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Release: EDITOR’S NOTE: José Ramos-Horta was incorrectly identified in a previous distribution of this press release as a Pulitzer Peace Prize winner. Ramos-Horta is a co-winner of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize, an award he shared with Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, a Roman Catholic bishop of Dili, East Timor. Ramos-Horta will be available to meet with the media at a press conference that will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Thursday, April 8 at University News Services (Old Public Library), 307 East College Street.)

Release: Immediate

April 2, 1999

Nobel Peace Prize winner to give human rights lecture

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- José Ramos-Horta, named co-winner of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to bring peace to East Timor, will present a free and public lecture at the University of Iowa at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 8 at the Buchanan Auditorium of the Pappajohn Business Building.

Ramos-Horta shared the Nobel Prize with Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, a Roman Catholic bishop of Dili, East Timor. The two were honored for their diplomatic efforts to end what has become 24 years of strife between the Timorese and the Indonesian government that militarily invaded nearby East Timor in December 1975. The strife has led to the deaths of roughly 200,000 Timorese due to starvation, terror, war, and epidemics since the invasion that followed a successful 1974 East Timor revolution against Portuguese rule. The United Nations recognizes Portugal, which colonized the region four centuries ago, as having administrative powers over East Timor.

Ramos-Horta continues to struggle to win autonomy for his native East Timor and its people who have been systematically oppressed by Indonesia, which seized the country during the revolution. Last March, Ramos-Horta wrote an opinion published by the "International Hearld Tribune," stating that the Indonesian troops should leave as quickly as possible preferably by next January. The "Security of the territory should be placed in U.N. hands," Ramos-Horta wrote.

"The East Timorese resistance has exercised utmost restraint since Mr. (Radin) Suharto was forced to resign last May by the rising tide of popular protest against his corrupt and repressive rule. But our patience is running out. We keep our options open as to our next course of action if the situation continues to deteriorate," Ramos-Horta wrote. B.J. Habibie, a close associate of Suharto, replaced the former president but has been criticized because of his unwillingness to end the military domination by Indonesia.

Ramos-Horta is popularly known for his push for democracy for Asia. His lecture entitled "Human Rights: Democracy and the Rule of Law in the Asia-Pacific Region," is reflective of his pro-democracy position for the country that is ruled by China.

Ramos-Horta lives in Sydney Australia, a country that backs Timor independence but he continues to be active in bringing attention to East Timor's quest for autonomy. In Australia, he teaches and also serves as the Special Representative of the National Council of Maubere Resistance, an umbrella organization of pro-independence movements and activists inside and outside East Timor. He is on the law faculty at the University of New South Wales; special representative of the National Council of Maubere Resistance of East Timor and is the author of "The Unfinished Saga of East Timor."

Ramos-Horta appears at the UI as part of Global Focus: Human Rights ’98, a program that began last year in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in celebration of human rights advancements across the globe.