Welcome to UNMIT in transition, your source of information about the UN peacekeeping mission's decisions, positions and work during the transitional period.
21 June, 2012
Issue 4

UNMIT congratulates former SRSG Ameerah Haq on her appointment as Under-Secretary-General for the UN's Department of Field Support

from Ameerah

At midnight on 19 May, Taur Matan Ruak was sworn in as the new President of Timor-Leste. From that early morning hour until late into the evening of 20 May, Timorese across the country celebrated the peaceful transfer of power during festivities that also marked the 10th Anniversary of the Restoration of Independence. Then on 21 May, Under-Secretary-General Vijay Nambiar and I oversaw the first handover of United Nation’s equipment to the Government of Timor-Leste. (Click here for more information on the asset transfer.) Throughout the weekend, the celebrations across the country took place in an atmosphere of peace and stability.

Taken together these events represent another milestone for Timor-Leste, and another step towards UNMIT’s planned closure at the end of 2012.

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The inauguration of Taur Matan Ruak as President kicked-off Timor-Leste's weekend-long celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the Restoration of Independence

Acting Special Representative to the Secretary-General and Head of UNMIT Finn Reske-Nielsen
From Finn, Acting Special Representative to the Secretary-General and Head of UNMIT

I was deeply honoured by the Secretary-General’s request that I serve as Acting Special Representative for Timor-Leste and Head of UNMIT through the planned closure of the peacekeeping mission at the end of 2012. Timor-Leste has long been my home, as I have served here twice, first from 1999 to 2002 and then again from June 2006. I have been privileged to witness first-hand the remarkable progress of the past several years. So it is with both professional and personal satisfaction that I assume this new role, working with the Government, UNMIT staff, the UN agencies and our partners to complete our mission.

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Government task force and UNMIT plan transfer of UN assets to national partners

More than six months before UNMIT’s planned closure in December 2012, plans are ready for the transfer of buildings, communication networks, vehicles and other assets from the peacekeeping mission to national partners in Timor-Leste.

Late last year, Prime Minister Gusmão established a task force to manage the transfer of UNMIT services and equipment. Chaired by the Vice Minister of Finance, Rui Hanjam, the task force inspects UNMIT equipment, coordinates handovers of assets to government departments, and ensures that recipients of UNMIT donations have the ability to use and maintain equipment in the future.

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High Level Committee on Transition looks to the future and honours its past

With six months to go before UNMIT’s anticipated close, all signs point to the transition being on track. The 129 activities outlined in the Joint Transition Plan guiding UNMIT’s planned closure in December 2012, are about 60% per cent complete on average. We are making significant progress in policing.
Preparations for the gradual withdrawal of UNMIT civilians and police, as well as the transfer equipment and facilities are moving forward fast. These were among the findings presented at the 27 April meeting of the High Level Committee on Transition, hosted by President former José Ramos-Horta.

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Record number of Timorese police officers pass UN peacekeeper recruitment test

Seventeen Timorese police officers passed the recent recruitment test to serve as peacekeepers in UN missions overseas.

The rigorous recruitment process tested the candidates’ English language, driving and firearms skills. The number of Timorese national police (PNTL) passing the UN test was significantly higher than in previous assessments.
“This was a successful result, for the PNTL as an institution and for the country as a whole,” said Afonso de Jesus, the Deputy Commander of PNTL. “It is important that police officers from Timor-Leste make a contribution to peace elsewhere in the world. Our UNPOL colleagues from different countries are helping us here in Timor-Leste, and now our officers can do the same in other UN missions.”

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Gaining skills at home and abroad

UNMIT’s innovative National Staff Capacity Building Program (NSCBP) continues to expand its offerings, adding English-language immersion, occupational health and safety and forklift courses to the curriculum. As with the certification programme and small business course (see our story, Building capacity, building stability, in Issue 3), these courses are designed to help the Mission’s Timorese staff strengthen the skills they will need after UNMIT’s planned withdrawal in December 2012.

The English-language homestay program sends national staff members to Navitas English at Charles Darwin University for two weeks of intensive English language instruction, complemented by cultural immersion as guests in the homes of Darwin families.
“I help translate Tetum-language news stories into English and share these stories with UNMIT staff,” said Jaime dos Reis, relations and liaison assistant in the public information office. “It is important for my work that my English be as good as possible."

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Former SRSG Haq's farewell address to the Council of Ministers

Click on the photo above to hear excerpts from former SRSG Haq's farewell address to the Council of Ministers

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you asked?

When will UNMIT begin transferring assets to the Timor-Leste government?

UNMIT took the first step in transferring its assets to the Timor-Leste government on 21 May when it handed over five vehicles with long range radios, five generators and 10 computers. These vehicles and equipment are a small part the donation UNMIT will make as it moves closer its planned closure at the end of 2012.

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next issue

In the next issue of UNMIT in transition we will discuss the progress of the Mission's drawdown as well as plans for the UN's role after UNMIT closes.

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