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Activists in Timor-Leste have long felt a strong connection and sought to offer solidarity to the Palestinian struggle for self-determination, peace and human dignity. Human rights and student groups have organized seminars, rallies, candlelight vigils and solidarity statements to support peace and justice in Palestine. After receiving an international call to celebrate the success of a 40-day hunger strike by Palestinian political prisoners, Timorese human rights activists contacted the Timor-Leste Association of Ex-Political Prisoners. Together, they drafted the following statement, which they released on the 50th anniversary of the beginning of Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.
Tetun Komunikadu Imprensa below
The Timor-Leste Association of Ex-Political Prisoners and
Klibur Solidariedade (Solidarity Association)
send congratulations and solidarity to Palestinian Political Prisoners
We congratulate the 1,500 Palestinian Political Prisoners (men, women and children) who, through their 40-day collective hunger strike, have secured basic rights which had been systematically denied them by Israel. We celebrate the courage and commitment of your collective action; we celebrate your success.
As we celebrate, we also declare our solidarity and call attention to the long and continuing struggle for freedom, equality, self-determination and basic human rights of the Palestinian people. Our national history teaches us that when faced with occupation, oppression, and injustice, there is no choice but to resist. “To resist is to win.”
Many of us are ex-political prisoners, jailed by Indonesia because we refused to simply accept an illegal occupation of our land. During Indonesia’s brutal occupation, we stood up to military violence and human rights abuses; we stood up against an international order oriented to U.S. corporate interests and militarism. We stood up for the dignity of ourselves, our families and our communities. We stood up for our vision of peace and justice, now and in the future. We encourage political prisoners and wish to tell you that many times, our struggle for a noble cause demands sacrifice and determination. We must believe that the truth will win and will bring happiness to many people. All of your sacrifices will be acknowledged; tudo vale a pena (‘everything is worth the effort’).
Today, as we celebrate with you, we also stand against the widespread detention of Palestinians for defending their basic rights. According to the NGO Palestinian Prisoner’s Club, there are now 6500 Palestinian political prisoners, including 300 children. We stand against the continuing role of the US as a major supporter of militarism and occupation. We stand for against the denial of Palestinian’s basic rights by Israel. We stand for Palestinian’s rights to clear water, safe shelter, food, and basic social services, equality before the law. “A luta continua.” The struggle continues.
The Timor-Leste Association of Ex-Political Prisoners first formed during Indonesia's illegal occupation, during which systematic arbitrary detention of East Timorese civilians was routine security practice.
Klibur Solidadariedade was formed was formed by Timorese and international solidarity activists in 2009, on the 10th anniversary of Timor-Leste's historic referendum on independence.