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East Timor: UN mission extends civil registration process

East Timor: UN mission extends civil registration process

The United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) has extended the registration process of East Timor's population by two days in order not to exclude the high number of people still arriving to register, especially in the capital, Dili.

According to the UN Mission, the process initially scheduled to end on 20 June, would now proceed through Friday, 22 June. The head of UNTAET's Civil Registration Unit, Peter Rimmele, said today that registration was "virtually complete outside Dili," and that four fixed sites and two mobile sites were operating in Dili in order to process last-minute registrants.

Civil Registration officials have expressed concern that a significant number of young men who appear not to be from Dili are attempting to register for a second time in the capital. Registering twice does not allow a person to vote twice, and will simply mean that the person's first registration will be deleted from the registration rolls, UNTAET said in a statement. "Therefore those registering for a second time in Dili will have to return to the capital on election day should they wish to vote."

As of this morning, more than 762,000 people - some 94 per cent of East Timor's estimated population - have registered.

In other news, UNTAET Constitutional Commissions have begun the public hearing phase of the constitutional consultation process, gathering some 400 people in Suai town yesterday, and around 70 in Dili this morning. The hearings aim to seek the views of the East Timorese on what should be considered by the future Constituent Assembly when drafting a constitution.

The Commissions - consisting of between five and seven Commissioners, one Rapporteur and one Constitutional Adviser - will be holding public hearings in each sub-district over the next four weeks. The Commissioners have already completed a two-week familiarization tour during which they visited each sub-district to inform the public about the Commission's work.

The public hearing phase is scheduled to end on 14 July. The Constitutional Commissioners will subsequently prepare a report from each district that will ultimately be presented by the Transitional Administrator to a future Constituent Assembly.