In Loving Memory of
DRA. ISABEL DA COSTA FERREIRA
15 Abril 1974 – 18 Junu 2023
Isabel da Costa Ferreira, daughter of Mateus Ferreira and Ana Flora de Jesus Ferreira, was born in Same, district of Manufahi. She was the second youngest of thirteen siblings. She started primary school in 1980 and finished high school (SMA I) in 1993.
In 1998 she graduated with a law degree from the National University of Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia. Isabel da Costa Ferreira began her professional career, always closely linked to human rights issues and actively denouncing violations committed during the Indonesian military occupation. For this reason, in 1998 and 1999, she assumed the functions of General Coordinator of the NGO Kontras Timor-Timur and Director of the Timor-Loro Sa’e Human Rights Commission (CDHTL), in 1999-2001.
In 2001, she was elected Member of the Constituent Assembly, on the UDT lists, to dedicate herself, in particular, to the drafting of the articles of the Constitution of the RDTL, referring to Human Rights. During the United Nations Transitional Administration phase and after the Restoration of Independence, Isabel Ferreira was responsible for various humanitarian, human rights and political positions, namely Vice-President of the Timor-Leste Red Cross (CVTL), from 2002 to 2005, Human Rights Advisor to the Prime Minister from 2001 to 2006, Deputy Minister of Justice in 2006 and Member of the Truth and Friendship Commission (CVA) from 2005 to 2008. She led several areas within the State apparatus, namely, President of the Support Secretariat for the PNTL Promotion Commission, from 2009 to 2010, President of the Commission for Monitoring the Promotion Process in the PNTL, from 2010 to her passing, Commissioner of the Civil Service Commission, from 2011 to her passing, and Legal Advisor to the Secretary of State for Security, from 2009 to 2011.
Isabel Ferreira also accumulated diversified organizational and institutional experience, having assumed the following positions: Coordinator of the Working Group for the elaboration of the Law referring to the Human Rights and Justice and activities related to its establishment (2001-2005); Coordinator of the Working Group for the National Action Plan for Human Rights, (2003-2006); Member of the Working Group for the drafting of the Former Combatants law (2004-2005); Member of the Working Group for the establishment of the Missing Persons Commission (2005); Member of the Permanent Group on Government and Church (2005); Member of the National Commission for Children’s Rights, (2005-2006); Member of the Superior Council of the Public Ministry (2006-2011); Coordinator of the Border Management Installation Commission (2009-2010); Coordinator of the PNTL Supplementary Agreement Negotiation Commission (2009-2010); and Member of the Security Sector Reform Committee (2009-2010).
She was invited to participate as keynote speaker at various International Seminars and Conferences in Australia, China, Korea, Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, Portugal and Timor-Leste, namely, Conference of the National Council of Timorese Resistance, on the violation of Human Rights in Timor-Leste. East, held in Melbourne/Australia (April/1999); Participation within the scope of the work of the Human Rights Commission, in Geneva/Switzerland (April 1999), the intervention focused on the violations of Human Rights under the Indonesian occupation; Conference of the National Council of Timorese Resistance, on the situation after the Referendum, in Darwin/ Australia (October 1999); International Conference on Missing Persons, in Jakarta/Indonesia (2001), the intervention focused on this issue and also on the situation of Human Rights in Timor-Leste; Invited to the International Conference at the Institute of Federalism, in Switzerland, the intervention focused on the “Role of the United Nations and Agencies in a post-conflict country” (August 2002); International Conference on Border Management in Thailand, (2010). Dr. Isabel da Costa Ferreira was married to former Prime Minister and Major General Taur Matan Ruak since May 2001 and they were blessed with two daughters, Lola and Tamarisa, and a son, Quesadhip.
Isabel Ferreira spoke three languages, Tetum, Portuguese and Malay-Indonesian.