Media Release: AFP United Nations assistance in Timor-Leste wrapped up

Release Date: Saturday, December 15 2012, 10:00 AM

Eight AFP officers returned to Australia today from Timor-Leste, wrapping up 13 years of United Nations Police assistance for our northern neighbour.

The officers have returned home in anticipation of the overarching United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor Leste (UNMIT), being completed on 31 December 2012.

Since July 1999, over 800 AFP members have been deployed to United Nations missions within Timor-Leste. The personnel were originally deployed to the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) to organise and conduct the Popular Consultation; a self-determination ballot by the people of East Timor.

During the 13 year period AFP members have been in Timor-Leste, they have carried out operational activities to re-establish law and order and then followed on to create the foundations for a local police service, the Policia Nacional de Timor-Leste (PNTL).

AFP members have provided advice, mentoring and a range of capacity development assistance to the PNTL, which has enabled the PNTL to take over full operational policing responsibilities.

AFP Manager of Overseas Missions Commander Bruce Hill said that the early assistance the AFP provided laid the groundwork for the stable nation Timor-Leste is today.

"In 1999, unarmed AFP members operated in difficult and dangerous conditions to ensure the initial self - determining ballot could take place,” said Commander Hill.

“Our commitment to United Nations Police (UNPOL) and to the people of Timor-Leste has continued through the years. Up to 50 AFP members at a time have been deployed to UNPOL, working to build an environment of peace and security and also responding with assistance in periods of crisis.”

“Our presence in Timor-Leste and relationship with the Timor-Leste National Police will continue through the work of the 32 AFP members attached to the Timor-Leste Police Development Program (TLPDP) which conducts a range of training, mentoring and capacity building activities.”


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