Timor-Leste establishes National Commission for Children
29 September 2009, Dili, Timor-Leste – Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão officially launched the Timor-Leste National Commission on Child Rights during a ceremony held 22 September at the Prime Minister’s Office.
The National Commission for Child Rights is headed by Commissioner Adalgisa Ximenes, and is mandated to promote, defend and monitor children’s enjoyment of their rights. The work of the Commission will be strongly guided by the views and opinions of children and young people. It will help develop ‘child-friendly’ mechanisms, determine their views through appropriate consultations and promote a culture that would secure respect for children’s rights throughout the country.
The historic ceremony was witnesed by the Special Representative of the Secretary General for the UN Mission in Timor-Leste, Minister of Justice, members of the diplomatic corps and NGOs.
“The children are the future strength of the nation. The swearing-in of the commissioner shows we have reaffirmed our promise to the children to take critical actions that will ensure that they are loved, protected and have opportunities to participate in active decisions affecting their lives,” Prime Minister Gusmão said.
“Since the country’s leaders ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 2002, Timor-Leste has achieved good progress in realizing child survival, development, protection and participation rights in the country. Apart from the newly established Commission, many policies, legislations programmes and activities have been developed and implemented by relevant ministries, NGOs and civil society. Other initiatives are underway including the finalization of the Juvenile Justice legislation and Child’s Code as well as the decree law for the Youth Parliament. We should all be proud of these achievements,” said Mr. Jun Kukita, Representative of UNICEF Timor-Leste.
In January 2008, the Timor-Leste delegation, headed by the Minister of Justice and accompanied by UNICEF, presented Timor-Leste's First State Party Report on the Convention on the Rights of the Child to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva. The Committee in its concluding observations commended Timor-Leste’s move at establishing a National Commission for the Rights of the Child and recommended the government expedite the formation of the Commission.
“The Ministry of Justice’s duty was to draft a Code for the Rights of Children and define the legal capacity of an independent National Commission to ensure child rights relating not only to civil law but also to juvenile justice,” said Minister of Justice Lobato.
UNICEF provided technical support and supplies in establishing the National Commission.
For additional information, contact: