Friday, January 06, 2006

Uncovering the truth about deaths in East Timor

Uncovering the truth about deaths in East Timor

One of Benetech's biggest Human Rights projects has been our work for Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor (CAVR). The report has been completed, but not released publicly. There have been many articles about what the report does or does not say, and Benetech human rights team has not been able to comment because of the still-confidential nature of the report. However, some of the results we helped create are starting to be released. On January 4, some of the key statistical findings were disclosed in a press release that corrects some of the incorrect press reports.

This is very important work for us. We helped the CAVR with the most technically challenging and advanced statistical work of any truth commission to date: understanding what happened over the 25 years since the Indonesian army invaded East Timor. It reminds me of the Caltech motto: "the truth shall make you free." Truth is a difficult subject in large scale human rights abuses, but we have brought state of the art science and technology to bear on finding the best statistical estimates of the truth of East Timor's very difficult recent history.

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