28 May 2010

La'o Hamutuk 10th Birthday Party/Festa Tinan 10

La’o Hamutuk hari iha 20 Maio 2000, la too fulan neen hafoin referendum ne’ebé hapara okupasaun Indonesia nian. Hafoin tinan rua tiha, data ne’e sai data ba loron restaurasaun independensia nian, nune’e ami toman ona selebra ami nia festa tinan iha semana tuir fali mai. Iha 25 Maio 2010, ema liu 100 husi ONG lokal no internasional, sosiedade sivil, familia, embaixada sira, agensia internasional sira, governu, parlamentu no husi fatin seluk tan halibur hamutuk ho ami hodi selebra dekada ida ami nia servisu, nebe sei kontinua ba futuru. Clik atu hare foto sira tan.

La'o Hamutuk was founded on 20 May 2000, less than six months after the referendum ended the Indonesian occupation. Two years later, that date became Restoration of Independence Day, so we usually celebrate our anniversary the following week. On 25 May 2010, more than 100 people from local and international NGOs, civil society, family, friends, embassies, international agencies, government, parliament and elsewhere joined us in celebrating a decade of work, which will continue into the future. Click for more photos.

21 May 2010

Petroleum Fund Law faces major revisions

For the last five years, Timor-Leste's Petroleum Fund has served our country well. Since it was created, oil revenues and the state budget have grown beyond expectations. With ambitious future plans, the Government is revising the Fund's investment strategy and amending the Law which created it. La'o Hamutuk believes that this has major implications for current and future generations, and should done carefully, with wide public discussion of all issues and decisions.

La'o Hamutuk has posted a new web page Revising the Petroleum Fund Law with background information, context, and links to many presentations from three recent workshops. We also describe changes being considered, some of which were publicly announced and others which the Government is discussing in secret.

La'o Hamutuk has obtained a January 2010 Discussion Paper circulating within the National Directorate of the Petroleum Fund in the Ministry of Finance. This paper has not been released and may not represent decisions already made, but it includes suggestions from the Investment Advisory Board, consultants and staff. The Discussion Paper presents options for significant changes to many parts of the Law, including moving management from the BPA to the Ministry of Finance, reducing the independence of the Investment Advisory Board, removing most restrictions on investments, increasing the recommended annual expenditure from 3% to 5% of Timor-Leste's petroleum wealth, enabling the fund to be used as collateral for borrowing, and allowing some withdrawals without Parliamentary authorization. We have posted a summary of the options discussed in the paper.

In 2005, the Petroleum Fund Law was enacted with a unanimous vote of all parties in Parliament, and we hope that any changes this year will also receive support from across Timor-Leste's political and social spectrum. To do so, they must serve the long-term national interest, rather than the priorities of a particular party, generation, or economic class.

Who will get land under the draft Transitional Land Law?

La'o Hamutuk has launched a new web page explaining who will get land under the draft transitional Land Law. We have also updated our pages on the Expropriation law (also Tetum) and Compensation for lost land.

Next week, Parliamentary Commission A will receive technical submissions on the draft transitional Land Law. The law will decide who owns and who does not own land. It will also outline key principles for how land will be managed in future. It is the first of several land-related laws currently being prepared, and has far-reaching implications for social justice, peace and economic development in Timor-Leste.

Although the draft law has had a lengthy consultation process, few people understand who will get land under its terms. Its complex rules make it hard to understand - and in future hard to implement. This complexity will make it easy to hide corrupt practices in awarding land, and it will be difficult for people to know and defend their rights.

The current draft allows the State to claim large areas of land - including land that it is not using and that others have an ownership claim to. The State does not have to use this land for public purposes, but can choose to rent it to companies or others. The draft Strategic Development Plan outlines the State's intentions to claim and manage 12,000 hectares of plantation lands, and another 10,000+ hectares for transmigration programs to rice growing areas. Tens of thousands of people depend on this land for daily needs such as food and housing. Traditional owners also have a claim to much of this land, which was stolen by previous regimes.

The web page includes a table that ranks rights to land from strongest to weakest, which explains who is likely to get land in disputed cases. It also lists major changes since the initial 12 June 2009 draft, and includes some of La'o Hamutuk's concerns with the current draft.

09 May 2010

Strategic Plan text available on-line

The RDTL Government has not yet released the Strategic Development Plan, but La'o Hamutuk has scanned and posted the complete text of English draft.

Although it will be revised before it is finalized and presented to Parliament, this document is a good indication of the Government's ideas and intentions, and we hope that people will use it as a basis for analysis and submissions, formal and informal, to the Prime Minister and Parliament as the plan moves toward completion.

La'o Hamutuk has posted some commentary on selected topics in the Plan, which we will add to over the next few weeks.

We've also updated our page on whether Timor-Leste should borrow, with information from the SDP and the presentations at our April 15 public meeting by Kristin Sundell, Francisco Vasconcelos (Tetum) and Juvinal Dias (Tetum).

We welcome others' analysis, information and ideas.

