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UPR of Timor Leste: infrastructure-building a priority as education, domestic violence cause concern
Wednesday, 19 October 2011 14:35

 

On 12 October 2011, Timor Leste presented its first national report to the UPR working group.  The small delegation was headed by Ms Lucia Maria Brandao F Lobato, the Timor Leste Minister of Justice, who addressed all the comments and questions raised during the review. 

 

Ms Lobato expressed her appreciation to be appearing in the Human Rights Council to submit Timor Leste’s first report.   Ms Lobato gave an overview of Timor Leste’s historical circumstances, noting that in 2012 it was celebrating 10 years of independence after more than 400 years of Portuguese rule and Indonesian occupation.  Timor Leste recognises that it faces a number of problems, including in the areas of education and health, however it noted that all challenges will take some time to address due to financial constraints.  Further, it is important for infrastructure to be further developed to allow for progress in the promotion and protection of human rights.

 

Ms Lobato noted a number of areas which Timor Leste recognised as challenges, many of which were also commented on by several States during the interactive dialogue:

  • Judicial system – inexperience of some judicial actors, including public prosecutors, and delays in courts;
  • Education – insufficient numbers of teachers, insufficient infrastructure including school buildings, low levels of student enrollments and high levels of drop outs, particularly among girls;
  • Health – insufficient numbers of doctors, high rates of malaria; and
  • Domestic violence.

Efforts were being made to address human rights problems in Timor Leste and several achievements and initiatives have been implemented.  The Government has established a legal framework for the promotion and protection of human rights, including the creation of a national human rights institution, the Provedoria for Human Rights and Justice, which is afforded an “A” level status under the Principles Relating to the Status of National Institutions (the Paris Principles).  The Law on the Use of Force was also created to provide guidelines to security forces on the use of force and preventing excessive use of force.

 

Education initiatives have included the establishment of Inclusive Education Units, which provide support to schools, and the launching of campaigns to promote the importance of education.   School meal programmes to encourage enrollment, and provision of scholarships for higher education have also been established.

 

Efforts have also been made to reduce the rates of domestic violence against women.  Training materials are provided to the public and incarcerated individuals, and more specialised materials are disseminated to legal professionals.  Shelters and self-help groups for victims of domestic violence have also been established.

States made the following comments and recommendations:

  • Ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture, the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances, the first Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
  • Extend a standing invitation to UN special procedure mandate holders.
  • Consider drawing up a national human rights plan of action.
  • Increase human and financial resources for the Provedoria for Human Rights and Justice.
  • Seek technical assistance from international donor agencies to increase training for public officials.
  • Intensify efforts to improve the legislature.
  • Repeal provisions in legislation which are discriminatory against women, particularly regarding inheritance, land ownership rights, and legal capacity.
  • Provide law enforcement officials with training on sexual violence.
  • Strengthen response to incidences of violence against minority religious groups.
  • Increase efforts through the legal training center to better train legal professionals.
  • Provide adequate training to the national police force, particularly in the area of human rights.
  • Strengthen judicial institutions by providing adequate staffing and legal materials.
  • Broaden access to justice, particularly in rural communities.
  • Continue to implement socioeconomic plans to ensure the Millennium Development Goals are met by 2015.
  • Continue to implement national health policies with the support of the international community.
  • Improve the system of birth registrations.
  • Adopt a minimum age requirement for labour.
  • Improve employment opportunities in rural areas.
  • Numerous states, including Japan, the Philippines, and Australia expressed their commitment to providing technical and other assistance to Timor Leste.

During the adoption of the report, the delegation accepted 46 recommendations from a total of 125 recommendations.  A further 42 recommendations were considered to have already been implemented or in the process of being implemented. Only two recommendations were rejected and the remaining 35 recommendations will be considered and responded to by the 19th session of the Human Rights Council.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 October 2011 14:37
 
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