Subject: UN: President of Timor-Leste Addresses the Human Rights
[Timor excerpts only - full release here: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=9900&LangID=E ]
Council holds interactive dialogue with Special Rapporteurs on human rights defenders and on freedom of religion or belief
11 March 2010
President of Timor-Leste Addresses the Human Rights Council
The Human Rights Council this morning heard the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders and the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief present their reports, and then held an interactive dialogue with them. It also heard a statement by the President of Timor-Leste.
At the beginning of the meeting, Jose Ramos-Horta, President of Timor-Leste, said peace was the single most important human right that the State and national leaders must strive to provide to everyone; a country must be built with a society where the culture of non-violence, of peace and of non-discrimination and inclusion had gained roots. In efforts to bring about peace between long-standing rival communities, often there had to be compromise on justice, as the blind pursuit of justice without regard to the complex and often fragile balance in fragile societies could ignite new tensions and conflicts and derail the entire peace process.
Statement by the President of Timor-Leste
JOSE RAMOS-HORTA, President of Timor-Leste, said the best contribution national leaders could make towards advancing the cause for human rights and collective and individual freedoms and dignity was to promote the respect for these rights in their own countries. Most Constitutions enshrined the universal values of the sanctity of human life, individual freedoms and dignity, the right to life, freedom from fear and torture, and the right to freedom of expression and worship. But peace was the single most important human right that the State and national leaders must strive to provide to everyone; a country must be built with a society where the culture of non-violence, of peace and of non-discrimination and inclusion had gained roots. The model society was the one that was generous, non-discriminatory, inclusive, that cared about the poor, elderly, handicapped; a model society was one that embraced the poor and the persecuted who fled tyranny and extreme poverty and landed on its shores; a model society of God was one that loved and embraced HIV/AIDS victims or those affected with the centuries-old illness called leprosy.
Timor-Leste's commitment to the advancement of women went beyond national boundaries. The country had recovered from the 2006 crisis, and the people had now been enjoying three years of peace and robust economic recovery. In spite of the world financial crisis, finances were sound, and modest resources were managed with prudence. There was renewed faith in the political leadership and the institutions. On the justice sector, there had been unfair criticism from some fringe elements in the amorphous international community, an "international community" that was invoked time and again whenever some people wanted to bestow on themselves a measure of world authority in regurgitating ready-made clichés or academic jargon on justice. Life was not so simple, there was no black and white; in each country and society, in the rich North and less rich South, there was an expectation for justice, for the rule of law, for respect for human rights and human dignity. But everywhere there was violent conflict. First the space and conditions for dialogue should be created in order to bring about a cessation of armed conflict, followed by the lengthy process of healing, reconciliation, employment, poverty eradication, and others. In efforts to bring about peace between long-standing rival communities, often there had to be compromise on justice, as the blind pursuit of justice without regard to the complex and often fragile balance in fragile societies could ignite new tensions and conflicts and derail the entire peace process.
Myanmar and the Democratic Republic of Korea stood out in Asia and indeed in the world among the gravest human rights crises. While the international community was transfixed by the Democratic Republic of Korea’s nuclear brinkmanship, there had been less attention paid to the horrific gulag that imprisoned an entire nation and condemned it to extreme deprivation. The military regime in Myanmar seemed determined to pursue a course that would only jeopardise any chance of the country moving forward. Timor-Leste was encouraged by the on-going mediation efforts by the Secretary-General in the search for a solution to the problem of Western Sahara. The Palestinian tragedy began to unfold with the creation in 1949 of the State of Israel, and, 60 years later, the only people who were still paying for the legacies of a war and a Holocaust not of their making were the Palestinians. Civil disobedience and non-violence, more than rockets, would emotionally tire out the mighty Israeli army and wake up the conscience of Israeli society to this abominable solution. And Palestine would be free. And Israel would be free and finally at peace with itself.