Emergency Assistance to the Commission for Reception, Truth, and Reconciliation in East Timor

February 5, 2002

  1. On February 5 (Tue), the Government of Japan decided to extend emergency assistance (grant aid) of 530,000 dollars to the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) to support reconciliation efforts in East Timor.

  2. Although the process toward independence and nation-building is currently under way in East Timor under UNTAET, one of the important issues that the country faces is the return of about 290,000 East Timorese who were forced by the turmoil in 1999 to take refugees in West Timor in Indonesia (East Nusa Tenggara Province).

  3. The residents of East Timor are hoping that the perpetrators will be punished in some way and that justice will be done. The legal framework, however, is not yet fully prepared and is not in a position to carry out swift judgment in all cases. According to the UN, approximately 80,000 refugees have not yet returned to East Timor, including militia who have strong fears about their treatment after they return. In such a situation, the National Council (NC) decided on June 20, 2001, by a unanimous vote, to establish a Commission for Reception, Truth, and Reconciliation in East Timor, and on July 13 of the same year UNTAET announced that it legally established the Commission.

  4. The assistance to be provided by Japan at this time will be to support the activities of the Commission and promote reconciliation between militia refugees and the residents of East Timor, thereby contributing to the comprehensive solution of the issue of refugees in East Timor.

  5. Regarding this support, Mr. Junichiro Koizumi, Prime Minister of Japan, directly said to Mr. Xanana Gusmao, the former President of the National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT), when he visited Japan, that Japan would study one-million-dollar-scale support for the Commission, an announcement which was received with high expectation and appreciation.

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