||Schofield Hall 218|
||Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004|
Jose Ramos-Horta to Speak|
April 7 at UW-Eau Claire
MAILED: March 24, 1999|
Exiled East Timorese political activist Jose Ramos-Horta, recipient of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize, will speak at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire on Wednesday, April 7.
The Forum will present his lecture, titled "Human Rights: Democracy and the Rule of Law in the Asia Pacific Region," at 7:30 p.m. in Schofield Auditorium.
The presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session and a reception in the Dulany Inn, Davies Center.
In 1975, Indonesia invaded and illegally annexed the newly independent country of East Timor, brutally slaughtering nearly a third of the population with weapons imported from the United States and Europe. Since then, Jose Ramos-Horta has tirelessly championed human rights and independence for his homeland and other repressed countries of the world. As the United Nations marks the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Nobel laureate will assess the advances that have been made and discuss the unprecedented events that are taking place today.
Born in Dili, East Timor, in 1949, Ramos-Horta is the son of a native Timorese mother and a Portuguese father who was deported to East Timor for revolting against the dictator Antonio Salazar. After studying law in the United States, Ramos-Horta returned to East Timor, then still a colony of Portugal, and worked as a radio and TV correspondent. His involvement with the independence movement provoked East Timor's Portuguese rulers and he was forced to flee to Mozambique in 1970.
Ramos-Horta returned to East Timor two years later and sided with the nationalist Fretilin faction in the country's civil war. When the Fretilins gained control of the government in November 1975, Ramos-Horta was named foreign minister. Nine days later, Indonesia invaded East Timor and he was again forced into exile. Four of Ramos-Horta's 11 brothers and sisters were killed by the Indonesian military.
In December 1975, he arrived in New York to address the U.N. Security Council. He urged them to take action in the face of the Indonesian military onslaught, which would result in more than 200,000 deaths. For the next 10 years Ramos-Horta was the permanent representative to the U.N. for Fretilin, speaking before the U.N. Security Council, the Fourth Committee of the U.N. General Assembly, the U.N. Special Committee on Decolonization, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, the Council on Foreign Relations and the European Parliament. His experiences as a diplomat are recounted in the book "Funu: The Unfinished Saga of East Timor" (Red Sea Press, 1987).
In 1996 Ramos-Horta shared the Nobel Peace Prize with his fellow countryman Bishop Carlos F.X. Belo. The two men were honored for their "sustained efforts to hinder the oppression of a small people," in the hope that "this award will spur efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict of East Timor based on the people's right to self-determination." The Nobel Committee cited Ramos-Horta as "the leading international spokesman for East Timor's cause since 1975."
Ramos-Horta's commitment to peace in East Timor has made it impossible for him to return to his homeland. After the Indonesian invasion he lived in the United States for 15 years. He currently lives in Lisbon and Sydney. From 1991 to 1998 he was the special representative of the National Council of Maubere Resistance, an umbrella organization of pro-independence movements and activists inside and outside East Timor. He was elected vice president of the National Council of Diaspora in April 1998, and continues to be the personal representative of resistance leader Xanana Gusmao, who has been imprisoned in Jakarta since 1992.
Admission is $7 for the public; $5 for those age 62 and over, and UW-Eau Claire faculty/staff; or $3 for those age 17 and under, and UW-Eau Claire students. Tickets are available at the University Service Center in Davies Center, and will be sold at the door.
Patrons also may charge their tickets to MasterCard or Visa when they order by phone. Call the University Service Center, (715) 836-3727 or, outside the immediate Eau Claire area, call toll-free (800) 949-UWEC. A $3 handling fee will be added to all telephone charge orders.
The Forum is made possible by student funds allocated by the UW-Eau Claire Student Senate.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: March 24, 1999