Timor-Leste police take over responsibility for country

Xanana Gusmao and Ameerah Haq

The Timorese National Police (PNTL) resumed full policing authority in the country following a hand over ceremony in Dili. The United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) completed the transfer of responsibility five years after the Government requested UNMIT to assume policing authority in Timor-Leste following a period of instability. Joyce De Pina reports.

De Pina: Timor-Leste’s National Police (PNTL) is now officially in charge of all aspects of policing activities in the country, following the conclusion of the resumption process. But this does not mean the end of the United Nations Police (UNPOL) presence in the country.

Xanana Gusmao, Timor-Leste’s Prime-Minister sees it as the beginning of a new chapter, with UNPOL in an advisory and mentoring role:

SOT Xanana Gusmao (Nat. Sound English): “If we take today as the end of an important and difficult mission of UNMIT, then tomorrow we will begin together a new stage.”

UNPOL will remain in Timor-Leste to support the PNTL until after the elections of 2012, when UNMIT is planning to withdraw.

The Special Representative of the Secretary General for Timor-Leste, Ameerah Haq, described the hand over as an historic event for the country:

SOT Ameerah Haq (Nat. Sound English): “The United Nations will remain to provide capacity building support, and other support as required and requested by the government.”

The transfer of policing responsibilities started two years ago. Since then, there has been no increase in crime rates or public order disruptions. The hand over ceremony was attended by the UN head of peacekeeping operations Alain Le Roy, who is currently visiting Timor-Leste.

duration: 1’27″ 

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