EWER Trimester Report 7 (Feb-May 2011)

September 20, 2011

EWER Trimester Report 7 (Feb-May 2011)


Executive Summary

This report presents an analysis of the monitoring findings of CICR and BELUNai??i??s conflict Early Warning and Early Response Program (EWER), between February and May 2011. The report marks the seventh trimesterly conflict analysis monitoring report published since EWER monitoring began in February 2009. This report is the first in the series to include three additional subai???districts in Dili as a result of EWERai??i??s expansion to cover all six subai???districts in the capital district. This expansion reflects EWERai??i??s recognition of the heightened risk of conflict in the capital with its dense population, including increasing numbers of urban migrants and youth looking for work as well as its concentration of state and political affairs. Local monitors in the new total of 42 target subai???districts, returned reports measuring 63 indicators of socioai???economic, political and external indicators of situational change as well as incidents of violence, gauging the level of community tension.

Analysis of data reveals that there has been a decrease in the total number of violent incidents, from 224 in the previous trimester to 205 in this trimester. The overall average ai???Conflict Potentialai??i?? scoring1 for this trimester has gone down from 778 in the previous trimester (October 2010 ai??i?? January 2011) to 757 in this trimester.

Despite the reduction in the number of violent incidents, several concerning themes were identified during this reporting period. The involvement of martial arts group members in violent incidents continued to feature significantly in monitoring reports (21 cases, which is a slight reduction from 28 in the previous trimester), with rivalries between groups resulting in chains of interlinked reprisals. In addition, linkages between the consumption of alcohol and martial arts group violence remained strong.

Conflict based on religious identity continued to appear this trimester, with tensions noted in Aileu, Baucau and Oeai???cusse districts. Reports of such incidents were received even from subai???districts not yet covered by EWER monitoring.

Although significantly fewer in number compared to the previous reporting period, one more incident of conflict arose within a family over the allocation of compensation funds for families of deceased veterans received from the government, in LiquiAi??a district. Also in this district, two disputes between families occurred due to disagreements regarding ceremonial transactions (fetosaaAi??umane) required for family events.

Persons formerly displaced by internal upheaval during the 2006 crisis (Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)) have been absent from incident reports for several trimesters, and relations between returning families and host communities had notably improved by the time that the International Organization for Migration (IOM) concluded their returns monitoring of returns communities (152 aldeias in Dili district) by June 2010. However, during this reporting period, situational data indicated that tensions regarding IDPs appeared to be reai???emerging in several districts outside of Dili and a small number (two) were reported as victims of incidents of conflict.

In addition, qualitative monitoring has highlighted some of the unintended impacts of social assistance provision to vulnerable groups (including veterans, IDPs, the elderly, victims of natural disasters). These have been seen to have the potential to create divisions, social jealousy and discontent within communities due to the perception that some members have been able to access assistance from the government while others have not benefited from such support.2

As might be expected as the electoral campaign period begins to draw near, monitoring data from this trimester revealed that political activities have distinctly begun rolling out across the nation. Movements were strongest in Aileu and Bobonaro districts, and also appear to have intensified in Covalima, Ermera and LiquiAi??a. Such political events were reportedly divisive in nature and led to increased tensions in communities. On the other hand, areas in which joint political activities were more frequently organized, in general reported decreased tensions.

Disputes over access to natural resources, land and property increased throughout the nation during this period. While disputes in urban settings featured conflicting claims over ownership of land or housing, a majority of confrontations took place in rural settings, mostly featuring disputes between farmers over the use of agricultural land.

While the general perception of the security situation remained relatively calm, in several subai???districts community members continued to display low levels of confidence towards security sector actors. The recurring involvement of security sector actors in violent incidents is a cause for concern: with figures equal to the previous trimester, four police (PNTL) and two military (Fai???FDTL) officers were reported to be assailants. In addition, three local leaders and two government officials were identified as initiators of violence.

Finally, situational data continues to highlight the frailty of capacity for effective conflict resolution in the subai???districts monitored by EWER. While 91% of violent incidents are promptly met by a response by local actors, structural as well as relational issues tend to remain unresolved in a large number of cases. It is also concerning that the involvement of local leaders (such as chefe de sucos and chefe de aldeias) in dispute resolution has decreased significantly.