MEDIA RELEASE, 4 February 2002 



The first meeting of the National Commissioners of the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation took place today. The meeting follows the swearing-in of the Commissioners on 21 January, and was chaired by the Deputy Transitional Administrator, Dennis McNamara. At the meeting, Aniceto Guterres Lopes was elected to serve as Chair of the Commission and Father Jovito Araujo was elected as Vice-Chair. 

Responding to their appointments, both men stressed the heavy responsibility entailed in their future task, as well as the need to work as a team with their colleagues and to have courage and confidence in themselves and the mission they have been given. “When the Selection Panel put forward my nomination, I was fully committed to the process - now I am happy to accept this significant responsibility. We are all now ready to move forward with the work of the Commission together, as a team,” Aniceto stated.  

The Commissioners adopted a strong vote of thanks to all who have contributed to the development of the Commission until now. Those singled out for thanks included the Steering Committee, which designed the Commission, the Selection Panel, the UNTAET Human Rights Unit and donors. “We owe a special debt of gratitude to the staff of the Interim Office for their excellent preparatory work over the last six months”, said Aniceto. 

Additionally, the Commissioners decided to establish a small advisory body of respected East Timorese figures to serve as an independent source of wisdom and guidance. Consideration will be given to inviting a pro-autonomy representative and one or two international figures to join this body. Mr. Pat Walsh, currently Project Coordinator for the Commission, was appointed Special Adviser to the National Commissioners. The Commissioners appointed a panel to finalise the appointment of an Executive Director. 


Following the meeting, the new Commission Chair Aniceto Guterres launched the Commission’s web site, which contains comprehensive information on the background and functions of the Commission. It includes up-to-date news reports, profiles of the National Commissioners, and articles relating to the views of prominent East Timorese on reconciliation and justice issues.  

In the coming weeks, the National Commissioners will conduct a number of visits. A delegation will visit Oecussi on 6 February, and a Commission representative will also travel to Kupang, West Timor on 25 February to participate in an NGO seminar on reconciliation.  


For further information, or to arrange interviews, please contact Lamartinho de Oliveira (Mobile: 0408 731 103) or Jane Alexander (Mobile: 0407 976 935) at the National Office of the Commission in Balide, Dili.


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