Top officials meet over Security Sector Reform in Timor-Leste

5 Jul 2008

Top officials meet over Security Sector Reform in Timor-Leste

Dili, August 17, 2007 - The Head of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) has outlined four key areas to address in working towards the reform of the security sector in the nation.

At a high level meeting in Dili this week, attended by senior leadership of the national military and police, the President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, José Ramos-Horta and the Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão both gave opening addresses welcoming the assistance of the United Nations in addressing the challenges facing the security sector.

Mr Atul Khare said he agreed with both the President and Prime Minister about the need to look at the road travelled to avoid pitfalls in the future.

Mr Khare listed the need to improve relations between the police and the army, strengthening the legal framework, increasing capacity and enhancing civil oversight as the four priority areas in building an effective and accountable security sector, that serves the needs of the people of Timor-Leste.

"UNMIT will assist the Timorese people and authorities in these four areas relating to the security sector.

"The strengthening of the army and police will be crucial to the development of Timor-Leste as a modernizing state and the United Nations will assist the government in achieving a security sector that is efficient, effective and accountable," Mr Khare said.

In the course of discussions, participants agreed to have larger participation by civil society in the reform process, keep in mind the need to maximise scarce resources, avoid another crisis as experienced in 2006, and work towards closer cooperation between military and police, even as each of the security institutions strive for increased professionalism and enhanced capacities.

UNMIT is mandated through Security Council Resolution 1704 to "assist the government in conducting a comprehensive review of the future role and needs of the security sector, including the Falintil Armed Defence Forces of Timor-Leste (F-FDTL), the Ministry of Defence, the PNTL, and the Ministry of Interior with a view to supporting the government, through the provision of advisors and in cooperation and coordindation with other partners, in strengthening institutional capacity building as appropriate."

For more information please call Allison Cooper on +670 723 0453.