When Prime Minister Rui de Araujo signed a decree-law establishing Centro Nacional Chega! (CNC) in 2016, Timor-Leste’s government took a decisive step to implement the recommendations of two truth commissions.
This move, long-awaited by survivors and human rights defenders, addressed a decade-long vacuum left behind when the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (Comissāo Acolhimento Verdade e Reconciliacāo, CAVR) closed its doors in 2005. By July 2017, CNC was operational with the appointment of a supervisory board and executive body tasked to bring to life the message of Chega!, the CAVR’s final report, and recommendations of the Commission for Truth and Friendship (CTF).
This review presents the background to CNC’s establishment, progress made in the last two years, and makes recommendations for urgent assistance and support to the most vulnerable victims of mass human rights violations from the 1975–99 conflict. A key finding is the need to refocus CNC’s efforts to ensure that victims continue to be recognised as the core stakeholders of this institution and that creative and effective solutions are being delivered to assist victims to meet their pressing needs.