The Future of Private Security Companies in Timor-Leste?

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Fundasaun Mahein, 20th December 2011

Press Release

The Future of Private Security Companies in Timor-Leste?

Mahei nia Lian No. 27 will discuss in detail the operations of Private Security Companies (PSC’s) in Timor-Leste and their impact in the future.

The report looks at the main security companies operating in Timor-Leste: Gardamor, Maubere security, APAC, Gear Defence, Unipessoal Lda and High Risk Security Group. With the exception of Gardamor, all Private Security Companies are joint ventures between Timorese and Internationals, which has lead to several internal disputes.

PSC’s are an integral part of the security sector in Timor-Leste. With the ongoing rise of economic activity in Timor Leste, PSC’s have become an increasingly visible element of the security sector. As private companies, guarding government institutions, NGO’s, businesses and private residences, it is important to analyse their contemporary and future role in the context of security sector development, and what effect they have on the security situation in the country. Being one of the largest providers of jobs in the country, and the fact that the security sector is not a government regulated industry, FM feels that a in-depth investigation into the role the activities of the PSC’s companies operating in Timor-Leste, is crucial to understanding the shifting dynamics of the security sector.

Important questions to answer are; Why are PSC’s needed in Timor-Leste? Who is in charge of the companies? Where do they operate? What is the role of PSC’s in the security sector? How do these companies help protect Timorese people? What are their relationships with the government? What is the future of the PSC industry? And what will be the repercussions of the UNMIT withdrawal in 2012 on those made redundant within the PSCs?

Resulting from research, carried out in the form of interviews with key players in the PSCs, government and civil society, Fundasaun Mahein would like to make the following recommendations:

1. Recommends the General Commander of the PNTL to establish working relations with PSCs.

2. Recommends the PNTL to approve the uniform design, requested by PSCs. We recommend also that the government establish a registration office within the Secretary of State for Security to regulate and coordinate activities between PSCs and the government.

3. FM suggests the government to open discussions immediately to find solutions for those security guards who will be made redundant as a result of the departure of UNMIT in 2012.

4. FM recommends the Government to pass legislation regulating the code of conduct of PSCs.

If you would like more information on this topic please contact:
Nélson Belo,
Director Fundasaun Mahein
Tlp +670 737 4222

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