Ban mourns death of deputy head of UN peacekeeping mission in Timor-Leste

15 March 2010

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today mourned the death of his deputy envoy in Timor-Leste who passed away last night, paying tribute to his dedication to helping the people of the fledgling nation consolidate sustainable peace and stability.

The Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Security Sector Support and Rule of Law, Takahisa Kawakami, a Japanese national, died of natural causes overnight at his home in the capital, Dili, where he was serving with the UN peacekeeping mission, known as UNMIT.

“As part of the UNMIT leadership since September 2008, he demonstrated his steadfast commitment to the people of Timor-Leste by working in close partnership with national counterparts and United Nations partners to support the strengthening of the national police service and rule of law institutions,” according to a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.

Mr. Kawakami had extensive experience with Timor-Leste, having played a key role in the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) in setting up the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), set up to assist the region during the transition to independence in 1999.

As a diplomat, Mr. Kawakami was posted to the Permanent Mission of Japan to the UN in New York from 1987 to 1991 and again from 2003 to 2007. While his country was on the Security Council in 2005 and 2006, he acted as its Coordinator on Timor-Leste.

“Mr. Kawakami demonstrated his unwavering commitment to the people of Timor-Leste and to the wider efforts of the United Nations by working in partnership with his Timorese counterparts to support the development of the national police and continued peace, security and stability in Timor-Leste,” UNMIT said in a press release.

He also worked in Afghanistan as Chief of Staff for the UN Assistance Mission in the country (UNAMA) from 2007 to 2008, in Cambodia with the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) from 1992 to 1993 and with the UN Advance Mission in Cambodia (UNAMIC) from 1991 to 1992.

“His dedication and integrity will serve as an example for international public service,” the Secretary-General said.

Mr. Kawakami is survived by his wife, Chieko, and his daughter, Mao.

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