Fact Sheet: United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste completes its mandate
The strong partnership between Timor-Leste and the United Nations dates back to the Organization’s support for this nation’s struggle for self-determination and the historic Popular Consultation in 1999. Since then, the country has hosted five United Nations peacekeeping and political operations, as well as the presence of UN funds, agencies and programmes.
The UN Security Council deployed the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) in response to the internal crisis that shook Timor-Leste in April and May 2006. The crisis displaced up to 150,000 people, who took shelter in camps throughout the capital city, Dili, and Baucau. Tension was rife, with former members of the security forces armed and at large in the countryside.
On 25 August 2006, the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 1704, mandating UNMIT to provide interim law enforcement and public security until Timor-Leste’s national police could be reconstituted and able to resume these roles. The broad mandate included helping the Government organize elections; build capacity in governance, justice and security sectors; strengthen human rights mechanisms; and complete investigations into cases of serious human rights violations committed in 1999. The mandate provided support for the Government’s mechanisms for donor coordination and for promoting gender equality in building institutions and making policy.
In September 2011, the Government and UNMIT signed a Joint Transition Plan (JTP) to guide planning for UNMIT’s expected withdrawal by the end of 2012. The plan, the first of its kind in peacekeeping, mapped out priorities and objectives until UNMIT’s departure, and identified 129 UNMIT activities to be completed by the end of December 2012 or handed over to partners thereafter. Implementation of the plan was monitored by a High-Level Committee on Transition, chaired by the President and bringing together senior officials from the Government and UNMIT.
Each year, UNMIT’s mandate translated into a 1600-member United Nations police component and a number of military liaison officers, as well as hundreds of Timorese, international and volunteer civilian personnel.
Since UNMIT’s creation, its personnel have worked with all segments of Timorese society, from the police and armed forces, to the National Parliament and political parties, and to civil society groups and news media throughout the country, to help Timor-Leste achieve stability, build a resilient state, and improve the lives of all its citizens.
Thanks to the resilience and determination of the Timorese people and their leaders, and with the support of the international community, Timor-Leste has made tremendous progress since 2006. The displaced people have peacefully returned to their homes. Since March 2011, the national police have been responsible for policing throughout the country, with no major breakdown of law and order. Timorese news media and civil society are growing ever stronger, making important contributions to the democratic debate in the country.
Poverty is decreasing as a result of public investments in infrastructure and services, fuelled by the income from Timor-Leste’s petroleum resources, which are managed through the Petroleum Fund. Since 2005, life expectancy at birth increased by more than two years and now averages 62.1 years. Primary school enrolment, a key element to future stability and growth, jumped from 63 per cent in 2006 to 90 per cent today. The country is on track to eradicate adult illiteracy by 2015.
On the political front, 2012 saw free and peaceful presidential and parliamentary elections, followed by the smooth formation of a new Government. Well over 70 per cent of the population went to the polls to vote in both the presidential and parliamentary elections. Through a quota system, women comprise 38 per cent of the parliament, the highest representation of women in parliament in the Asia-Pacific region. Beyond its borders, Timor-Leste has transitioned from receiving peacekeeping assistance to contributing personnel to United Nations operations in other parts of the world. The country has assumed a leadership role with the g7+* and is a key contributor to the New Deal for aid effectiveness.
By its resolution 2037 of 23 February 2012, the Security Council extended the mandate of UNMIT for a final period until 31 December 2012. The departure of the Mission, however, does not mean the end of the United Nations engagement in the country, as Timor-Leste continues to face many challenges. The United Nations is determined to embrace the Government’s proposal for the global body to continue to be an important partner in the country’s development and to establish an innovative working relationship of cooperation for the postUNMIT phase focusing on institutional strengthening and development.
- The g7+ is an independent and autonomous forum of 17 fragile and conflict affected countries that have united to form one collective voice on the global stage.
• Atul Khare — Special Representative of the Secretary-General, December 2006 – December 2009
• Ameerah Haq — Special Representative of the Secretary-General, January 2010 – June 2012
• Finn Reske-Nielsen — Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General, June 2012 – December 2012
Authorized strength [S/RES/1704 (2006)]
• 1,608 police personnel
• 34 military liaison and staff officers
• Appropriate civilian component
Total personnel served since 2006
• 5,381 uniformed personnel [5,119 police 262 military officers]
• 989 international staff
• 1,593 national staff
• 747 UN Volunteers
• 9 police personnel
• 3 international civilian staff
• 4 national civilian staff
(16 in total)
Military and police contributing countries
Military liaison and staff officers:
Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Fiji, Japan, India, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan,
Philippines, Portugal, Sierra Leone, Singapore
Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, Croatia, Egypt, El Salvador, Fiji, Gambia, India,
Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan,
Palau, Philippines, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Samoa, Senegal,
Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United States, Uruguay,
Vanuatu, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe