01 June 2009

President of East Timor Parliament obstructs debate on Truth Commission Reports



Dili, 1 June 2009

President of parliament obstructs debate on Truth Commission reports

The president of Timor-Leste’s parliament Fernando de Araujo “Lasama” has again prevented parliamentary debate of a 2005 report by the National Truth, Reception and Reconciliation Commission on human rights violations during the Indonesian occupation of Timor-Leste, and
the work of the Truth and Friendship Commission with Indonesia.

FRETILIN’s deputy parliamentary leader Francisco Branco said debate over the two historic Truth Commissions was again omitted from the parliamentary agenda this morning despite strong representations by Branco to president Lasama during a meeting of party leaders to
discuss the agenda last Friday.

“It is unacceptable to FRETILIN and our people that the important work of these two Commissions is held in abeyance for this extremely long period of time,” Branco said.

“The National Truth Commission and its report, ‘Chega’, was completed in October 2005 but was overtaken by our national crisis in 2006 and then elections in 2007. But there is no excuse for this current parliament not to debate the ‘Chega’ report.

“President Lasama said that we as a parliament have to be careful because debating the ‘Chega’ report would be divisive and affect the peace and stability of our country.

“FRETILIN rejects this argument. Our people are thirsting for the truth and for justice for the human rights violations committed against them during the Indonesian military occupation. The widespread belief that justice has not been done, contributes to instability and undermines democracy. The parliament has to address this need or we will contribute to a loss of trust in our institutions of democracy and justice.

“President Lasama has said that it would be better for us to agree on recommendations behind the scenes and then have a short, tightly-controlled debate. That is totally contrary to what our people expect and deserve – a full and transparent debate in parliament that they can all observe.”

Branco said it seemed the reports would not be debated any time this year because, with community leader and municipal elections scheduled for September this year the government was likely to push the line that a debate would contribute to instability and division.

For further information contact Jose Teixeira MP on +670 728 7080

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