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CPLP Should not Admit Equatorial Guinea
CPLP labele simu Gine Ekuatorial

15 July 2014.   Updated 28 July.

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Konteúdu pájina ida ne’e

On 22-23 July, leaders from three continents will convene in Dili for the Tenth Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries (CPLP). One of the most important and controversial items on their agenda is the acceptance of Equatorial Guinea as a full member of CPLP.

Although a lot of attention is being paid here to the preparations for the VIP visitors, including widespread emergency construction and high spending, La'o Hamutuk believes that it is also important to consider the meeting itself. Therefore, we wrote the following Open Letter to President Taur Matan Ruak, with copies to Timor-Leste's Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, President of Parliament and President of the Preparatory Committee. You can also download the letter as PDF (also in Portuguese) for easier printing. The text of the letter follows:

Semana oin, lider sira hosi kontinental tolu sei hasoru malu iha Dili ba Simeira ba dala sanulu Xefe Estadu no Governu komunidade nasaun ne’ebé ko’alia lian Portuguese (CPLP). asuntu ida ne’ebé importante tebes no kontroversial iha sira nia ajenda mak simu Guinea Equatorial nudár membru permanente ba CPLP.

Maski tau atensaun barak ona ba preparasaun atu simu bainaka espesial sira, inklui halo barak konstrusaun emerjensia no despeza ne’ebé as, La'o Hamutuk hanoin katak importante mós atu konsidera konferénsia ida ne'e rasik. Tanba ne'e, ami hakerek Karta Aberta tuir mai ba Prezidente Taur Matan Ruak, ho kopia ba Primeiru Ministru, Ministru Negósiu Estranjeiru, Prezidente Parlamentu no Prezidente Komisaun Preparasaun Simeira. Ita-boot sira bele download karta ne'e iha formatu PDF (mos iha Portuges) atu fasil hodi print sai. Textu karta ne'e hanesan tuir mai:

Dili, 15 July 2014

His Excellency Taur Matan Ruak, President, RDTL

With respect,

Next week, Timor-Leste will host the Tenth Conference of Heads of State and Government of CPLP. In addition to discussing political, economic, social and security issues, this Summit will also make a decision to accept Equatorial Guinea as a member country of CPLP.

Many people, including 50 prominent personalities from CPLP countries, do not agree that Equatorial Guinea, a non-Portuguese-speaking nation, should join CPLP. La’o Hamutuk, as an organization committed to promote human rights and social and economic justice, asks the upcoming Summit not to approve this accession or at least to make it conditional on significant improvement in human rights and reducing corruption.

A nation without democracy

Today, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has ruled since 1979, continues to keep this nation as a dictatorship. Many people in Equatorial Guinea are hit with extralegal detention, jailed without trial, tortured, disappeared, and banned from exercising democratic and political rights and other human rights violations.

Although the Equatoguinean government announced a temporary moratorium on the death penalty when it applied to become a member of CPLP, this small West African nation continues to engage in extrajudicial killing of its citizens. Two weeks before announcing the moratorium—which has yet to be adopted by the Parliament, Equatorial Guinea executed several prisoners. According to Amnesty International, in January 2014 the government of Equatorial Guinea put four people, “and possibly nine” to death.

Timor-Leste lived for 24 years under the Suharto military regime. This invasion caused many people to become refugees, forcibly disappeared, tortured, deprived of liberty and encountered genocide every day. The human rights problems in Equatorial Guinea reflect the past history of Timor-Leste – but people should not have to live under this kind of repression any more. If Timor-Leste opposed the accession of Equatorial Guinea, this would contribute to build democracy and human rights for its people.

Article 5.1(b) of the CPLP Statutes, about Guiding Principles, includes non-interference in the internal affair of each member state, which means that Timor-Leste and other CPLP countries would not be able to defend the social, economic, political and democratic rights of the people of Equatorial Guinea.

Therefore, we ask the Government of Timor-Leste to obey Article 10 of the RDTL Constitution by giving solidarity to all people of Equatorial Guinea who struggle for social liberation, defense of human rights, democracy and peace, thereby carrying out the CPLP Principle that all members should cooperate to promote democratic practices, good governance and respect for human rights.

No freedom of press or expression

Timor-Leste is one of the nations which has ratified the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights which, along with our Constitution, guarantees freedom of the press and expression. For a decade and a half, Timor-Leste has had no problems with press or expression.

This situation is totally different from what exists in Equatorial Guinea. There, press freedom does not exist, local journalists cannot criticize political leaders, and the law does not contemplate pro-democracy or human rights work by non-governmental organizations. Although some local activists continue to monitor the human rights situation, they often confront intimidation, harassment, and imprisonment by state security forces.

