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La'o Hamutuk Mid-year Report 
January - June 2004

English PDF File    Bahasa Indonesia PDF File (to come)

This report updates and complements La’o Hamutuk’s Annual Report for 2003, which can be found on La’o Hamutuk’s website or requested from our office.


La’o Hamutuk (“Walking Together” in English) is an East Timorese organization that monitors, analyzes, and reports on the principal international institutions present in East Timor as they relate to the physical, economic, and social reconstruction and development of the country. La’o Hamutuk believes that the people of East Timor must be the ultimate decision-makers in this process, which should be democratic and transparent. La’o Hamutuk has tried to follow a model of equitable cooperation between East Timorese and foreign activists and both East Timorese and international staff have equal responsibilities, and receive equal pay and benefits.

La’o Hamutuk is an independent organization and works to facilitate effective East Timorese participation in the reconstruction and development of the country. In addition, La’o Hamutuk works to improve communication between the international community and East Timorese society. Finally, La’o Hamutuk is a resource center, providing literature on development models, experiences, and practices, as well as facilitating solidarity links between East Timorese groups and groups abroad with the aim of creating alternative development models.

With a reduced United Nations mission of support extended until May 2005, questions remain about the future of the process of prosecuting crimes against humanity. As the new administration East Timorese government continues to consolidate itself, international financial institutions, foreign governments, foreign companies, international agencies and advisors continue to have powerful roles. They are particularly involved in key areas like the exploitation of East Timor’s natural resources, and management of petroleum revenues, and offering loans to cover East Timor’s current budget deficit.

La’o Hamutuk’s work remains crucial in helping international agencies and East Timorese better understand each other as this new country enters a new phase in its history and continues to define and evolve its own internal systems and its position in the international arena.

Goals and Objectives

Program Activities

La’o Hamutuk’s principal aims are to monitor and evaluate the activities of international agencies operating in East Timor. Information on our activities is outlined below.

In the first half of 2004, we continued to monitor the activities of the international financial institutions. This research focused on the role of the International Monetary Fund in constructing East Timor’s central bank, the Banking and Payments Authority. With news of East Timor facing a budget deficit, we have monitored the activities of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank as the government considers whether to borrow money from them.

We have monitored the bilateral donor’s reaction to the East Timorese government’s efforts to coordinate external funds and projects through the Sector Investment Program. We have researched the United Nations Development Project community development program RESPECT, which is funded by the Government of Japan.

As the United Nations downsizes we have monitored the progress of the extended mission of support. We have researched the processes and future of the Special Panels for Serious Crimes as concerns over its ability to function effectively have become evident and the debates over future avenues for justice enter the international arena. In relation to the issue of justice we have monitored the reconciliation process of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CAVR).

A major focus of our work continues to be investigating and reporting on petroleum issues, which is discussed in detail below. In addition, Pertamina, the Indonesian oil company, is operating here, and as an international company operating in East Timor, we have investigated their monopoly in the supply of oil and gas to East Timor.

La’o Hamutuk organized an exchange trip for seven East Timorese NGO representatives to visit Nigeria to learn about the negative consequences of natural resource exploitation. The Nigeria exchange has been crucial in highlighting the importance of transparency and accountability. A La’o Hamutuk staff member also participated in an Oilwatch conference in Thailand. In January two staff members also participated in the World Social Forum in Mumbai, India.

Our staff has contributed to publications by other organizations as well as writing articles for local newspapers. La’o Hamutuk members of staff have also appeared on East Timorese television talk shows and radio programs discussing the boundary negotiations in the Timor Sea.


The La’o Hamutuk Bulletin is one of our primary media tools. We publish in English (1500) and Indonesian (3000) and often have to reprint back issues due to high demand. We distribute our Bulletin free of charge to schools, universities, government offices, and international and national NGOs throughout East Timor with help from community-based organizations. Within In Dili, we also distribute the Bulletin to foreign embassies, The World Bank, Asian Development Bank and International Monetary Fund, hotels, restaurants, libraries, and other public locations, as well as UN agencies.

The Bulletin is also circulated via email and posted on our website. See Appendix II for a list of Bulletin articles published during the reporting period.

