Visit to East and West Timor – June 2000

The Office of the Special Representative undertook a joint mission to East and West Timor from 14 to 21 June 2000 with the Japan Committee for UNICEF and its Goodwill Ambassador. The visit enabled the Office to assess at first hand the situation of children in East Timor after the violence that followed the national consultation of 1999, and the condition of child refugees in West Timor, and to consult with various actors regarding concrete measures to ensure the protection and rights of children during the reconstruction period.

Meetings and consultations were held with members of the United Nations country team including the United Nations Transitional Authority in East Timor (UNTAET), UNICEF, UNHCR, the World Bank, representatives of international non-governmental organizations, and local political leaders.

Impressive efforts have been made to protect children during the emergency and the ensuing reconstruction phases in East Timor. On the basis of on-site assessments and consultations on the ground, the Office of the Special Representative put forward several Recommendations intended to enhance existing efforts and ensure that children’s concerns are given due consideration in all relevant policy discussions and the design and implementation of relevant programmes. These Recommendations included:

  • The establishment of a national commission for children;
  • The placement of a senior child protection adviser within UNTAET;
  • The integration of child-related provisions into legislation and policy-making;
  • The provision of child rights training for United Nations peacekeeping personnel;
  • Awareness-building concerning child rights among the general population;
  • Programmes to address psychosocial trauma;
  • Local capacity-building;
  • Early rehabilitation of basic services and the development of radio programming for children.