United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste

Published on UNMIT.org, 32 pages.

Human Rights and Transitional Justice Section, Report on human rights developments in Timor-Leste, August 2006 – August 2007.

An excerpt, page 10 ff: … HRTJS recognizes the intention of the Timor-Leste Government to make determined efforts to combat poverty and youth unemployment, as expressed in the Government’s Program and the International Compact for Timor-Leste.10 The situation shows a clear link between poverty, frustration and instability. There is an urgent need to develop social safety nets for support to the poor and vulnerable. Public works and cash transfer programs would be some of the measures that could safeguard economic and social rights and stimulate the economy.11 The lack of access to basic services, however, is profoundly affected by the absence of a regulatory and legal framework through which citizens can claim their rights. A draft labour code has not been approved to date, while more efforts need to be undertaken to discuss and adopt a comprehensive framework on land and property rights. The displacement of at least 10% of the population during the 2006 crisis underlines the critical socio-economic conditions in Timor-Leste, and further aggravated the situation by igniting new conflicts between IDPs who are receiving services, and poor communities that are not benefiting from humanitarian assistance.

HRTJS recommends that the Timor-Leste Government initiates the drafting of a report on implementation of the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights, for submission to the relevant UN treaty monitoring committee. The reporting process and the ensuing recommendations by international experts should assist in a structured, rights-based approach to the alleviation of poverty and provide a framework for the further mobilization of international support.

The situation of internally displaced persons: The violence sparked during the 2006 crisis resulted in the internal displacement of more than a hundred thousand persons who moved to IDP camps scattered around the country, or to host families. Since April 2006 around 5,300 houses were destroyed or damaged in the violence. A slight decrease of the IDP population staying in camps has been noted since then, although with renewed violence linked to gang fighting in the beginning of 2007, more people arrived in the camps. Many more houses were destroyed or damaged during disturbances in May-June and in August, leading to new displacement in Ermera and Viqueque districts. The living conditions in the IDP camps in Dili and the districts are of concern. One year after the crisis many tents and tarpaulins are in need of replacement. Water and sanitation needs improvement while a number of camps remain vulnerable to flooding and landslides … (full long text).

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