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NZ praised by UN in East Timor

" I cannot speak highly enough of New Zealand Corrections Officers in East Timor. Today in Dili has been an example of New Zealand and New Zealanders at their best: principled and practical."

These are the words of David Harland, Director of governance of UNTAET (United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor).

"The United Nations and the people of East Timor owe a profound debt of gratitude to all New Zealanders. New Zealand was willing to send people to help at a time no other country would make the first move," says David Harland.

Ten New Zealand Corrections Officers and two managers today opened the re-built Becora prison in Dili.

Earlier this year a personal request was made to Minister of Overseas aid and of Corrections, Matt Robson to assist the East Timorese to re-build their devastated corrections system. This is the result of that request.

"Today is a crucial moment in East Timor's history and administration: at last a proper Corrections system has been established," says Matt Robson.

"The situation was getting dire. Inadequate buildings were doubling as prisons, over-crowding was a problem, and the security of the community was at risk.

"I am extremely proud of our New Zealand officers who are doing a fantastic job. Already they are training East Timorese officers, they've got programs up and running, gardens being planted, and they've re-opened the prison. This is very impressive," says Matt Robson.


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