9 February 2012

Learning of East Timor Human Rights Violation Cases*


A crucial report about human right violation in East Timor, has been released from early March 2007 in Jakarta. This report was written based on more than 8,000 interviews with victims and witnesses who experienced violence conducted both by the Indonesian military and East Timor freedom fighters.

The number of victims, written in this report, surprisingly comes to hundreds of thousands. Many were killed sadistically, faced coerced disappearances, become disabled, raped and killed after or left died of hunger. Therefore, Chega! became the title of this report. Chega is a Portuguese word means ‘enough’ or ‘stop’.

“Hopefully the title became admonition for stop human violence,” Patrick Walsh, senior advisor for Commission for Reception Truth and Reconciliation  (CAVR), the institution who made this report, said to me after his speech at the released time.

This Violence cycle started when Indonesian Government launch invasion to East Timor in December 7 1975. While, East Timor’s people concern with government transition from Portuguese colonization and had tried to govern his own country.

General elections has held in this country and Fretilin won it. But Portuguese left West Timor sooner because internal conflict between election organization’s members.

While internal conflict done Indonesian who before admitted the exist of West Timor state –as in Adam Malik’s, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, letter to Ramos Horta, ones of Fretilin’s leader— furthermore reject the standing of this country and officiously the domestic affairs. Moreover, Indonesian intelligence agent walk out with organization who lose in elections.

“It’s mistake was security approach took by Indonesian government in this hands off,” Galuh Wandita, Director of Internasional Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), said to me.

This hardness well on until West Timor, with international pressure, determine their own destiny in a referendum held in 1999. Furthermore Indonesian government backtrack their military forces from Island of Timor and Xanana Gusmao became president.

Below recent conduction, later Gusmao try to set their country up. Gusmao have god attention for handling human right cases.

Early in 2002 West Timur Government built CAVR –the Portuguese acronym for Comissao de Acholhimento, Verdade e Reconciliacao or Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation— as an independent institution and commissioned for make documentation for human right violence taking place between 1974-1999, including making findings about what factors, policies, and state or non-state actors were responsible for these violations; to refer cases of serious crimes to the prosecutor for further consideration; to assist in restoring the dignity of victims; to facilitate reconciliation and community reintegration; and to promote human right.

CAVR have finished their first step to make human right violation documentation from beginning of 2002 until the end of 2005. at ease process.

“(It happen) because no direct intervention from crime perpetrator,” Galuh Wandita said.

Judiciary and reconciliation process stymied CAVR. The biggest challenge certainly for trial the perpetrators from Indonesian military who became a byword immune from law. But CAVR held traditionally reconciliation, between Timor’s perpetrator and their victims

“For specific cases we have make traditionally reconciliation and it made different between human right case in South Africa and Timor,” Galuh said.

I interested with Galuh’s explanation about traditional reconciliation. Of course I also interested for covering how CAVR can documented worse violation in East Timor. And how CAVR face their next challenge for trial all the perpetrator especially from Indonesian military. Therefore, I want to visiting some district in West Timor, like:

  1. Dili, central of West Timur, to visit CAVR office for interviewing Patrick Walsh and His colleague in CAVR about their way to handling human right cases in West Timor.
  2. Viqueque district, where in 1983, 200 people burned in their home, and 500 people killed in the edge of Tuku river by Indonesian military. I want to interview with the victim’s family and some victims who still alive.
  3. Manufahi district, just like in Viqueque district I also want to interview victims and their family. In Manufahi about 500 people commonly women and little child killed by Battalion 744 and 745 Central Java, Indonesia.


I want to write all my experiences in West Timor in one article between 5,000 to 7,000 word and hopefully Pantau website can publish my work and I also want Playboy Magazine can publish it.

*Proposal for SEAPA fellowship 2007