Esmeralda Rego de Jesus Araujo

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Esmeralda Rego de Jesus Araujo was the educated daughter of a local chief of Hatulia in Ermera, East Timor.[1]


As a young woman she worked with the East Timorese resistance before joining the Roman Catholic Canossian order of nuns. During the violence before independence, she worked hard to protect families and children.[2] Sister Esmeralda was an outspoken supporter of independence, saying that the referendum would show the world once and for all that the East Timorese desired independence.[3]

During this period there were several women who formed the main 'nerve centres' of political work in East Timor including, Sister Lourdes (in Dare) and Sister Esmeralda, who took responsibility for 1,500 or more refugees in the UNAMET compound in 1999.[4]

In 1999 she contacted the Vatican news agency and pleaded for help from the outside, world warning that when the United Nations left the militias would go on a killing rampage.[5]