31 December 2014

Fundasaun Mahein 2014: A Year in Reflection

ETLJB 31 December 2014 - As 2014 comes to a close, Fundasaun Mahein reflects upon the successes and shortcomings in security-sector development in Timor-Leste. Many lessons learned, and Fundasaun Mahein turns its gaze toward the future of this young democracy.

This year was one of relative peace and stability. From a security standpoint, no significant threats were posed over the course of 2014. Compared to recent years, there were no major acts of violence or uprising. Fundasaun Mahein believes that this calm and peaceful period symbolizes growing solidarity between citizens and security officials alike.

Indeed, this year witnessed a greater cooperation between the security institutions and citizens, as many initiatives have shifted to the community level. Police and community members have teamed up through community policing initiatives to prevent conflict and ensure greater safety for all. Community-level police measures have contributed greatly to security over this past year. Whereas these programs are less visible and less supported here in Dili, they have seen positive results across the country, as citizens have taken greater ownership of security within their communities.

This year, Timor-Leste hosted various international events. Perhaps the most involved was the CPLP Summit, at which representatives of Portuguese-speaking countries met to discuss and celebrate the common heritage of their peoples. Representatives from other governments also visited Dili this year, including the Foreign Minister of New Zealand and Susilo Bambang Yudayono (SBY), the former President of Indonesia, who visited Dili before the end of his political term. These visits, among others, seem to indicate a growing confidence in Timor-Leste as a stable entity.

Timor-Leste is also experiencing greater representation in international politics than before, thanks to the endeavors of former President of the Republic, Jose Ramos-Horta. In addition to his work as the Head of the United Nations’ Integrated Peace building Office in Guinea-Bissau, Jose Ramos-Horta has given countless speeches and lectures in 2014, offering his expertise in peace and conflict resolution.

A major headline this year was the sacking of foreign judges and foreign advisors by Government. This action was controversial, receiving both support and criticism from press entities both at home and abroad. While the long-term impacts have yet to be seen, it is noteworthy that the environment here in Timor-Leste after the event was quite calm and stable.

All of these developments in 2014 seem to indicate growing stability and peace in Timor-Leste, as well as a desire to participate in political discussions at the regional and international level.

It is with all of this in mind that Fundasaun Mahein offers the following hopes for 2015:

We hope that all citizens will contribute to the ongoing peace and security of this nation. We hope that all will join hands to define and support the prosperity of this young country. We hope that this country focuses on stability, in the effort to attract foreign investment, which will prove essential in building the education, economy, and security sector of Timor-Leste. With these goals in mind, we can truly make a difference in 2015.

Source: FM 24 Dec 2014 http://www.fundasaunmahein.org/2014/12/24/2014-a-year-in-reflection/

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