|Subject: UN SRSG Hasegawa: Statements from
Sec. Council meeting May 5, 2006
United Nations S/PV.5432
Security Council Provisional Sixty-first year 5432nd meeting Friday, 5 May 2006, 10 a.m. New York
The situation in Timor-Leste
End of mandate report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Office in Timor-Leste (S/2006/251)
At this meeting, the Security Council will hear a briefing by Mr. Sukehiro Hasegawa, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Timor- Leste and Head of Mission of the United Nations Office in Timor-Leste.
I now give him the floor.
Mr. Hasegawa: It is my privilege to address the Security Council as it considers the Secretary- Generalís end of mandate report on the United Nations Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL). I wish at the outset to acknowledge the presence today of Mr. Josť Ramos- Horta, Senior Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Timor-Leste, who has made a special effort to come to New York in the midst of the crisis that Timor-Leste is going through.
This Security Council meeting is indeed critically important for Timor-Leste, as the Council is expected to decide on how best to respond to the requests for continued United Nations assistance, as set forth in three separate letters addressed to the Secretary- General by Timorese leaders. As the situation in Timor-Leste has undergone a rapid change since the Secretary-Generalís report was issued two weeks ago, it is also pertinent for Council members to adjust their perceptions and assumptions. It was very helpful of the Council to decide a week ago to postpone the meeting to enable Foreign Minister Ramos-Horta to appear before it to personally provide an insight into the recent political and security developments and the future requirements for international assistance to Timor-Leste.
This morning I wish first to provide the Council with a brief overview and the context of the most recent security and political developments; secondly, to inform it about the arrangements and progress made for a smooth transition to a sustainable development assistance framework; and finally, to set out the rationale for establishing an integrated office after UNOTIL completes its mandate in order to meet the electoral security and political requirements identified by the Timorese leaders.
I would like to start with a brief account of the latest security and political developments in Timor- Leste relating to the dismissal since mid-March of 594 soldiers ó more than one third of the armed forces from the Timorese defence force (F-FDTL). The dismissed soldiers staged a demonstration demanding that an independent commission be established to address the issue of discrimination and to seek a fair investigation into their grievances. The 594 former members of the F-FDTL remained peaceful throughout the duration of the demonstrations, over four days. However, on Friday last week, a mob of ďnon-594Ē youths and some political elements broke off from the camping group and attacked the Government office building. As the Policia National de Timor-Leste (PNTL) force was not able to deal with the situation and retreated, the Government decided to deploy the military to restore law and order.
During the riots, Government offices were damaged and numerous properties ó including cars, shops and houses ó were destroyed. According to the Governmentís estimate, 45 houses were totally destroyed and 116 were damaged. While the physical damage caused to properties was minuscule in comparison with the destruction that took place in 1999, the psychological impact on the people proved to be immense. As many as 14,000 became internally displaced persons as they sought refuge in churches and other public buildings at various locations throughout Dili. Thousands of people have also started to move out of the capital city, Dili, and into the surrounding mountains and outer districts. That has also had an impact on UNOTIL itself. More than 1,000
people ó families of local staff members ó have come to take refuge at the UNOTIL headquarters compound.
According to a UNOTIL estimate, five persons have been killed and at least 60 injured by firearms, stone throwing or stabbing. However, there have also been repeated assertions by the leader of the 594 group that the number of deaths caused by the deployment of the F-FDTL on 28 and 29 April was far larger than officially announced. While the UNOTIL Human Rights Unit and police advisers have visited the sites and checked with local residents, they have not found any credible evidence to date that supports those allegations.
UNOTIL human rights officers will continue to monitor the human rights situation. Yet I agree with the President on the need, as expressed in his letter of 2 April to the Secretary-General (S/2006/230, annex), to address grievances through the independent commission and to strengthen the institutional foundations of the Ministry of Defence and the F-FDTL and their capacity to manage their human resources development. For that reason, the United Nations should respond to the Presidentís request and provide civilian advisers to assist in the drafting and implementation of the organic law and in setting up management mechanisms for the Ministry of Defence and the F-FDTL.
