Gender-Inclusivity in Transitional Justice Strategies: Women in Timor-Leste

Authored by: Elisabeth Porter

Categories: Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Democratization and Political Participation, Human Development, Political Transitions, Transitional Justice
Country: Timor-Leste
Region: East Asia and the Pacific
Year: 2012
Citation: Porter, Elisabeth. "Gender-Inclusivity in Transitional Justice Strategies: Women in Timor-Leste." In Gender in Transitional Justice, edited by Susanne Buckley-Zistel and Ruth Stanley, 221-40. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

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Executive Summary

Timor-Leste is proclaimed as a United Nations’ success story, an example of how gender concerns and women’s equality can be incorporated into peace building measures. There were groundbreaking results with a Gender Affairs Unit (GAU) in the United Nations (UN) Mission that worked with local and international women’s groups to conduct democracy-training workshops and encourage women’s participation in public life. Timor-Leste provides an apt case study of the past, present, and future continuum that is intrinsic to transitional justice. After a brief overview of the historical roots of the Timorese conflict, and an outline of examples that show UN gender-inclusivity, this chapter concentrates on the final report of the East Timor Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (CAVR) (Chega, 2006). The Commission developed a gender-sensitive approach to seeking the truth about human rights violations that occurred 1974–99. While the Commission did integrate a gender perspective into its work, the recommendations of the Commission have not translated practically. However, there are many positive signs of a commitment to the promotion of equality for women. This chapter will also show why broad understandings of justice are needed for culturally sensitive, holistic, transitional strategies.