MEDIA RELEASE, 16 April 2002

RECONCILIATION COMMISSION TO INVITE ATAURO POLITICAL PRISONERS TO MEETING

Dili, East Timor

The Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor is inviting Timorese who were political prisoners on Atauro Island to a meeting this Saturday in Dili.

The commission, responsible for investigating human rights violations in East Timor over the last quarter century, has extended an invitation to people who were forcibly removed to Atauro Island between 1980 and 1983 to come to a meeting in the hall at the ex-CNRT/UNAMET complex in Balide at 9 am.

ďThe purpose of the consultation is to tell people about plans to document these tragic events as part of the Commissionís truth-seeking function, and in turn to consult the people about our work,Ē said the commissionís chairman, human rights lawyer, Aniceto Guterres Lopes.

The chairman also invited non-governmental organisations, members of the church, other interested members of the public and media to attend.  Atauro, north of East Timorís capital, Dili, was used as a prison island by the Indonesians, who invaded East Timor in 1975.

Mr Guterres Lopes was speaking before departing this morning for West Timor.  He and the commissionís executive director, Joao Baptista, planned to meet with NGOs and civil society groups in the West Timor capital of Kupang, and hoped to meet with representatives of East Timorese refugees.

Tomorrow, the commissionís vice-chairman, Catholic priest Jovito Araujo, and fellow commissioner Jacinto Alves, a former political prisoner, plan to visit the East Timorese enclave of Oecussi to continue interviewing candidates for Regional Commissioner positions.

The Regional Commissioners will be responsible for running the commissionís six proposed offices around the country and discharging the commissionís responsibilities, which include: supporting the reintegration of less-serious offenders into their communities through community-based reconciliation mechanisms; and documenting the nature of and reasons for human rights violations in East Timor between 1974 and 1999.

The commission, expected to run for two to two and a half years, will submit a report to East Timorís government and people recommending ways to prevent future human rights violations and address the needs of the victims of human rights violations.

(ends)

 

Media contacts at the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation:

Indonesian, Portuguese, Tetum Ė Lamartinho de Oliveira                English, Japanese - John Rouw

0408 731 103, email: oliveira@easttimor-reconciliation.org            0410 551 559, email: rouw@easttimor-reconciliation.org

           

 

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