East Timor: Head of Reconciliation, Truth Commission Appointed
One of East Timor's most prominent human
rights activists, Aniceto Guterres Lopes, has been elected to head the territory's
Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation. This body will deal with
atrocities committed during the 25 years of occupation by Indonesian forces.
Lopes is also director of the Yayasan Hak
human rights foundation and his deputy chairman in the truth and reconciliation
commission is Father Jovito de Araujo, a Catholic priest. The two men were
appointed Monday during the first formal meeting of the seven commissioners of
the commission, who took office on Jan. 21.
"When the selection panel presented my
nomination (as a national commissioner), I soon felt committed to this important
process. It's with great satisfaction that I now accept this increased
responsibility", said Lopes, who is a lawyer by profession.
Monday's meeting of commissioners was
attended by the No. 2 head of the United Nations transition administration in
Timor (UNTAET), Dennis McNamara. The seven decided to set up a consultative
committee comprising "respected Timorese individuals". This group
would serve "as an independent source of knowledge and orientation".
It could also included representatives of
pro-Indonesian groups and one or two foreign members.
Australian human rights consultant Pat
Walsh was nominated as a "special advisor" to the national
Monday's meeting concluded with the
official launch of the truth and reconciliation commission's website
(www.easttimor-reconciliation.org), which among other information, gives details
of the body's work, biographies of the commissioners and news relating to the