Subject: TLGOV: Council of Ministers considers draft report on the rights of children


MEDIA RELEASE Dili, November 21 2006

Council of Ministers considers draft report on the rights of children

The Council of Ministers has discussed a draft report on the implementation in Timor-Leste of the United Nation’s International Convention on the Rights of Children.

The report ­ with some minor amendments ­ is expected to be resubmitted to the Council of Ministers on Thursday (November 23) to be approved and forwarded to the UN Secretary-General.

The Prime Minister Dr José Ramos-Horta told a seminar attended by children from schools and orphanages in Dili that the Government has an obligation to prepare a detailed report on these matters and submit the report to the treaty body in Geneva.

Timor-Leste ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 2002 ­ along with all other human rights conventions. We were one of the few countries in the world to ratify all of the human rights conventions,” Dr Ramos-Horta said.

But ratification of any international treaty implies the government has to adapt laws and policies consistent with the obligations deriving from those conventions. One of the obligations of states that have ratified treaties is to submit a detailed report to the Secretary-General of the UN, who then forwards it to the treaty body in Geneva.”

The one-day seminar was organised by UNICEF and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport. The seminar was held at the Ministry of Education Culture and Sports Hall and was originally scheduled to be held on May 30, which is National Children’s Day, however it was delayed because of the crisis.

Dr Ramos-Horta said Timor-Leste was the first country in the world to pioneer a simplified reporting technique concerning convention reports that is less cumbersome and repetitive. He said it consisted of one basic document similar to all other conventions and then a second document of the report specifically dealing with the rights of the child. This format is being adopted by other countries including Australia, Afghanistan and Angola.

Former Timor-Leste human rights advisor Katherine Anderson traveled to Afghanistan to help the authorities there establish a similar reporting format,” Dr Ramos-Horta said.

Supporting children is part of national policy and our Constitution sets out the obligations of every person in Timor-Leste towards our children.

While the First Constitutional Government of Timor-Leste immediately ratified this Convention, there might be some areas where Timor-Leste law may need to be amended to ensure it can be applied in practice.”

Dr Ramos-Horta said the report submitted to the last Council of Minister was presented by his Human Rights Advisor Joaquim Fonseca, an experienced human rights activist.

The report will be resubmitted on Thursday to the Council with some minor updates of facts and when approved will be forwarded to the Secretary-General,” Dr Ramos-Horta said.

I thank the UN Office for Human Rights Commission for its very generous assistance which was critical in enabling Timor-Leste to fulfil its reporting obligations. The report called for a major effort in consultation.

The staff of MNEC initiated this report and it took almost two years of hard work in gathering the data from across Government agencies, and extensive travel to all districts to listen to people on the ground.

This process served to educate everyone about the content of the treaty.”

The Prime Minister praised the staff of MNEC, Ms Anderson, the UN’s Human Rights Unit in Dili, and UNICEF for their outstanding contribution in making the treaty a reality. November 20 is the day on which the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959 and also the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.

For further information please contact::

Joel Maria Pereira Information Officer Gabinete Primeiru Ministru Email: <> Telephone: +670 7254740

Ivana Belo Information Officer Gabinete Primeiru Ministru Email: <> Telephone: +670 724 3559.

Julian Swinstead Communications/Media Advisor Office of the Prime Minister Email: <> Telephone: +670 732 7776.

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