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US senator honored for work in former East Timor island

Associated Press logo Associated Press 25/03/2017

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — U.S. Sen. Jack Reed has received the highest honor that a foreigner can be given from the country formerly known as East Timor.

The Order of Timor was presented to the Rhode Island Democrat from the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, nearly two decades after Reed visited the island on a fact-finding trip to learn more about the residents' struggle for freedom.

Reed has been an advocate for the Timorese people during his time in both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. He says he first learned about human rights violations occurring on the small Southeast Asian island from a group of concerned Portuguese-American citizens and from college students and professors from Brown University.

A former colony of Portugal, the island was later occupied for two decades by Indonesia.

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