Paulina Quintso – The Coordinator of Timor-Leste Human Rights Association (HAK), Xisto do Santos, called on the Timor-Leste and Japanese governments to acknowledge sexual crimes committed by Japanese soldiers against Timorese women in World War II.
He said the Japanese government should formally accept responsibility and pay compensation to victims and their families. The comments came on the 74th anniversary of the Japanese invasion to Timor-Leste in 1942.
"We ask the government of Japan and Timor-Leste to have mutual diplomacy in order to find a solution for vulnerable victims," Santos said at a press conference in Farol, Dili.
He said some Timorese leaders still refuse to talk about the issue because they find it embarrassing. "We and the victims' family continue to urge and struggle for justice," he said.
HAK has submitted documents to the Korean government, UNESCO and the CEDAW committee asking that they advocate on behalf of Timorese victims.
Korean victims have already received compensation from the Japanese government. He said 15 comfort women had been identified, but 5 had already died.
Youth Inocencio Xavier called on the government not to hide the true story of World War II from the younger generations. "There were many violations across the country [and] we are afraid to tell the true story to the younger generations," he said.
He added that Timorese victims must receive justice in order to end the ongoing cycle of impunity. He also called for the Ministry of Education to introduce curriculum into schools so that students can learn about the history of what happened during World War II.