Dili, East Timor – Gay rights have taken a step forward in East Timor with its first LGBT pride parade and the prime minister announcing that the young nation's development depends on respecting the rights of all its citizens.
The parade in the capital, Dili, on June 29 attracted several hundred people and was supported by local and international organizations including the Hatutan youth group, the U.N. and U.S. Embassy.
The same week, Prime Minister Rui Maria de Araujo called on Timorese to accept people's differences.
He said, "Discrimination, disrespect and abuse towards people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity does not provide any benefit to our nation."
East Timor gained independence from Indonesia following a referendum in 1999, though it suffered devastating reprisals by the Indonesian military and militias.