Director-General concerned over security for records of Timor-Leste's Truth and Reconciliation CommissionThe Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today voiced concern over the security of the records of the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in Timor-Leste amidst reports of looting and breaches of the safety measures at the site where the records are kept in the capital, Dili.
“Unconfirmed reports from Timor-Leste, raise concerns about the safety of the records pertaining to Timor-Leste’s recent history,” the Director-General said. “I would like to emphasise the importance of protecting archives, libraries and museums, which are the depositories of the nations’ history and heritage. I exhort all parties concerned to comply with international agreements relating to heritage and armed conflicts, especially the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its Second Protocol, which require all governments to ensure the protection of cultural property, including paper records. I also wish to draw their attention to UNESCO’s Emergency Programme for Safeguarding Vital Records in the Event of Armed Conflict.”*
“The records of the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in Timor-Leste contain the detailed story of the country from 1974 to 1999 and document human rights violations, forced displacements, famine and other hardships endured by the people of the country. They contain unique and irreplaceable private and sensitive material. They must therefore be kept secure and their evidential integrity must be preserved,” Mr Matsuura concluded.