Let me now turn to the implementation of UNOTILís capacity-building programme for State institutions, mandated in resolution 1599 (2005). The programme has been largely successful. The transition to a sustainable development assistance framework has been completed in almost all areas. I am pleased to report that, out of the 45 positions that the Security Council established a year ago, the Government and other State institutions have identified bilateral and multilateral development partners to take over all but one of 40 positions and Timorese nationals have acquired sufficient expertise to take over the remaining five. Even in the most challenging justice sector, international legal advisers have been successful in providing cross-ministerial legal training for 32 national legal officers, including 11 judges, nine prosecutors and seven public defence lawyers, who are now fit to practice in their respective positions.
For the development of the PNTL, UNOTIL police training advisers have completed a series of training programmes and have assisted in developing 19 operational and training manuals on the conduct of community police and specialized police forces. While a great deal of progress has been made in enhancing the professionalism of the Timorese police officers, there is still the need, as shown by the 28 April incident, for further intensive training so that they can acquire the required levels of professionalism and competency. Furthermore, there is a need to strengthen the PNTLís Professional Ethics Office and other human rights mechanisms that will serve to curb the potential for the abuse of power. I call upon the international community to provide further assistance for that purpose.
Our military training advisers, together with United Nations police training advisers, have also worked successfully towards the transfer of individual border management skills to the Border Patrol Unit the UPF (Unidade de Patrulhamento de Fronteira), as it is called officially. However, the UPF will continue to struggle with the task of managing a 172-kilometrelong border with the insufficient number of only 296 officers having rudimentary equipment and limited experience and formal education. The UPF officers are expected to face challenges during the 2007 electoral period and would benefit from additional international assistance to prevent tensions and conflicts arising along the border during that crucial period.
On the issue of human rights, I wish to commend the Government of Timor-Leste for several important accomplishments. The Office of the Provedor for Human Rights and Justice, an independent national institution entrusted with the legal mandate to monitor and investigate human rights violations, opened its doors to the public on 20 March this year. Another major achievement is the ratification of all seven human rights treaties by the Government, which is now in the process of completing reports under two of those Conventions. These are clear signs that this newly independent democracy is committed to fulfilling its human rights obligations at both the national and international levels.
Allow me now to present the rationale for establishing a small integrated office after the completion of UNOTILís mandate. It is my view that such a United Nations presence would be of the utmost importance in assisting and supporting Timor-Leste in maintaining peace and stability, which constitute the
enabling environment essential for the conduct of free and fair national elections in 2007.
In the preparations for the 2007 parliamentary and presidential elections, the Government has moved swiftly, with the assistance of international advisers, towards finalizing the draft electoral laws for submission to the Parliament. As the time left for the first post-independence national elections grows short, additional support should be provided in a systematic manner to all State institutions involved in the electoral process, including the Secretariat for the Technical Administration of the Elections, the independent National Electoral Commission (CNE), the Court of Appeal and other organs. In order to ensure a credible process, the CNE in particular needs adequate resources ó both human and material ó for monitoring and voter education throughout the 13 districts. The transparency of the electoral process will directly affect the legitimacy of the outcome of the elections and the prospects for the development of a healthy multiparty democratic system in Timor-Leste.
In aspiring to free and fair elections, I wish to emphasize that the continued presence of the United Nations police will be essential to ensure that law and order and respect for human rights are maintained before and during the electoral campaign period. The impartiality of the Timorese police cannot be guaranteed in a tense political electoral environment. United Nations police training and advisory personnel will be required to train the Timorese police on electoral policing procedures and practices, including security responsibilities during and immediately following the elections, and to assist in the monitoring of and the reporting on the conduct of elections and in the development and implementation of a comprehensive election security plan, thereby forestalling the development of volatile and possibly violent situations. The Secretary-General proposed a phased deployment with 25 United Nations police 15 trainers and 10 advisers ó during the initial period, subject to changes as the electoral campaigns intensify.
