Religious dimensions of the Timor-Leste reconciliation process

A culturally sensitive CAVR reconciliation ceremony in process.

In December 2009, four years after the dissolution of Timor’s Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (CAVR), where I learned so much, I presented on its reconciliation experience to the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Melbourne.

I began by highlighting the care that CAVR’s architects took to include Timor-Leste’s rich religious traditions in its reconciliation process. And framed this by reflecting on the religious dimensions of each of the key words in CAVR’s title and program.

Thus commission (its leaders, who were all East Timorese and included two ministers of religion, its prayerfulness, its use of custom); reception (a nod to the Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke’s gospel); truth (remembering rather than forgetting); victims (blessed are they who are persecuted in the cause of justice); reconciliation (nahe biti boot / ‘opening the big mat’, Timor-Leste’s traditional reconciliation process).

Click here to read my presentation.