Violence and Traffic Accidents in Timor-Leste

Violence and Traffic Accidents in Timor-Leste post thumbnail image

Violence and Traffic Accidents in Timor-Leste

Fundasaun Mahein’s monitoring over the past few years have shown a standard uptick in traffic accidents and violent conflict in holiday periods in Timor-Leste, and particularly around Christmas, New Year’s Day, and All Saints Day. For these holidays there is a large increase in citizens traveling between Dili and the municipalities to visit their families, resulting in higher numbers of vehicles on the roads and higher numbers of accidents.

FM has monitored and registered frequent cases of violence in 2013 and 2014, of various circumstances, including fights between martial arts group (GAM) members, even though GAM has been banned under a government resolution. In 2014, high rates of violent attacks between youths occurred during the Christmas and New Year period. Incidents took place in Baucau, Viqueque and Dili, in which a number of victims were injured or even killed from the violence.

The same incidents continued to transpire in 2015, and again in the Christmas and New Year period there was a rash of violence, notably in Bobonaro, Viqueque and Dili, where a number of victims were again injured or killed. FM recorded five such incidents, which resulted in three deaths in Dili (Delta III, Hudi Laran and Tasi-Tolu) and one in Viqueque, including a PNTL member in Ermera.

FM’s monitoring of traffic and vehicular accidents in 2015 also showed a strong increase in accident frequency before and after Christmas and New Year’s. At least 12 people were killed in bus crash (BALTIMOR) in Fatu-Ahi Dili during this period, and 3 further people died in a separate bus crash (CAHAYA) in the roundabout Lafatik-Dili. Traffic accidents also caused fatalities in Liquica (one death), Ainaro (one death) and occurred in Bobonaro and Baucau, as well.

These accidents continue to occur because the country lacks a proper road and driving safety strategy. One thing that FM has noted is that the authorities do take action after violence or accidents take place. For example, after an accident in Fatu-Ahi, the police held a check point and controlled movement of transportation through to the municipalities.

The lack of an effective preventative strategy extends as well to the extant issue of increased violence at the end of the year. There exists no adapted police strategy for discouraging these outbreaks of violence. Options exist—police patrolling areas identified as conflict areas would be an easy adjustment. The visibility of the police is still at a minimum, even after frequent promises from police institution seniority to ensure public safety during the Christmas-New Year timeframe.

FM’s monitoring noted that these traffic accidents are often due to the negligence of drivers and passengers; poor road conditions and upkeep; poor vehicle quality and maintenance; and a lack of traffic oversight from police and the National Directorate of Transportation and Land (DNTT).

Therefore, FM recommends:

1. DNTT to operate stations in Dili and the municipalities in order to control transport flow as well as the placement of traffic lights in public streets.

2. The police institution hold routine patrols in the period of Christmas and New Year, in locations inclined to violence or crime, in order to minimize violence and attacks in the future. FM also recommends the police also publicize information on traffic accidents in police stations to provide civic education for the public and call attention to driving safety for all drivers and passengers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Post