Subject: CAVR: Public Hearing on Political Imprisonment

Public Hearing on Political Imprisonment

The Commission on Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor (Comissaso de Acolhimento, Verdade e Reconciliacao de Timor Leste -- CAVR) is an independent national institution assisting the reconciliation process among East Timorese people and tries to find the truth about human rights violations that happened between 1974 and 1999.

The CNRT at its' congress in August 2000 raised the need for the establishment of the CAVR. This suggestion was developed by a committee which existed of CNRT representatives, representatives from six East Timorese NGOs, UNHCR, and the UNTAET Human Rights Unit. This committee then visited all districts to hear the opinions of the people regarding the plan to establish a Truth Commission.

On July 2001, the Transitional Administrator agreed to Regulation No. 10/2001, which become the legal basis for the establishment of the CAVR. This regulation states that CAVR will work for two years, with the possibility of extending for six months.

In 2003 the CAVR is working at its' maximal operational level. At national level, the CAVR will be pursuing its main function, including thematical public hearings. At district level, CAVR will continue to pursue its truth seeking and community reconciliation functions, as well as victim support.

The first Public to be held this year is about Political Imprisonment. Eleven former political prisoners, which were detained between 1975-1999 by UDT, FRETILIN, and Indonesia, will give witness statements about their experiences of imprisonment. Other speakers will include Luhut Pangaribuan, SH, LLM (former lawyer of Political Prisoners) and Ade Rosita Sitompul (a long-time visitor of Political Prisoners), a presentation by Julio Alfaro (Chair of the Association of Ex-Political Prisoners, ASSEPOL), possibly two former Prison Guards, as well as Father Ricardo (long-time spritual visitor of Political Prisoners). Another goal of this Public Hearing is the social restoration and rehabilitation of victims through publically stating their suffering; public education about human rights, especially the "price" that was paid by people who became victims of human rights violations. Also to clarify facts about human rights violations that happened in the past, what either causes and the policy behind it.

Besides the upcoming Public Hearing in Political Imprisonment, the CAVR will hold thematical public hearings on women and conflict, the Craras massacre, the Santa Cruz massacre, starvation and forced displacement, international actors, and the political civil war.

The CAVR wishes to invite you to participate in this National Public Hearing on Political Imprisonment that will follow the inauguration of the new CAVR National Office at the former Balide Prison (next to UNHCR headquarters), at Monday 17 and Tuesday 18 February 2003, 8.30 AM to 5.00 PM.

For more information please contact:

Hugo Fernandes, coordinator of the Truth Seeking Division, mobile +61 407 185 008 (English) and Aniceto Guterres Lopes, CAVR Chair, mobile +61 417 483 445 (Portuguese, Tetum, Indonesian)

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