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Amnesty International Annual Report Timor-Leste 2015/2016
Amnesty International - February 23, 2016
Impunity persisted for gross human rights violations committed during the Indonesian occupation (1975-1999). Security forces were accused of arbitrary arrests and unnecessary or excessive use of force during security operations in Baucau district. Levels of domestic violence remained high.
In February, Rui Maria de Araújo, leader of the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN) was sworn in as Prime Minister. The new government included a coalition of most political parties, including Xanana Gusmão's National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction. In September, Timor-Leste was reviewed by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
Little progress was made in addressing crimes against humanity and other human rights violations committed by Indonesian security forces and their auxiliaries from 1975 to 1999. Many suspected perpetrators remained at large in Indonesia.
No progress by the authorities was reported in implementing recommendations addressing impunity from the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (CAVR) and the bilateral Indonesia-Timor-Leste Commission of Truth and Friendship (CTF). In September, a follow-up report by the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances noted regret that Timor-Leste had yet to debate a draft law on the establishment of a Public Memory Institute, intended to implement the CAVR and CTF recommendations.
Torture and other ill-treatment and unnecessary or excessive use of force by security forces continued to be reported. Accountability mechanisms remained weak.
Dozens of individuals were arbitrarily arrested and tortured or otherwise ill-treated by security forces as part of joint security operations in Baucau district between March and August. These operations were launched in response to attacks allegedly carried out by Mauk Moruk (Paulino Gama) and his banned Maubere Revolutionary Council (KRM) against police in Laga and Baguia subdistricts. Local human rights organizations documented dozens of cases of beatings by security officials who also destroyed property of suspected KRM members.1 In August, Mauk Moruk was shot and killed. The findings of investigations by the Provedor (Ombudsman for Human Rights and Justice) were issued in November.
The justice system remained hampered by a lack of access to courts and due process. The expulsion of all international judicial officers employed as judges, lawyers and investigators in October 2014 continued to throw into question pending trials, including those addressing crimes against humanity.
The 2010 Law mandating compulsory prosecution in domestic violence cases continued to be used although challenges remained. NGOs raised concerns on access to justice, limited protection for witnesses and victims, and a backlog of cases causing few women to actively file reports.
In November, the CEDAW Committee recommended that Timor-Leste adopt laws to ensure comprehensive reparation for survivors of rape and other forms of sexual violence that occurred during the Indonesian occupation and 1999 referendum, and that there would be no impunity for sexual violence committed during the occupation.