28 June 2008

Statement by President Horta on Candidacy for Human Rights Commissioner


English Dili, 27 June 2008


I thank the many countries that in the last few weeks have encouraged me to table my candidacy for the position of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. I am very touched by the trust placed on me by the many friends in the world who believed that I would be a good High Commissioner.

I have reflected on this possibility, on the challenges, complexity and honour of serving the international community.

I have consulted with my East Timorese colleagues and friends. I have heard the voices of many humble East Timorese. I have consulted also with many friends whose opinion I cherish.

I was elected President of my country a little over a year ago to serve a 5-year term. Much has been achieved in normalizing the overall conditions in the country. Together with my colleagues in the leadership, with the generous support of the United Nations and the international community, we are progressing in helping the IDPs resettling in their homes, in resolving the issue of the so-called petitioners, and in bringing hope back to our people.

An early departure from my current responsibility would result in early elections and this would be an unfair burden on a people who went to the polls three times in 2007. Inevitably new tensions would resurface with predictable consequences for the country.

Hence I have decided NOT to put forward my name as a candidate for High Commissioner for Human Rights. I will stay on in Timor-Leste in the foreseeable future.

I have seen via the Media the number of candidates seeking this responsibility and honour, some of whom, I have known personally for many years and believe them to be highly qualified not only in terms of academic qualifications but also with a long track record in serving the cause of human rights and freedoms in many parts of the world.


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