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Temporary Secretariat: La’o Hamutuk, Timor-Leste Institute for Development Analysis and Monitoring
Rua dos Martires da Patria, Bebora, Dili, Timor-Leste
P.O. Box 340, Dili, Timor-Leste
Tel: +670-3321040 or +670-7234330 or 7367518 / 7237176
e-mail: lanarra.del @ or atino @

August 29, 2012


What it means to celebrate the 30th August
For the last ten years we have celebrated the 30th August as 'the popular consultation' day or Referendum Day. The people of Timor-Leste are truly aligned when it comes to Referendum Day because this was a truly historic day where the people were able to free themselves from the Indonesian occupation and this ended the serious crimes suffered by the people of Timor-Leste.

This year we celebrate Referendum Day together with the celebration of 100 years since the struggle of Dom Boaventura who started the revolution against Portuguese Colonization in 1912 in Manufahi.

In addition, on the 30th August Timor-Leste and the international community in general celebrate this day as the International Day of the Victims of Forced Disappearances to pay respect and to value the innocent who disappeared and until now their whereabouts remain unknown.

Families of the victims are also citizens of Timor-Leste and they have the right to know if these people are still alive or not. If they are still alive, where are they now and if they are dead, then where were they buried?

For Timor-Leste, the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances is very relevant to what happened in the past. History shows that we still don't know the whereabouts of Dom Boaventura who revolted against Portugal in 1912 and a number of others who disappeared during the struggle for independence between 1974 and 1999, including the deceased Nicolau Lobato, David Alex, Daitula Nagafunu, Mauhudu Rankadalak, because until now we don't know about their fate.

Families of the victims are also citizens of Timor-Leste and they have the right to know if these people are still alive or not. If they are still alive, where are they now and if they are dead, then where were they buried? We consider cases of forced disappearance to be crimes against humanity that are ongoing because no information about the missing has been provided to their families and the people of Timor-Leste in general.

Therefore, on this important day, we, the families of the victims, civil society organizations, student organizations as well as individuals who remain concerned with justice, through the National Alliance for an International Tribunal, deliver our demands to the following relevant institutions:

1. We ask the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to follow up the report of the Commission of Truth and Friendship, especially in relation to victims of forced disappearances during the Indonesian occupation in Timor-Leste, so that cases of forced disappearance can be officially initiated between the two countries.

2. We ask the Ombudsman for Human Rights and Justice to follow up the MOU which was entered into between the Ombudsman for Human Rights and Justice and the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission to search for those who disappeared between 1974 -1999, and the findings need to be provided to the victims, the families of the victims and the people of Timor-Leste who are the direct victims of the aforementioned violations.

3. In March 2012, the State of Timor-Leste had its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva to evaluate the human rights situation in Timor-Leste, therefore we recommend for the President as the Head of State together with the government and the National Parliament to start seeking a mechanism to sign and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance in order to ensure that forced disappearances are not repeated in the future.

4. We ask for the State and the National Parliament to celebrate the 30th August as the Day for Missing Persons in every district in order to pay respect to the victims who lost their lives for this nation and this country.

5. We also ask the Office of the Prosecutor-General of Timor-Leste to continue to process serious crimes together with the Serious Crimes Investigation Team (SCIT-UNMIT), to ensure that there will be no more impunity in Timor-Leste in the future.

6. We ask the State of Timor-Leste to not obstruct the serious crimes process at the international level and to follow up the report of the United Nations Commission of Experts and the report of the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission regarding the establishment of an international tribunal if the national mechanisms do not have the capacity to provide justice to the people of Timor-Leste and the victims.

Dili, 29 August 2012

Xisto dos Santos
Coordinator of the ANTI Board Email: lanarra.del @ Mobile: 77179655

Jose Moniz
JSMP-Member of ANTI Email: moniz @ Landline: 3323883

Celestino Gusmão
Lao Hamutuk-Member of ANTI Email: atino @ Mobile: 77289241

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see also

ETAN: 10 Years after Timor's Independence, Where Is the Justice?

ANTI: Letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on UN responsibility for justice

Amnesty International: Ban Ki-moon must address UN' s failure to bring justice to Timor-Leste victims

ANTI: Timor-Leste demands justice - “Because we love peace, and we want the truth to strengthen reconciliation”

Human Rights, Accountability & Justice page

ETAN at 20: Reflections and Reminiscences


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