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Jakarta Post

Displaced Timorese in Indonesia reunited with families

  • Nelson Da Cruz

    The Jakarta Post

Dili, Timor Leste   /   Fri, May 20, 2016   /  06:16 pm
Displaced Timorese in Indonesia reunited with families President Joko Widodo (second left) and Timor Leste President Taur Matan Ruak (left) inspect a guard of honor at the Palacio Presenditial in Dilli on January 26. (ANTARA/Widodo S Jusuf)

Timor Leste President Taur Matan Ruak says the return of 14 Timorese people who were removed to Indonesia during the former country’s war of independence marks the improving relations between the two countries since their separation in 2002.  

"I was especially pleased to learn about the progress made in the identification of persons displaced to Indonesia during the war," Taur said, referring to the joint efforts of the two countries in resolving the issue. 

Timorese, who had been missing for years, were now finally able to return and visit their families, he added.

The process of identification and the subsequent reunion with their families marks the beginning of the implementation of a recommendation by the Commission of Truth and Reconciliation (KKP), by both Indonesia and Timor Leste, Taur further said.

Fourteen Timorese-born people, consisting of 11 men and three women, were separated from their families and displaced to Indonesia during the conflict between 1974 and 1999, according to data from the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM). 

Intensified efforts began in October 2011 when Indonesia issued a Presidential Regulation (Perpres) that became the mandate for the implementation of the KKP recommendation.

Progress came as a result of cooperation between Komnas HAM and its Timorese counterpart commission, the Provedoria Dos Direitos Humanos e Justica (PDHJ). 

Other Indonesia-based organizations also participated in the process, namely Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR), the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM), the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) and the Families of Missing Persons Association (IKOHI).

"This cooperation is a reflection of President Joko Widodo's administration and our government's policies and deserves to be highlighted and praised," said Timorese President Taur. 

As Timor-Leste marks its 14th anniversary of independence on May 20, Taur said ongoing peace and reconciliation processes with Indonesia continued to forge friendly relations between the two neighboring countries. (liz/dan) 

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