Statement by H.E. Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti
Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations
New York, 23th February 2010
Security Council “The Situation in Timor-Leste”
I extend a warm welcome to Deputy Prime Minister José Luis Guterres and thank him for his statement. Through him, I wish to congratulate the Timorese Government and people for the progress achieved in many different areas in the past year, including in the economic, social, political and security domains.
I also welcome the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ms. Ameerah Haq, and wish her success in her new functions. I thank the members of the Technical Assessment Mission to Timor-Leste, in particular its Chief, Mr. Ian Martin, for their diligent work and valuable recommendations.
The Brazilian Government has done its best to cooperate with the Timorese people, a fellow Portuguese-speaking country, even before the formal creation of the country. A common language, however, is not the only connection between our two countries. Even though we are geographically distant, similarities in history and culture bring us close together as partners and friends.
Currently, we have on-going cooperation projects with Timor-Leste in fields such as food security, education, health and security. We also cooperate on the strengthening of the judiciary, as well as on legal and diplomatic training.
We are pleased at the positive developments in Timor-Leste. The successful elections held last October in 442 villages (or sucos) for chiefs and councils are a sign of growing democratic maturity. The establishment of the anti-corruption committee in Parliament and the appointment of its first Commissioner are also significant.
The closure of all camps for internally displaced persons is also an important development. The challenge ahead is to continue to implement measures that enable all those who returned to their original homes to make a living in a safe environment.
Livelihood and employment opportunities have also increased in the country, including in rural areas and for vulnerable groups and youth, as described in the Secretary-General’s report. Improvements are noted in terms of job creation and in the qualification of human resources, as thousands of teachers have received intensive training and many hundreds of youngsters have had access to technical education. Brazil pays particular attention to these matters and has assisted the Timorese Government in capacity building by providing teachers and experts, as well as infrastructure.
Despite the overall progress, it must be noted that poverty and unemployment remain a formidable challenge, as underlined by Ms. Ameerah Haq. The international community should continue to cooperate with the efforts of the Timorese authorities to generate employment and income, as this constitutes an important path to ensure stability and growth.
We welcome the progress made in the security situation in Timor-Leste and commend the efforts undertaken by the Timorese National Police to carry out its duties. We welcome the positive results achieved so far in the districts and units already handed over to the Timorese police. We also support the resolve of the Government and the UN to intensify police training so as to ensure the sustainable resumption of primary policing responsibilities throughout the country as soon as possible.
The cautious approach taken by the Secretary-General for a gradual drawdown of UNMIT police, conditioned to progress in the development of a national police measured against the fulfillment of objective criteria and to an assessment of the evolving situation on the ground, is one that we fully support.
In our view, it is important to clearly delineate the roles and responsibilities of the security sector institutions, in particular between the police and the military, and to establish an appropriate civilian oversight mechanism. In this regard as well, progress has been made. The Timorese authorities have taken significant steps in the development of a legal framework for the security sector, including a National Security Law. We support their efforts and encourage them to proceed with determination.
Timor-Leste has been able to move forward and address some of the most pressing issues and challenges faced by any young country. The international community has provided assistance and should continue to offer its support to the Timorese.
Brazil supports the extension of UNMIT’s mandate, in line with the desire of the people and Government of Timor-Leste and as proposed by the Secretary-General. We believe the UN presence remains indispensable to assist the Government in consolidating the gains of the past and in ensuring a smooth transition to recovery and development. Taking into account the planning for possible future adjustments in the UN presence, Brazil supports the proposal that the Council includes Timor-Leste in the schedule of visits to be made in the current year.