Thursday, 21 October 2010

Australia Jumps The Queue In East Timor

From Shona Hawkes in the newly reborn New Matilda.

"Many are against it because they think that East Timor’s first priority should be its own people’s basic needs. Few Timorese people can access clean water. Many can’t get to a doctor, or a school — half the population is illiterate. This year crazy weather has led to floods, landslides and big winds, tipping subsistence farmers over the brink. People I’ve spoken to don’t understand why a big, rich country like Australia is trying to offload its responsibilities onto its struggling half-island neighbour.


To establish a refugee processing centre, Australia would have to ensure that there were no overlapping land claims for a proposed site, or else negotiate with all legitimate claim holders. Alternatively it risks being complicit in land rights violations. Because of the lack of land laws, it’s not clear who owns land in East Timor. In numerous cases the East Timor Ministry for Justice has simply claimed properties as State land, without recognising others’ land claims or ensuring just compensation. Traditional customary landowners and vulnerable people have no means to assert and defend a land claim."
Response AP is happy indeed to see New Matilda breathing again after her near-death experience.

Have a look at: .

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