Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor











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Kieran Dwyer Titi Irawati
+670-7234705 +670-7234911

Press Releases


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


3 Dec - CAVR Berhasil Mengumpulkan 2000 Kesaksian, (Indonesian)




8 Nov - First Public Hearings for CAVR (English)



7 Nov - Victims Hearing - Background Paper for International Media (English)



17 Oct - CAVR Menyelengarakan Pertemuan Dengan NGO, Media Dan Partai Politik Di Timor Lorosa'e (Indonesian)


5 July - 33 Statements taken by CAVR on Atauro Island (English, Indonesian)  


7 June - Reconciliation Commission takes statements on Atauro island (English, Indonesian)


15 May - Leaders Urge Reconciliation Commissioners to be Strong (English)


25 Apr - Reconciliation Commission Selects Regional Commissioners (English, Indonesian)


16 Apr - Reconciliation Commission to Invite Atauro Political Prisoners to Meeting (English)


9 Apr - Reconciliation Commission Moving to Set Up in Regions (English)


15 Feb - Truth and Reconciliation Commissioners Welcome Japanese Grant of 1 Million US$ (English, Indonesian)


4 Feb - Aniceto Guterres Lopes Appointed Chair of Truth and Reconciliation Commission (English, Indonesian)


21 Jan - Swearing-in Ceremony for National Commissioners (English, Tetum)


17 Jan - Announcement of National Commissioners (English, Tetum)


27 Nov - Shortlist of 15 Candidates Announced (English, Tetum)


22 Nov - 300 Nominations for Commissioners Received by Selection Panel (English, Tetum


12 Oct - Donors Show Support for Reconciliation Commission


02 Oct - Search for Reconciliation Commissioners begins



Articles & Interviews

Eureka Street: East Timor - Reconciliation and Justice


CSM: Celebrating the Birth of a Nation [Kofi Annan on East Timor


The Age: Timor launches commission to reconcile nation with troubled past


Far Eastern Economic Review: East Timor - A Lot to Forgive


LUSA: Head of Reconciliation, Truth Commission Appointed 


LUSA: Aniceto Guterres preside a Comissão de Reconciliaçao


CNN: East Timor begins search for reconciliation


BBC World Service: East Timor launches truth commission


AFP: Timor truth commission sworn in to document quarter-century of abuses


Guardian Unlimited: In Pursuit of the Truth


LUSA: East Timor: Truth and Reconciliation Commission Takes Office in Dili


Radio Australia: Truth Commissioner says process will liberate people


Reuters: East Timor truth commission aims to heal wounds


AP: East Timor Asked to Admit Wrongdoing


Jose Ramos-Horta's speech at swearing-in ceremony


Tais Timor: Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation: Popularizing Justice 


Sergio de Mello at Oslo Donors' Conference (English, Indonesian


Amnesty (English, Indonesian)


Xanana Gusmao's Views on Justice (English, Indonesian


Bishop Belo and Reconciliation (English, Indonesian


Quotable Quotes 


"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."

Jos鍊 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."


"Comiss㯍 de Verdade e Acolhimento hanesan ita nia Biti Boot.  Iha nebᬠho haraik-an ita sei hato'o ita sala tomak, sei husu perdaun ba adversᲩos politicos sira, sei hakuak fali malu, no hotu-hotu sei halo esfor篠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."

Xanana Gusmao



"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

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