16 December 2008

FRETILIN Welcomes Governor-General Quentin Bryce


Dili, 15.12.08

Your Excellency the President of the Republic,
Your Excellency, Madame Governor-General,
Your Excellency the President of the National parliament,
Excellencies, Distinguished Guests.

As the Parliamentary leader of Timor-Leste's historic party that gave birth to our national liberation struggle, the party that bore the brunt of our 24-year long struggle for independence, my colleagues and I join other members of this parliament in welcoming you on your first visit to Timor-Leste. We hope and pray and urge of you that it will not be your last visit to our country. You will always be welcome.

Madam Governor-General, we are especially honoured that a person, and dare I say it, a woman of your distinction, Australia's first woman Governor General has honoured us with your visit. Your Excellency has a long and distinguished career in the defense of social, civil and political rights as a lawyer and advocate in Australian public life.

You have a history as a defender and promoter of women's rights. You have become a role model for this generation of young women in your country to seize the day. You have been a strong defender and advocate of the rights of indigenous Australians, the first Australians and reconciliation between white and black Australia. You have defended advocated for the rights of those citizens in your country who are
physically challenged to equal treatment in their society.

There is not sufficient time for me to give justice by detailing your Excellency's distinguished career as a jurist or in regard to your public service prior to being appointed Governor General. But your role as the Director, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Queensland, between 1987-1988 and the Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, between
1988-1993 is noteworthy to us.

This is noteworthy because the struggle for human rights was at the centre of our peoples' struggle for self-determination. Your Excellency presided over the development of the human rights equal opportunity commission into a strong and
effective institution for the defense of social, civil and political rights in Australia. We know of your service with dedication and distinction that set a standard for many Commissioners to follow.

As I welcome your Excellency to our parliament, our people's sovereign house that is constitutionally entrusted with the responsibility of promoting and defending those same rights you defended in your long and distinguished career, I urge you as the constitutional head of state of a country with whom Timor-Leste has had a long and close bond of friendship to continue to serve the promotion and the defense of
all the social, civil and political rights that the United Nations' Universal Charter of Human Rights seeks to guarantee for both our peoples.

Only last week, we all celebrated International Human Rights Day. That day was a commemoration of a dream of the founders of the United Nations that one day, more than it is today, human rights will be absolutely respected throughout our whole global community. This is a dream your Excellency also shares given your service to the cause.

If you will permit me to say so Your Excellency, people such as yourself, still have work ahead of you to promote and defend the aspirations of people such as ours in emerging democracies to live under the rule of law and in a society that respects our universal human rights.

The promotion and defense of human rights should know no territorial boundaries, no frontiers, no borders. We are united in human fraternity on this issue. It will be by all nations respecting the universal human rights of theirs and other nations' citizens that peace and understanding can foster in our world.

We urge you as a long time defender of these rights to continue to play that role within the bounds of your responsibility as a head of state not just for Australia, not just for the Asia Pacific but the global human village, in so doing promoting greater peace and understanding between nations and people.

Once again, welcome to our Country and our parliament.


East Timor Women - Raising awareness of the plight of women in Timor-Leste.

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