Fundasaun Mahein, 25 November 2013
Challenges for Implementation of Decentralization and Local Empowerment in Timor-Leste from a Security Perspective
Mahein’s Voice No. 63 analyzes the Fifth Government’s constitutional plan to implement governmental decentralization and empowerment of local government. The objective of this initiative is to increase the autonomy and quality of life of Timorese citizens. However, Fundasaun Mahein has concerns regarding the politics of the reconciliation process. Specifically, the old generation of leadership has not been involved in the contiual development of community activities. This concern involves groups including the CPD-RDTL, high-level politicians, Nationalists vs Pro-Indonesians, and small political parties that do not yet support national stability.
One important issue discussed in this report is analysis of the most important challenges to implementation of decentralization and local empowerment. National unity is one factor that has become a challenge to the implemention the decentralization policy. This problem is linked to the history of conflict beginning in 1975 between politicians who clashed because of different ideologie, as well as the conflict in 1999 which gave rise to the concept of “Nationalists vs. Pro-Indonesians”.
The report also details the challenges presented by the lack of a fully developed democratic system of government in Timor-Leste. Experience from past presidential and parliamentary elections in 2007 and 2012 has demonstrated that elections create conflict between Timorese. In particular, the announcement of election results have often spurred violence leading to injuries and fatalities. In Timor-Leste, the public considers the experiences of past elections as lessons to learn from to improve national stability.
This report also discusses social issues that may contribute to conflict in the future, following the implementation of decentralization; one of these issues is land boundaries. Land disputes among Timorese are increasing, and there is currently no solution due to the lack of an administrative system to regulate land ownership in Timor-Leste. Lack of land legislation has opened the door for Timorese to grab land in rural and rurual areas. Fixing htis issue is critical to attaining peace and stability in Timor.
In addition, this report includes analysis of legislation as well as the structure of Timor-Leste’s National Police (PNTL). Fundasaun Mahein questions how the structure for the PNTL district command will be implemented? Fundasaun Mahein recommends to the Secretary of State for Decentralization Administration and Local Power to coordinate activities with the Secretary of State for Security (SES) to increase discussion and avoid the possible implications of legislation to delegate tasks to another institution.
Fundasaun Mahein’s Recommendations:
1. Fundasaun Mahein recommends to the Secretary of State for Decentralization Administration to accelerate the drafting of legislation for decentralization and to send it to the National parliament for review and discussion before approval.
2. Fundasaun Mahein recommends to the government to implement CAVR’s recommendation about reparation to war victims of the Indonesian occupation, and to review the current veteran recognition system before implementing decentralization and local empowerment initiatives.
3. Fundasaun Mahein recommends to the Secretary of State for Decentralization Administration and Local Power to cooperate with CNE and STAE to continue facilitating civic education from the level of political party leadership. This should be done in order to avoid the use of insulting language during the campaigning and election period in municipalities.
4. Fundasaun Mahein Recommends to the Minister of Justice to accelerate the drafting and submition of the land law to National parliament for discussion and approval before the implementation of decentralization, in order to minimize conflicts revolving around land disputes in the future.
For more details, please consult the following:
Director of Fundasaun Mahein
Tlp: +670 7737 4222