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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

The Case for Humanity

(0) Comments | Posted October 14, 2015 | 4:16 PM

The adoption of the Sustainable Development goals by the world leaders during September's UN General Assembly was historic. It was a significant step forward in our collective quest for ending poverty and injustice around the globe. It was notable that the consensus-based vision coincided with the commemoration of the United...

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Club de Madrid: Democracy Is Still the Missing Ingredient in SDGs

(3) Comments | Posted September 25, 2015 | 12:47 PM

Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda targets beneficiaries rather than citizens.

A set of renewed and enhanced Development Goals -- the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) -- will be solemnly adopted by some 150 world leaders on 25-27 September at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in New York. UN member states are...

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Opening the Books on the Cold War

(20) Comments | Posted September 9, 2015 | 3:21 PM

This article is cross-posted on

For many in the West, the Cold War began with the fear that the Russians would drop a nuclear bomb on an American city. It got closer to home when American boys started being shipped off to, and dying in, Vietnam....

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The Refugee Crisis: Short and Long Term Solutions

(0) Comments | Posted September 4, 2015 | 3:11 PM

This article is cross-posted on

Today there are 60 million refugees and internally displaced peoples in search of safety, shelter, a home and a future across the globe.

We all know that the root causes of this crisis are extreme poverty and fratricidal, sectarian and...

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Obama: The Courage to Say 'We Were Wrong'

(137) Comments | Posted August 4, 2015 | 12:56 PM

This article is cross-posted on

Some months ago 11 other Nobel Peace Prize laureates and I co-signed an open letter to President Obama on the use of torture by the U.S. Two days ago I received a response from the President. (See both letters

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A Year on From the UN Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea, It Is Time for Action

(2) Comments | Posted February 17, 2015 | 7:21 PM

By Jose Ramos-Horta, Mohamed Nasheed, Geoffrey Nice, David Alton and Benedict Rogers

A year ago yesterday, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on North Korea's human rights record published its damning report. It concluded that "the gravity, scale and nature" of the human rights violations in...

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Charlie Hebdo: Moderate Muslims Must Speak Out

(9) Comments | Posted January 8, 2015 | 1:50 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 | 7:15 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 | 8:59 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 | 2:20 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 | 4:53 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 | 5:50 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 | 7:42 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 | 6:11 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 | 8:47 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 | 5:20 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 | 7:36 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 | 3:33 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 | 5:51 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 25, 2011 | 11:00 PM

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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