Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
5Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Timor-Leste

Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Timor-Leste

Ratings: (0)|Views: 1,696|Likes:
Published by Warren Wright

More info:

Categories:Types, Research, Law
Published by: Warren Wright on Feb 25, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

11/13/2012

pdf

text

original

 
Timor-Leste    Issue Brief     November 2009  |
1
TIMOR-LESTE ARMED VIOLENCE ASSESSMENT
issue brief
TLAVA
Number 5 | November 2009
Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV)is a pervasive global phenomenon,but is of en a politically sensitiveand unacknowledged issue.
1
It hasserious consequences or the physical,reproductive, and psychological healthand social well-being o individuals. Italso re ects and reinorces inequalitiesbetween men and women.
2
SGBV isincreasingly regarded as an impedimentto the economic and social developmento states.
3
T is
Issue Brie 
considers the scale andmagnitude o SGBV directed againstwomen and girls in imor-Leste. Itconsiders the culture o impunity thatpervades the country around SGBV andimpedes progress on this issue; the lack o ‘enjoyment’ o human rights by womenand girls due to SGBV; and the systematicailure o the security and justice system totackle violations. Focusing on both the pre-and post-independence eras, it synthesizesthe evidence to help identiy entry pointsor the prevention and reduction o SGBV.It  nds the ollowing: 
Women and girls continue to ace ahigh incidence o SGBV in the post-independence period, as well asprevailing cultural norms that act as animpediment to their ull partnership insociety and government. 
Documentation o, acknowledgemento, and compensation or previoussexual crimes against women duringthe occupation are ar rom complete,and hinder collective healing andunderstanding o SGBV. 
raditional and ormal justicemechanisms have ailed women and girlson SGBV while key legislative reormson intimate partner and amily violencecontinue to languish in parliament. 
T ere is a strong need or routine SGBVmonitoring by government, police,
After the guns fall silent
Sexual and genderbased violence in TimorLeste
hospitals, and service providers, andimproved collection o data to inormpolicy measures. 
T e work o the UN Police VulnerablePersons Unit (VPU) within theimor-Leste police (Policia Nacionalde imor-LestePNL) should beexpanded and urther resourced, withoutreach to all districts. 
T e strong commitment to theprevention o SGBV rom severalo imor-Leste’s key civil society organizations is commendable, anddeveloping capacity in service delivery,monitoring, and public educationshould be supported by the imoresegovernment and multilateral andbilateral donors.T is
Issue Brie 
takes SGBV as encompassinga range o harms, including rape, maritalrape, and attempted rape; sexual violence,including assault, abuse, and harassment;sexual exploitation and tra  cking; orcedmarriage; intimate partner and amily violence; and harmul cultural practices.
4
 T is project uses as key terms
intimatepartner violence
and
amily violence
, in orderto capture the unique violence in intimateor committed relationships and violenceperpetrated by or experienced rom otheramily members. T e term
sexual violence
 is used as a broad term, o which sexualassault is one element.
SGBV in thepre-independence period
Inormation on the social situation o imorese women and girls is sparse priorto 1975. imor-Leste is described as aheavily patriarchal society, in uencedby layers o indigenous belies andthe legacy o Portuguese colonialismand Catholicism, where most emalesare illiterate subsistence armers.
5
Anethnographic study o ertility and gender
Box 1 Socio-political factorsunderlying SGBV in Timor-Leste
T ere is a lively debate regarding theextent to which existing cultural,political, and social norms condition thedisposition o individuals to violence. Inimor-Leste, a range o circumstances,ideas, and attitudes are thought to shapeSGBV, including: 
a history and culture o tolerance ormale violence within the society; 
weak ormal justice and security sectors; 
widespread unemployment andpoverty, especially in the districts; 
mass displacement in 1999 and 2006; 
trauma as a result o the occupationperiod; 
the patriarchal organization o society; 
the practice o bride price (
burlaque
); 
the traditional, male-dominatedsystems o law and con ict resolution(
adat 
); 
widespread male in delity andpolygamy, but an insistence on emalechastity; 
alcohol abuse, gambling, and bettingon cock ghts; 
the woman’s perceived responsibility or a couple’s ailure to producechildren (inertility); 
amily-enorced silence in cases o abuse; and 
a general public presumption thatSGBV is a normal part o lie.
Source
: UNFPA (2005), p. 7.
in imor-Leste by David Hicks makesseveral general observations about genderrelations, including that masculine isconsidered superior to eminine, just asthe adult (ather) is superior to the child,
6
 which is borne out by current writing by imorese women (see Box 1).
7
 
2
|  Timor-Leste    Issue Brief    November 2009
T e majority o inormation availableabout imorese women and girls rom1975 to 1999 concerns their particularexperience o sexual violence during theIndonesian occupation. An unveri ablenumber o imorese women and girlswere abducted, raped, and impregnatedby Indonesian solders; of en kept captiveand enslaved; and later rejected by theiramilies. An even more acute orm o gender-based violence occurred duringthe post-reerendum violence o 1999:the systematic rape o imorese womenand girls in the context o their orceddeportation to West imorese camps.
8
 estimonies to this eect have beencollected by the UN, human rights NGOssuch as Amnesty International, theIndonesian Human Rights Commission,journalists, and East imorese NGOsthemselves.
9
Even so, there are no accuratestatistics on the scale and distribution o sexual violence during the occupation until1999 and consequently during the periodo orced deportation and internment inWest imor.One o the key obstacles preventingimorese women and girls rom seekingredress in the post-occupation era isinadequate documentation. Bishop Belowrote in 2001: ‘Up to 3,000 died in 1999,untold numbers o women were raped and500,000 persons displaced100,000 areyet to return.’
10
T e phrase ‘untold numberso women’ is both poignant and literalthe story o women’s and girls’ experiencebeore, during, and af er the 1999 violenceremains largely untold, despite theextraordinary e orts o imorese womenadvocates.It is widely known that SGBV during theoccupation by Indonesian military andmilitia groups was politically motivatedand systematic.
11
A UN report ound that‘[r]ape was used by the military as a ormo revenge, or to orce the relatives out o hiding’.
12
T e backdrop o militarizationalso masked incidents o intimate partnerand amily violence.T e most comprehensive overview o sexual violence in occupied East imorappears in chapter 7.7 o the  nal reporto the Commission or Reception, ruth,and Reconciliation (CAVR),
13
 
