Subject: ETCRN: Letter to Secretary General


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Dili,14 December 2007

Statement to the Secretary General of the United Nations, HE Ban Ki Moon

On behalf of ETCRN I would like to thank you very much for your visit to Timor Leste in order to have direct communication with Timorese Leaders, political parties and NGOs. This is very important step demonstrates the real commitment of the UN to support Timor Leste now and in the future.

I would like to share ETCRNís point of view on UN Mission in Timor Leste from the United Nations Transitional Administration (UNTAET) period in 1999 until now. I would like to thank the UN efforts for our beloved country Timor Leste. Timor Leste was born from the UN womb and we are the UNís child. This is because the case of Timor Leste was constantly on the UN Agenda from the 1960s until 1999. UN through UNTAET also had important role in providing support for the foundation of the country as an independent nation in 2002. The UN was very much involved in the creation, establishment and formation of the Timorese Defense Force (FFDTL) and Timorese National Police (PNTL). We recognize that it was very important to support and to build a professional military and police for the respect of Human Rights and democracy in Timor Leste.

Even though we have reflected that in 2006 Timor Leste faced a deep and long time crisis with many divisions in the lives of Timorese including ethnic divisions, martial arts groups and rifts between political parties. Up until now all these divisions continue to exist forcing many people into IDP camps in Dili and in the Districts, when many people were injured and died and many houses were burned. Even now more than 100,000 Timorese continue to be displaced.

To deal with the crisis of April 2006 our government called for UN support and for the intervention of International forces to assist in maintaining security and law in order. Up until now the situation is unresolved and not secure. IDPs cannot return home and the communities in Dili and in some Districts continue to experience cycles of violence, despite the efforts of International and National Military and Policeís attempts professionally to deal with faction fighting.

Based these reflections I would like to write you to have the Security Council and the UN General Assembly consider these pressing issues:

1. There is a need to conduct an effective, impartial evaluation on the UN Missions in Timor Leste and the quality of support from 1999 to the present. This is important because the crisis of 2006-7 reflects not only on the people of Timor Leste but also on the UN. The UN disarming PNTL leaving them vulnerable to an armed attack resulting in many deaths and injuries in Caicoli on 25 May 2006. The question of professionalism in the UN needs to be examined in the context of the UN missions in Timor Leste which have provided training after training. In the end the Police, the Military Police and the Military fought each other and caused ongoing crises since January 2006 in our country. Justice is needed by the victims and families of the last two years.

2. There is a need actively to monitor UNMITís mission in providing professional staff and advisors to Timor Leste. This is important to prevent unprofessional actions by UN staff that may cause mistrust regarding accountability and transparency. We have learned that some UN staff have committed crimes but they are not responsible for their acts in Timorese law and order due to the UNís immunity which results in impunity.

3. There is a need actively to bring justice to Timor Leste regarding accountability for crimes against humanity from 1974 Ė 1999. UN Security Council needs to debate the CAVR Report, Chega! and to follow up the Report of Commission of Experts to guarantee that step by step the perpetrators of crimes against humanity can be taken to the courts that reflect international standards in their implementation of human rights law. Lessons must be learned from our difficult and painful past.

4. Lastly, there is a need to maintain a strong professional and effective UN Mission to continue assisting Timor Leste after February 2008 for the future. When, as we hope, the UNís mission is extended it will be urgently necessary to provide more support for security and defense to strengthen the rule of law and to provide order. This will only be possible through ongoing screening and training for the Police and the Military. The UN mission also needs to assist in monitoring the justice system by providing capacity building and additional human resources, to further assist in community livelihood development through UNDP and to partner more with Timorese NGOs to foster a more robust and participatory civil society. This assistance will be crucial for the resolution of the crisis which besets us.

Thank you very much.

Jose Caetano Guterres Coordinator of Coordinating Committee, ETCRN

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