DELEGATION HEADS TO JAKARTA FOR JUSTICE TALKS
An UNTAET delegation led by Acting SRSG Dennis McNamara left for Jakarta today for two days of talks with the Indonesian Government on justice-related issues.
The talks are the second of a planned series of monthly meetings on cooperation in the justice sector as agreed by McNamara and Indonesia’s Attorney General, Mohamad Abdurrahman, last October.
The delegation from East Timor also includes Prosecutor General Longuinhos Monteiro and UNTAET’s Deputy Prosecutor and Head of Serious Crimes Unit, Siri Frigaard. They are scheduled to meet with Indonesia’s Deputy Attorney General, Basrif Arif Widyasah, and Minister for Justice and Human Rights Yusril Ihza Mahendra.
The two sides are expected to exchange information on serious crimes cases and progress by the Indonesians into the mid-2000 killings of peacekeepers Private Devi Ram Jaisi, from Nepal, and Private Leonard Manning, from New Zealand.
The UNTAET delegation will also be briefing their Indonesian counterparts on the recent establishment of the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor and other reconciliation initiatives being taken by UNTAET and the Second Transitional Government.
JAPAN DONATES US$1 MILLION TO RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
The Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor today announced it had received US$1 million from the Japanese Government to help fund the commission’s activities.
“The grant is most timely as it is given so soon after our swearing in as commissioners and gives us confidence that we’ll have the resources to carry out the responsibilities which have been entrusted to us,” Commission Chairman Aniceto Guterres Lopes said in a letter thanking the Japanese Government.
The seven National Commissioners who head the Commission were sworn in on 21 January and will be at the forefront of addressing issues of reconciliation and justice in East Timor.
The Commission will inquire into and establish facts about human rights violations committed between April 1974 and October 1999; support the reintegration of people who have committed minor criminal offences or harmful acts through a community-based reconciliation process; and submit a report to the Government outlining recommendations as to how to prevent future recurrences of human rights violations.
The commission has now raised US$2 million of the US$3.8 million needed to fund its activities for the next two years.
NEW ZEALAND GOVERNOR-GENERAL ENDS TWO-DAY VISIT
The Governor-General of New Zealand, Dame Sylvia Cartwright, left East Timor today after a two-day visit during which she met with senior Government, UNTAET and peacekeeping officials, as well as members of the New Zealand Battalion based in Suai district.
The Governor-General stayed overnight at the New Zealand Battalion Headquarters and today opened a school and a health clinic and laid flowers at a memorial to victims of the 1999 Suai massacre.
CENTRAL LAB UPGRADES TO COMBAT DISEASE OUTBREAKS
East Timor’s Central Laboratory will soon be able to identify deadly diseases such as the cholera outbreak that killed three people in Suai district last month, a World Health Organisation official said today.
The Central Laboratory received Monday, 11 February, a shipment of agents that will be used to identify dangerous bacteria and parasites. East Timorese are being trained to use the agents, new diagnostic equipment and a standard operation manual. The lab should be able to identify suspected cholera samples by next week.
Samples previously had to be sent by military aircraft to Darwin, Australia, for analysis.
The need for quick diagnosis was underscored in late January when a cholera outbreak killed two adults and one child in Suai town.
About 20 people fell ill during the outbreak, which was likely caused by poor sanitation. Local doctors, medical NGOs and New Zealand peacekeepers distributed medicines and contained the outbreak. Authorities later launched a health program to teach the affected community about disease prevention.