Timor-Leste human rights protesters harassed over peaceful Jokowi demo

An earlier human rights protest over "impunity" for past crimes at the Santa Cruz cemetery in Dili. Image: Vannessa Hearman/Inside Indonesia

From Amnesty International

Two members of Timor-Leste’s security forces visited the office of the human rights NGO Yayasan HAK this week and the police have been harassing its executive director by telephone for organising and participating in a peaceful demonstration.

Manuel Monteiro Fernandes, executive director of the human rights NGO Yayasan HAK based in the capital of Dili has informed Amnesty International that the police have been calling him repeatedly regarding the NGO’s involvement in organising a peaceful human rights demonstration to coincide with Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to Timor-Leste on Tuesday.

His safety is at risk, says Amnesty International in a statement today.

On the day of the demonstration, two members of the Timor-Leste Defence Force (Falintil-Forças de Defesa de Timor-Leste, F-FDTL) visited the Yayasan HAK office and requested to use the space as a security base due to its proximity to the Indonesian Embassy in Dili.

Fernandes refused to allow them to use their office.

One of the soldiers then approached another member of the staff, Adelio da Costa Fernandes, and requested that he immediately remove his t-shirt because it carried the slogan “Free West Papua”, referring to the self-determination issue that is considered highly sensitive by the Indonesian government.

Yayasan HAK announced in a joint public statement on Monday, together with other local NGOs, that the peaceful demonstration was organised to urge the Timorese and Indonesian governments to address crimes against humanity committed during the Indonesian occupation between 1975 and 1999.

They also called for the immediate implementation of recommendations set out by the Commission for Truth and Friendship (CTF), a bilateral agreement between the government of Indonesia and the government of Timor-Leste to investigate crimes committed during the 1999 independence referendum, including the establishment of a Commission for Missing People.

More information

Earlier story – ‘impunity protest letter’

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