Eleven communities agree on peace deal
Dili – People from eleven hamlets (aldeias) from Dili’s Bairo Pité and Comoro areas gathered today in Manleuana for a traditional tara-bandu peace ceremony.
The ceremony is part of a peace-building initiative supported by the UNDP and the Ministry of Social Solidarity’s Department of Peace-Building and Social Cohesion (DPBSC) which is using traditional village dispute resolution practices to resolve conflicts stemming from Timor-Leste’s 2006 crisis.
Village (suco) and aldeia chiefs, traditional leaders (lia nains), representatives from rival martial arts groups and youth and over 150 guests attended the tara-bandu.
In 2006, Manleuana witnessed conflicts between residents from different parts of the country.
Community members were displaced and over 92 houses burnt.
“To address the conflict in the Manleuana area, tara-bandu and dialogue are important instruments to sustain social cohesion and promote Timorese culture among members of these communities,” said Jose Belo, UNDP’s chief technical adviser on the peace-building project.
“Today I would like to specially congratulate the martial arts groups for taking this important step towards peace and development.”
In Manleuana, the tara-bandu was recognized as a suitable mechanism for resolving conflict between two martial arts groups – PSHT and KORK.
A statement of intention, including rights and duties of the parties, was shared. It constitutes the basis of a social contract for maintaining peace and stability within the community.
Chief of the DPBSC, Agostinho Cosme Belo, Dom Aleixo Sub-district Administrator, Luis Maria da Silva Mota, UNDP Assistant Country Director, Alissar Chaker, representatives from the national police force (PNTL) and community police also attended.
“UNDP has been supporting various Government initiatives to bring peace and stability at the national and community levels. We are helping the Timorese people to identify risks and to include women and youth in peace-building efforts,” said Ms Chaker.
The Department has been providing training on the facilitation of dialogue and mediation processes for community leaders, suco council members, traditional leaders, youth and women representatives, to help communities manage the risks of conflict and resolve issues in a constructive manner.
UNDP’s Support to the Department of Peace-Building and Social Cohesion is funded by UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery.