Ximenes Belo, a national figure


Carlos Felipe Ximenes Belo was born in 1948, in the city of Baucau (East Timor) under Portuguese domination. He entered the Salesians of Don Bosco and was ordained a priest in 1980.

He becomes apostolic administrator of the diocese of Dili, the capital, in 1983. The Indonesian occupation authorities viewed his appointment favorably, believing that he would not oppose them.

But a year later, he writes to the Portuguese President, to John Paul II and to the Secretary General of the United Nations to demand a referendum for independence.


He was appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Dili in 1988 and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996 with Timorese President José Ramos-Horta, “for their work towards a just and peaceful solution to the conflict in East Timor”.

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