The situation in Timor-Leste has continued to improve, in spite of the regrettable attacks on the Government in 2006 and most recently in February of 2008. The United Nations plays a vital role in supporting stability and economic development in Timor-Leste.
Norway commends the Government of Timor-Leste for its handling of the attacks in 2008. The Government moved decisively to assert its authority and rapidly re-established law and order. In the aftermath of the attacks, the Government took steps to resolve the problems of the internally displaced persons and to reintegrate the ‘petitioners’ into civilian life.
Yet stability in Timor-Leste still remains fragile. The underlying challenges that contributed to the recent crises remain to be solved, such as growing poverty, unstable security institutions and a weak judicial system. Norway supports the Secretary-General’s assessment that until these challenges are tackled, there is a danger that any progress could be derailed.
Economic development in Timor-Leste will contribute to national stability. Norway will continue to support the Government and the UN in building a democratic state and fighting poverty. We recognise the progress made in including women and youth in the nation-building process and urge the Government to pay continued attention to these groups.
Durable peace and stability in Timor-Leste requires reforming the security forces. There is a need for clear separation of internal and external security responsibilities between the national police and the military. While the process must be led by the Timorese Government, Norway supports UNMIT’s continued efforts to strengthen discipline and enhance civilian control. The Government must also ensure cooperation between the Defence Forces and its Indonesian counterparts in securing their common border.
Norway believes further efforts are needed to resolve the problem of the internally displaced persons. The judicial sector, which continues to be weak and overburdened, needs to be strengthened. Any political interference in the justice system must be avoided, as it may undermine public trust in the judiciary and jeopardize the separation of powers, as guaranteed by the constitution.
Norway is concerned that Parliament again has postponed the long-awaited debate on the recommendations of the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation on the Indonesian occupation. It is our hope that Parliament will set a new date for the debate as soon as possible. Solutions to the recommendations of both this Commission and the Commission of Truth and Friendship must be found within the framework of applicable law and international human rights. A criminal justice approach needs to be complemented with a non-formal system of truth and reconciliation, as we have seen in other countries. Impunity runs the risk of undermining the public’s trust in the rule of law.
Norway supports an extension of UNMIT’s mandate for a period of 12 months at the current composition and strength. Other peace building mechanisms should be assessed for a later stage, such as the UN Peacebuilding Commission and the UN Peacebuilding Fund. We pay tribute to the nations participating in the UNMIT operation, as well as those contributing to the International Stabilisation Force.
Thank you, Mr President