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The Timor-Leste experience

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Sharing Truth- National Research Centre Forum
"Australia, East Timor, Bangladesh and New Zealand"
Patrick Walsh, Senior Advisor, Post-TRC Secretariat, East Timor

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The Timor-Leste experience

  1. 1. SHARING TRUTH: CREATING A NATIONAL RESEARCH CENTRE ON RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS FORUM Vancouver, 1-3 March 2011 The Timor-Leste experience Pat Walsh
  2. 2. Timor-Leste/East Timor
  3. 3. East Timor in brief <ul><li>Half-island in the Indonesian archipelago 1.5 hours NW Darwin, Australia. </li></ul><ul><li>Population c.1,000,000, half under 18. </li></ul><ul><li>One of the region’s poorest countries but has large reserves of oil and gas. </li></ul><ul><li>Portuguese colony until 1975 when invaded and occupied by Indonesia until 1999. </li></ul><ul><li>Timorese resisted militarily and diplomatically and suffered gross violations of human rights. </li></ul><ul><li>UN-administered Popular Consultation in 1999 resulted in overwhelming vote for independence. </li></ul><ul><li>Administered by the UN 1999-2002. </li></ul><ul><li>Parliamentary system. Executive powers vested in Government. President as Head of State. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Converted prison: symbol of change
  5. 5. CAVR in brief <ul><li>CAVR - Comissao de Acolhimento, Verdade e Reconciliacao , Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation. </li></ul><ul><li>Established by the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) as an independent, indigenous East Timorese body led by seven Timorese Commissioners. </li></ul><ul><li>Funded wholly by the international community. </li></ul><ul><li>Written into the nation’s first Constitution. </li></ul><ul><li>Functioned for 4 years: 2002-2005. </li></ul><ul><li>Four functions (1) truth-seeking 1974-99; (2) facilitate community reconciliation; (3) restore dignity of victims; (4) report on work, findings and recommendations. </li></ul><ul><li>Report called Chega! (Stop, no more, enough!) delivered to Parliament 31 October 2005. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Truth-seeking: statement taking
  7. 7. Truth-seeking: public hearings
  8. 8. Community reconciliation
  9. 9. The CAVR report: Chega!
  10. 10. Post-CAVR Secretariat <ul><li>Interim body established by Presidential decree in December 2005 that will continue until Parliament decides on CAVR recommendations. </li></ul><ul><li>Functions: (1) care for archives and heritage site; (2) complete CAVR publishing program; (3) disseminate and socialise Chega! in and outside Timor-Leste. </li></ul><ul><li>Governance: Executive Director and 4 Program Coordinators, accountable to President. </li></ul><ul><li>Funding: Timor-Leste Government and international donors. </li></ul>
  11. 11. P-CAVR hard-copy records
  12. 12. P-CAVR audio-visual records
  13. 13. P-CAVR back-up of records
  14. 14. P-CAVR library & internet access
  15. 15. P-CAVR bookshop
  16. 16. P-CAVR dissemination
  17. 17. P-CAVR Chega! comic book
  18. 18. P-CAVR video Dalan ba Dame
  19. 19. P-CAVR Walk Through Chega! exhibition
  20. 20. The exhibition has a strong impact
  21. 21. Targets youth…….
  22. 22. <ul><li>.... but does </li></ul><ul><li>not </li></ul><ul><li>always </li></ul><ul><li>hit </li></ul><ul><li>the mark! </li></ul>
  23. 23. P-CAVR launch in Jakarta
  24. 24. Issues encountered <ul><li>Capacity building of local staff. </li></ul><ul><li>Technical issues. </li></ul><ul><li>Security. </li></ul><ul><li>Back-up and off-shore storage. </li></ul><ul><li>Access. </li></ul><ul><li>Archival legislation. </li></ul>
  25. 25. The role of the churches <ul><li>Under Portugal, Catholic Church (CC) was a small, but influential, part of the colonial system. </li></ul><ul><li>Under Indonesia, CC opposed the colonial system and attracted mass support. The small Protestant community grew in numbers. </li></ul><ul><li>Since Independence, CC has reverted to more conventional service and devotional role but supports justice for historical crimes. </li></ul><ul><li>J&P Commissions exist in 2 of the 3 dioceses plus many religious orders. </li></ul><ul><li>Two CAVR Commissioners were clergy and church regularly assisted with community reconciliations. </li></ul><ul><li>Acolhimento (reception) includes a reference to the parable of the Prodigal Son. </li></ul><ul><li>Chega! includes recommendations to the churches including to provide training and education in human rights. </li></ul>
  26. 26. The future <ul><li>Addressing the issues encountered. </li></ul><ul><li>Public champion of archives. </li></ul><ul><li>Archival solidarity. </li></ul><ul><li>Legislation by the Timor-Leste Parliament to establish an Institute of Memory to implement CAVR/CTF recommendations on reparations, disappearances, memorialisation, documentation, research, education and training. </li></ul>
  27. 27. Thank you. Obrigado barak. <ul><li>CAVR website </li></ul><ul><li>www.cavr-timorleste.org </li></ul><ul><li>Pat Walsh </li></ul><ul><li>Email: padiwalsh@gmail.com </li></ul>

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