08 August 2012

The Social Problem of Incest in Timor-Leste Latest Report records 49 minors victims of incest

East Timor Legal News 08 August 2012 Source: The Dili Weekly 07/08/2012 Written by Paulina Quintao - Data from the Judicial System Monitoring Program (JSMP) for the period of January 2010 to June 2012 revealed 49 cases of incest involving underage girls, with nine cases already in the courts.

“The majority of the cases involve girls between the ages of 11 to 14, victims of sexual abuse by someone related to them and often someone they depend upon like a father, an uncle or older brother,” said Florinda Soriano, Women For Justice (WFJ) Coordinator, (01/08), at the launch of report on incest at the Dili Convention Centre, in Dili.

JSMP has assisted 32 cases of incest through their Victim Support Services Unit (VSSU) with nine of them already heard by the courts, with most of those cases processed by the Office of the Prosecutor (Ministerio Publiku MP).

JSMP through the WJU has monitored 18 cases during 2010 – 2012, with five of those cases ending up in court with the perpetrators handed jail terms between four and twelve years. This brings the total number of incest cases to 49 for that period.

“Crimes of incest are not specifically mentioned in Timor-Leste’s Constitution, however children under the age of 14 are protected by Article 177 on Sexual Abuse, and Article 182 on Aggravated Assault,” said the WJU Coordinator.

Article 18 in Timor-Leste’s Constitution states minors must have be protected, especially by their family, community and the State; and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Timor-Leste ratified, state all children must be protected from any form of violence.

The Secretary of State for the promotion of Equality, Idelta Maria Rodrigues said although Timor-Leste had ratified the Convention for the Rights of the Child, it had still not addressed the issue of incest.

“We can’t just rely on the ratification, more research is needed and sometimes victims are left with nowhere to go because there are many relatives living at home, so it is not a safe place to be. This is one of the issues that must be addressed,” said SE Rodrigues.

Madalena Guterres Correia Representing the National Commission for the Rights of the Child, said the 49 cases did not reflect the exact number of cases in the community, as most families decide not to prosecute due to shame and fear of stigma should cases be dragged through the courts.

“It is our experience cases of incest are not brought to light, for those reasons, so KNDL will seek to collaborate with partners to raise community awareness, as advocacy is all we can do,” said the KNDL representative.
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See also the following JSMP Report:

Gender-Based Violence Cases in the Baucau District Court JSMP Press Release 27 November 2007

The Baucau District Court conducted a number of hearings during November 2007.  The Women’s Justice Unit of JSMP used this opportunity to monitor five cases of violence against women that were heard on the 20th and 21st November 2007.  Of these five cases, one related to domestic violence and the other four related to sexual assault. The Baucau District Court is yet to issue final decisions in these five cases.

Based on monitoring conducted by Flora Soriano, a legal researcher from the Women’s Justice Unit (WJU) of JSMP, the victims of all of these cases were related to the defendants. In three cases the victims were underage and in the remaining two cases the victims were adults.

Victims of gender based violence experience trauma.  In cases where the victim is related to the defendant and in cases where the victim is underage they may experience heightened suffering.  JSMP recommends that, when decisions are made in these cases, the relationship between the victim and the defendant as well as the age of the victim is taken into account.

JSMP commends the Baucau District Court for conducting these gender based violence cases during November and for the increasing number of these cases that are being heard by the court.

The formal justice system in Timor-Leste has a particularly important role to play in addressing levels of gender based violence.  Sentences that reflect the serious nature of this violence will act as a sign to the community that violence against women and children is a crime.  JSMP hopes that the sentences in the cases discussed above will reflect the seriousness of the situations of the victims.

For further information, please contact: Flora Soriano, Legal Researcher, WJU-JSMP Email: lola@jsmp.minihub.org Or contact: Timotio de Deus Director of JSMP Email: timotio@jsmp.minihub.org Phone: +670 3323883
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Original English translation that was replaced by the translation above:

INCEST CASES CONTINUE TO INCREASE IN THE JURISDICTION OF THE BAUCAU DISTRICT COURT JSMP Press Release  22 November 2007

The Baucau District Court conducted a number of hearings during November 2007.  The Women’s Justice Unit of JSMP used this opportunity to monitor five cases of violence against women that were heard on the 20th and 21st November 2007.  Of these five cases, one related to domestic violence and the other four related to sexual assault. The Baucau District Court is yet to issue final decisions in these five cases.

Based on monitoring conducted by Flora Soriano, a legal researcher from the Women’s Justice Unit (WJU) of JSMP, the victims of these criminal cases were related to the defendants. In three cases the victims were underage and in the remaining two cases the victims were adults.

In response to the rising number of incest cases in Timor Leste involving underage female victims, Timotio de Deus, Executive Director of JSMP, has appealed to everyone across this nation to be more proactive in protecting and supervising young girls from the dangers of sexual assault. Parents have the moral responsibility to supervise, protect and accompany their young daughters.

Timotio de Deus is quite concerned at the rising number of incest cases in Timor Leste because the perpetrators of these rapes are related to the victims. Timotio wishes to remind all members of the community in Timor Leste to work together and stand side by side to protect our young generation, who are the future of our nation, from acts of sexual assault. Often these cases of incest involve step fathers and their step daughters, and even biological fathers and their own children.

Timotio believes that many parents in this nation are suffering from moral degradation. Therefore, Timotio appeals to everyone in Timor Leste, especially educated parents and religious leaders, to pay attention to this issue. If we fail to do so, people will say that people in Timor Leste practice incest, because many parents commit sexual assault against their own children to appease their own sexual desires. Timotio believes that these heinous crimes are shameful and undermine human dignity. On the other hand, they undermine the dignity and respect of Timor Leste in the eyes of the rest of the world.

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Original Indonesian language text of this press release:

KASUS INCEST SEMAKIN MENINGKAT DI WILAYAH JURISDIKSI PENGADILAN DISTRIK BAUCAU JSMP Siaran Pers 22 November 2007

Pengadilan Distrik Baucau menggelar sidang selama seminggu pada bulan November 2007.  Pada kesempatan tersebut  Women’s Justice Unit di JSMP  sempat mengadakan Pemantauan terhadap Lima kasus kekerasan terhadap perempuan yang  persidangannya di gelar pada tanggal 20 dan 21 November 2007.

Dari lima  kasus tersebut terdapat satu kasus kekerasan rumah tangga dan empat kasus lainnya adalah kasus kekerasan seksual. Lima kasus tersebut belum ada yang mendapatkan putusan akhir dari pengadilan Distrik Baucau.

Berdasarkan hasil monitoring yang dilakukan oleh Flora Soriano, Peneliti hukum pada Unit Keadilan Perempuan (WJU) di JSMP pada saat itu, melihat bahwa para korban dari kasus-kasus pidana yang disidangkan itu mempunyai hubungan kekeluargaan dengan terdakwa. Korban dari tiga kasus di antaranya ialah anak di bawah umur sedangkan dua kasus yang lainnya  adalah orang dewasa.

Dengan memperhatikan kasus-kasus kekerasan incest yang samakin merajalela di Timor Leste, dengan obyeknya adalah anak-anak perempuan di bawah umur, Timotio de Deus, Direktur Eksekutif JSMP, menghimbau kepada semua orang di seluruh pelosok tanah air untuk semakin proaktif dalam mengawasi dan melindungi anak-anak gadisnya dari bahaya pemerkosaan seksual. Sebagai orang tua, mempunyai tanggung jawab moral untuk mengawasi, melindungi dan mendampingi anak-anaknya terutama para anak gadisnya.

Timotio de Deus sangat prihatin dengan kasus-kasus incest yang sering terjadi di Timor Leste karena para pelaku pemerkosaan adalah melibatkan keluarga dekatnya sendiri. Timotio mengingatkan kepada semua masyarakat di Timor Leste agar bekerja sama, saling bahu membahu dalam melindungi para anak generasi penerus bangsa dari tindadakan pemerkosaan seksual. Dari kasus-kasus incest yang terjadi, seringkali melibatkan ayah tiri dan anak tiri sendiri bahkan ayah kandung dengan buah hati atau darah dagingnya sendiri.

Timotio menganggap bahwa banyak orang tua di negeri ini moralnya sudah semakin merosot. Dengan demikian Timotio menghimbau kepada semua masyarakat Timor Leste, terutama semua orang yang berpendidikan dan juga peranan Tokoh-tokoh gereja untuk memperhatikan hal ini. Jika tidak berarti Timor Leste akan dibilang penganut paham incest karena banyak orang tua yang menjadi pelaku kekerasan seksual terhadap darah dagingnya sendiri untuk memanfaatkan buah hatinya sendiri sebagai obyek pelampiasan nafsu birahinya. Menurut Timotio tindakan jahat ini sangat memalukan dan menurunkan harga diri sebagai manusia yang terhormat. Di sisi lain, sangat menurunka harga diri dan kehormatan Bangsa Timor Leste di mata dunia.

See also
 Incest in East Timor - Justice Group says many parents in state of moral degradation

Oecusse District Court - Incest Against Minors Hearing

JSMP distributes information on incest to SIC and local authorities 

Incest in East Timor

What happens when abortion is illegal – The Case of East Timor 

JSMP urges Parliament to formulate specific legislation on incest

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