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UN calls for speedy action in Timor-Leste on commission report into 2006 violence

UN calls for speedy action in Timor-Leste on commission report into 2006 violence

Strongly backing last year’s inquiry into deadly violence in Timor-Leste, the United Nations today called for speedy action on its recommendations, which include further investigation as well as prosecution of those responsible for the clashes that led to at least 37 deaths and forced 155,000 people – 15 per cent of the population – to flee their homes.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Atul Khare, who heads the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), stressed the need for the world body to work closely with the authorities on the findings of the Independent Special Commission of Inquiry report, which was released on 17 October and submitted to the Timorese parliament.

“It is clearly of the greatest importance that the Government of Timor-Leste and the United Nations work together to ensure adequate follow-up to the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry,” he told a press conference in the capital Dili.

“First and foremost, I must say that United Nations and UNMIT support the report of the Commission of Inquiry and strongly encourage expeditious action to be taken on its recommendations.”

He voiced satisfaction at public acknowledgements of responsibility by some institutions and leaders regarding their roles in the crisis.

The Parliament’s review of the Commission of Inquiry Report should address reparation for the victims and proposals for the establishment of independent oversight covering the police and military, he added.

Mr. Khare also emphasized that UNMIT does “not support impunity for crimes committed in April and May,” referring to last year’s crisis that was attributed to differences between eastern and western regions of the small South-East Asian country that the UN shepherded to independence from Indonesia in 2002.

He also said that the mission, along with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and other partners, was working to strengthen the justice system, while UN police officers (UNPOL), who are in charge of policing throughout the country, continue to train national officers while helping to maintain law and order.

Also speaking at today’s press conference was the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Security Sector Reform Rule of Law in Timor-Leste, Eric Tan Huck Gim, who confirmed that security in the country continues to improve, as he also looked ahead to this year’s elections.

“The situation in Dili and across the country continues to be relatively stable with UNPOL being in control of the security. There were recent events surrounding New Year’s eve which caused a small spike in isolated events of security incidents around Dili but on the whole it was very good to see the citizens enjoying the New Year and welcoming the New Year with peace and calm.”