Women's access to transitional justice in Timor-Leste: the blind letters

Presented by ANU College of Asia & the Pacific

By discussing the findings of a long term research project on women's experiences of transitional justice - recently published as Women's Access to Transitional Justice in Timor-Leste: The Blind Letters (Bloomsbury, 2022) - Noemí will deliver a panoramic assessment of access to transitional justice from a gender perspective.

Dealing with conflict, justice and women, Noemí will first show how the different barriers and discriminatory layers in the laws, policies, community and family practices that affect women in their access to trials, truth commissions and reparations, hamper women's ability to participate in these gendered justice processes.

Moreover, going beyond the focus on sexual violence and by including veterans' pensions as part of the mechanisms of transitional justice, Noemí argues that transitional justice leads to new socio-economic structures that downplay women's recognition of their rights and produce long-term consequences in times of peace. Transitional justice may thus exacerbate the invisibility of and discrimination against women during both the process of implementation and later in the country's reconstruction and development phase.

Inspired by the work of Hannah Arendt, with a post-colonial theoretical component and based on extensive field research in Timor-Leste, this theme of this presentation has larger implications for the overarching debate on the social consequences of transitional justice.

About the speaker

Noemí Pérez Vásquez is currently a Legal Officer at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia. Noemi's work falls within the intersections between law and politics. She has worked mainly with the United Nations on issues of the justice sector, human rights, women and children, including for the OHCHR, UNDP, UNMISS, UNICEF as well as for the The International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI). She was a Visiting Researcher at the Universidade Nacional Timor Lorosa'e, in Dili, Timor-Leste from 2016 to 2017, where she carried out her fieldwork research.

This event will be delivered online via Zoom only.