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“Defending Timor-Leste’s independence”
7 June 2007
Timor-Leste citizenship is not for sale, says FRETILIN
A plan by the Democratic Party (PD) to sell Timor-Leste (East Timor) citizenship to foreigners could result in many Timorese being dispossessed of their land and natural resources, FRETILIN warned today.
“The PD plan is dangerous and divisive,” FRETILIN Deputy Secretary General Jose Manuel Fernandes said.
“There are safer and more effective ways of attracting investment then selling our citizenship as proposed by PD.”
Fernandes was commenting on PD’s taxation policy outlined on page 23 of its election manifesto, which states: “Timor-Leste’s citizenship will be considered for any foreigner who invests in the amount of USD200 million and above. Whereas any foreigner who invests in the amount of USD100 million and above will be considered eligible for the right to lease a property for the duration of 40 years.”
Fernandes said FRETILIN would never sell East Timorese citizenship to foreigners.
“Being a citizen of Timor-Leste means you are proud to identify yourself with the Maubere people, you are proud of the nation’s achievements and that you are prepared to work hard for the well being of our great Maubere nation,” he said.
“Our people experienced some of the worst human rights abuses so that the Maubere people could one day experience the joy of being citizens of their own nation. I know of these experiences because I experienced torture and hardship as a member of the clandestine front.
“If citizenship was about money the Indonesian military would have bought the hearts and minds of the Maubere people and independence would never have been achieved.
“If PD was in power, any rich foreigner could buy citizenship of our country to gain the right to purchase all the land from the East Timorese people. If this were allowed to happen the people of Timor-Leste would lose control of the independent homeland that they fought so hard for.
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