The graduation of Timor- Leste’s first legal drafters of the national parliament

5 Oct 2010

The graduation of Timor- Leste’s first legal drafters of the national parliament

Dili, 30 September 2010 - "I wanted the chance to serve my nation. The Timorese Parliament needs legal drafters for the long term future of the country."

So says Mr. Aires Francisco Cabral, one of the 10 legal drafters successfully graduating from their first year of training.

The training programme is run by the National Parliament with assistance from UNDP's Parliament Project, supported by Ausaid, Norway and SIDA (Sweden). It is designed for legal professionals who need to strengthen their skills in analyzing draft laws and the legislative process.

"We don't want dependency to continue for decades. Up until now Parliament has been reliant on international legal professionals to help draft laws. But now you are Timor-Leste's legal drafters", said Mr. Fernando La Sama de Araujo, the President of Parliament, as he presented certificates to the new graduates at a ceremony in the Parliament on the 29th September.

In the next few months the second phase of the legal drafters training will begin for the 10 graduates. This further programme will be conducted in partnership with the Legal Training Center, under the Ministry of Justice, and is expected to last around 18 months. The legal drafters will receive specific lectures and classes on constitutional matters, civil and administrative law and legislative procedures.

Whilst the first training programme, that just came to an end, was conducted in Indonesian Bahasa this second phase will be delivered in Portuguese and Tetun. The legal drafters will enhance their knowledge and understanding of Timorese legislative processes in the two official languages.

Ms. Sancha Tilman is another of the graduates from the course. She highly recommends that suitable candidates join future courses:

"The training was very well organized and covered a wide range of topics. I am looking forward to the next step, which involves more Portuguese. I think it is very important that we have national legal drafters because Timorese people really understand the needs of the country".

It is expected that these legal drafters will not be assigned to specific Parliamentary committees, but will rather form part of a pool of advisors that support all committees on demand.

UNDP Country Director, Ms. Mikiko Tanaka, commended the legal graduates on their achievement:

"You have shown enthusiasm and commitment throughout the training. This occasion is extremely exciting because it is the first time that a professional training for legal drafters has been conducted by the National Parliament. This graduation is an important landmark in strengthening the institutional capacity of the National Parliament in Timor-Leste".

(For more information, please contact Clare Santry, Media and Communications Officer, UNDP Timor-Leste at; Mobile: 670 7245425).