UN Volunteers assisted the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) in making celebrations happen with three events to recognize the United Nations' central role in leading to independence and peace for the Timorese.
During the opening ceremony on UN Day, UNMIT Chief Mr Clark Toes praised the work of the United Nations, including UN Volunteers contributions in Timor-Leste since independence. This site was built to give tribute to the invaluable contribution of so many International Peacekeepers, UN Police, Civilian Staff, UN Volunteers, Humanitarian Workers and the International Community at large, who have had the honour to serve Timor-Leste and who immensely contributed to the countrys quest for peace and independence, he stated.
Recalling that the Peace Park was originally a project of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme - first inaugurated during the Independence Day celebration on 20 May 2002, Mr Clark made a special mention of UN Volunteers engagement in Timor-Leste. They have been a solid partner in peace-building in Timor-Leste since the Popular Consultation in 1999 and have maintained a strong presence until today, he said.
The main event was held in the afternoon of 24 October. In Dili Municipal Stadium, UN Volunteers shared information about the UN contribution to the Millennium Development Goals by making presentations to the public to raise awareness of the environment in particular, inviting children to participate in games and crafts to show how to reuse and recycle materials.
Before closing on 25 October, a UN Day Party took place at Obrigado Barracks, UNMIT Headquarters in Dili. During the day, UN Volunteers involved in activities for children and launched the UNV Kick-off Draw, a competition to raise awareness of the environment.
In Timor-Leste, the Peace Memorial in Dilis International Peoples Park remembers the victims of the 1999 conflict in East-Timor. UNVs engagement in the former Portuguese colony began just prior to a UN-organized ballot held on 30 August 1999, at which time the vast majority of East Timorese voted for independence from Indonesia. The year 2002 saw the birth of a nation and the climax of the largest operation in UNVs 31-year history both in Timor-Leste (formerly East Timor). No other UN operation had made such extensive use of UN Volunteers and their expertise. Since then, UN Volunteers have worked in all sectors of relief, development and peace, including forestry and fisheries, border control, district finances, gender affairs, human rights, refugee and returnee issues, forensics, civil engineering, water and sanitation, judicial and political affairs, research and census, health, trade, public information, taxation and elections.