bainhira la ema sira ne`e lakoi deskobre se mak “Ninja”.

 2.  HAK Nian Prekupasaun

Bazeia ba rejultadu observasaun, Asosiasaun HAK iha prekupasaun katak operasaun komando PNTL ne`e konsidera la iha respeitu ba konstituisaun RDTL artigu 9 no lei No 3/2008 (Rezime Estadu de Sitio & Emergensia), tamba atu halo operasaun ruma ho membru boot iha situasaun extraordinariu tengki iha autorizasaun husi orgaun kompetenti liu husi deklara Estadu de Ecepsaun. Hahalok sira ne`e sai hanesan presedent nebe la kontribui ba prosesu hametin prinsipiu estadu de direitu demokratiku.

Iha parte seluk tuir HAK nia observasaun iha Distritu 2 nebe refere katak atuasaun Polisia iha operasaun hatudu momos katak laiha harmonia & la konsistenba politika nebe Governu IV Konstitusional trasa ba reforma PNTL, tamba atuasaun ne`e halo ho karakteristiku militar duke aprosimasaun ho karakter polisia komunitariu. Situasaun hirak ne`e bele akontese tamba Governu la fo atensaun maximu atu dejenvolve natureza PNTL hanesan polisia Komunitariu.

Durante operasaun hamosu aktu violasaun direitus humanus husi individu-individu PNTL nebe atua la tuir lei ka abuzu poder hanesan kaptura ema sein mandatu husi tribunal, halo tortura ka tratamentu a’at, obriga tesi fuuk, halo persiguisaun ba membru organizasaun ruma, …etc. Hahalok membrus polisia hirak ne`e la respeitu ona prinsipiu prezumsaun inosenti nebe konsagra iha artigu 34 K-RDTL, tamba Tribunal deit mak iha kompetensia absoluta tuir lei atu desidi ema sira ne`e sira nia sala. Aleimde ne`e tuir observasaun HAK nian hatudu katak membru PNTL lokal ladun reajen lalais ka atua kedas hodi investiga ka kaptura suspeitu ba kazu krimi homisidiu nebe akontese iha Distritu 2 nebe refere to ikus -mai hamosu rumores “ninja”. Hahalok sira hanesan ne`e persiza tebes atu hetan medidas remedy/urgentimente husi Estadu Timor-Leste atu povu la laran moras & la susar atu husu ba PNTL hodi garante sira-nian direitu ba seguransa no justisa.

 3.  HAK nian Sujestaun

Atu evita situasaun direitu umanus iha distritu Bobonaro no Covalima sai pior liu tan ka fo sofrementu boot ba populasaun sira, nune mos atu evita esperensia sira hanesan ne`e iha futuru, maka HAK sujere:

  1. Situasaun iha Distritu 2 nebe refere tuir HAK nia observasaun sidauk iha nesesidade atu halo operasaun komando PNTL nebe boot tamba sidauk tama iha rekizitus ba situasaun Estadu de Ecepsaun. Tamba ne`e HAK sujere ba orgaun kompetenti sira iha seitor siguransa atu halo lalais medidas examinasaun politika (kebijakan) ba operasaun “Ninja” nebe halao hela dadauk iha distritu Bobonaro no Covalima.

  2. Orgaum kompetenti sira atu halo lalais revizaun ba Planu Reforma PNTL, hodi nune bele asegura harmonia no konsistensia entre saida mak planeia no saida mak implementa.

  3. Parlamentu Nasional (PN) atu uza kompetensia ba fiskalizasaun tuir artigu 92 Konstituisaun RDTL, hodi fiskaliza mos orgaun ezekutivu liuliu PNTL oinsa implementa lei.

  4. Atu garanti prosesu akuntabilidade iha instituisaun PNTL ba publiku maka orgaun kompetenti (Unidadi Justisa PNTL & Prokuradoria) atu foti medidas responsabilidade (administrativu no penal) husi individu-individu membrus PNTL nebe komete iha hahalok kontra lei no violasaun direitus humanus.

  5. Iha futuru operasaun forsa siguransa no defesa nebe extra-ordinariu persiza halo kordenasaun ho Prokuradoria atu nune`e bele fo orientasaun ba Polisia oinsa atua tuir lei hodi nune bele evita violasaun direitu umanus. Aleinde ne`e operasaun iha futuru tengki refleta istoria lalaok FALINTIL nebe moris husi povu hamutuk ho povu & servi povu.

Mak ne’e deit, ami nian observasaun, prekupasaun no sujestaun kona-ba situasaun husi operasaun “espesial” PNTL iha Distritu Bobonaro no Covalima. Hein katak bele hetan atensaun diak husi ita-boot, nune bele foti medidas atu salva no garanti instituisaun PNTL, hodi sidadaun Timorense tomak bele iha orgullu no domin-ba ita nia Polisia! Ba ita-boot sira nian atensaun, ami hato’o obrigadu-wain.

Perpara Husi Kuinesementu

Rogerio Viegas Vicente
Program Manager 

Rui Manuel Viana
Direitur Asosiasaun HAK


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