CPLP Statutes Article 5.1(e) gives a guiding principle of prioritizing peace, democracy, rule of law, human rights and social justice. Unfortunately, this principles is far from what Equatorial Guinea follows.

Economic injustice

Equatorial Guinea is the third largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa, and its economy and state spending are extremely dependent on petroleum income. Sadly, half of its people live without clean water or sanitation, health, education, or reliable electricity. The submission by Human Rights Watch to this year’s UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review of Equatorial Guinea explains that the government spends much of the oil money on large prestige infrastructure projects, ignoring basic sustainable development needs of its people.

The government spends a lot on roads, recreational facilities for the elite and foreign guests; while local people still live in destitute poverty. There is widespread corruption, basic information on budgetary spending is secret, and citizens and journalists cannot monitor how their natural resources are used. Equatorial Guinea is the textbook example of the resource curse.

Transparency International calls Equatorial Guinea one of the most corrupt states in the world, ranking them 163rd worst out of 177 countries in the 2013 Corruption Perception Index. President Obiang and his relatives use the oil wealth to enrich themselves, and keep the details as state secrets. Vice President Teodorin Obiang, the President’s oldest son, has been alleged in court documents to have stolen public money, using fraud and money-laundering to transfer through false companies to bank accounts he controlled. Until recently, there was an international arrest warrant pending against him.

Timor-Leste values democracy and transparency. It is a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), and it is also very dependent on petroleum revenues. The situation in Equatorial Guinea will not help our people, and is a bad example for Timor-Leste. It will not help the people of Equatorial Guinea for CPLP to legitimize their dictatorial regime, or to provide ways for their corruption-contaminated oil to pass through CPLP mechanisms to make the Obiang family even richer. We worry that the emerging cooperation among CPLP countries in the petroleum sector will be poisoned if it includes the Obiang kleptocracy.

In addition, if Timor-Leste supports the membership of Equatorial Guinea in CPLP, we will show that Timor-Leste cannot promote principles of international relations which defend everyone’s human rights and the sovereignty of people over their own natural resources.

Finally, we in Timor-Leste can learn from Equatorial Guinea’s disastrous mistakes, so that we do not fall as deep into the resource curse as they have.


The dictatorship in Equatorial Guinea wants to exploit CPLP to gain legitimacy in the international community. During our struggle against the Indonesian occupying regime, all CPLP nations supported Timor-Leste in isolating the Suharto dictatorship because it violated Timor-Leste people’s human rights. We think that, in truth, Timor-Leste and other CPLP countries should continue this struggle against dictators who bring suffering to their people.

Also, Equatorial Guinea did not vote on four of the eight UN General Assembly resolutions which supported Timor-Leste during our struggle against the illegal Indonesian occupation. Although the chaotic situation in the country in 1978 could explain their first absence, those from 1980-1982 show a lack of commitment. All CPLP members voted for Timor-Leste at every opportunity. Therefore, we suggest that the Government of Timor-Leste should use its right to vote against Equatorial Guinea coming into CPLP.

Thank you very much for your attention to this open letter.

Juvinal Dias, Adilson da Costa Junior, Charles Scheiner
Researchers at La’o Hamutuk

Dili, 15 Jullu 2014

Exmo. Sr. Taur Matan Ruak, Prezidente Repúblika RDTL

Ho Respeitu,

Semana oin, Timor-Leste sei sai uma na’in ba Konferénsia Xefe Estadu no Governu CPLP ba dala sanulu. Aleinde atu diskute asuntu sira polítika, ekonomia, sosiál no seguransa nian, Simeira ida ne’e mós sei halo desizaun atu simu Guinea Equatorial nudár nasaun membru ida ba CPLP.

Iha ema barak, inklui ema koñesidu na’in 50 hosi nasaun CPLP, la konkorda adesaun Guinea Equatorial, nasaun ida ne’ebé la ko’alia lian Portuguese hodi sai membru CPLP. La’o Hamutuk nudár organizasaun ida ne’ebé durante ne’e firme atu promove direitus umanus, justisa ekonómiku no sosiál husu atu Simeira oin mai ne’e labele ratifika adesaun ida ne’e, ka mínimu halo desizaun ne’e kondisionál atu hadi’a direitus umanus no hamenus korrupsaun.

Nasaun la demokrátiku

Ohin loron, Prezidente Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, ne’ebé ukun 1979 to’o ohin loron, nafatin lori nasaun ne’e iha dalan ditadór nian. Povu Guinea Equatorial barak mak sei hasoru detensaun extrajudisiariu hanesan kastigu lahó desizaun juis, torturasaun, lakon forsadamente, bandu atu ezerse direitu polítika no demokrasia nian, no violasaun direitus umanus sira seluk.