Radio Program

Radio is still an important tool for distributing information, and is the only media that reaches all regions of East Timor. La’o Hamutuk produces a weekly radio program in Tetun called Igualidade, in which La’o Hamutuk staff interviews experts and activists, sharing their knowledge of important issues with the wider community. Igualidade is important in increasing the knowledge and participation of communities outside of Dili in important issues and processes which affect them. Topics are mostly informed by investigations undertaken for the Bulletin.

During the reporting period, we have worked together with Radio Timor Kmanek (RTK) to broadcast Igualidade every Saturday. We record and edit the program ourselves before distributing it for further broadcast on Radio East Timor (RTL). We also distribute copies to community radio broadcasters. See Appendix III for a list of our radio programs.

As radio has been a successful means of disseminating information we are building an in house radio studio which is nearing completion. The radio studio will greatly increase the quality of our programming and scope of our work.

Surat Popular

La’o Hamutuk’s Surat Popular (People’s Page) is published in Tetum and distributed widely (1500 copies) throughout East Timor through La’o Hamutuk’s own networks and Dai Popular (East Timor Popular Educator’s network).

During the reporting period La’o Hamutuk published and distributed one issue of Surat Popular on the negotiations over natural resources and boundary negotiations between East Timor and Australia (Ita nia Minerai, Ita nia Futuru - Our Oil, Our Future).

La’o Hamutuk has engaged grass roots community groups in the writing and publication of Surat Popular. In May this year La’o Hamutuk held a meeting in Bucoli, Baucau district to refine the use of the Surat Popular as a discussion tool, and to discuss how the communities can produce their own Surat Popular, reflecting the issues important to the community itself. As a result, a community group successfully designed a Surat Popular for which La’o Hamutuk provided technical assistance in lay out and in printing.

Public meetings

La’o Hamutuk organized a number of meetings on critical issues facing East Timor for NGOs, journalists, government and other interested East Timorese and international people. Appendix IV lists the public meetings we organized and presentations we gave during the first half of 2004.

Intercambios (International Exchange Program)

As a joint East Timorese–international organization with strong ties to East Timor’s international solidarity network, La’o Hamutuk is well positioned to coordinate international exchanges between East Timorese activists and development workers, educators, and activists from other countries. International exchanges are critical in deepening discussions, visioning development alternatives and strengthening the international networks between grassroots organizations. These topics from the exchange are developed via close communications with other East Timorese organizations and a commitment to a just and democratic development process.

Nigeria Exchange

In January, we completed the Nigeria exchange we began to organize last year. Seven participants from a range of organizations traveled to Nigeria to learn about the negative impact of natural resource exploitation and the links with poverty, repression and militarization. The delegation also learned how Nigerian NGOs are dealing with the practices of oil companies and the social, economic and environmental impact.

On return the participants gave a press conference and organized public meetings to discuss their experiences in Nigeria. The full report is included in Appendix VI.

The exchange team is currently planning an exchange trip to the Philippines to look at land reform.

Globalization and the International Financial Institutions

We continued to monitor the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank. The institutions continue to have important roles particularly in regard to the management of revenues from the East Timor’s natural resources.

As the East Timorese government announced a budget deficit and the World Bank and Asian Development Bank announced lending packages La’o Hamutuk raised awareness and debate amongst local NGOs and civil society groups about the possibility of borrowing and the impact on East Timor. La’o Hamutuk was a leading organization in the ‘rolling think tank’ a joint government/NGO discussion group on the issue of borrowing.

We have recently started analyzing the future Investment Law and are currently investigating the role of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in the design of East Timor’s petroleum fund and other aspects of oil revenue management.

The Dili based IFI study group (Kelompok Kajian Bank Dunia/FMI) continues to hold regular meetings with groups and individuals wanting to learn more about the international financial institutions and Globalization.

In January La’o Hamutuk members of staff and two members of the IFI study group attended the World Social Forum in Mumbai, India. We gave presentations at the panel organized by Focus on the Global South on post conflict reconstruction in Iraq, Afghanistan, Cambodia and East Timor. The WSF was an opportunity to strengthen links with Focus on the Global South as well as develop new links with other like minded organizations. We attended many meetings, seminars and conferences relevant to our work and spoke about issues pertinent to East Timor at a variety of forums. We were also part of a preliminary planning meeting for a regional social forum to be held in Indonesia.

