15 August 2009

East Timor Land Network: Women Left Out Of Consultation on Draft Land Law

Ainaro District: Only one woman gets to speak on draft Land Law 13 August, 2009 - On 30th July the Minister of Justice led a public meeting on the draft Land Law in Ainaro. The Land Network’s monitoring reveals that only 1 female participant spoke in the Ainaro public consultation.

Jenito Santana from the Land Network observes that the government’s public consultation is closing the door to women across all districts. "What we see so far is that at most 6 female participants get the chance to speak at government meetings on the draft Land Law in the districts. This was even the case in Manatuto where the matrilineal system means that many women are landowners."

"In Baucau, a district with a population of about 110,000 people, only 2 women had the opportunity to ask a question or make a comment. That’s one voice for about 25,000 women…"

In June the Land Network identified a list of measures to facilitate women, and other vulnerable groups, to contribute to the public consultation. So far many of these measures are not met. "We want women, as well as broad range of members of the community to provide their ideas and thoughts into this draft Land Law. We want to see a law that best considers the needs and situation of all people in Timor-Leste."

It is not just women who are left out. Jenito also notes that young people’s attendance at meetings is very low and few get the chance to speak.

"Communities need time to digest the draft Land Law. To understand it, discuss it and share their ideas. We hope the Minister will follow through on her promise to extend the public consultation process, particularly to allow women, vulnerable people and people in rural areas to have their say."

Participants had 60 minutes to speak at the Ainaro consultation. They spoke about:

· land occupations

· the importance of traditional land tenure

· the compatibility of women’s land rights with local culture

· land ownership disputes between the State and the community (via article 26)

· how taxes would effect poor people

· how the government would implement making false statements as a crime.

For further information and public comment please contact Shona Hawkes from the Rede ba Rai (Land Network) at +670 730 2439 or email shona@laohamutuk.org
Distritu Ainaro: Feto ida de’it hetan oportunidade atu koalia kona-ba ezbozu Lei ba Rai 13 Agostu, 2009

Loron 30 Julhu, Ministra Justisa loke enkontru publiku kona-ba ezbozu Lei ba Rai iha Ainaro. Monitoring husi Rede ba Rai hatete katak feto ida de’it mak iha oportunitunidade atu koalia nu’udar partisipante iha konsultasaun públiku iha Ainaro.

Jenito Santana husi Rede ba Rai haree katak to'o agora governo-nia konsultasaun públiku la loke ba feto. "To'o agora, mesmu partisipante-feto nain 6 iha oportunidade atu koalia iha enkontru ida-idak kona-ba ezbozu Lei ba Rai iha distritu-sira. Maski iha sistema matrilineal iha Manatuto no feto barak sai rai-nain, feto nain 6 de'it mak koalia."

Iha fulan Junhu, Rede ba Rai prepara lista ba aktividades katak bele fasilita feto, no group seluk kbit-laek-nia knaar iha konsultasaun públiku. To'o agora, konsultasaun seidauk implementa aktividades barak husi lista ne'e. "Ami hein katak feto, no ema barak husi komunidade, bele fahe sira-nia ideas no hanoin kona-ba esbosu Lei ba Rai. Ami hakarak lei ida ne’ebé fó konsiderasaun ba nesidade ka situasaun ba ema hotu iha Timor-Leste."

"Iha distritu Baucau ho populasaun 110,000 resin, feto nain 2 de'it mak hetan oportunidade atu husu pergunta ka fo komentariu. Konsultasaun rona lian ida, husi kada feto nain 25,000..."

Ne'e la'os feto de'it ne’ebé ladun partisipa iha enkontru publiku. Pedro mos haree katak ema klosan ladun tuir enkontru no la bele koalia iha enkontru se sira ba.

"Komunidade sira presiza tempu atu kompriende ezbozu Lei ba Rai. Atu kompriende kontuidu, atu diskuti, atu fahe ideas. Ami hein katak Ministra atu implementa ninia promesa atu prolongar prosesu konsultasaun publiku, liu-liu atu loke oportunidade ba ema kbit-laek no ema iha nivel Sucu atu partisipa."

