Security Sector Policy is Not Yet a Priority in Timor-Leste

Security Sector Policy is Not Yet a Priority in Timor-Leste post thumbnail image

“A Recommendation for Presidential Candidates and Political Parties in the General Election of 2017 – A Civil Society Perspective”

In 2017, Timor-Leste will hold elections for the President of the Republic and the National Parliament. The presentation of Presidential Candidates will conclude by February 5th 2017, and the Technical Secretariat for Electoral Administration (STAE) has stipulated that the election for the President of the Republic will be held on March 20th 2017. This means that the Government will be required to ensure that security is maintained during the General Elections of 2017, and that the rights of Timorese citizens to engage in free, fair and safe democratic elections are upheld. This will be one of the most significant tests for the Government and its ability to uphold the rule of law, since the withdrawal of the United Nations (UN) Peacekeeping mission at the end of 2012.

FM calls on both Presidential Candidates and Political Parties to devote greater attention to the development of security policy and the security sector, and how they will implement this if elected. Policy development within the security sector is still lacking, and will require much greater attention by the incoming government. The new Government must be willing to assume responsibility for both security provision and the development and implementation of more cohesive security and defense policy, to be handled by the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Defense respectively.

Policy development to be considered by the incoming Government must include national security, national defense, institutional development and legislation for both the Timor-Leste Defense Force (F-FDTL) and the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL), as well as that for other agencies involved in internal security.As the new President of the Republic will be Head of State and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, it is essential they have a thorough understanding of both capacity and policy shortfalls within the security sector, and are able to drive the development of more effective security and defense policy.


1. FM recommends that the new Government prioritize the development of cohesive and effective security and defense policy, rather than continuing with current policy and budgeting.

2. FM recommends that the successful Political Party prioritize the development of the F-FDTL and PNTL, to ensure that they develop the capacity to provide for both national defense and internal security.

For more details on this issue, please consult the following:


Nélson Belo
Executive Director of FM
Phone: +670 78316075 or 7756 1184

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