Security sector reform key to bringing stability to Timor-Leste, UN says
The United Nations peacekeeping mission helping Timor-Leste recover from fighting last year that drove 15 per cent of the population from their homes has called for improved relations between the police and army, a strengthened legal framework, increased capacity and enhanced civil oversight as part of overall security sector reform.
At the meeting attended by leaders of the national military and police, President José Ramos-Horta and the Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão both gave opening addresses welcoming UN assistance in addressing the challenges facing the security sector.
Participants agreed that civil society should have a larger role in the reform process.
Mr. Khare, who heads the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) said he agreed with both the President and Prime Minister about the need to look at the road traveled to avoid pitfalls in the future.
The mission enhanced its peacekeeping and policing roles after violence attributed to differences between eastern and western regions broke out in April and May last year, killing at least 37 people and forcing 155,000 others to flee their homes.
The country has been beset by renewed unrest this month following the appointment of a new Government after elections in June failed to produce a single outright winner. There have been numerous cases of arson and rock throwing in which nearly 400 houses were burned or damaged, at least 4,000 people driven from their homes, a UN convoy attacked and more than a score of UN vehicles damaged.