Iha konsultasaun Ainaro, partisipante-sira hetan minutes 60 atu koali. Sira koalia kona-ba :

· Okupasaun rai

· Tanba sa sistema tradisaunal importante

· Se rai komunidade sai rai Estadu (liu husi artigu 26)

· Se direitu ba rai kombatibal ho kultura lokal

· Disputa kona-ba rai entra Estadu no komunidade

· Oinsa taxa nia impaktu baema ki’ak

· Oinsa governo bele implementa statement falsu hanesan krime

Atu hetan informasaun tan ka halo intrevista bele kontaktu ba Jenito Santana husi Rede ba Rai ho numerú kontaktu +670 734 2939 ka email redebarai@gmail.com

East Timor Land Law Program 2


September 2004–March 2006

Indonesia’s withdrawal from East Timor in 1999 set the stage for reconciling conflicting land tenure and property rights established during different government regimes, often overlaid on customary rights or in direct contradiction to rights granted by other regimes. Initializing a formal system for reconciling conflicting claims and legally recognizing clear rights to property is both a challenge and a cornerstone for stability, security, and equitable economic growth.

Land is inherent in almost all economic development issues in East Timor. Lack of possible ownership or leasing options deters foreign and domestic investment: banks do not want to provide loans without immovable property collateral, and farmers do not want to invest their money or “sweat equity” without having legally protected rights to the land. Land issues are also important to conflict mitigation, anti-corruption, democracy, governance, and the rule of law.

In May 2003, USAID contracted ARD, under the BASIS IQC, to initiate and administer the Land Law Project (LLP) with the Ministry of Justice and the National University. LLP was designed to provide informed policy recommendations and support the development and implementation of transparent and representative land laws. In September 2004, USAID contracted ARD under the RAISE IQC to extend LLP for additional land research and support to related legislative development, while strengthening institutional capacity for land law implementation and administration.

The ARD team provided technical assistance and training to the University while conducting relevant academic research related to land tenure and property rights. The research results provided important findings to engage both public and private sector stakeholders in dialogue through a public information and education campaign, and to guide the land legislation agenda. In parallel, the ARD team provided technical assistance and training to the Ministry of Justice National Directorate of Land and Property responsible for implementation and administration of land legislation.

ARD supported the crafting of draft land laws and regulations including:

* Juridical Regime of Immovable Property;
* Decree-law to establish a committee on illegal constructions and informal settlements; and
* Ministerial decrees on the Organic Law of the National Directorate of Land and Property (DNTP), the Lease Adjudication Process, DNTP Administrative Fees, the Standardization of State Property Leases, and State Property Allocation to other Government Agencies.

The ARD team facilitated the debate and actual promulgation of key legislation on Leasing and Allocation of State Property of Private Domain (December 2004) and Leasing between Private Individuals (May 2005).

The ARD team’s research reports included:

Non-customary Primary Industrial Land Survey: Landholdings and Management Considerations

Land Administration in East Timor–Functions and Responsibilities: Lessons Learned from Albania, Mozambique, and Thailand

When the Ancestors Need Help: Renewable Natural Resources and Institutional Design in Contemporary East Timor

2005 Dili Rental and Valuation Report

Land Valuation and Taxation Policy for Timor-Leste

Land Expropriation Policy Suitable for Timor-Leste: Economic Considerations

Considerations for Economic Zones and the Case of Timor-Leste

ARD developed, designed, and documented with DNTP counterparts a National Land Registration and Titling Plan and Land Registration Manual. ARD specialists mentored local staff and institutionalized procedures to administer leases of government residential properties. Leases of a nominal $10 a month generated about $10,000 in new income per month while legitimizing occupancy.

ARD developed and delivered training to over 50 university faculty and students to analyze the economic feasibility of agricultural projects, and on land taxation, expropriation policy, and industrial zoning. The Field Research Skills training course for 12 faculty, 21 students, and 2 DNTP personnel covered research methods, research ethics, interview techniques, simulated interview exercises, GPS applications, and first aid (research teams traveled to remote, isolated, and hazardous areas). ARD provided database design and development training to university and DNTP personnel, preparing several specific applications to support research and establish an electronic library on land tenure and property rights at the university.

ARD developed quadri-lingual glossaries (in English, Tetun, Portuguese, and Indonesian) on legal terminology regarding land, economics, and agriculture.

For more information, click here to access the project brochure in PDF format.

Source: http://www.ardinc.com/projects/detail_region.php?id=14

Customary Land Tenure Systems - An Insight from the Solomon Islands

TLLLPIC 15 August 2009 DILI - The Government of East Timor is conducting public consultations on a draft land law that will regulate, amongst other things, community land in East Timor.

