Press Release - 2 October 2001


The Selection Panel for the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation announced today it was formally beginning the search for some 40 national and regional commissioners to help foster the reconciliation process in East Timor.

A spokesperson for the Selection Panel said today that the panel will be spending the next month consulting with communities throughout East Timor on who should be nominated to sit on the Commission.

"We want to promote the democratic process and give the people of East Timor the right to choose who is suitable to be a Commission member," Cecílio Caminha Freitas said at a press conference held in the capital, Dili.

The Selection Panel is soliciting nominations for 5-7 national commission posts and 25-30 district commission posts, and is scheduled to visit each of East Timor's 13 districts before the October 31 nomination deadline.

UNTAET's Human Rights Unit Project Coordinator for the Commission Pat Walsh today reiterated that the Selection Panel, which is chaired by Deputy SRSG Dennis McNamara, is holding one position vacant for a pro-autonomy representative.

"Our invitation remains open and we very much hope [a pro-autonomy supporter] will join the panel and assist in the process of reconciliation," Walsh said.

Members of the panel have met with pro-autonomy groups in Kupang and Bali in Indonesia twice over the past six weeks in a bid to fill a panel position with a pro-autonomy representative.  The pro-autonomy groups have so far declined to fill a position, deferring a decision until they have had more time to confer with their supporters.

The Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation will ultimately undertake two primary functions: it will establish a truth-seeking function inquiring into the pattern of human rights violations committed within the context of the political conflicts in East Timor between 1974-1999.  The Commission will also create a community reconciliation body to facilitate agreements between local communities and the perpetrators of non-serious crimes and non-criminal acts committed over the same period.

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