The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Timor-Leste, Ameerah Haq, presided over a dialogue with civil society on UN Security Council resolution 1325 in Dili on 11 June, on the occasion of the Global Open Day on women and peace.
Representatives from various women's organizations in Timor-Leste came together at a preparatory consultation on 26 May to identify key concerns regarding the implementation of resolution 1325. At the meeting with the Special Representative, the women presented their recommendations, which included that gender parity in the national police should be promoted throughout the hierarchy and that gender-sensitivity should be fostered in the police and military.
The women also proposed the establishment of an international tribunal to address the crimes committed during the years of conflict and called for recognition of the fact that women formed the majority of victims. They further highlighted the importance of sustaining the participation of women in decision-making and peacebuilding, for instance in the mechanisms that facilitate the community integration of former internally displaced persons.
“Very important work has been undertaken in Timor-Leste on all fronts to engage and promote women in peacebuilding and decision-making, to protect them from sexual and gender-based violence and to promote gender equality,” said the Special Representative in her address. She pointed to the recent adoption of legislation on domestic violence, to trainings on mediation provided to women by local civil society organizations, and to trilateral consultations with Ireland and Liberia on the implementation of resolution 1325. But Ms. Haq also emphasized that much more remained to be done, for example in ensuring equal access to justice and resources.
As part of the Global Open Day agenda, the Special Representative and other UN officials visited on 9 June the border district of Covalima, where high levels of gender-based violence have been reported. In the town of Suai, Ms. Haq visited a shelter for victims of domestic or sexual violence, and participated in an event on women and peace that brought together around 50 women and men from civil society, government institutions, the police, the church and the media.