The maladies afflicting the F-FDTL internally, which are mirrored by the tragic events last week, indicate an acute need to develop the F-FDTL managerial capacity. Given the latest developments, the Secretary-Generalís recommendation for 10 military officers is particularly relevant. They could support the Ministry of Defence and the F-FDTL in the implementation of policies, rules and regulations, instructions, procedures and principles governing all areas of defence and military services, such as personnel administration, personnel services, training and doctrinal development, operations, logistic systems, combat arms, communications and engineering. Those military officers would be needed in addition to the three civilian advisers who will assist the Ministry of Defence in the development of organic law and other statutory instruments governing military services. Additionally, the military officers could advise the UPF, the border patrol unit, in management of the border security operations.
With the proposed four human rights officers and the two human rights advisers under the civilian advisory group, the Human Rights Support Section will be engaged in activities to promote respect for human rights within State institutions and civil society, through capacity-building, advice and training, before, during and after the elections. The provision of an adequate number of human rights officers and advisers should be considered as an absolute necessity, particularly during the period leading up to the 2007 elections.
Lastly, the Secretary-General recommends the retention of a small Civilian Advisory Section. While the main focus of the integrated office will be electoral assistance, the new office is expected to play a more active role in interacting with the Timorese authorities, including on the issue of a reliable justice system and respect for human rights. To this end, it is essential that the international community continue to foster the genuine national commitment to justice and human rights that exists in the Government, in civil society and among the Timorese people. The 10 civilian advisory support positions include those to support the Ministry of Defence, as alluded to earlier, three public prosecutors to assist in the coordination of the prosecution services, one legal adviser to the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal, and two human rights advisers, just mentioned, at the Office of the Provedor for Human Rights and Justice and at the National Parliament.
In conclusion, I wish to emphasize that, while the leaders and the people of Timor-Leste have made significant achievements over the past five years in consolidating peace and democracy, State institutions are increasingly challenged to address the grievances of various groups and the rising expectations of the people, as well as the potential risks associated with
the conduct of the first post-independence presidential and parliamentary elections. The latest developments have reminded us that not only is democracy in Timor- Leste still fragile, but also that the internal security situation is easily assailable.
As Einstein once said ďthe significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created themĒ. With regard to Timor-Leste, the country that was given birth by the United Nations in 1999, what is required of us now is a change in our perceptions, assumptions, or the lens through which we view this country in crisis. The leaders and the people are calling for our assistance to help them solve the problems that we did not intend to create when the United Nations helped restore their independence in 2002.
As I close this presentation, I wish to express my appreciation for the trust and confidence that the leaders and the people have shown in the United Nations. We have been learning from the Timorese people as much as they are learning from us. Finally, I wish to express my sincere appreciation to all the civilian police and military staff of UNOTIL, who have worked so hard in discharging their mandate. They are now set to return to their home countries, leaving behind a legacy of dedication, commitment and passion for peace, stability and the development of Timor- Leste.
The President (spoke in French): I shall now give the floor to Mr. Hasegawa, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, to respond to the comments made and questions raised during the discussion.
Mr. Hasegawa: I wish to express my own and Foreign Minister Ramos-Hortaís appreciation for the insightful and encouraging comments made by members of the Security Council and other delegations. I wish simply to respond to the question raised by the Argentine representative, Mr. Apparicio da Silva, about the root causes of the recent incidents in Dili.
I believe that the conflict that erupted two weeks ago has three root causes.
The first is the institutional inability to address the grievances of personnel due to the lack of a viable vision or policy regarding human resources management, mostly in the Timorese armed forces (F-FDTL).
The second root cause, I believe, is the poverty and unemployment that continue to prevail in the country, particularly among young people, who have nothing, and nothing to lose.
The third root cause is the mindset and tendency of politically oriented interest groups to resort to violence to incite the population and gain greater influence. Indeed, given the nascent character of the political system, continued assistance is needed from the international community.