Australia - East Timor Friendship Association (SA) Inc
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Goodwood, S.A. 5034

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Australia - East Timor Friendship Association (SA) Inc.


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Indonesian journalists launch Balibo appeal


(Jan 14, AAP)             Indonesian journalists will appeal the decision to ban the Australian film “Balibo”.  The Independent Journalist Alliance (AJI) has defied the ban, risking jail terms & heavy fines by staging a series of free public screenings across the country.  The AJI will now challenge the ban in State Management Court.  A 2007 NSW coronial inquest concluded that Indonesia deliberately killed the journalists to cover up their East Timor invasion.  Many thousands have flocked to the screenings – in many cases to see a film they hadn’t heard of before the ban.



Indonesia fails to end military businesses:  HRW


(Jan 12, Reuters)         In October 2004, Indonesia’s parliament issued a 5-year deadline for the military to withdraw from its businesses; in October 2009, Pres. Yudhoyono issued a decree postponing the date for an unspecified period.  Human Rights Watch says the military’s money-making activities pose a conflict of interest:  where they are seeking a profit there are often human rights abuses, extortion, seizure of land & abuse of workers.  There is direct military involvement in some criminal enterprises.  Over the last 5 years there was a lack of political will to carry out the reforms.  The President’s new decree doesn’t require the military to give up its businesses; merely to restructure them.



East Timor asks Petronas to develop Sunrise


(Jan 20, Reuters)         East Timor has approached Malaysian state oil firm Petronas to develop the Greater Sunrise gas field, after rejecting a plan by Australian firm Woodside to develop the field without building an onshore processing plant.  Timor wants the considerable economic benefits of an onshore plant itself, rather than seeing all the benefits going to Australia.  Petronas is studying the Sunrise options.



Papuan problem needs dialogue


(Jan 18, Kompas)        The Deputy Chair of Indonesia’s Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), Matius Murib says Papua’s prioblems can only be solved by dialogue & by accommodating the interests of all the people.  Komnas HAM & Kontras (Commission for Missing Persons & Victims of Violence) report continuing cases of violence in 2009.  Murib says dialogue would be difficult or impossible unless the security forces are withdrawn – they are the biggest violators of human rights in Papua.



Optimistic outlook for Aceh, Timor


(Jan 15, The Age)        Aceh has started its 5th year of relative peace, & its liberal democracy continues to grow stronger despite occasional attacks on political leaders & foreign nationals.  Pres. Yudhoyono gave his strong support to a compromise resolution to Aceh’s long separatist war, giving Aceh genuine autonomy.

            East Timor continues to stabilise & prosper; the violence of 2006 seems to be over.  Despite daunting problems like illiteracy, poverty & high infant mortality, its development indicators are improving.  With the recent spike in oil prices, Timor has set up a pension scheme for the aged – a rare social security measure in developing countries.  There are still problems with distribution of development outside Dili, so the Government is moving to decentralise government administration & spending.  Locally elected district government will have great discretion over spending, delivering funds where most people will benefit from them.

(Prof Damien Kingsbury, Deakin University)




(Updated on Jan 31, 2010)


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