The draft has been criticised as inadequate to protect the land rights of customary communities in East Timor because it denies juridical status to the customary land tenure systems and the individualised customary land rights that are created in those systems.

Access to and the exploitation of community land will be decided by the Government and there is no clear provision on who obtains the benefits of any use of community land by outsiders - the government or the community itself.

Towards encouraging debate on the issue of customary land tenure systems, TLLLPIC is researching and compiling information on these land tenure systems in other countries as a comparative study source.

In the report below, some of the experience of customary land tenure in the Solomon Islands, where 80% of the land is customary land.
Solomon Times Online 25 August 2008 Customary Land Tenure System an Obstacle to Development - The Customary Land Tenure System is again seen as a constraint to the Government's National Rice Programme.

This was revealed when the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Hon. Selwyn Riumana delivered a statement on Rice prior to the passing of the 2008 Supplementary Bill.

Hon. Riumana said the CNURA Government is serious about addressing the production of rice however the land tenure system has delayed the smooth implementation of the programmes.

"Customary land, which make up 80 percent of our total land mass in this country remains outside the formal legal system and is recognized as one of the main constrains hindering rice cultivation," says Hon. Riumana.

He stated that to address this limitation; the government is working very closely with communities, farmers and the resource owners to find ways and means to grow rice.

"The determination of the CNURA Government to grow rice given the current soaring prices has enabled the Ministry to provide assistance to 14 participating communities, groups and villages," reveals Hon. Riumana.

The Leader of Opposition, Hon Manasseh Sogavare questioned Hon. Riumana on why the price of locally grown rice is still quite expensive.

In reply, Minister Riumana said the price of locally grown rice in the rural area is quite low and people who bought the products are happy with the cost.

80% of the Solomon Island's Land are customary owned, making it hard for the Government to make decisions on development.

11 August 2009

East Timor Draft Land Law public consultations: Minister Lobato continues charade

Timor-Leste Land Network: Land Law consultation in Manufahi Manufahi District: 61 minutes not enough to consult on draft Land Law 7 August, 2009 - On 23rd July the Minister of Justice led a public meeting on the draft Land Law in Same, Manufahi. The Minister again said that she would extend the public consultation until November. She also announced that the government would consult with some sucos, and that she would hold a national workshop on the Land Law.

"The Land Network is happy that the Minister is hearing people's concerns about the consultation process. But is she going to follow through on her promises?" asked José Amaral, Advocacy Officer for the Timor-Leste NGO Forum.

"If the Minister seriously wants to extend the public consultation she should announce this nationally. It's now almost two weeks since her announcement and we’ve heard nothing from the Ministry."

The date of the Manufahi consultation moved several times and fell on the same day as a large NGO organized meeting. Many people therefore couldn't participate in the Land Law meeting. Participants asked questions on how the law would affect land occupied by Indonesia, people forceably removed to Atauro, land sales, compensation, church and traditional land.

"Although we are happy to see more discussion on land issues, the Same meeting raised few constructive comments on how to improve the law," said Inês Martins of the Land Network.

"This is because people have only 61 minutes to speak, they haven't seen and don't understand the law, and the meeting is organized at the last minute. Also, because the Minister alone replies to all questions or comments on the law she often provides information that is misleading or wrong."

"Should communities or the State get the money from renting community land? Should 100% foreign owned companies have the right to own land? Should dispute boards be based in Dili, or should they reach the districts? What is the fairest way to resolve land disputes? How can we decide the value of compensation if there is no formal land market? ― These are all issues in the draft Land Law that should be discussed in the consultation."

For further information and public comment please contact Shona Hawkes from the Rede ba Rai (Land Network) at +670 730 2439 or email shona@laohamutuk.org.
Image added by TLLLPIC: Uma lulik, Timor-Leste

09 August 2009

On the Origins of Property – Ownership

There is no point on which theoretical speculations have been more completely falsified than the question of property. The suggestion that ownership arose when men began to respect the rights of the first occupier of what had previously been appropriated by no one is curiously the reverse of the truth.

When ownership if first recognized, it is not ownership by individuals, but ownership by groups – the family, the village or the commune, the tribe or the clan.

Individual property arose from the breaking up of such groups, and the distribution of the rights of the whole among the members.

