Fokupers – Timor East

Linked with Maria Domingas Fernandes Alves – East Timor, and with Maria Manuela Perreira – Timor East.

FOKUPERS, Forum Komunikasi Untuk Perempuan Loro Sae (Communication Forum for Women from the East), is an NGO established in 1997. Its main goal is to speak out about violence against women – from the military, husbands and the government – in East Timor. It has an office with a small number of staff and many volunteers who have law and economics degrees. (See hawai.edu).

See the list of all East Timorese Grassroots Organisations & Networks (based within East Timor), Organisasi dan jaringan populer.

FOKUPERS, the Communication Forum for East Timorese Women, was established in 1997 to promote women’s rights. The founders were widows, wives of political prisoners, women who were former political prisoners, and women who had been raped by the Indonesian military. During the September 1999 post-referendum scorched-earth operation, the Indonesian military destroyed FOKUPERS’ office and targeted its members, who went into hiding.

After regrouping in November 1999, FOKUPERS helped widows in three towns organize support groups. They lobbied with other women’s organizations to ensure the new nation’s constitution protected women’s and children’s rights. FOKUPERS released a detailed report on violence against women committed in 1999 by the Indonesian military and their militias. They established the only battered women’s shelter and began public education campaigns about domestic violence, an increasing problem in East Timor.

But FOKUPERS’ main focus is justice, and for justice, the people of East Timor demand an international tribunal to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity committed since the 1975 Indonesian invasion.

Most East Timorese feel neither the trials currently underway in the capital, Dili, at the hybrid United Nations-East Timorese Serious Crimes Unit Court, nor the Jakarta trials by the Indonesian ad hoc Human Rights Court on East Timor are acceptable. Repeated extradition requests from the Serious Crimes Unit for military officers and East Timorese militia leaders residing in Indonesia have been denied by the Indonesian government. The Dili court has therefore been limited to trying lower-ranking militia members in East Timor.

The International Crisis Group recently warned the flawed Jakarta proceedings may “trivialize…the concept of crimes against humanity in Indonesia.” The court’s mandate is limited to only two months in 1999 and three of East Timor’s thirteen districts. Most of the judges have no prior courtroom experience. Only 18 military, police, militia, and government officials will stand trial; many are charged with mere crimes of omission. The pre-meditated and widespread nature of the Indonesian military’s 1999 devastation of East Timor, documented by United Nations investigators and supported by Australian intelligence leaks, will not be addressed in Jakarta. The indictments and courtroom arguments accept and strengthen the military propaganda that the violence in East Timor was a civil war between equally matched factions of pro-independence and pro-Indonesia East Timorese.

Yayasan HAK, the Foundation for Human Rights, Law and Justice, is the oldest and largest human rights organization in East Timor. Like FOKUPERS, HAK has an extensive database of human rights violations committed throughout the Indonesian occupation. In addition to pushing for an international tribunal, HAK has organized community reconciliation meetings where both victims and militia perpetrators of 1999’s violence talk about their experiences, their pain, and the tough choices they were forced to make. Both victim and militia participants say the meetings have aided community and personal healing. (Read more of this long article on Z Magazine).

NGOs write Parliament on Timor Sea Oil;

In East Timor, Oxfam Australia is supporting health and human rights training for women, setting up a women’s crisis centre, and producing a newsletter to highlight human rights abuses against women. (Read more on this Oxfam page).

See photos on yayasanhak one, and two.

YWCA Australia.

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