How Communities Deal with Traumatic Memory: Lessons from Aceh and Timor-Leste

Indonesia's Aceh province and the now independent state of Timor-Leste (formerly East Timor) endured decades of conflict and massive human rights violations under Indonesian rule. Timor-Leste suffered high rates of political violence from 1975 until it achieved independence in 1999. Aceh fought for independence for over 30 years, before achieving a degree of autonomy within Indonesia. Years later, the people of these lands are still struggling to deal with the trauma of the past.

This comparative research analyzes reparation processes underway in Aceh and Timor-Leste. It aims to foster a deeper understanding of how communities and individual victims of massive human rights abuses can deal with their traumatic past, while seeking justice on issues such as population displacement and political and sexual violence.

Using a participatory approach, and taking gender into account, the project investigates and compares the experiences and views of victims with regard to transitional justice issues and reparation needs in Aceh and Timor-Leste. The results will contribute to policy debate, and will strengthen the notion of state accountability for past violations as a critical step toward sustainable peace. The research also aims to strengthen the ability of victims - especially women - to advocate for themselves.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Thursday, January 19, 2012

End Date

Friday, December 21, 2012


10 months

IDRC Officer

Sciortino, Rosalia

Total funding

CA$ 98,800


Far East Asia, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Central Asia, South Asia

Project Leader

Galuh Wandita


Asian Justice and Rights Foundation

Institution Country


Institution Website