Petroleum development and the Timor Sea

The oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea are crucial to the economic independence of East Timor. La’o Hamutuk has continued to campaign for the quick negotiation of a fair maritime boundary with Australia, so that East Timor will receive its fair share of the natural resources in the Timor Sea.

In the last six months we have contributed to the Bulletin, produced a Surat Popular and regularly appeared on La’o Hamutuk’s radio program as well as other East Timorese radio programs.

In January we organized an exchange trip to Nigeria hosted by Oilwatch Nigeria. This allowed East Timorese to learn more about the dangers of natural resource exploitation. Following the return of the participants we have been engaging in socializing the findings amongst local NGOs. La’o Hamutuk has further consolidated its relationship with the global Oilwatch network by sending a delegate to the regional Southeast Asia Oilwatch meeting in Bangkok, Thailand in March.

In April we became part of a new coalition called the Movement against the Occupation of the Timor Sea (MKOTT). As part of this coalition we have made available our resources and publications. We helped organize demonstrations in front of the Australian embassy and to lobby Australian negotiators. We have also shared information and worked closely with the Timor Sea Justice Campaign in Australia, as well as with supporters of East Timor’s resource rights in Thailand, the USA and elsewhere. We also worked closely with journalists covering these issues, including two Australian television documentary producers.

We have continuously updated the La’o Hamutuk OilWeb CD-ROM with hundreds of documents and analyses, including audio-visual resources. We continue to distribute the CD-ROM to government officials, activists, journalists and researchers in East Timor and around the world. Our work has become a useful source and reference for those trying to study this complex issue. We have increased East Timorese civil society participation in the process of negotiating the maritime boundary with Australia.

As the development of petroleum resources begins in East Timor’s territory, La’o Hamutuk is working to raise civil society awareness about transparency, accountability, good revenue management, community involvement and environmental protection -- essential elements if this country is to avoid the “resource curse” that afflicts so many others.

Resource Centre

The Resource Centre is an important part of our work and continues to provide information to students, national and international NGO workers, activists, journalists and researchers.

The La’o Hamutuk library and resource centre provides books and documents in English, Indonesian, Portuguese and Tetun on topics including international development theory and practice, international aid, globalization, East Timorese history and culture, and case studies from other countries in relation to these topics. The Resource Centre also includes national newspapers and magazines. We also work with other resource centers and libraries in East Timor and have become part of the East Timor Library Association.

Since January 2004, La’o Hamutuk has bought more books in Indonesian. We have updated our internal website (intranet), making and made it available to the visitors as part of the Resource Centre. The intranet site includes downloaded websites and documents relevant to East Timor.

We have also published a book resulting from the Nicaraguan exchange in 2002 entitled the Memoria Intercambio Nicaragua (Memories from the Nicaragua Exchange), which resulted from our 2002 exchange with Nicaragua on dealing with gender based discrimination. In Canada, Between the Lines published the book East Timor: Testimonies, which includes three chapters written by La’o Hamutuk staff, and photographs by Elaine Bričre.

NGO coalitions

La’o Hamutuk continues to be active in coalitions with other East Timorese NGOs. Our staff participates in various local coalitions, including the East Timorese Association of Men Against Violence and National Movement Against Violence that work to end gender-based violence, the Global Peace Movement, the popular educator’s network (Dai Popular), and projects relating to justice, human rights, international conferences and training. In recognition of our expertise and leadership, La’o Hamutuk staffers are often chosen to represent the NGO community in international conferences and training activities.

The Movement Against the Occupation of the Timor Sea: La’o Hamutuk helped found the Movement Against the Occupation of the Timor Sea (MKOTT). This is a new coalition made up of groups and individuals campaigning for a just boundary negotiation between Australia and East Timor and fair share of the natural resources in the Timor Sea.

IFI Study Group: La’o Hamutuk staff continues to play a leading role in raising awareness of the international financial institutions in East Timor.

AMKV (Men Against Violence): The Association of Men Against Violence (AMKV works to end gender based violence through workshops in schools and communities.