Maski Governu Guinea Equatorial anunsia moratorium temporáriu ba pena morte nian bainhira sira aplika atu sai membru CPLP, nasaun ki’ik ida hosi Áfrika Osidentál ida ne’e, sei kontinua halo pratika oho extrajudisiariu ba nia emar sira. Semana rua molok anunsia moratorium – ne’ebé adopta hosi Parlamentu, Governu Guinea Equatorial oho prizioneiru balu. Tuir Amnesty International, Governu Guinea Equatorial oho ema na’in haat, “karik la’ós ema na’in sia”, iha Janeiru 2014.

Timor-Leste, durante tinan 24 nia laran moris iha rejime militár Suharto nia okos. Invazaun ida ne’e halo ema barak mak tenke sai refujiadu, halakon ho forsa, tortura, laiha liberdade no hasoru jenosídiu loro-loron. Problema direitus umanus iha Guinea Equatorial nudár reflesaun ida ba istória pasadu Timor-Leste katak natoon ona ba povu sira atu labele moris tan iha presaun nia okos. Pozisaun no determinasaun Timor-Leste hodi kontra adesaun Guinea Equatorial sei sai kontribuisaun ida atu hatuur demokrasia no direitus umanus ba povu nasaun ne’e.

Artigu 5.1(b) kona-ba Prinsípiu Orientadór sira iha Estatutu CPLP nian hateten katak labele iha interferénsia ba asuntu internal kada nasaun membru, signifika katak Timor-Leste no nasaun CPLP sira seluk labele defende direitu sosiál, ekonómiku polítika no demokrasia ba povu Guinea Equatorial.

Nune’e, ami husu ba Governu Timor-Leste atu tuir Konstituisaun RDTL Artigu 10 hodi solidáriu ho povu Guinea Equatorial hotu-hotu ne’ebé luta ba sira nia libertasaun sosiál, defeza ba direitus umanus, demokrasia no dame, inklui valoriza prinsípiu CPLP nian atu estimula kooperasaun entre membru tomak ho objetivu atu promove pratika demokrátiku, boa governasaun no respeitu direitus umanus nian.

Laiha liberdade imprensa no espresaun nian

Timor-Leste inklui nasaun ida ne’ebé ratifika ona Konvensaun Internasionál ba Direitu Sivíl no Polítika, inklui ita nia Konstituisaun garante liberdade imprensa no espresaun nian. Dezde dékada ida ho balu iha ukun-rasik an, Timor-Leste la enfrenta problema ho imprensa no espresaun nian.

Situasaun ida ne’e diferente total ho ida ne’ebé akontese iha Guinea Equatorial. Sira laiha liberdade imprensa, jornalista lokál labele kritika polítika ukun-na’in sira, no lei la fó dalan ba grupu naun governamentál sira atu servisu ba pro demokrasia no direitus umanus nian iha ne’ebá. Maski iha ativista lokál balu mak to’o ohin loron sei kontinua tau matan ba situasaun direitus umanus iha ne’ebá, maibé dala barak sira sei hasoru intimidasaun, perturbasaun ka kapturasaun hosi forsa seguransa estadu nian.

Ami hare katak, pás, demokrasia, estadu direitu, direitus umanus no justisa sosiál hanesan Estatutu CPLP Artigu 5.1(e) hateten mak prinsípiu orientadór ba nasaun membru CPLP tomak atu adhere no obedese. Infelizmente, prinsípiu ida ne’e dook hosi pratika ne’ebé Guinea Equatorial sadere ba.

Injustisa Ekonómiku

Guinea Equatorial nudár nasaun produtór mina númeru tolu iha sub-Sahara Áfrika, no nia ekonomia no despeza estadu nian depende maka’as liu ba reseita petrolíferu. Infelizmente, metade hosi nia populasaun moris ho fasilidade bee mós no saneamentu, saúde, edukasaun no eletrisidade ne’ebé fraku teb-tebes. Human Rights Watch nia submisaun iha tinan ida ne’e ba Universal Periodic Review ba Guinea Equatorial hateten katak ho osan mina-rai, Governu gasta osan barak atu harii infrastrutura boot de’it atu buka naran, ignora tiha povu Guinea Equatorial nia nesesidade ba dezenvolvimentu sustentavel báziku.

Sira gasta osan barak ba estrada, fasilidade rekreiasaun ba elite no bainaka hosi rai li’ur, maibé povu nia moris nafatin iha pobreza ida ne’ebé at liu nia laran. Korrupsaun barak, informasaun báziku ba despeza orsamentál ne’ebé segredu no mós falta monitorizasaun hosi sidadaun no jornalista sira ba utilizasaun riku-soin rekursu naturais halo Guinea Equatorial nudár ezemplu livru eskolár ida ba malisan rekursu.

