Tuesday, January 1, 2008

ADVOCACY PROGRAMME ACTIVITIES 2005 – 2006

Dili / Rede Feto 2006

The primary women’s issues that were highlighted during the period was sexual violence that involved seven Indonesia militia men in the border, the demand of churches to criminalize abortion and prostitution after a three weeks demonstration was held in front of the government’s palace, the demand for the approval of the Domestic Violence Law and the need for women’s participation in decision making at all levels including in the 2007 presidential and legislative elections. The crises happened and had impacted on internally-displaced persons (IDP) camps with the on-going violence and disturbances. Rede Feto, as an umbrella structure of women’s organizations that advocates women’s issues, was inspired to speak out on the abovementioned issues through several activities such as policy discussion, lobby and networking with decision makers, media campaign and monthly discussions with development partners and relevant stakeholders.

Through the intensive advocacy efforts of Rede Feto, several results were achieved in line with the issues that affected or disadvantaged women. The achievements included the adoption of a provision in the electoral law for the legislative election to have a woman in every four list of candidates of political parties, the President of the Board of Rede Feto was selected to be part of the Petroleum Consultative Commission, and an investigation team to look at cases happening at the border was established. The investigation team for border cases included the involvement of one civil society which is represented by the HAK (Rights) Association.

Rede Feto demanded for the need to build peace and unity amongst Timorese and the participation of women as peace builders and peacekeepers in conflict situations. Women play a key role in conflict resolution and prevention efforts. Moreover, Rede Feto managed a Humanitarian Programme which focused on the construction of tents in IDP camps, camp managers at the airport vicinity of Dili and in the distribution of non- item food for IDPs in camps in Dili and other districts.

Commemoration of International and National Events

On an annual basis, Rede Feto, in collaboration with development partners, commemorates international events such as: the 16 days campaign to end violence against women (VAW), International Women’s Day celebration every 8th of March, the World Rural Women’s Day every 15 October and the National Women’s Day every 3 November that was approved by the National Parliament in May 2005 with law number 17/I/3/2005. The approval of the law declaring 3 November as National Women’s Day was derived from one of the recommendations of the women’s platform of action from the Second National Women’s Congress that was held in July 2004. The first commemoration of the National Women’s Day was conducted in the Rosa Muki Garden in Mandarin. It was attended by approximately 200 people from government, the National Parliament, NGOs, UN agencies and ambassadors from Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines. The theme of the event was on the spirit of heroine; “Let us participate in nation building in order to reduce poverty amongst women.” In this specific initial commemoration, Rede Feto conducted several activities to socialize and promote the day through a television talk show over TVTL, radio, newspapers, bulletin and press releases. On the other hand, the International Women’s Day 2006 was commemorated with Office for the Promotion of Equality or OPE (now the Secretrary of State for the Promotion of Equality or SEPI) under the Office of the Prime Minister, the government’s machinery for gender equality and women’s empowerment, through the implementation of various activities in Dili that highlighted women’s participation.

In addition to the commemoration of the 16 days campaign for ending violence against women, Rede Feto closely collaborated with OPE and NGO Forum in the implementation of various activities that commenced later part of November and ended on 10 December. There was an active participation from Rede Feto members who focused directly work on gender-based violence (GBV) including Fokupers, Alola Foundation, GFFTL and Etwave. The theme for the 16 days campaign in 2005 was on women’s health and health in the world.

In 1996, the World Health Assembly declared that violence against women is a health-related problem that government and health organizations should take immediate action on to resolve it. Violence against women affects women, children and men’s health as well. It was therefore realized as important, for medical professionals to consider and know the impact of violence towards women and children. In Timor-Leste, GBV is considered a big challenge because based on police reports, cases of GBV especially domestic violence increases every year. In 2005, the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) received 490 GBV cases in all territories. Despite this number, there were unreported cases that happened all over the country. To resolve this problem, the government established a Referral Pathway network for GBV in 2005. One of the services that were provided for victims of GBV were in the National Hospital in Dili called Save Room. The Save room is specifically intented to assist victims of GBV in the hospital.

Bulletin Salurik

Rede Feto published its first quarterly bulletin in September 2005. Rede Feto named its bulletin Salurik which means umbrella in local language, with the aim of providing information on women’s rights and gender equality. It is distributed to members of the National Parliament, Rede Feto members and its target groups in districts. After one year of its publication, Rede Feto requested its readers to provide comments on the impact of the information in the bulletin to the community. One member of the National Parliament said that the Salurik had provided information on Rede Feto’s activities and how far the network has impacted women and children. One stakeholder said that the readers of Salurik are not only women but also men and it has raised the awareness of the community to promote and protect women’s rights and gender equality. The former advisors for gender equality said that Rede Feto should continue writing and strengthen the information the Salurik provides to its readers.

Monthly Discussions

Rede Feto has conducted monthly discussions about women issues for one year. This activity was supported by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) for one year. The participants who were involved in the discussions were members of the National Parliament, students, NGOs and Rede Feto members. The objectives of the discussions were to share information and analyze the actual situations which affect women and children and how they can be appropriately dealt with and by whom. Moreover, the discussion has become an opportunity to advocate issues to lobby with government and the National Parliament.

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Rede Feto Timor Leste

Secretariat of East Timor Women Network NGO FORUM / FONGTIL Kompleks, Caicoli Dili - Timor Leste Phone : +(670) 3317405 Email : redefeto@yahoo.com

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