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NHRI people profile: Sidonio Soares, PDHJ human rights investigator

Graphic: Sidonio Joao Sequeira Soares

Each month, we profile a committed staff member from across the APF network. This month we meet Sidonio Soares, PDHJ human rights investigator.

Name and role: 

Sidonio Joao Sequeira Soares, investigator into human rights violations for the Provedor for Human Rights and Justice of Timor Leste (PDHJ). 

Could you tell us a bit about your role?

My role is to investigate human rights violations committed by law enforcement officials, defence force personnel and other government entities and make recommendations to the relevant authorities for their responses and to make positive changes. 

In my position I have also acted as a focal point on torture-related issues, as part of the joint Torture Prevention Ambassador Project organised by the APF and the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) where I contributed to a report submitted to the Committee on Torture. 

What do you love about your job?

The day-to-day work as human rights investigator is getting harder, but I enjoy my job because I am so committed to working on human rights issues. I have worked in human rights for more than 15 years, including with various non-government organisations, the United Nations Mission in East Timor and with the PDHJ in different roles as a monitor and investigator. 

I am committed to making changes and impact in society where everyone is free and able to stand up for their human rights.

Provedor for Human Rights and Justice of Timor-Leste Logo Sidonio Soares, Human Rights Investigator, PDHJ

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?

We receive many complaints of human rights violations but sometimes there can be delays in responses due to budget restraints. Also, sometimes the authorities can be slow to respond. 

Why did you decide to work in human rights?

I want to see change and everyone living freely and with their human rights respected. Everyone deserves to live with dignity and prosperity. I want to live my life with meaning and help others.

What is your proudest achievement?

I am very proud when the reports of human rights violations, including recommendations, are sent out by the Commission, for consideration by the government. Also, when the annual report on human rights violations by law enforcement authorities is sent to the parliament and government.                                    

What is your favourite book?

My favourite book is ‘Dari penjara ke penjara’ (‘From prison to prison’) by Tan Malaka. I also love poetry, especially ‘The Prophet’ by Khalil Gibran. 

Date: 28 February 2022

Image credits

  1. Sidonio Joao Sequeira Soares - Sidonio Joao Sequeira Soares