FORUM TAU MATAN (WATCH FORUM)
Secretariat: Rua Presidente Nicolau Lobato, Colmera, Dili, Timor-Leste.
Contact: +670-729-5781 / +670-724-2099 / E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
FORUM TAU MATAN REJECTS WORLD BANK FUNDING
Published 18 July 2007
On 19 June 2007, FORUM TAU MATAN publicly announced to Suara Timor Lorosa’e (STL), Timor Post (TP), Diário, and Radio Rakambia, with the title:
“FORUM TAU MATAN ESTABLISHES A LEADERSHIP TRAINING PROGRAM FOR UNIVERSITY STUDENTS AND CAMPAIGN ON PROTECTION OF CHILD VICTIMS OF CONFLICT WITH THE LAW.”
STL’s headline for the article was “During 2006, 1074 cases of children committing crimes registered” and Timor Post headlined “During the crisis, 1074 children committed crimes and involved in politics.”
With this press release, FTM would like the public to know that FTM is cancelling the leadership training program funded by the World Bank.
FTM is cancelling this program because FTM discovered in a meeting with the World Bank at FTM’s offices on 2 July that part of the funding to support this leadership training program comes from AusAID.
On this issue, the World Bank manages the funding to carry out this leadership training program. But FTM discovered that the money doesn’t come only from the World Bank, but also from AusAID.
AusAID’s involvement in this program is an impediment. FTM has an unresolved problem with AusAID.
In June 2005, AusAID cancelled a contract which it had signed with FTM, which they had already publicized in a press release of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs (No. AA 04 089) on 10 December 2004 to celebrate International Human Rights Day and to show Australia’s commitment on human rights.
At the end, AusAID withdrew funds which they had already promised, on the grounds that they found that FTM, together with 12 other Timorese NGOs, was involved in the democratic movement to defend the sovereignty of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste in the Timor Sea negotiations.
Since this problem, FTM believes that AusAID’s support to Timor-Leste with political intentions, especially on the Timor Sea negotiations. The Australian government, through AusAID, stopped funding to Timorese NGOs is a direct threat to the civil society in Timor-Leste. This is a policy to squelch all democratic movement and human rights in Timor-Leste. This is contradicting the Australian promises on human rights and democracy.
The former Australian official who was responsible for these funds which FTM merited to receive in 2005 revealed to the public that Canberra ordered him to lie to FTM and to all Timorese NGOs. He discovered that the Australian government stopped funding to Timorese NGOs because these NGOs protested Australia’s position in the Timor Sea negotiations.
On 8 June 2005, FTM sent a letter to the Australian Ambassador in Timor-Leste asking for clarification. FTM then issued a press release to clarify this situation to the public in Timor-Leste and Australia.
But, the Australian Ambassador to Timor-Leste responded through the newspaper Diario Tempo on 7 October 2005, accusing FTM of mismanaging the fund.
FTM totally rejects this accusation through the media and publication (see Paul Cleary’s book Shakedown: Australia’s Grab for Timor Oil pages 224-229). FTM views the accusation as irrational, because FTM never received funding through AusAID before AusAID cancelled the first project for human rights activities and democracy, which they themselves had decided to give to FTM.
Through this press release we also apologize to the six universities and the media, which we had already contacted to request collaboration for conducting this leadership training program.
We will continue our efforts to assure that this program can be realized sometime in the future.
FTM takes responsibility for the contents of this press release.
Thank you for your collaboration.