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East Timor’s Truth And Reconciliation Commission

NZ help for East Timor’s Truth And Reconciliation Commission

New Zealand will give $500,000 for East Timor’s Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation, Aid Minister Marian Hobbs announced today.

"New Zealand has made a huge contribution to peace building and peace-keeping in East Timor since 1999, and we remain committed to helping the Timorese people rebuild their communities," Marian Hobbs said. "Through the commission they can take the process of peace building into their own hands."

The commission was established in 2001 as an independent body to inquire into human rights abuses in East Timor in the period 1974 – 1999. It will produce a final report at the end of its two and a half year mandate, with recommendations for further action.

The commission is conducting research across East Timor, talking to people from all political sides.

It is also holding community reconciliation meetings in every district where people accused of less serious crimes are brought before their communities. Such crimes include arson, theft and intimidation, which were common place especially in the lead up to and after the referendum on Independence in1999. The commission also provides support to victims of violence and abuse.

Many countries are contributing to the work of the commission, including Australia, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Sweden and the UK. The European Community and the United Nations are also helping.

"By East Timorese law the commission has to be finished by October 2004," Marian Hobbs said. "Our funding will help keep the process moving, and we hope, ultimately save these communities from further violence in the future."

NZAID is a semi-autonomous agency within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and is in charge of New Zealand’s aid allocation overseas.

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