Informal statement from NNGO's and INGO's at East Timor donor conference, Dec 2002

News and Press Release
Originally published
Donor Conference
Dili, 9th -- 10th December 2002

The donors conference for December 2002 identifies several key issues for the development of East Timor, including employment, delivery of government services to regions and districts, national dialogue, veterans, reconciliation and law and order. The National Development Plan provides a basis for these issues and other development issues for the next five years. This statement from INGO's and NNGO's, although informal, aims to act as a balance of information, and as a voice for grassroots institutions in the development of East Timor.

We would therefore urge donors to consider these issues and their broader context in the further development of this newly independent nation.


East Timor as a new nation is currently developing its' legal system. It needs improvement and development to create a system that is just, independent and will also address issues deemed important by the NGO community in East Timor. Issues identified by the NGO community include:

1. The development of a judicial institution that is just, independent and fair, free from collusion and government intervention.

2. A justice system that incorporates the Timorese culture.

3. Reconciliation based on justice.

4. A concept of reconciliation that is not considered as a project but as a continuing process.

Human Rights

East Timor has experienced a long colonial period, whereby serious human rights violations have occurred. Due to this, prevention of human rights violations and protection of human rights is extremely important for the present and future. The NGO community wishes to emphasize the following issues:

1. To form an investigation team from the United Nations to investigate serious crimes from the twenty-four years under Indonesian occupation.

2. To establish an international court to try human rights cases from the twenty-four years of Indonesian occupation.

3. To ensure the rights of women in government, the private sector, NGO's and civil society.


Education of the younger generation is extremely important for the present and the future of East Timor. There are currently limitations in human resources, in which a high standard and far reaching education system is needed. The following issues are deemed important:

1. The development of a high quality curriculum for education, and determining a national language of instruction focused the ability of the teachers and students.

2. Improving the quality and ability of teachers.

3. Informal education via NGO's, the Church and other civil society organizations.

4. The provision of education facilities.


Health is one of the basic necessities for all people. The development of a health system and provision of adequate health professionals and facilities in the districts and the centers is very important. The NGO community wishes to emphasize the following issues:

1. Increasing the capacity of medical staff, including doctors, specialists, nurses, midwives and other health staff.

2. Health education at the village level via NGO programs and other civil society organizations.

3. Improving health facilities at all district levels.


Agriculture is a vital area for the East Timorese community, in the provision of basic food needs. This area is important because of the lack of food security, and the likelihood of famine. The working partnership between the non-government sector and the Department of Agriculture has been a positive aspect of the NGO -- government relationship. NGO's can take a greater role in providing services to the district level in all fields. The following issues need to be addressed:

1. The occurrence of famine, which has reached a serious level this year compared to previous years, because of a long dry season.

2. Environment, forestry, water and sanitation to reduce the occurrence of famine and improve the standard of health and nutrition in communities.

3. Sustainable agriculture to ensure food security.

4. A marketing system and improvement in the quality of local produce developed and implemented by the NGO sector.

5. Increasing the capacity of the Department of Agriculture staff and farming groups. This issue can also be applied to other government and NGO sectors.


The political situation is determined by the success and implementation of the East Timor National Development Plan. According to our current understanding and analysis, the following issues are very significant:

1. National dialogue at all levels, to ensure community understanding of the present government situation, and also as an opportunity to voice community opinions. This also provides an opportunity for community participation in government processes.

2. The dissemination of information in regards to the East Timor National Development Plan and how this will affect civil society.


As a representative of the NGO community, we feel it is essential to voice our opinions and act as a balancing institution in terms of government developmental policy. It is very disappointing that we did not have the opportunity to provide a formal statement or intervention in this Donor's Conference, even though this opportunity has been provided to us on previous occasions. We hope that this informal statement can assist in democracy and the development of this nation.