23 June 2009

New Zealand scales up its support to the East Timor Ombudsman

New Zealand scales up its support to the Provedoria Project Dili, Timor-Leste 23 June 2009 - Continuing its commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights in Timor-Leste, on 4 June, 2009 the New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAID) signed a new agreement with UNDP for the provision of financial support to the UNDP / Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Provedoria for Human Rights and Justice (PDHJ) project.

With this new agreement, signed by the Manager of NZAID Sarah Wong and the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) Finn Reske-Nielsen, NZAID will provide a further US$ 150 000 to support the project activities in 2009. Reske-Nielsen is also the UNDP Resident Representative.

Welcoming the development, Dr. SebastiĆ£o Dias Ximenes, the Provedor for Human Rights and Justice noted that “New Zealand has supported the efforts of the Provedoria towards fulfilling its human rights mandate since 2006, just few months after we opened our doors to the public. New Zealand has remained a loyal ally of the PDHJ by providing invaluable financial support to our work under the UNDP/OHCHR umbrella human rights project.”

In her remarks, Sarah Wong, NZAID Manager, commented that “New Zealand has a strong commitment to peace and security in Timor-Leste. Access to justice, rule of law and human rights are key factors contributing to peace and security, and NZAID is highly supportive of the role of the Provedoria for Human Rights and Justice. Continuing peace and security in Timor-Leste is essential for providing an enabling environment that underpins all development efforts.”

DSRSG/UNDP Resident Representative Reske-Nielsen hailed the partnership between NZAID and UNDP, saying that it was “instrumental” in ensuring that UNDP continues to provide the kind of capacity building support which the Provedoria needs. “Institutions such as the Provedoria for Human Rights and Justice are important elements of any democratic society which is based on the rule of law, and UNDP, with the support of other development partners, is committed to assisting in the strengthening of this institution in Timor-Leste,” he observed.

New Zealand, together with Ireland and OHCHR, provide financial support to the three-year capacity building project within the PDHJ. The project, which began in 2007, is a partnership between the PDHJ, UNDP, and OHCHR and since its inception significant milestones have been achieved in regard to the strengthening of this critical human rights institution. Activities implemented vary from training, mentoring, internships, workshops, development of internal systems, and the design of human rights materials.

The PDHJ is the national human rights institution in Timor-Leste, mandated amongst other things, to receive complaints in the area of human rights and to monitor the human rights situation in the country.

For detailed information, please contact: Barbara Nazareth Oliveira, Interim Project Manager, PDHJ Capacity Building Project. Email: barbara.oliveira@undp.org. Cellphone: +670 743 0737.


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