also knownas the
Chega! 
report, which presentedboth statistics and the experiences o women and girls. T e CAVR recorded853 cases o sexual violence and drew the‘inevitable conclusion’ that ‘many victims. . . did not come orward to report themto the Commission’.
14
Reasons or under-reporting include the death o victims andwitnesses (especially or earlier periods o the con ict), victims who may be outsideimor-Leste (especially in West imor),the painul and very personal nature o the experiences, and the ear o social oramily humiliation or rejection i theirexperiences are known publicly. T e CAVRultimately decided that the total numbero sexual violations was likely to be severaltimes higher than the number reported.
15
Other data appears to support a higherincidence o SGBV during 1999. In a 2004study o 288 imorese women, one in ourreported being exposed to violence during1999.
16
Leading imorese women’s NGOForum Komunikasi Untuk Perempuanimor Lorosa’e (FOKUPERS) documented46 cases o rape during the 1999 violence:9 perpetrated by Indonesian soldiers, 28 by pro-Jakarta militias, and 9 by joint attacksby militias and soldiers. Some 18 o thesewere categorized as mass rapes.
17
‘Many o these crimes were carried out withplanning, organization, and coordination’, aFOKUPERS report states.
18
Meanwhile, inthe reugee camps o West imor, to whichtens o thousands o women and girls wereorcibly deported, a act-nding teamin one study alone ound 163 di erentcases o violence against 119 women. Itnoted the many serious impacts o sexualviolence on women’s health, including,but not limited to, death in childbirth,ongoing reproductive health issues, andpsychological harm.
19
T ere is still acampaign to obtain the release o severalyoung women in the West imor campswho are thought to be held against theirwill as ‘war trophies’ by militia leaders.
20
 Despite even this limited acknowledgmento the causes and consequences o SGBV,media reports con rm that the ‘victimso militia rape and sex slavery continueto bear the scars o post-ballot violencein imor-Leste, acing ostracism ontheir return home’.
21
With the exceptiono isolated examples such as the book 
Buibere
22
and the CAVR ‘Women andthe Con ict’ hearing,
23
women havenot spoken out in public about theirexperiences. ‘What has been violatedis their sense o who they are and theirpossibility o living without ear’, said oneadvocate in the CAVR report.
24
T eseexperiences o violation and stigmatizationhave prevented imorese women and girlsrom seeking help in the post-occupationperiod, especially in relation to intimatepartner violence and amily violence.
SGBV in the post-independence period
SGBV in imor-Leste occurs againsta backdrop o general poverty anddeprivation, especially or women andgirls. As o 2009, the  country is consideredthe poorest in Asia and one o the leastdeveloped on the planet.
25
According to aUN Development Programme (UNDP)report released in January 2006, 90 outo 1,000 children die beore their  rstbirthday, hal the population is illiterate,64 per cent su er rom ood insecurity,hal lack access to sae drinking water, and40 per cent live below the o  cial poverty line (an income o USD 0.55 a day).
26
Anestimated 95,000 women have been givensterilizing injections since 1975, of enwithout their consent,
27
and over hal o women and girls are illiterate.
28
 Maternal mortality rates are particularly high. T e incidence o maternal mortalito ers an important proxy or the healthand social status o women and girlsgenerally. Figures generated by the WorldHealth Organization (WHO) in early 2001reveal that twice as many women die inchildbirth in imor-Leste as anywhere elsein East Asia or the Western Pacic region.
29
 According to WHO, only 196 midwivesare available or a population o 800,000and less than a quarter o imor’s womenhave ready access to a healthcare acility or qualied midwie. UNDP and WHOobserve that these  gures represent ‘anabsolute tragedy’.
30
 
Intimate partner violence and amilyviolence
T e  rst National Women’s Congress in2000 identi ed ‘domestic violence’ as apriority issue or imorese women.
31
T eissue o SGBV in the home remains the key priority or imorese advocates and NGOs,who state that high levels o intimatepartner violence and amily violence arereported in every district.
32
T e prioritgiven to the issue by NGOs is based on theunderstanding that women in imor-Lestehave endured a severe increase in intimatepartner violence and amily violence andother types o crimes since 1999.
33
 Notwithstanding considerable attentiondevoted to the issue since 2000, data isincomplete and of en anecdotal. T e maininormation sources are complaints topolice, hospital emergency room data,court reports, and NGO service providers.Unortunately, public sources o data aboutSGBV, despite the basic gender equality mandate o the UN Mission in imor-
 