In some cases this process was hastened by wars. There are distinct traces that individual property was pre-eminently that which the warrior had seized as the spoil of victory; among the Romans, the spear was the highest symbol of property.

But the student of Roman law will learn nothing of this widespread primeval communism directly from the works of the Roman jurists. From the earliest time of which we have a record, the institution of private property was completely developed in Rome, and hence the singular influence it has exerted on the destinies of European nations.

From Introduction to Roman Law Hunter W. A. Revised by Lawson F. H. Ninth Ed Sweet & Maxwell 1934

04 August 2009

East Timor Land Network: Justice Minister Lobato extends draft land law consultations

More time for the Land Law? Promises & Comments from Viqueque 3 August, 2009 - On July 21, the Justice Minister, Lucia Lobato visited Viqueque for a public meeting on the draft Land Law. The Minister also announced she would extend the public consultation process until November 2009.

"We are very excited that the Minister announced an extension to the public consultation," said Pedro Viera, from the Land Network. "This would help increase community awareness and feedback. However, we are not sure if the Minister intends to follow-through on this promise. If she doesn't, this will create confusion."

Viqueque participants noted that the public meeting was too brief, with only just over 1 hour for participants to speak.

"In Viqueque there is a lot of conflict over land. One hour isn't anywhere near enough to get meaningful comment on how the Land Law can address this".

Participants also asked for Suco level consultation on the draft Land Law, and raised issues including community land, taxes for large land owners and how community land boundaries would be defined.

However, Ines Martins of the Land Network notes, "under the draft Land Law communities are not able to make decisions on how outsiders – such as the State or foreign companies use their land. The State will make these decisions, with no obligation to listen to communities. It is not even clear who gets money from leasing community land to outsiders – the community or the State?"

"Because people are not fully aware of what’s in the draft land law, the consultation is not exploring issues like this. This is why we need a longer consultation."

For further information and public comment please contact Shona Hawkes from the Land Network at +670 730 7800 or email shona@laohamutuk.org.

Iha tempu tan ba Lei ba Rai? Promesa no komentariú husi Viqueque 3 Agostu, 2009

Loron 21, Julhu, Ministra ba Justisa, Lucia Lobato vizita ba distritu Viqueque atu halo enkontru públiku kona-ba ezbozu Lei ba Rai. Ministra mos fo anunsio katak nia atu prolonga tempu ba konsultasaun públiku to’o Novembru 2009.

"Ami kontente tebes katak Ministra dehan nia atu prolonga tan tempu konsultasaun" dehan Pedro Viera, husi Rede ba Rai. "Prolonga konsultasaun bele ajuda komunidade, sira bele kompriende lei kona-ba lei ne’e no fahe sira-nia hakarak. Maibe, ami seidauk klaru se Ministra atu implementa promesa ne’e. Se lae, ne’e bele hamosu konfusaun."

Partisipantes Viqueque dehan katak enkontru públiku badak-los, ho horas ida resin de’it ba sira atu koalia.

"Iha Viqueque iha konflitu barak kona-ba rai. Horas ida de’it ba tempu la to’o atu hetan hanoin ne’ebé klean oinsa Lei ba Rai bele haree asuntu ne’e."

Partisipante-sira mós husu iha konsultasaun kona-ba lei iha nivél Suco, no koalia kona-ba asuntu rai komunidade, taxa ba rai bo’ot no oinsa bele haree baliza ba area komunidade.

Ines Martins husi Rede ba Rai mós hateten,"Iha ezbozu Lei ba Rai komunidade la iha direitu atu foti desisaun kona-ba ema husi liur – hanesan Estadu ka kompania malae, bele uja sira-nia rai. Estadu mak foti desisaun ne’e, maibe la iha obrigasaun atu rona komunidade-nia lian. Ne’e mós seidauk klaru osan husi aluga rai komunidade ba ne’ebé – ne’e komunidade ka Estadu mak simu?"

"Tanba ema seidauk hatene saida mak iha ezbozu Lei ba Rai, asuntu hanesan ne’e seidauk hatama. Tan ne’e tenke prolonga konsultasaun."

Atu hetan informasaun tan ka halo intrevista bele kontaktu ba Pedro Viera husi Rede ba Rai ho numerú kontaktu +670 726 9038 ka email redebarai@gmail.com

Image added by ETLJB: Who will own Timor-Leste?