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East Timor, Indonesia Hope To Draw Line Under 1999 Violence

Sumber: ABC.NET.AU | Tgl terbit: Senin, 14 Juli 2008

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will meet with East Timor's President and Prime Minister in Bali for tomorrow's official release of the final report by the Commission of Truth and Friendship, investigating the violence of 1999.

A leaked copy of the final draft shows the commission found gross human rights abuses, committed by both pro-autonomy and pro-independence groups, often sanctioned by members of the Indonesian security forces.

East Timor's Commissioner, Dionisio Babo Soares, has told Radio Australia's Connect Asia program the commission's final report, and recommendations, will help repair the relationship between the two nations, and bring closure.

"Victims have been the priority of the commissioners in debating the recommendations, so as long as these things are addressed in an appropriate way, I believe very much that people in East Timor, particularly the victims, will not need go beyond the expectations of what the commissioners have written in the report," he said.

The Indonesian Government says it recognises its "moral obligation" to act on the findings of the East Timor Truth and Friendship Commission.
Usman Hamid from the Indonesian human rights group Kontras says the report is important in increasing understanding in Indonesia, East Timor and Australia as to what happened and what caused the unrest.

"If the Government and the Parliament responded positively to the report, I think it can be used for making Indonesian society ... understand more in terms of the role of international forces, and also about the root causes of the violence," he said.

Amongst the recommendations in the draft, is an apology from the presidents of both nations, to victims of the violence. Marcos Exposto, one of the victims of the 1999 violence, says an apology alone may not be enough.

"I would accept an apology, but it wouldn't make my life any better," he said.

"I would accept it, but if my life simply continues like it has been, I won't be any happier."



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