Subject: UNMISET: UNIFEM Executive Director praises ‘spirit iso-88

UNMISET PRESS RELEASE

UNIFEM Executive Director praises ‘spirit of Timorese women’

(Dili, 7 August) The Executive Director of UNIFEM [the UN Fund for Women], Noeleene Heyser, yesterday paid tribute to Timorese women who suffered much as victims of conflict but who kept their spirit intact. Her remarks followed her visit to Maushiga [Ainaro district] on Tuesday, when she met for several hours with the village’s residents. “Some of the women there still have wounds, still have bullets lodged in their bodies. But what impressed me most was their spirit. They are not bitter, they just want to see access to schools, to health care, and for them, that will mean that the fight was worth it”, says Ms. Heyser.

She chose to visit Maushiga because women from the village had recently taken part in a CAVR [Commission on Reception, Truth and Reconciliation] hearing on women and conflict. It is also a village where the whole community is very supportive of the women.

Ms. Heyser was in Timor-Leste to launch the book “Women, War, Peace”, an independent assessment of the impact of armed conflict on women and of women’s role in peace-building, commissioned by UNIFEM.

After the launch [Wednesday morning], she and RDTL’s President Xanana Gusmão chaired a panel discussion on the challenges for Timorese women in peacetime, co-organised by the Peace and Democracy Foundation. The women who took part in the discussion highlighted the lack of jobs, concern for security after UNMISET leaves Timor-Leste, concern over PNTL [Timorese police force] behaviour and over prostitution as key issues.

Ms. Heyser met with the RDTL President, Prime-Minister Mari Alkatiri and other senior government officials, as well as with Timorese women’s groups, UNMISET, UN agencies and members of the diplomatic community before ending her 3-day visit early this afternoon.

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For further information contact: Marcia Poole Spokesperson/UNMISET Mobile: + 670 723 0793 Telephone: + 61 8 8946 3900 Ext. 6059


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