President of Timor-Leste meets with UN rights chief

15 March 2006

Far from encouraging impunity with a policy of forgiveness for past crimes, Timor-Leste is trying to establish conditions for its people build their future, the young country’s President Xanana Gusmão, said today in Geneva after meeting with United Nations High Commissioner for Human rights Louis Arbour.

At a press conference at UN Headquarters there, President Gusmão said that he had met with Ms. Arbour to request aid in the consolidation of democratic values in his country, to help with issues of gender and domestic violence, and to help civil society disseminate human rights values.

He acknowledged that National Commission of Truth and Reconciliation of Timor-Leste did not satisfy everybody, adding that the Commission of Truth and Friendship has been established together with Indonesia to strengthen efforts to heal the wounds of the past.

He said an office of Ombudsman had also been established and while in Geneva he had asked UN agencies to help provide it with training programmes and financial assistance.

Last year, the UN created an independent Commission of Experts to review the prosecution of serious human rights violations committed in 1999 in Timor-Leste, then known as East Timor, after the former Portuguese colony occupied by Indonesia in 1974 voted for independence.

The country achieved its independence in 2002.


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