Mr Aniceto Guterres Lopes, Chairperson of the Commission for Reception Truth and Reconciliation in Timor-Leste (CAVR), has been awarded the 2003 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership. The Board of Trustees of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation announced in Manila on 30 July the seven individuals from India, China, Japan, the Philippines and Timor-Leste who will receive Asia’s most prestigious prize for 2003.
The award announcement read as follows:
Aniceto Guterres Lopes, from East Timor, Chairperson of the Commission for Reception Truth and Reconciliation, for Emergent Leadership. Mr Guterres Lopes is being recognized for ‘his courageous stand for justice and the rule of law during East Timor’s turbulent passage to nationhood.’
Established in 1957, the Ramon Magsaysay Award is Asia’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize. It honours the memory and leadership of the third Philippine President and is given annually to individuals and organizations in Asia who manifest the same sense of selfless service that ruled the life of the late and beloved Filipino leader.
On hearing the news Mr Guterres Lopes said:
I am of the generation of Timorese who began a new phase of struggle for peace in our country in the 1990s. Through non-governmental organizations and groups, we saw the need to develop an understanding of human rights and the rule of law in our country, and to try to hold those in power to these international standards.
I am greatly honoured to receive this award. I feel that it is not just for me, but for all Timorese who have committed themselves to placing human rights, justice and rule of law at the heart of forging our new nation. I would especially like to acknowledge my former colleagues at the pioneering human rights organization Yayasan Hak, and my fellow Commissioners and all the team at the CAVR.
During this period in the 1990s, this generation of Timorese began a new phase of reaching out to the international community. To our friends in civil society in Indonesia, in the Philippines and other parts of Asia. It is a special tribute to the relationship between Timorese and Filipinos who are committed to the values of universal human rights, justice and the rule of law that this award honouring the memory of President Ramon Magsaysay has been award to Timor. It will greatly encourage and support the work we have ahead of us.
Mr Guterres Lopes will travel to Manila to receive the award on 31 August 2003.
For further information or to arrange an interview with Mr Aniceto Guterres Lopes contact Kieran Dwyer at firstname.lastname@example.org of +670 723 4705