05 May 2010

Oráriu Konsultasaun kona-ba Planu Estratéjiku Dezenvolvimentu nian

Hahu loron 19 Abril, Primeiru Ministru Xanan Gusmão hasoru malu ona ho nai ulun komunidade no povu sira iha subdistritu hotu iha Timor-Leste hodu diskuti Planu Estratégiku Dezenvolvimentu Nasaun nian ba tinan 2011-2030. Nia hahu iha distritu Lospalos no kontinua ba Baucau no Viqueque. Hafoin deskansa tiha iha tempu badak nia laran, nia ba liu foho no distritu sira iha loromonu, inklui Oecusse, molok atu taka iha Dili in Jullu. La’o Hamutuk fo sai Primeiru Ministru nia oráriu hodi fo korajen ba ema hotu atu fo sai sira nia hanoin ba Primeiru Ministru wainhira nia ba vizita sira nia komunidade.

Klik iha ne’e ba orariu kompletu lor-loron nian ka testu no analiza ba planu (no mos iha Inglés)

Orariu iha distritu (kada loron iha subdistritu ne’ebé la hanesan)

19-23 Abril: Lautem
24-28 Abril: Baucau
30 Abril-6 Maio: Viqueque, aumeta ho Vemasse no Laleia
12-14 Maio: Aileu
15-22 Maio: Manufahi no Ainaro
23-27 Maio: Manatuto
1-5 Juñu: Ermera
6-11 Juñu: Covalima

Hafoin para tiha iha tempu balu no debate Parlamentu nian kona ba orsamentu rektifikativu, Primeiru Ministru sei kontinua hodi halo hotu nia viajen sira, maibe laiha data espesifiku ida:
Loron lima iha Liquiça, aumenta ho Railaku
Loron lima iha Bobonaro
Loron lima in Oecusse
Loron hitu iha Dili, inklui Atauro no sei hotu iha Laulara iha loron ba dala 71.

Schedule for consultation on Strategic Development Plan

Since 19 April, Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão has been meeting with community leaders and local citizens in every subdistrict of Timor-Leste to discuss the Strategic Development Plan for the Nation for 2011-2030. He started in Los Palos and moved through Baucau and Viqueque districts. After a short break, he will go through the mountain and western districts, including Oecussi, before finishing in Dili in July. La'o Hamutuk is publishing his schedule to encourage people to share their thoughts with the Prime Minister when he visits their communities.

Click here for complete daily schedule or texts and analysis of the Plan (also Tetum)

District schedule (each day is in a different subdistrict)

19-23 April: Lautem
24-28 April: Baucau
30 April - 6 May Viqueque, plus Vemasse and Laleia
12-14 May: Aileu
15-22 May: Manufahi and Ainaro
23-27 May: Manatuto
1-5 June: Ermera
6-11 June: Covalima

After a break and the Parliamentary debate on the mid-year budget rectification, the Prime Minister resumes his travels, but without specific dates:
Five days in Liquica, plus Railako
Five days in Bobonaro
Five days in Oecussi
Seven days in Dili, including Atauro and ending in Laulara on the 71st day.

03 May 2010

Strategic Development Plan raises problems

For a more extensive, more up-to-date version of this post, including graphics, click here.

After working on it for several months, Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão presented a summary of his Strategic Development Plan 2011-2030 to the Development Partners meeting in April. Although the plan summary is entitled "From Conflict to Prosperity," the cover was re-labeled "On road to Peace and Prosperity" when it was revised and posted on the Government website in English and Portuguese a few weeks later.

The full version of the Strategic Development Plan has not yet been circulated. However, La'o Hamutuk has read the English "Final Draft" which was given to a few state leaders. It has more than 400 pages, nearly 80 tables, and more than 60 figures.

Unfortunately, the content is not as impressive as the appearance. The Summary presents an "inspirational outlook" of a prosperous Timor-Leste in 20 years, with no illiteracy; water supply infrastructure, primary health care and secondary education for all; national wireless broadband, and no poverty. But the draft plan itself, which is often inconsistent with the Summary, gives scant specifics about how Timor-Leste will achieve this inspiring vision.

On 19 April, the Prime Minister began "consulting" Timorese people across the country about the plan, promising to go to every subdistrict.

Although the Prime Minister's journey has stimulated much excitement and debate, the plan itself has received little analysis. La'o Hamutuk hopes that this web page helps people understand its contents and decide whether they are desirable and achievable, given Timor-Leste's current situation and the human and material resources available.

This page discusses some of the most important issues in the plan:
  1. Underestimating Timor-Leste's dependency on Petroleum Revenues - honesty in describing non-oil revenues
  2. Burning natural gas, and selling it too - using Sunrise gas to generate a gigawatt of electricity
  3. Riches beyond imagining - is Timor-Leste's "wealth" more than Indonesia or Malaysia?
We welcome suggestions about how to make this more accurate, relevant and useful.

02 May 2010

LH submission on proposed immigration law revision

The IOM and the RDTL State Secretariat for Security (Police) are in the process of writing a new Law on Immigration and Asylum to replace the 2003 law currently in effect.  La'o Hamutuk has opened a web page on this topic, which includes our written submission to this process (in Tetum). The article at right (click to see it larger), which La'o Hamutuk wrote for the Timor Post on 28 April, summarizes our submission, with the headline "Immigration Law, guideline for people, not wall against people."