For immediate release

Timorese and International Activists will gather in Dili to reflect on the past and plan for the future

On 30 August, 1999, hundreds of thousands of Timorese voters braved an Indonesian-directed terror campaign to cast ballots for independence in a U.N.-organized referendum. This event, which ended Indonesia’s 24-year illegal, brutal military occupation, led to the creation of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste as the first new nation of the millennium. The vote was the culmination of decades of struggle by Timorese people, supported by solidarity activists around the world.

Ten years later, Timorese campaigners and their international colleagues will gather in a peaceful, independent Dili to celebrate that success and rededicate themselves to work to ensure that all the people of Timor-Leste enjoy the benefits of independence and justice.

Among the events planned are:

Ø An exhibition describing solidarity activities over the years to help the new generation of Timorese youth to learn about campaigns around the world which helped them and their predecessors achieve independence. The exhibition will be in Fundação Oriente, Dili, from 24 August through 5 September.

Ø Visits to rural communities by international activists to expand their understanding of people’s daily lives and how they are cooperating for mutual benefit.

Ø A three-day conference to explore current global movements and issues, as well as reflecting on the past and developing shared campaigns to complete the struggle for self-determination, with a focus on ending impunity and achieving social justice. The conference will be held from 27-29 August in Salão João Paulo II, Comoro, Dili, and will be attended by international supporters, Timorese leaders and youth, and a wide range of grassroots and civil society people. The conference will re-energize activism in Timor-Leste and around the globe.

Participants are expected from, among other places, Australia, England, France, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Portugal, Scotland, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, the United States and Zimbabwe. They will also join in official observations organized by the Timor-Leste government and the United Nations, as well as the National Congress of Victims’ Families in early September.

More details and updated information are available at or by emailing

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Member groups include Asosiasaun HAK (TL), Dewan Solidaritas Mahasiswa (TL), East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN/USA), East Timor Ireland Solidarity Campaign, Estudante Universitarius Timor-Leste (TL), Fortilos (Indonesia), Free East Timor Foundation (Netherlands), Free East Timor Japan Coalition, GFFTL (TL), Haburas (TL), Institutu Edukasaun Popular (TL), International Federation for East Timor (IFET), KSI (TL), La'o Hamutuk (TL), PARCIC (Japan), Peace center (TL), Timor-Leste Media Development Center (TL). List in formation.

For further information:

Charles Scheiner +670-734-0965
Xisto dos Santos +670-726-6564

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