On Friday 29th of June, Fundasaun Mahein (FM) celebrates the third anniversary of its foundation. FM was founded in 2009 in response to the 2006 crisis and breakdown in the security institutions and to the need for greater civilian oversight over the security apparatuses. Since then, it has been mandated to provide monitoring, research and reporting on the Timor-Leste security sector.
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FMs mission is to assist in increasing the legitimacy and capacity of the Timorese security sector through citizen participation in the development of relevant legislation, policies and procedures. FM’s vision is of a Timor-Leste in which every citizen feels safe and secure in their own country, and that this condition will be based on the universal declaration of human rights and the constitution of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (RDTL).
FM feels that in the past three years, it has contributed to the development of the local security sector, which has seen significant improvements. It cooperates and maintains productive working relations with all the main security actors in Timor-Leste. In its three years of existence FM has published 36 reports and a couple hundred blog articles. Its outreach has expanded significantly and is a proud member of international SSR groups such as ISSAT, ASSET and the Asian group of security sector NGOs as well as being a member of the local National 7 Priority Working Group.
It has proved to be somewhat challenging at times to have our reports read, and our recommendations implemented by those in high places, but more often than not, we manage to get their attention and our relationship with most security actors is one based on mutual respect. We are also pleased that the people on the ground are increasingly reading our publications. The example of our border report read by a farmer in Batugade via his son in Britain is a fantastic example. Furthermore, FM is pleased to have contributed to and created debates on matters of security during the presidential and parliamentary elections.
FM is naturally still in an infant in terms of its development. FM still has many challenges to hurdle, however, despite our tender age; we feel at FM that we are punching above our weight.
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Our motto and approach to organizational development is that of “Neneik, ba Bebeik”, so as to allow sustainable and mature growth. We strive to move slowly but steadily ahead and keep on with our activities so as to contribute to the further development and professionalization of the security sector in Timor-Leste.