Jose Ramos-Horta | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Jose Ramos-Horta

Honorary Doctorate (April 2001)

Jose Ramos-Horta was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in April 2001 in recognition of his contribution to human rights.

Jose Ramos Horta was a Nobel Peace Prize Co-Laureate with compatriot, Archbishop Bello in 1996, that is one of the world’s most prestigious awards, which put him alongside other awardees such as Nelson Mandela in 1993 and Yitzhak Rabin in 1994.

Jose was born in Dili in East Timor, but 20 years later was banned from his homeland for subversion, yet was a powerful moderating force in the pro-independence movement.

He represented the pro-independence Fretilin movement to the United Nations for a decade, commencing with his moving and memorable address in December 1975. That address followed the Indonesian invasion of East Timor which resulted in the death of over 200,000 East Timorese.

His diplomatic work has spanned over 20 years and has been the subject of a number of studies, including a SBS documentary called ‘The Diplomat’.

He has relentlessly pursued the rights of East Timorese people to self-determination, often against enormous odds, and this was recognised in 1996 when his ‘unswerving commitment to the rights and freedoms of threatened peoples’ was cited as the basis of his award from the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation. He has also received the Order of Freedom, from the Portuguese Government – its highest honour.

In numerous speaking engagements around the world, he has spoken of human rights and human dignity – defending, for example, the Kurds, Tibetans, Burmese, Columbians, Australian Aborigines, and also pursuing peace in Northern Ireland.

He has a range of affiliations with universities internationally, and possesses degrees in Peace Studies and Public International Law.

He established in the transitional National Council, a new constitution, new government structures, and new health, education, and social services, for East Timor, all of which involved extensive international negotiations and the garnering of support for that country to build its infrastructure.

Few would have shown the tenacity, endurance and eloquence on behalf of a dispossessed people as Jose Ramos Horta.