Dili, Timor-Leste, 2 April 2009 - The Portuguese Government announced a US$3 million contribution to the UNDP Enhancing the Democratic Rule of Law through Strengthening the Justice System in Timor-Leste programme. The Cost Sharing Agreement between the Government of Portugal and UNDP was signed on Wednesday, 1 April 2009 by Mr. Augusto Manuel Correia, President of the Portuguese Institute to Support Development (IPAD) and Mr. Finn Reske-Nielsen, UNDP Representative and UN Deputy SRSG, in the presence of Dra. Lúcia Lobato, Minister of Justice, at a ceremony held at the Ministry of Justice in Dili, Timor-Leste.
The Ministry of Justice is grateful to the Portuguese government for its valuable contribution towards promoting rule of law and effective administration of justice in our country. Portugal has shown consistent and genuine commitment to the justice sector through its work with the national judicial institutions since independence, said the Minister of Justice, Dra. Lucia Lobato.
The agreement has been renewed for another three years and Portugal will be increasing the level of assistance to the judiciary through the provision of US$1 million after the signing ceremony and the remaining USD$2 million over the next two years. The agreement will enable the UNDP Justice System Programme to strengthen its support to the judiciary. The programme has more than 30 international personnel working in line functions, mentoring and on-the-job training.
'Portugal remains committed to supporting the judicial sector of Timor-Leste in order to strengthen the rule of law. The justice system is a major priority for Portuguese cooperation in the country and we support this sector not only through the development of bilateral programs but also through the UNDP Justice Programme,' said the president of IPAD.
'Portugal's assistance will enable UNDP Justice System Programme to continue to train judiciary actors (magistrates, public defenders, clerks, private lawyers, legal drafters), to enhance access to justice, reduce case backlog and improve the quality of the correctional services. I am pleased to have an opportunity today to thank Portugal for their important contribution to strengthening the justice sector in Timor-Leste. I would like to take this opportunity therefore to thank the Government of Portugal for the continued support it has shown to strengthening the justice sector in Timor-Leste', said Mr. Finn Reske-Nielsen.
UNDP and the Council of Coordination of the Justice Sector have been working closely through the Justice System Programme to develop national capacity within the Courts, the Prosecution and the Ministry of Justice through the Public Defender's Office, Prison Services and the Legal Training Centre.
The UNDP Justice System Programme is also supported by Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Spain, Norway, Sweden and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UNDP Bureau of Crisis Prevention and Recovery.