Celebrating twenty years of independence: Alison Tate reflects on Timor Leste’s “journey of courage and resistance”

Jul 31, 2019


With the twentieth anniversary of East Timorese independence approaching, we’re celebrating the “journey of courage and resistance” of the Timorese people in rebuilding their country after decades of colonisation and conflict.

We asked APHEDA staff member working for Timor at the time, Alison Tate, to reflect on her days in Timor Leste following the vote for independence.

“The people of Timor picked themselves up, and with the support of trade unionists, real international solidarity from Australia and from around the world, they began rebuilding their country to what we see today”


When the Timorese people voted for independence from Indonesia, Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA supported the international emergency relief effort following the outbreak of violence. Following the crisis, Australian unionists continued to support Timorese communities in rebuilding their schools and libraries, in training nurses and teachers, and later, in building strong unions.

“It’s such a journey of courage and resilience, a fight for social justice, and the real demonstration of international solidarity from Australian trade unions that goes on through APHEDA’s work today and into the future.”

Today, Alison continues the fight for international solidarity at the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) as the Director of Economic and Social Policy. In her role at the ITUC, Alison represents unions in bodies such as the United Nations, the G20, and international financial institutions.


Continue the fight for justice in Timor Leste

Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA is working in East Timor to build strong domestic workers unions, farmers’ cooperatives, and women’s’ rights.

You can support projects like this by becoming a member of Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!