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News Release

Timor-Leste’s Commitment to Customary Justice and Conservation Sets Examples For Other Countries

DILI/GENEVA (16 April 2019) – The UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, says Timor-Leste’s drive to promote indigenous customary practices has contributed to the progress in building the nation since the restoration of independence less than 20 years ago.

“I am impressed by the pride the Timorese take in their cultural heritage and how indigenous practices have translated into important gains in environmental protection and biodiversity,” she said. “These can serve as inspiring examples for other countries.”

For most Timorese, customary practices are an integral part of everyday life and play a central role in resolving disputes between individuals and communities, such as land disputes, conflict between communities and natural resources management. These practices focus on maintaining community and environmental harmony, in contrast to the formal justice system, which is perpetrator focused.

“Ensuring justice for all is a key objective of Sustainable Development Goal 16 and Timor-Leste could provide important lessons for other countries,” Tauli-Corpuz said.

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