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WALK AGAINST IMPUNITY I
Walking from Dili to Balibo (130 km)
On 16 October 1975, five foreign journalists were murdered in Balibo, a black day for free media and all it stands for. To commemorate the 40th sad anniversary of the Balibo Five, Dutch activist Francis Janssen initiated the Walk against Impunity. In The Netherlands, Free East Timor Foundation (VOT) supported Francis with preparations, contacts in Dili and a live-weblog. In Timor-Leste, the initiative was welcomed and joined by activists, journalists and many local organizations that have been working many years to tackle impunity.
Why walk against impunity?
This walk was initiated to pay respect to the Balibo Five: Gary Cunningham, Tony Steward, Malcolm Rennie, Brian Peters and Greg Shackleton - and to other journalist who lost their lives in Timor-Leste while in search of the truth: Roger East (1975), Sander Thoenes (1999), Agus Muliawan (1999) and Bernardino Guterres (1999), and to all the Timorese victims of the 24 years of Indonesian occupation.
It is also a tribute to the brave people of Timor-Leste, who persisted in their struggle and regained their freedom after 24 years of occupation.
Last, but certainly not least: what happened in Timor-Leste is still happening in West Papua and Maluku today. No freedom of press, no freedom of expression, no freedom - while the people still deal with occupation, oppression and violence. Impunity is a green light for perpetrators to continue and repeat, over and over again.
May this Walk against Impunity be an inspiration to young Timorese, international activists and to all those who care about human dignity, freedom of press and self-determination.
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