Building together a country free from torture and violence in Timor-Leste
The Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) remotely with the Ministry of Justice of Timor-Leste (MoJ), Provedor for Human Rights and Justice of Timor-Leste (PDHJ), advancing torture prevention efforts in the country despite COVID-19.
Aiming to prevent torture and ill-treatment at the national level, the cooperation will be carried out through education, awareness raising, research and data systematization and informational exchanges with relevant stakeholders, to with the long-term objective of developing a national roadmap on torture prevention.
The partnership between the Provedor for Human Rights and Justice and the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) dates back to 2013 “Torture Prevention Ambassador” project, and more recently intensified with the development of the torture prevention guidelines for South East Asia National Human Rights Institution Forum (SEANF). On that occasion, APT had visited Timor-Leste in October 2019 to assess the potential needs of support that Timor-Leste required for the implementation of strategies for torture prevention in the country.
“Thanks to the APT and the financial support of the Government of Switzerland, the MoU has been signed jointly with the Ministry of Justice of Timor-Leste on 6 October 2020. It will directly benefit the Ministry and law enforcement officials such as the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) and the Timor-Leste Defense Force (F-FDTL), governmental ministries, agencies and civil society organizations working on torture prevention,” stated Ms. Jesuina Maria Ferreira Gomes, Provedora for Human Rights and Justice. “This trilateral cooperation between MoJ, APT and PDHJ is hoped to assist national stakeholders in collectively implementing policies and measures to reduce torture and ill-treatment throughout the country,” she added. Her full speech can be read here.
The tripartite agreement “is an important step to strengthen the Government of Timor-Leste efforts to promote, protect and fulfill the human rights of its citizen,” said the Minister of Justice of Timor-Leste, Mr. Manuel Cárceres da Costa. “This cooperation is a significant step to contribute to the capacity building of prison guards, to elevate their knowledge on the legal framework of human rights, and to provide appropriate security to those who fulfill their punishment in prison with dignity,” he stated. His full speech can be read here.
Barbara Bernath, Secretary-General at the APT, in her statement, emphasized that the MoU with Timor-Leste is a model for the cooperation of the international Non-Governmental Organisation with other countries in South East Asia and globally. “It is in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and with our 2020-2023 Strategic Plan to promote constructive dialogue and our values of partnership and empowerment, inclusion and equality,” Barbara Bernath concluded. Her full statement can be read here.