I recently made a submission to the Australian Parliament’s new inquiry into Australia’s relationship with Timor-Leste.
The submission points out that the reports of Timor-Leste’s two truth commissions post-date the last Parliamentary inquiry into Timor-Leste, held in 2000, and that this inquiry is an opportunity for the Parliament to assist East Timorese victims of historic crimes by addressing the findings and recommendations of the CAVR commission in particular.
The submission also points out that Australia’s official apologies to victims of the Stolen Generation and Forced Adoption make it clear that addressing past traumas requires more than the passage of time or developmental measures. Deeper responses, including recognition, reparations and justice, are also needed to assist the healing and reconciliation of victims and the shared objectives of nation-building and poverty reduction in Timor-Leste.
Based on proposals by the CAVR, the submission recommends 10 ways in which Australia can assist Timorese victims. These include an apology, justice measures, a victim impact review of Australia’s aid program, reparations, and support for several relevant institution building and project initiatives.