During April UNDP coordinated with the PNTL municipal commandos to conduct security election workshops in Bobonaro and Ermera municipalities on 06 and 09 April and a peace march on 06 April in Baucau Municipality with the support of the Government of Japan.
The key objective of the workshops was to raise awareness of the upcoming 12 May parliamentary election with communities and citizens of Bobonaro and Ermera municipalities with the objective of maintaining peace, unity and stability before, during and after the election. The workshops also aimed to strengthen the visibility of PNTL’s work by sharing information and experiences on PNTL’s roles, responsibilities, disciplinary code and public order.
Workshop and peace march attendees included representatives of political parties at municipal level, local authorities, veterans, youths, students and the catholic church. Collective actions were led by the PNTL commanders of municipal authorities in coordination with president of authority for three municipalities.
The workshop in Bobonaro municipality was conducted on the 06 April, attended by around 260 people. PNTL Bobonaro municipal commando has worked closely with sub-districts and communities and requested cooperation to surrender approximately 400 weapons consisting of air soft guns, modified soft air guns used as a killing riffle (kilat rakitan) and other traditional light weapon such as Samurai-like machetes.
As a part of the workshop, the gun handover ceremony was carried out as a symbol of peace and intention for a secure election. In addition to the ceremony, the work of suco leaders was awarded and municipal political parties signed the PEACE PACT.
The peace march on 06 April was conducted by PNTL Baucau and Baucau municipal authorities, involving over 1,000 people walking 3 kilometres from Baucau Villa Nova to Baucau Villa Antiga, calling for peace and unity within Baucau and the whole country.
The peace march started with the catholic mass prayers in Baucau Villa Nova Church where local political parties signed the PEACE PACT prior to the march. The march ended with speeches from UNDP, STAE, CNE, VETERANS and the PNTL Baucau commander, with closing remarks delivered by the Baucau municipal president who thanked UNDP and donors such as the government of Japan and Australian Federal Police for supporting the event.
UNDP is confident that the workshops and the peace march greatly contributed to increasing awareness and sense of the security for the upcoming election among the communities and citizens of Baucau, Bobonaro and Ermera municipalities. People now have a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of PNTL as well as those of political parties, local authorities, veterans, youths, students and catholic church representatives before, during and after the election.
UNDP has witnessed the commitment of people towards ensuring peace and stability to help facilitate a secure election for the bright future of the nation.