Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor
20 August -
Death of Sergio Vieira de Mello (English) 1
Ramon Magsaysay Award to CAVR Chairperson, Aniceto Guterres Lopes
23 July -
Hearing on Famine and Forced Displacement (English)
20 August - Death of Sergio Vieira de Mello (English)
1 August - Ramon Magsaysay Award to CAVR Chairperson, Aniceto Guterres Lopes (English)
23 July - CAVR Public Hearing on Famine and Forced Displacement (English)
"The Commission is a vitally important initiative for the future of this country. It will provide the East Timorese people with an official ear to listen to their grievances and acknowledge their past suffering. It will provide them with a historical record that is based on the experiences and stories of the people themselves. It will bring together those who have been in conflict in the past and give them a way forward, an opportunity for genuine and long-lasting reconciliation. It will further the cause of justice by offering a mechanism for dealing with many of the human rights violations that were committed in this country during past conflicts, without burdening the court system that is already addressing the most serious cases."
Sergio Vieira de Mello, January 2002
"We want to learn from the lessons of the past so that we will be able to prevent similar tragedies in the future. At the same time, we wish to open the door of forgiveness and acceptance to those who were caught in the vicious cycle of violence."
José Ramos Horta, January 2002
"The Commission provides an historic opportunity for the people of East Timor. It will give a voice to the victims who have been silenced through years of oppression and violence. For them, the Commission may help to restore their dignity and heal their wounds. It will create a record for this and future generations of the East Timorese people. That record shall stand not only as a warning not to fall into the abuses of the past but also as an encouragement to show that evil can be overcome and that good can conquer bad."
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, January 2002
"To achieve true healing will be difficult. First, it will require strength and openness from victims who will called upon to re-tell often distressing accounts of traumas they have experienced. Second, and just as important, it will require those who caused the trauma to publicly acknowledge the part they played and to accept responsibility for the effects of their actions. We now await the telling of stories, the reconciliation of communities and the reforms that must prevent such violations in the future. The commitment and enthusiasm that many inside and outside of East Timor have already shown for the Commission augurs well for the success of its work."
Mary Robinson, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, January 2002
"The people will help the Commission through their submission, their moral courage and their hearts."
Xanana Gusmao, January 2002
"We should all give recognition to the Reception, Truth and Reconciliation Commission because it will give us the opportunity and space to sit together and speak the truth and be reconciled. In humility we shall offer all our shortcomings and sins and ask for forgiveness from our political foes. We should embrace one another again and look forward to the future, to a new life and world, especially for our next generations."
"Comissã¯ de Verdade e Acolhimento hanesan ita nia Biti Boot. Iha nebá¬ ho haraik-an ita sei hato'o ita sala tomak, sei husu perdaun ba adversá²©os politicos sira, sei hakuak fali malu, no hotu-hotu sei halo esforç¯ ida atu hateke ba oin hodi hadi'a tempo foun, rai foun, ba ita nian oan no bei oan sira."
Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, Christmas message - December 2001
"So please go and tell the East Timorese in West Timor that people are ready to forgive. People have already received each other and embraced each other. The only missing piece is justice. Please ask them to come back and set things right. We must never be a divided nation again."
Local NGO, Baucau - December 2001
"We must have the courage to direct and offer, in a just way, our spirit of reconciliation to all Timorese people, for the sake of East Timor's future."
Jacinto Alves, one of the architects of the Commission - December 2001
"This Commission is a national priority. I am committed to ensuring it enjoys political, institutional and financial support now and in the future."
Chief Minister Mari Alkatiri, letter to donors - 26 November 2001
"The establishment of this Commission represents the best step forward. I hope that all parties and groups will have enough humility to cooperate with this Commission."
Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, Cidadaun, October 2001
"Sometimes I get so angry I could go crazy and what I want most of all would be to have all the perpetrators killed. And then, at other times, I think: but my husband is dead, nothing can bring him back, not even revenge."
Widow from Bobonaro
"Many Timorese want answers from those who caused their loss and suffering. With answers, people can start the healing process and close this horrible chapter in their lives."
"War and victims are something the community wants to forget; a veil of oblivion is drawn over everything painful and unpleasant. We find the two sides face to face; on one side the victims who perhaps wish to forget but cannot, and on the other all those with strong, often unconscious motives who very intensely both wish to forget and succeed in doing so. The weakest one ... remains the losing party in this silent and unequal dialogue."
Judith Herman, "Trauma and Recovery"
"In order to escape accountability for his crimes, the perpetrator does everything in his power to promote forgetting. Secrecy and silence are the perpetrator's first line of defense. If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victims. If he cannot silence her absolutely, he tries to make sure that no one listens ... it never happened; the victim lies; the victim exaggerates; the victim brought it upon herself; and in any case it is time to forget the past and move on."
Psychiatrist studying Nazi concentration camp survivors, quoted in Judith Herman's "Trauma and Recovery"
Copyright © 2001, 2002 Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor