ELECTORAL COMMISSION CERTIFIES PRESIDENTIAL RESULTS
The board of Commissioners of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) yesterday delivered the certified results of the 14 April presidential election to SRSG Sergio Vieira de Mello for onward transmittal to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
“The Board of Commissioners did not have a difficult task in concluding that the criteria for a free and fair election have been met,” Maria Aurora dos Reis, the chair of the Board of Commissioners, said at the ceremony held in Dili. “Our own observations have been fully supported by the many electoral observer statements and other commentaries made so far,” she added.
Dos Reis said that no formal complaints had been lodged with the board by any of the candidates or political parties involved in the election process.
Three out of five of the seats on the Board of Commissioners, dos Reis among them, were held by East Timorese during the Presidential election, in line with the emphasis on the “Timorization” of the process that also saw East Timorese control all 13 district electoral offices and roughly half the polling centres and participate in the counting of the ballots.
FORMER POLITICAL PRISONERS ATTEND RECONCILIATION MEET
More than 50 former political prisoners gathered in Dili on Saturday to describe their experiences to members of the Commission on Reception, Truth and Reconciliation.
The political prisoners, who had been held on Ataúro Island off the coast of Dili between 1980 and 1983, voiced approval at the commission’s plan to investigate their experiences, and urged the commission members to search nationwide for other former political prisoners who could add further to the commission’s truth-seeking function.
The Commission’s overall functions also include: supporting the reintegration of less-serious offenders into their communities through community-based reconciliation mechanisms; documenting the nature of and reasons for human rights violations in East Timor between 1974 and 1999; and recommending ways to prevent future human rights violations and address the needs of the victims of violations.
BORDER DEMARCATION TEAMS BEGIN SURVEY IN WEST TIMOR
Representatives of East Timor and Indonesia today began a Joint Reconnaissance Survey (JRS) aimed at demarcating the countries’ common land borders.
The 12-day survey began in the West Timor border town of Atambua, and the teams –which include surveyors and representatives of each country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs – are scheduled to visit Covalima, Maliana and the district enclave of Oecussi in the coming days as they attempt to locate old border markers and study geological features, local social issues and technical issues.
The schedule for the survey was agreed upon at a technical meeting held in Denpasar, Indonesia, last week following which East Timorese officials praised their Indonesian counterparts.
“I think we have achieved what we set out to do [at the technical meeting],” said Nelson Santos, Director of Bilateral Affairs at East Timor’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “We found there was a very good spirit of cooperation from the Indonesian side.”
The launch of the border demarcation process has been a major goal of the United Nations before the end of the transition period.