Subject: Lusa: Legislation on police forces a key priority, says senior UN official

24-04-2003 14:37:00 GMT Invalid Hora local. Fonte LUSA . Notícia SIR-4954366

East Timor: Legislation on police forces a key priority, says senior UN official

Dili, April 24 (Lusa) - The head of the United Nations' civil police department urged East Timor Thursday to rapidly draft and approve legislation for its police forces.

Calling on Dili for action "as quickly as possible", Kiran Debi challenged a seminar in the East Timorese capital "not to waste this opportunity" because "you are losing time and put the future at risk".

Debi, director of the Civil Police Division in the UN's Department of Peace Maintenance Operations, set out a series of priorities for the sector, including legislation assuring that police would operate in a nonpartisan manner and in respect for human rights.

Among other key concerns, she underlined the need for police functions to be closely coordinated with the justice and prison systems.

Future legislation, Debi added, should also assure that the recruitment, promotion and transfer of officers never be carried out by "only one hand" and the police system be characterized by "transparency and clarity".

Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, who attended the two-day seminar of more than 230 participants, welcomed Debi's recommendations, saying his government sought an "independent, professional, efficient and responsible" police force.

During the seminar, participants called attention to other immediate problems facing the creation of police forces in the new country, which gained its independence 11 months ago after nearly a quarter century of Indonesian occupation and more than four centuries of Portuguese colonial rule.

The need for more training of regular and special police forces and their equipment are issues that will be raised again at the end of May in another meeting between Dili and international officials.


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