MNKV (National Movement Against Violence): La’o Hamutuk plays an important role in the National Movement Against Violence which campaigns against gender-based violence.

Dai Popular (East Timorese Popular Educators’ Network): La’o Hamutuk’s involvement in Dai Popular as a member of the Secretariat remains critical, particularly in providing guidance and facilitating contact with popular educators working in other countries.

National Alliance for an International Tribunal: La’o Hamutuk is a key member of the Alliance for an International Tribunal. Our role remains important in drafting statements, providing strategic direction and facilitating international communication.

Strengthening of the La’o Hamutuk organization

Over the report period we have reviewed and modified our internal financial management system. The system follows sound financial management principles and allows us to manage our finances in a more efficient manner. We have also discussed and developed an organizational finance policy.

We underwent held our second independent financial audit for the year 2003. The Indonesian firm of Maksum, Suyamto, Hirdjan & Rekan carried out the audit and the report is available to all our donors upon request.

We have added to our fixed assets. We have purchased a new Honda motorbike to add to our existing motorbike pool. We have also purchased two more computers. In addition, in order to minimize the damage to computers from the continuous power cuts we have purchased five UPS (temporary power supply units). This has also allowed us to save our work in time before we have to shut down the computers.

Our computer support team has produced a weekly schedule for computer maintenance. This includes updating virus definitions, backing up files, de-fragmenting disks and ensuring the office network runs efficiently.

We have also built and equipped an in-house radio studio. Although this has not yet been completed, the studio will greatly enhance our ability to produce high quality programs on our areas of research and disseminate information widely throughout East Timor.

We continue to be strengthened by the continuity and capacity of our staff. Three more national members of staff joined La’o Hamutuk during the reporting period. Charles Scheiner and Jesuina Soares Cabral left La’o Hamutuk, and Simon Foster became part-time. We are now comprised of four women and five men including Cassia Bechara, Maria Afonso de Jesus, Yasinta Lujina, Inęs Martins, Tomas (Ató) Freitas, Mericio (Akara) Juvinal, Simon Foster, Joăo Sarmento, Joazito Viana and Guteriano Nicolao.

Evaluation of our work during the reporting period

In our 2003 annual report and in funding proposals at the beginning of 2003, we outlined plans for our activities for the coming year 2004. In general we are on track to fulfilling these goals. Our current financial situation is consistent with our projections (see Appendix I).

We have carried out our plans for capital investment. We also began building and equipping our own, high quality radio studio. This means we are able to maintain our current work levels and increase the quality of our radio program production to disseminate information more effectively in rural East Timor.

We had plans to organize two new intercambios for this year, in addition to successfully completing the Nigeria-East Timor intercambio in January. Due to the amount of staff time expended in organizing such a project, we have re-evaluated this plan and decided to proceed with one intercambio which will take place later this year.

We had planned to publish three Bulletins during the reporting period. We have published only two, although a double issue and a one further single issue are currently being prepared and will be published shortly. The research and investigation process has taken longer, resulting in publication delays, largely because of the time needed to bring three new staff members up to speed. We still hope to publish five Bulletins during 2004, which is one fewer than planned.

We have published one Surat Popular and provided technical support to a district- based NGO in the production of another. We are on course to publish four Surat Populars by the end of the year. Our radio programs and public meetings have proceeded as planned.

We have undertaken two evaluation meetings during the reporting period to measure our progress against our strategic plans. We have decided to hold these meetings every three months in order to more closely monitor and evaluate our work.

We have played a key role in NGO coalitions, in particular, the Movement against the Occupation of the Timor Sea. Our staff and publications have been critical in providing civil society, national and international journalists, and Australian activists with up to date information on issues in the Timor Sea.

During the early part of 2004 we discovered discrepancies in our financial management system. Our financial records did not add up and therefore we performed a rigorous internal audit. As a result of which we discovered that some financial records had not been entered correctly and some receipts had been falsified. We realized that we needed to tighten our financial system. We increased the number of checks on our system of approving expenditures and dispersing funds. Our filing system is now much clearer. We have revised our finance policy to be more in line with our organizational ethos. The system is transparent and accountable. Though this has been a serious lesson for us it has greatly strengthened our internal organization.

We had to terminate the employment of the member of staff responsible for financial mismanagement as well as a security guard who consistently failed to carry out his duties. Both of these events caused serious and prolonged disruptions to our work. Unfortunately, our office and staff were physically threatened and assaulted. We had to call the police were called on two occasions which resulted in the arrest of La’o Hamutuk’s former security guard. The trauma and time spent dealing with these issues were significant.

Program for the rest of 2004

In the next six months, the investigation and reporting of La’o Hamutuk will focus on many important issues, including:

We will continue to gather information and disseminate it as widely as possible. We hope that our radio studio will allow us to reach a broader audience and involve more people in the decisions regarding the continuing development of East Timor.

We will continue to work hard to meet our objectives. We hope to finish accomplish all our goals all our work as planned for this year, building on our successes for a fair and equitable future for East Timor.

Appendix I: Financial information

During the first half of 2004 La’o Hamutuk received $99,769 and spent $73,814. This surplus is mostly because we received most of our support grants in the first half of the year. We also received more campaign support grants than we planned. Our expenditure on staff was also lower than expected due to delays in recruiting three national staff and an international member of staff.







Full year projected[1]

Half year projected

Half year actual[2]


Committed intercambio funds transferred from 2003





Intercambio grants





Campaign support










Bank interest










Misc. incomes





Surplus carried over from 2003[8]





General support grants received in 2003 for 2004[9]





General support grants received in 2004[10]










The slight difference between our full year projected income and expenditure is due to fluctuations in the Euro/US dollar exchange rate which effects the value of general support grants in Euros which we planned for but haven’t yet received.







Full year projected

Half year projected

Half year actual






















Surat Popular















Resource Center[16]





International Exchanges










Issue campaigns










Funds for visiting experts[22]





International travel










Financial audit





Misc. expenses










The graph at right shows how La’o Hamutuk spent money on program work and overhead costs during the first half of 2004. Personnel and operational expenses have been allocated according to how staff time, operational costs and facilities were used for each program. This is approximate; a more complete and accurate breakdown will be included in our report at the end of the year.


[1] Projected income and expenditure for 2004 is based on figures in the La’o Hamutuk Annual Report 2003.

[2] Actual income and expenditure for the first half of 2004.

[3] Variation between where we expected to be at this point and the actual amount.

[4] We originally planned two international exchanges for 2004. We currently plan to undertake on exchange to the Philippines and we will raise funds during the second half of 2004. As intercambios are funded from grants raised for each specific project, we will only raise as much income as we need to conduct the projects.

[5] This include $9,000 grant from CAFOD for the Nigeria intercambio and $1, 625 from Oxfam GB for a workshop as part of the Cuba intercambio which took place in 2003. (This was the second of two $1,625 grants from Oxfam GB).

[6] La’o Hamutuk received $1, 257 from Oilwatch for a conference in Bangkok, $1, 223 from the HIVOS foundation (Netherlands) for one staff member to attend the World Social Forum and $402 from Focus on the Global South for one staff member to attend a regional civil society meeting the World Trade Organization. We had not planned to attend these conferences. 

[7] Sales of La’o Hamutuk OilWeb CD -ROM.

[8] $10,000 of a $30,000 surplus from past years which will be expended in equal parts in  2004, 2005 and 2006.

[9] La’o Hamutuk received $18,172 (of Euro 40, 000 promised for 2004) from the HIVOS foundation (Netherlands) in 2003.

[10] La’o Hamutuk has received $45,100 in support for the Bulletin and Radio program from the Government of Finland.

[11] We expected a general support grant from the HIVOS foundation (Netherlands) in the first half of the year.

[12] This figure has been revised down from $182,950 as a result of our new intercambio plans.

[13] Personnel costs include wages, wage tax, health insurance, housing allowance and relocation costs set aside for international staff after they return home (equal to their wages for the first year of work). One international staff member finished his work during the reporting period.

[14] Only two Bulletins were actually published during the reporting period. However, expenditure is close to the projected amount as we had to reprint old issues due to high demand.

[15] Construction of the radio studio is not yet complete.

