In the press
East Timor and UN Volunteers linked for life
Bonn, Germany: East Timor's Senior Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jose Ramos-Horta, visited the United Nations Volunteers programme (UNV) during his first official mission to Germany since East Timor's independence less than a year ago.
Ramos-Horta, Nobel Peace Prize laureate of 1996, was invited to Germany to attend a multi-national conference on conflict prevention and resolution in Bonn. His programme included high level talks with the German government on issues of economic and development cooperation, environment-protection and human rights issues.
"Rarely do we have a Nobel Prize laureate in our midst," said UN Volunteers Executive Coordinator, Sharon Capeling-Alakija. Introducing Ramos-Horta to UNV staff as a man of great courage, she acknowledged that he now faced "an even bigger job to make sure that independence gives East Timorese the life they deserve."
Referring to the UN General Assembly debate on outcomes and future perspectives of the International Year of Volunteers held on 26 November, Capeling-Alakija thanked East Timor for having been among the 142 countries to co-sponsor the General Assembly Resolution "Follow-up to the International Year of Volunteers."
"East Timor and the United Nations Volunteers are linked for life," she said. Reaffirming these strong links, Ramos-Horta expressed his "most sincere gratitude for the tremendous contribution provided by UN Volunteers since our most difficult year, 1999," when a majority vote of the population for independence led to massive civil unrest.
He acknowledged the contribution of UN Volunteers who made their time and skills available to even the remotest communities during the following years and of those volunteers who helped prepare independence celebrations. He also paid tribute to the almost 300 UN Volunteers currently in East Timor who are involved in development and capacity building activities.
Expanding on East Timor's role as a member of the United Nations, Ramos-Horta said that his country was preparing "to work with other developing countries for greater assistance from the rich nations in the north." He also announced that the parliament of East Timor would ratify various international human rights treaties on 10 December. "I hope that this will encourage other nations from the developing world to do the same," he said.
"We hope that UN Volunteers will remain our friends and East Timor's ambassadors to remind the world that we still exist and need help from the donor community," Ramos-Horta concluded his speech.
East Timor has been the largest operation in the 31-year history of the United Nations Volunteers programme. Since 1999, nearly 3,000 UN Volunteers from over 100 countries have carried out key activities in the territory, helping to sow the seeds for the world's newest nation. On 27 September 2002, East Timor became the 191st Member State of the United Nations. This follows a sustained effort of the international community to help East Timor achieve peaceful independence in May 2002. For their part, UN Volunteers have supported a range of new institutions that have emerged for self-governance of the East Timorese people. In recent months the challenge has shifted from achieving independence to enhancing human development. In this new phase, UN Volunteers will continue their support to East Timor, focusing on development initiatives and strengthening or creating local capacity to support the country's public institutions.
|Home | Contact us | FAQs | Search | Sitemap | UNDP Information Disclosure Policy|
|UNV is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)|