Subject: NZ gives $200,000 to help truth commission hear more cases

see also The Honorable Phil Goff the Foreign Minister and Trade of New Zealand visits Timor-Leste

New Zealand Herald

NZ gives $200,000 to help truth commission hear more cases

03.02.2004 2.01 pm

New Zealand was giving another $200,000 to East Timor to help its truth commission hear up to 100 more cases of human rights violations, Foreign Minister Phil Goff said today.

The Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation had heard 600 cases since it was set up two years ago to help victims of human rights violations during the 24 years of conflict before the country gained independence in 2001.

A further 700 cases remained, Mr Goff said.

The minister is visiting East Timor.

East Timor's government had extended the commission's mandate until October.

However, without support from donor countries it could not continue working past February, he said.

New Zealand had been a strong supporter of the commission since its inception and development agency NZAID had provided $700,000 in funding so far.

"The extra $200,000 will ensure a good number of the remaining cases will be heard and hopefully it will prompt other donors to pitch in to ensure all cases are addressed," Mr Goff said.

The commission had played a significant role in resolving rifts in the community and dissipating possible revenge attacks for massacres that took place in the lead-up to independence from Indonesia, he said.

One of its most important actions to date had been to hold a three-day reconciliation meeting in December, involving political groups that took part in a violent struggle for power after Portugal quit its former colony in 1974. Indonesia invaded shortly after that.


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