“When I say I aspire for Timor-Leste to be like Singapore or Dubai…”

The President of East Timor Timor-Leste, José Ramos-Horta, has been forthright in his views of his own country’s justice truth and reconciliation process – and revelatory about past attempts at international collaboration between paramilitary groups. In Dublin on an official state visit to Ireland, he’s been offering some lessons for those keen to export The Process™ abroad. From the Irish Times report

“It is not like academics or some western donors or the UN who think that if you finance a few workshops and write a report you have contributed to peace,” the Nobel peace laureate told The Irish Times . “I have seen so much money wasted by donors on peace workshop after peace workshop. It is much more than that. It is meeting with families and with the victims day in, day out; it is finding jobs for them; providing them with training, with funding to create jobs; creating hopes and a future for them. “Peace-building is not based on workshops or UN evaluation missions who descend on our country every three months to do an evaluation. These are wasteful exercises.”

And he repeated his rejection of the pursuit of “post-conflict justice”

Dr Ramos Horta was equally scathing about the issue of post-conflict justice in the Timor-Leste context. “When it comes to , everybody wants to do some experiment on democracy or justice. I simply say no,” he said. “The midget intellectuals who regurgitate academic jargon about justice can go on and on dispensing academic judgments on poor little us, but my people, whom I know well, they applaud the wisdom of my policies – that is: heal the wounds, reconcile, and move on . . . I am not going to play Don Quixote de la Mancha of justice to pursue every seen or unseen culprit of the past.”

As the Irish Times report also points out

Timor-Leste was designated a priority country by Irish Aid, the Government’s overseas development division, in 2003.

From 2003 to 2009, Irish Aid provided more than €30 million towards poverty reduction programmes and projects aimed at strengthening governance, human rights and public service capacity. The Department of Foreign Affairs also engages with Timor-Leste through its conflict resolution unit.

One hopes, for the sake of the people of Timor-Leste…

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