by Leigh-Ashley Lipscomb
After hundreds of years as a Portuguese colony and then decades of Indonesian occupation, Timor-Leste (East Timor) finally became independent in 2002. Since then, Timor-Leste has been in the process of building itself as a sovereign nation, fighting to shake off its tumultuous past. Timor-Leste must now decide how best to resolve issues stemming from a brief civil war and Indonesian invasion and occupation (1975-1999), including grave human rights violations on all sides of the conflict. Human rights trials in both Timor-Leste and Indonesia have produced unsatisfying results, but two separate truth commissions recommended reparations--both intrastate and interstate--as a key element of reconciliation and healing. Critical questions remain, however, concerning the value, scope, and implementation of a reparations program within Timor-Leste or between Indonesia and Timor-Leste. Only a sincere, informed, and transparent decision-making process will result in a reparations program that could be a significant and successful part of moving peace and justice forward.
AsiaPacific Issues, No. 93
Publisher: Honolulu: East-West Center
Publication Date: March 2010
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John M. Miller, National Coordinator
East Timor & Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)
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Winners: John Rumbiak Human Rights Defender Award for 2009
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