Death: Helen Hill, Australian academic who told “Timor’s story”, dies

“Helen Hill helped share our story and our struggle with the world. She educated thousands of students. She will be greatly missed,” the Timorese government said in a statement.

The Australian academic first visited Timor-Leste in 1975 to write a master’s thesis on the transition to independence, but the country was occupied by Indonesia.

“Instead, the ‘History of Timor’, published in late 1975, has become a bible for scholars and activists who want to learn about the events in our land leading up to the invasion,” says the Timorese government.

For the Revolutionary Front for Independent Timor-Leste (Fretilin), Helen Hill was “one of the few Australians who bravely refused to believe that Fretilin and the people of Timor would be defeated when the rest of the world thought otherwise”.

“I remember Helen Hill visiting in early 1975 when she was a university student, and I met her again during the years of occupation and found her to be a true friend of Timor-Leste,” recalls Mari Alghatiri, Fretil’s general secretary. In a statement.

Former Timorese President and former Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak mourned the death of an “Australian activist who fought for the cause of Timor-Leste” and Timorese civil society organizations who had the opportunity to work with Helen Hill.

“Helen Hill and some other Australian friends were instrumental in building FRETILIN representation and the work of FRETILIN representatives at the United Nations in the early days of our struggle,” explained Mari Alcatiri.

Helen Hill helped establish Fretil’s diplomatic front office in New York in 1984, organized an event in Canberra at which the current president, José Ramos-Horta, spoke for the first time since the Indonesian invasion, and was always involved in solidarity. Actions with the Timorese people.

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After regaining independence in 2002, Helen Hill worked in Timor-Leste on several projects, including community development projects at the National University of Timor-Leste.

He was decorated with the Order of Timor-Leste in 2014 by former President Dar Madan Ruak.


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