Timor-Leste    Issue Brief     November 2009  |
3
Leste, are typically unreliable or unavailableor public research.
34
Until publicvital statistics surveillance systems arestrengthened and expanded, NGO reerraldata remains one o the best sources o primary data on SGBV. T e government o imor-Leste relies heavily on NGO reportsor its report to the UN Committee on theElimination o Discrimination AgainstWomen (CEDAW).
35
Police data shows a high incidence o SGBV reports relative to all other crimessince 2000. In the establishment o the UNPolice Vulnerable Persons Unit (VPU), ane ort was made to ensure that most o  ceshad at least one emale o  cer on sta specially trained to acilitate interviewswith emale victims. T e VPU begancollecting inormation on gender-basedviolence in October 2000, but was notoperational during the 2006 crisis and sothe data has gaps (see Figure 1).In 2008 the VPU changed the classi cationo gender-based violence cases by movingrape rom ‘domestic violence’ to ‘sexualo ences’ and created two new categories o ‘assault/domestic’ and ‘dispute/domestic’to deepen understanding o the nature o cases and to better document and respondto speci c complaints. T e implications o the changes to coding are not yet clear, butthey appear to represent more precisionor police responses and consistency withUN global reporting measures on SGBV.
36
 Wider interactions with the PNL andsurvivors o SGBV outside the VPU havebeen very mixed, with reports o policein the districts ignoring serious violationsoccurring in their presence.
37
 Incidents o SGBV can also be extractedrom reported hospital admissions,although hospitals and other healthacilities in imor-Leste do not generally maintain standardized records on gender-based violence or screen or SGBV.
38
ALAVA survey ound that almost one-f h o all women presenting at emergencrooms in Dili and Baucau hospitals in thesummer months o 2006–08 were recordedas victims o domestic violence, with thisproportion rising to one-third or womenaged 20–39 years.
39
 Core support services or survivors areprovided by NGOs in imor-Leste.FOKUPERS and the NGO PsychosocialRecovery and Development in East imor(PRADE) administer various reerral andsae-house programmes and keep statisticson women contacting their services.T e government’s Department o SocialServices has our o  ces in the country,but ‘lacks su  cient resources and capacity to carry out its mandate o supportingindividuals in crisis and providing childprotection services’.
40
T eir statistics wererecently included in the NGO WorkingGroup on CEDAW’s shadow report toCEDAW in March 2009 (see able 1).T e incidence and severity o SGBVcan also be ound by monitoring courtstatistics, of en collated and published by the imorese legal NGO Judicial SystemMonitoring Programme (JSMP). Drawingon two months o court monitoring o women-related cases in the Dili DistrictCourt, JSMP ound that women-relatedcases constituted the majority (55 per cent)o all criminal hearings scheduled andthat 78 per cent o these involved serioussexual assault.
41
T e report o the JSMPVictim Support Service Unit rom October2007 to May 2008 identi ed 24 domesticviolence cases rom the total o 50 cases.
42
 JSMP reports remain the main source o inormation on police and court treatmento SGBV issues.
43
Finally, a valuable source o inormation onSGBV includes social surveys o imoreseamilies by the International RescueCommittee (IRC) in 2002 and 2003
44
inconjunction with a research consortium.O those surveyed in 2002, 43 per centreported at least one incident o violenceby their partners.
45
In 2003, 51 per cent o married imorese women said they eltunsae in their relationship, and also thatamily disputes and violence perpetrated by a husband against his wie were considereda ‘normal’ yet very private occurrencewithin the amily.
46
Women’s own attitudes to intimate partnerviolence and amily violence remain
Figure 1 SGBV incidents recorded by the VPU, 2003–08
SGBV cases 
0100200
2003
a
2003/4
b
2004
c
2005 2006 2007
d
2008
e
300400500
Table 1 SGBV cases recorded by NGOs, 2000–09
Category
a
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
b
Domestic violence 37 36 39 11 30 58 34 62 117 27Sexual violence (adults) 6 5 19 18 5 8 9 9 2 2Sexual violence (under-age) 1 1 10 8 12 2 1 5Intent to do sexual violence 4 1 2 3 5 1 7Incest 2 2 2 6 2 4 4 12 1Sexual abuse 4 3 4 3 2 1Abandonment 33 31 45 14 23 23 18 30 29 3Torture 10 10 1 5 4 3 5 2Defamation 1 8 1 1 3 2 1Obligatory marriage 1 1 3 2Intimidation based on gender 1 1 3 9
Total 84 100 131 46 84 117 80 118 180 36
Notes
:
a
T e categories re ect FOKUPERS’s 11 categories o direct (‘criteria’) types o SGBV. 
b
Includes data or January and February 2009 only.
Source
: NGO Working Group on CEDAW (2009), pp. 63–64
Notes
:
a
Most o the cases in 2003 were classi ed as ‘domestic violence’, although the exact numberis unspeci ed. 
b
Covers the period July 2003–June 2004, including 201 ‘domestic violence’ cases and115 ‘rape’ cases. 
c
Covers the period January–August 2004. 
d
Includes 215 ‘domestic violence’ cases. 
e
Includes 161 ‘domestic violence’ cases and 54 ‘rape’ cases.
Sources
: UNSG (2009), p. 12; UN Shadow Report (2009), p. 65.

Activity (5)

You've already reviewed this. Edit your review.
1 thousand reads
1 hundred reads

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->