[16] We had planned to construct a separate resource centre and recruit a new member of staff during the second half of the year. Due to uncertainty over the lease on our office space we will defer this until next year. We had planned to invest in more resources which we have also delayed until the resource centre is ready.

[17] We had planned to invest in more resources which we have also postponed until the resource centre is ready.

[18] This figure includes $24,750 from the Nigeria intercambio and $1,625 from the Cuba intercambio.

[19] This figure includes expenditures of $2,277 from the Cuba intercambio (of which $1,588 was not spent and returned to Oxfam GB); $15,304 from the Nigeria intercambio.

[20] This figure includes $2, 509 committed for follow up activities from the Nigeria intercambio and $3,504 which was unaccounted for due to financial mismanagement of Nigeria intercambio funds.

[21] We received three grants to support our campaigns (see note five).

[22] Funds for travel costs for international experts to come to East Timor.

[23] We had budgeted for international travel for fact finding missions and conferences but we received grants for all international travel during the reporting period.

Appendix II: Bulletin Articles

Volume 5 (2004)

Number 1:
Number 2:

Appendix III: Radio Programs

January 2004

February 2004

March 2004

April 2004

May 2004

No radio programs were held in June as the RTK radio station, which hosted La’o Hamutuk’s radio programs, closed down in late May.

Appendix IV: Public Meetings and Presentations

(All meetings and presentations are organized by La’o Hamutuk in Dili unless noted otherwise.)

6 January Tomas Freitas gave a short presentation regarding the relationship between the World Bank and the land matters in countries other than East Timor, to the participants at a workshop on land tenure organized by the Kadalak Sulimutu Institute (KSI) at Knua Buka Hatene (KBH).
30 JanuaryA public meeting with Elisabeth Huybens, East Timor country representative of the World Bank, on World Bank lending instruments and conditions.
8 FebruaryTomas Freitas and Simon Foster shared their experiences from the World Social Forum in Mumbai, India, at a meeting of farmers groups in Maubara Lisa village, organized by HASATIL.
28 FebruaryDemetrio Amaral, from the Haburas Foundation and Aderito Soares, from the Sahe Institute for Liberation gave presentations on the impact of big hydropower schemes in developing countries. Their presentations were the basis for discussing East Timorese government plans for a hydropower scheme in the district of Lautem.
12 March A public meeting on the results of the World Bank Community Empowerment Project with Elisabeth Huybens from the World Bank and Ben Moxham from Focus on the Global South.
25 March Presentation by Charlie Scheiner “Can East Timor Avoid the Resource Curse?” at Dili seminar on Transparency and Accountability in Government organized by the Democracy Council.
31 March A public meeting on the issues relating to the negotiations of the maritime boundary with Paul Cleary and Manuel Mendoca from the Timor Sea Office.
21 April Australian Senator Bob Brown gave a presentation on how the Australian Green Party is supporting East Timor’s struggle for a just and fair maritime boundary.

Appendix V: La’o Hamutuk staff contributions in other Publications

Month Author   Title   Publishers Name
April Mericio Juvenal History and Process of Revolution in Cuba Suara Timor Lorosa'e
April Joăo da Silva Sarmento Economic Development in Correlation with Oil Drilling from the Timor Sea Babadok (Fokupers)
April Selma Hayati Brother Stop the Violence Vox Populi
May Mericio Juvenal Justice for Victims Babadok (Fokupers)
June Mericio Juvenal Gender Imbalance: whose responsibility?Suara Timor Lorosa’e
In addition La’o Hamutuk staff contributed the following chapters to “East Timor: Testimonies” with photographs by Elaine Briére published by Between the Lines, Canada, 2004.
Mericio Juvenal and Endah Pakaryaningsih East Timor, where the sun rises
Inęs Martins and Andrew Teixeira de Sousa Building the new East Timor
Adriano do Nascimento and Charles Scheiner The ‘gap’ in East Timor’s independence

The East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis
1a Rua Mozambique, Farol, Dili, Timor Lorosa’e
P.O. Box 340, Dili, East Timor (via Darwin, Australia)
Tel: +670-3325013
email: laohamutuk@easttimor.minihub.org