Norway welcomes the delegation of Timor Leste and appreciates the presentation of the national report.
Norway commends the efforts of Timor-Leste in acceding to and incorporating core international criminal law and international human rights standards in national laws.
Despite Timor-Leste’s commitment to most international human rights conventions, Norway has noted delayed presentation of reports under several of the UN human rights treaties. Norway recommends Timor Leste to take concrete actions to speed up the reporting process for periodic treaty body reports that are overdue and include all stakeholders in a transparent process. We also recommend Timor Leste to establish a schedule for complying with its UN treaty reporting obligations and inform the NHRI and civil society of such. Norway believes this is important in terms of gaining public trust, consolidating democracy and ensuring the Timor-Leste government’s accountability.
Establishing a solid justice sector is furthermore crucial to successful state building. Norway recommends Timor-Leste to continue supporting and cooperating with the UNDP in projects aiming at strengthening the institutional capacity of the justice sector, uphold the rule of law and improve access to justice through legal empowerment of the poor and disadvantaged.
Norway is pleased to see that Timor-Leste in the 2009 penal code made domestic violence a public crime. We note with concern however the increasing number of reported acts of domestic violence against women. Norway recommends Timor-Leste to fight this trend and improve women’s rights by a) focusing on awareness training for gender-based violence in the justice system, b) improving women’s access to justice, c) ensuring that gender mainstreaming is incorporated when new legislation is developed and d) fight discrimination against women in the judiciary.
Norway welcomes the establishment of the National Children’s Rights Commission (NCRC) as an independent national institution. At the same time we have noted with some concern the limited legal competencies of the NCRC. In order to enhance efficiency and public trust, Norway recommends Timor Leste to amend the Statute of the National Commission for the Rights of the Child to include legal competencies to undertake institutional interventions against ministries working in children’s rights areas and receive complaints of violations against children’s rights.
Norway recognizes the important work which is being done with regard to the draft legislation on juvenile justice. Norway recommends Timor Leste to continue to consult UNICEF and the NCRC in the process of finalizing the draft to ensure that the law is clear and that the procedures are appropriate and take into consideration the local context and available resources. We also recommend that the principle of “the best interest of the child” is well integrated in the draft legislation law on juvenile justice and that children in conflict with the law are deprived of their liberty only as a means of the last resort.
Norway congratulates Timor-Leste on its efforts to reduce domestic tension and secure peaceful and stable international relations. At the same time we are concerned that the legacy of former conflicts continues to undermine political stability in Timor-Leste. We recommend Timor-Leste to address violations in the past and recommend that the two draft laws establishing a national reparations programme for victims and an “Institute for Memory” are put on the agenda of the parliament for deliberation this year.