Transparency International tau Guinea Equatorial tama kategoria estadu ne’ebé korruptu liu iha mundu. Transparency International nia Corruption Perception Index iha 2013 tau Guinea Equatorial iha pozisaun 163 hosi nasaun 177. Prezidente Obiang no nia família sira uza mina-rai ne’ebé iha hodi hariku nia an, no lakohi transparénsia hodi tau reseita mina-rai nudár segredu estadu nian ida. Teodorin Obiang, daudauk ne’e nudár Vice Prezidente, Prezidente Obiang nia oan mane primeiru, hetan akuzasaun hosi dokumentu tribunal nian katak nia nauk osan públiku, fraude no brankamentu kapitál hodi transfere liu hosi kompañia falsu ida ba konta bankária ida ne’ebé nia rasik mak kontrola. To’o iha notifikasaun internasionál ba nia kapturasaun ne’ebé pendente hela.

Timor-Leste nudár nasaun ne’ebé fó valor ba demokrasia no transparénsia. Timor-Leste sai tiha nasaun kumpridor ba Inisiativa Transparénsia iha Indústria Extrativa (EITI), no mós depende maka’as ba reseita petrolíferu, situasaun ne’ebé akontese iha Guinea Equatorial sei la ajuda no labele sai ezemplu di’ak ba Timor-Leste. Ne’e sei la ajuda povu Guinea Equatorial bainhira CPLP lejítima sira nia regime ditadór korruptu, ka fó dalan ba família Obiang hodi sai riku liu tan hosi nauk osan mina-rai liu hosi mekanizmu CPLP nian. Ami ta’uk katak kooperasaun entre nasaun CPLP sira iha setór petróleu sei hetan influensia at bainhira kooperasaun ne’e involve Governu Obiang ne’ebé korruptu.

Nune’e mós, bainhira Timor-Leste suporta adesaun Guinea Equatorial hodi sai membru CPLP, sei hatudu katak Timor-Leste labele promove prinsípiu relasaun internasionál nian atu defende ema hotu nia direitu no soberania permanente povu nian ba sira nia riku-soin no rekursu naturais nian.

Ikus liu, ita iha Timor-Leste bele aprende fallansu ne’ebé Guinea Equatorial halo ona, nune’e evita ita hodi labele monu kle’an liu ba iha malisan rekursu hanesan sira.

Konkluzaun ikus

Governu ditadór iha Guinea Equatorial hakarak esploita CPLP hodi buka lejitimidade iha komunidade internasionál. Durante funu kontra ditadór Indonézia nian, Timor-Leste hos suporta hosi nasaun membru CPLP tomak kontra no izola Governu Indonézia tanba envolve iha aktu violasaun direitus umanus kontra povu Timor-Leste. Ami hanoin katak, loloos, Timor-Leste no CPLP sira seluk tenke kontinua atu luta kontra ditadór sira ne’ebé fó terus ba nia povu sira.

No mós durante luta Timor-Leste hodi kontra okupasaun ilegál Indonézia nian, Guinea Equatorial la marka prezensa dala haat ba votasaun Asembleia Jerál Nasoins Unidas nian atu apoiu Timor-Leste hosi votasaun dala walu nian. Maski krize iha sira nia rai iha 1978 bele esplika sira nia abstensaun, maibé hosi 1980-1982 hatudu katak sira laiha komitmentu atu apoiu Timor-Leste. Nasaun sira iha CPLP vota ba Timor-Leste iha votasaun tomak Assembleia Jerál ONU nian ba Timor-Leste. Tanba ne’e, ami sujere ba Governu Timor-Leste atu uza nia direitu hodi labele simu no ratifika adesaun Guinea Equatorial ba iha CPLP.

Mak ne’e de’it karta aberta ida ne’e ami hato’o ba ita-boot sira, no ba atensaun tomak, la haluha ami hato’o obrigado wain.

Ami be saran lian,
Juvinal Dias ,Adilson da Costa Junior, Charles Scheiner
Peskizadór La’o Hamutuk

This letter is supported by Timorese human rights activists, including:

Arsenio Pereira
Marilia da Silva Alves
Jenito Santana
Nolasco Mendes
Manuel Monteiro

Luis Ximenes
Nelson Miranda
Jose Luis Oliveira
Hugo Fernandes
Virgilio Guterres
Leovogildo Hornay
Kerrytilo D. Pinto
Karta ne’e hetan apoiu hosi ativista direitus umanus sira:

Filomeno Monteiro
Gaudencio da Souza
Nuno Rodrigues
Rogerio Savio
Dircia da Costa

Domingos de Andrade
Sisto dos Santos
Antonio da Costa
Nug Katjasungkana
Januario Correia
Joao S. Sarmento
As expected, the CPLP Summit accepted Equatorial Guinea as a full member, although local and international media gave a lot of attention to their dictatorship. Following the decision, the Portuguese NGO Forum suspended its role as a consultative observer of CPLP. 


Human Rights




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