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José Ramos-Horta
During the Indonesian occupation of East Timor from 1974 to 1999, José Ramos-Horta, in exile, was the international voice of the Timorese people. He shared the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize with Bishop Carlos Belo for his work. He returned in 1999 and is now the President of the new democracy. He is the Chairman of the Advisory Board of

Entries by José Ramos-Horta

Charlie Hebdo: Moderate Muslims Must Speak Out

(8) Comments | Posted January 8, 2015 | 2:50 PM

The barbaric terrorist attacks against the staff of the Paris satirical paper Charlie Hebdo come in the wake of other murderous assaults against innocent pedestrians in the streets of France in recent weeks.

For all its complex social challenges, including feelings of exclusion and alienation among the unemployed youth...

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October 16: A UN Vote to Watch

(3) Comments | Posted October 11, 2014 | 8:15 PM

On August 30 I wrote about an upcoming election at the UN General Assembly to determine two of the non-permanent seats reserved for the so-called "Western Group" of countries in the Security Council. Angola, Malaysia and Venezuela are also on the race for their respective regions and are running...

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A Personal Tribute to Madiba

(1) Comments | Posted October 8, 2014 | 9:59 AM

Nobel Peace Laureates were to be gathering in South Africa in the second week of October as guests of our revered colleague and brother Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former President Frederik DeKlerk. The gathering, an annual event, to be held in Cape Town, was meant as a tribute to Madiba....

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New Zealand: Time for a Small Country on the UN Security Council

(11) Comments | Posted August 30, 2014 | 3:20 AM

I believe that few people could name more than five members of the UN Security Council. The U.S., Russia and China certainly. Think hard and you would probably add in the United Kingdom and -- maybe -- France, as the countries who hold the power of "nay" or "aye" over...

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North Korea Is the World's Worst Human Rights Crisis - It Can No Longer Be Its Most Forgotten

(0) Comments | Posted February 26, 2014 | 5:53 PM

North Korea is arguably the world's worst human rights crisis, in the world's most closed nation - but it can no longer be its most forgotten.

Last week's publication of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry report on human rights in North Korea, with its damning conclusion...

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The Need for Asian Climate Leadership

(8) Comments | Posted February 19, 2014 | 6:50 PM

For decades, Asian leaders largely ignored climate change. It's a Western problem, we said. They caused the problem by dumping greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere; let them clean it up. Instead, we Asian leaders focused on reducing poverty by growing our economies.

We were not responsible for the pollution,...

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A Bow to Mandela

(2) Comments | Posted December 6, 2013 | 8:42 AM

A great human being passes away, but he lives through his legacy of courage, integrity, compassion. I was one of the fortunate to have met Mandela on several occasions.

The first time I met him was in 1995 when...

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Egypt: From One Nobel Laureate to Another

(73) Comments | Posted August 4, 2013 | 7:11 PM

I have been asked to comment on news reports that Yemen's Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkul Karman has been denied entry into Egypt after she landed at Cairo airport.

As noted, she had intended to join the sit-in protests by Morsi supporters in the Egyptian capital.

At the...

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Rohingya: The Obligation of Refuge

(50) Comments | Posted July 19, 2013 | 9:47 PM

News reached me today that Rohingya fleeing persecution in Myanmar had reached the waters of my country, Timor-Leste (East Timor), and had been turned away.

As soon as I heard, I sought clarification from Timor-Leste's Foreign Affairs Minister, Jose Luis Guterres -- a good, caring human being....

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Rohingya: Testing Democracy in Myanmar

(16) Comments | Posted February 20, 2013 | 6:20 PM

One of the fundamental challenges of a democracy is how to ensure the voice of the majority does not trample the essential rights of the minority. In the founding of the United States this was addressed by the Bill of Rights, some form of which is integrated into most democracies...

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Syria: Enforce a No-Fly Zone

(50) Comments | Posted November 15, 2012 | 8:36 AM

As the the UN Brahimi mediation mission seems to be ending the same way as the Annan mission did, a solution that stops short of landing troops or conducting risky targeted air strikes is urgent. The formation of a new opposition coalition to replace the Syrian National Council is an...

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Benghazi Was Not the Beginning of the End

(338) Comments | Posted September 14, 2012 | 4:33 PM

I share the civilized world's revulsion at the destruction being wreaked by anti-US demonstrators in the Middle East over the past two days, and in particular the savagery of the Libyan extremist militants murdering the US Ambassador. I also feel deeply for the Libyans, Egyptians and others in the Middle...

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Asia Should Lead in Sustainable Development

(1) Comments | Posted June 26, 2012 | 6:51 PM

We gathered in Rio from 190 countries, to review what we have done since the historic Earth Summit in Rio in 1992 and what our world should look like in the coming decades. There was no cause for celebration and much to regret and fear as we continue to lack...

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Iran's War Against Knowledge -- An Open Letter to the International Academic Community

(280) Comments | Posted September 26, 2011 | 12:00 AM

The forward progress of humankind in the last centuries has been fueled, more than any other factor, by increasing access to information, more rapid exchange of ideas, and in most parts of the world, universal education.

Freedom of education and freedom of information are integral to freedom of thought. Few...

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Israel and the U.S. Should Support Palestine UN Membership

(154) Comments | Posted September 19, 2011 | 2:32 PM

Soon, judging from news reports, the UN Security Council and General Assembly, will be debating the Palestinian application for full UN membership. Israel most emphatically opposes the Palestinian application and the U.S. obliges and threatens to veto it in the Security Council. The contentious issue is not the manner and...

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The U.S. Should Avoid Being Entangled in Civil War in Libya

(74) Comments | Posted May 7, 2011 | 4:26 PM

While I have welcomed the United Nations Security Council Res. 1973 on the imposition of a no-fly zone in Libya as a means to protect civilians, I have advised our friends to avoid being pulled into a complex political crisis and entangled with one side of a conflict about which...

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Doing the Right Thing -- Why Iran Should Release Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal

(8) Comments | Posted May 1, 2011 | 11:05 AM

Twenty-one months ago almost to the day, three idealistic young Americans were enjoying a summer vacation hike in the safe and hospitable region of Iraqi Kurdistan when they wandered close to or across an unmarked mountain border and into the hands of Iranian forces. It is hard for any of...

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Reflections on a Visit to Israel and Palestine

(136) Comments | Posted March 8, 2011 | 5:23 PM

I recently completed my first State Visit to Israel and Palestine. I did not include Gaza in the trip. Unexpectedly, I left the region with much hope for a fully sovereign Palestinian State and long-lasting peace for the peoples who inhabit that crowded land.

During my 5-day visit I met...

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A Mother's Story of Resilience and Agony

(1) Comments | Posted August 12, 2010 | 1:21 PM and The Nobel Laureates' Peace Fund are collecting donations for a gift basket for Eliza, which Nobel Peace Prize winner and President Ramos-Horta will deliver to her in East Timor. Minimum donation is $10. Amounts are not as important as the gesture. To show your support, donate below...

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An Appeal for Sakineh Mohammadie Ashtiani

(1691) Comments | Posted July 8, 2010 | 10:35 AM

Cross-posted from

Update: Reports have emerged that Sakineh Mohammadie Ashtiani has been granted a reprieve from death by stoning, but still faces the death penalty for adultery.

I am aware, as I am writing this, that I come from a country far from...

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