Timor-Leste is a leading country in Asia with regards to advocating for greater accountability. While many conflict and atrocity prevention initiatives have been marred by setbacks, notably serious communal violence and population displacement in 2006, important lessons have been learned on grassroots, locally-led reconciliation processes. These conflict and atrocity prevention lessons provide a valuable body of knowledge that can be shared across the region.

“After twenty-four years of systematic violations under a veil of impunity, Reformasi in Indonesia provided an opportunity to determine East Timor’s status through a referendum held by the United Nations in 1999. The referendum resulted in the majority of Timorese people choosing independence in October 1999 with the United Nations taking over as interim administrator of the territory.

UN and Timorese investigators and prosecutors conducted investigations to the 1999 crimes, resulting in more than 300 persons indicted under the Serious Crimes regime, including senior Indonesian military commanders and Timorese militia leaders.

In 2002, working in parallel with the serious crimes process, a truth and reconciliation commission (CAVR) was established to investigate human rights violations that took place between 1975-1999, producing a final report entitled “Chega!” (Enough, Never Again) that documented a pattern of systematic abuse and made comprehensive recommendations. Immediately following the CAVR, the Governments of Timor-Leste and Indonesia established the bi-lateral Commission of Truth and Friendship (CTF, 2005-2008). In 2008, the CTF handed over its findings and recommendations reaffirming CAVR’s findings that crimes against humanity took place in 1999.

More than a decade after the publication of these reports, a civil society working group including AJAR found that only 5% of the recommendations has been or is being implemented. In 2015, a prime ministerial decree established Centro Nacional Chega! (CNC) tasked with bridging the victims with the administration and pushing for the inclusion of the recommendations in government policies.

Priority Issues

On this International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, Women’s League of Burma (WLB), Network for Human Rights Documentation – Burma (ND-Burma), Assistance Association of Political Prisoners (AAPP), Vimutti…
15 July 2018 marks the 10th anniversary of Per Memoriam Ad Spem [Through Memory towards Hope], the final report of the Commission of Truth and Friendship (CTF) of Indonesia and…
Published on The Jakarta Post by Tama Salim “I want to hug & kiss my mother,” said Muhammad Yaqub, born Manuel da Costa, shortly before traveling home to Timor Leste…

Our activities in numbers

9

Number of Staff

141++

program

141++

Experiences

2010

Year  worked

Humanity Youth

Humanityouth is a program to facilitate intergenerational dialogue to strengthen solidarity across different generations to end impunity and the cycle…

Sa Pu Kisah

The atrocities of various human rights violations endured by the people in West Papua is accompanied with the constant denial…

Stolen Children

Stolen Children or Labarik Lakon in Tetun, are children who were taken away from their families and culture during Indonesia’s…

Highlights of Programmes in the Past Year

Promoting awareness and understanding

Research, including interviews with hundreds of victims of serious human rights violations, examined the challenges faced by the pandemic in Indonesia and Timor-Leste. The research, combined with practical assistance, helped victims develop coping mechanisms to survive.

The ‘school of human rights and social justice’ for young students in Timor-Leste continued. This year more than 100 university students attended activities, building their commitment to fight against the recurrence of past violations.

Strengthening linkages and increasing social capital of human rights defenders

By linking the Aceh Truth and Reconciliation Commission with Timor-Leste’s Centro Nacional Chega! or CNC, AJAR facilitated exchanges of knowledge and strategies on truth-seeking, reconciliation, and designing urgent reparations programs. Young people from Papua, and other parts of Indonesia and Timor-Leste, visited the Aceh TRC to deepen their understanding of the work of truth commissions.

As a member of the Global Initiative for Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation, AJAR and partners worked to identify best practices for supporting women survivors of sexual violence, and children born of rape, in Timor-Leste, Nepal, Bosnia Herzegovina, and South Africa. Comparative studies on searching mechanisms in Latin America and Timor-Leste, and peace processes in Aceh and El Salvador were developed.

Contributing technical assistance, along with policy and legal inputs

AJAR contributed to regional and national links to UN bodies. Inputs, along with victims’ testimonies, were provided to UN events on reparations, focusing on empowering Timor-Leste’s stolen children.

Resources

Twenty Years On Infographic

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Twenty Years On: Timorese Women’s Ongoing Struggle to be Free from Violence

20 years on from the Restoration of Independence and the promise of equality and freedom, women and girls in Timor-Leste...

Quilting for Justice – A Graphic Novel

Survivors of human rights violations have a right to justice. However, the journey to obtaining justice often comes hand-in-hand with...

Transitional Justice in Australia and the Pacific Series: Transitional Justice in the Solomon Islands

The origins of the conflict in the Solomon Islands extend back to the early foreign arrivals and colonial history. Early...

Indigenous Peoples and the Right to Truth Vol. 1: A Toolkit for Practitioners

This toolkit, divided into two volumes, offers practical assistance to Indigenous and non-Indigenous human rights organisations and activists, as well...

Indigenous Peoples and the Right to Truth Vol. 2: A Compendium of Case Studies

This toolkit, divided into two volumes, offers practical assistance to Indigenous and non-Indigenous human rights organisations and activists, as well...