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UN Takes Over Policing Activities In Timor-Leste

UN Takes Over Policing Activities In Timor-Leste

New York, Sep 14 2006 1:00PM

Less than three weeks after the Security Council approved an expanded mission in Timor-Leste, the United Nations Police (UNPOL) there has assumed command of national policing in the fragile country.

At an official ceremony in the capital Dili yesterday, officers from Malaysia, Australia and Portugal symbolically replaced their national berets with UN blue berets, bringing the official number of UN Police in Timor-Leste to 554.

Addressing the officers, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative Sukehiro Hasegawa said their guiding mission was “to protect the Timorese people against acts of violence and to help rebuild their houses and institutions of governance, while fully respecting the sovereign state of Timor-Leste.”

One of UNPOL’s main duties will be to help reconstitute the Timorese National Police, training officers in human rights, community policing and incident management.

Violence earlier this year engulfed the tiny country, which the UN shepherded to independence from Indonesia in 2002. Dozens were killed and more than 150,000 people – or about 15 per cent of the national population – fled their homes.

Last month the Security Council approved a resolution creating a new and expanded UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT). The mission’s civilian component will initially include more than 1,600 police personnel and up to 34 military liaison and staff officers.

ends

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