UN Police “Operation Blue Breeze” Kicks Off New UN Mission in Timor-Leste

7 Jul 2008

UN Police “Operation Blue Breeze” Kicks Off New UN Mission in Timor-Leste

28 August 2006, DILI— An initial measure kicking off the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) commenced this past weekend with "Operation Blue Breeze," part of a project called Streamlining Traffic Education Programme (STEP) aimed at community awareness education and focusing on safety and security measures for traffic rules and regulations.

The project carries the slogan "Restoring and Maintaining Public Security in Timor-Leste" and was initiated by Acting UN Police Commissioner Antero Lopes in conjunction with the international police forces currently deployed in Dili. Mr. Lopes recently took up his duty with the UN in Timor-Leste and began immediate preparations in anticipation of the new mission.

Held on Saturday and Sunday morning, the campaign consisted of six major police check-points established in select high-volume areas in the capital of Dili. Motorists were stopped at check-points and police advised them on best practices to observe traffic rules and regulations and distributed safety precaution leaflets. Hundreds of vehicles were stopped and over 1,000 people received and read the leaflets. The officers also engaged in random stop and search routines.

Lopes said the UN police are working closely with the international police forces in Timor-Leste to develop successful strategies that will focus not only on effective security but also on determining the peoples' perception of security which is equally important for the return to normalcy in Timor-Leste.

"There are two elements of concern," Lopes said, "continuity and quality of the services we are providing and we are looking at those in terms of improvement and sustainability."

According to a document outlining STEP, "The project is a precursor to the discharge of interim law enforcement and public security responsibilities by UNPOL until PNTL [national police force of Timor-Leste] is reconstituted. It will also assist with institutional development and strengthening of the PNTL."

"Blue Breeze" is the code name for the programme in which a series of announced and random future road safety and traffic law enforcement operations will be conducted. The programme will also include a series of workshops and seminars to educate the public and especially the people involved in road safety operations.

The Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1704 last Friday, 25 August. UNMIT will consist of 1,608 police personnel in addition to 34 military liaison and staff officers and an appropriate civilian component.

For additional information, please contact:

Donna Cusumano, Chief, Public Information Office, UNMIT; +670 723 0749