The Timorese national police force today resumed primary responsibility for the fledgling nation’s Immigration Department, Border Patrol Unit and Interpol Office from the United Nations as the gradual transfer of security functions continues.
In a ceremony in the capital, Dili, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Shigeru Mochida, congratulated the Government and people of Timor-Leste for this achievement, and pledge the UN’s continued support to face remaining challenges.
The Immigration Department, Border Patrol Unit and Interpol Office are charged with “critical and often sensitive dealings with foreign countries and nationals by Timor-Leste,” Mr. Mochida noted, “and so their handover to Timorese responsibility today is a most significant occasion.”
Today’s handover of responsibilities from the UN mission (UNMIT) to the Polícia Nacional de Timor-Leste (PNTL) is part of an ongoing process that began last May to help establish a professional and credible police force in the country.
So far policing responsibilities for 10 districts and six units have been handed over to the PNTL, including four districts this month – Liquica, Ermera, Aileu and Manufahi. Only three districts remain under UN policing command.
UN Police (UNPOL) will remain in the districts where the PNTL has resumed responsibilities to monitor, advise and support the national force.
Luis Carrilho, UNMIT Police Commissioner, noted the growing capacity of the PNTL, which is assisted by international police officers coming from more than 40 countries.
“This provides a unique opportunity for PNTL officers to work side by side with their UNPOL colleagues to gain valuable knowledge and experience. We all have the same goal and that is the development of the PNTL into a dedicated and professional organisation,” he said.