Paulina Quintao – Catholic priests and nuns are refusing to baptise children born of incest, according to Timor-Leste Women's Communication Forum (FOKUPERS) shelter home coordinator Judit da Conceicao Ribeiro.
She said FOKUPERS has tried many times persuade clergy members to baptise the children, by meeting with them and explaining the situation.
"However, some priests refused due to the situation," Coordinator Ribeiro said in Farol, Dili. Eventually, three children born of incest were baptised last year.
Another problem FOKUPERS has encountered is recording of the father's name on the child's birth certificate.
After long discussions, it was decided to record the father's name as "unknown". "This way it will not have an impact on child's development in the future," Coordinator Ribeiro said.
She said she wished for tolerance from society towards children born of incest, as it was not the fault of the children.
Human rights activist, Xisto dos Santos, said he considered the clergy's refusal to baptise the children a violation of their rights. "It is against children's rights that any institutions, including the church, intend to ignore these young victims," he said.
Children of Timorese who joined the Indonesian army during the occupation of Timor-Leste also sometimes find it difficult to get legal document such as baptism certificates.