28 July 2008

Timor-Leste Armed Violence Assessment

Austcare and the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey have launched an assessment to identify and clarify concrete policy-relevant entry points to prevent and reduce real and perceived armed violence in Timor-Leste. Undertaken between May 2008 and May 2009, the AusAID-supported assessment will establish a Dili-based repository of existing international and domestic data on armed violence and serve as a clearing house for information and analysis. The objective of the assessment is to provide valid and reliable policy options for the Timorese government, civil society and their partners in identifying appropriate priorities and practical strategies.

Armed violence involves the use of force to intentionally harm, cause injury or kill. Unfortunately, in Timor-Leste as elsewhere, armed violence is under-reported and thus hidden from view. In order to assist government policy makers, international practitioners and Timorese communities, the armed violence assessment will generate timely, reliable and comprehensive issue briefs on specific themes.

In systematically examining the gap between real and perceived armed violence and assembling existing and new research, the assessment can inform interventions. On the basis of consultation with stakeholders in Timor-Leste, assessment focus areas include:

1. The risk factors, impacts and socio-economic costs of armed violence in relation to population health--particularly women, children and male youth and IDPs;

2. The dynamics of armed violence associated with ‘high risk’ groups such as gangs, specific communities in affected districts, petitioners, veterans, state institutions, and potential triggers such as elections; and

3. The role of arms (e.g. bladed, home-made or ‘craft’, manufactured) as a factor contributing to armed violence.

On the basis of ongoing consultations with government, Timorese civil society and international partners, the assessment will provide actionable evidence for decision making, monitoring and evaluation.

Issue Briefs will be released in multiple languages from late 2008 onwards. More importantly, the assessment promises to ensure the transfer and exchange of skills and training for sustainable research on armed violence. Where appropriate, Austcare and the Small Arms Survey will assist and strengthen domestic monitoring and information management capacities in the public health and security sectors to prevent and reduce armed violence.

Robert Muggah, Research Director, Small Arms Survey, Graduate Institute of International & Development Studies, 47 Ave Blanc, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland
Tel+41 22 908 5777/82, muggah@hei.unige.ch, http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/

Jay Maheswaran, Timor-Leste Country Director, Austcare
Phone +670 7265705 or director_tl@austcare.org.au

James Turton, Mine Action and Small Arms, Austcare
Phone +61(0) 404114712, jturton@austcare.org.au

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