Dili, 2 April 2002

IEC SENDS PRESIDENTIAL BALLOT KITS TO DISTRICTS

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) today began sending ballot kits to districts throughout East Timor in preparation for the 14 April presidential election.

The kits include ballot papers and other sensitive polling material such as ink, ballot stamps and forms to be used by the IEC officers. The ballot papers show the image and name of the two presidential candidates, Francisco Xavier do Amaral and Xanana Gusm„o. The ballot kits will be kept secure until election day.

The IEC is setting up 282 polling centers with 933 polling stations throughout East Timor. It is estimated that each polling station will receive a maximum of 600 voters, although additional reserve ballots are being dispatched in case there are more voters than anticipated.

Seventy-two East Timorese and 35 International observer groups will participate in the presidential elections. These groups were accredited by the IEC during the official period of accreditation that ended on Saturday, 30 March 2002.

The number of East Timorese electoral observer groups has increased significantly compared to the total of 29 that registered to observe last yearís Constituent Assembly elections. IEC officials say this suggests a significant increase of interest in the electoral process and a greater awareness of the important role that observers can play in the process of ensuring transparent and free elections.

For more information on the organization of the presidential elections, go to www.iec.east-timor.org

UN, EAST TIMORESE POLICE OFFICIALS TO VISIT WEST TIMOR

UNTAETís Police Commissioner Peter Miller and a senior East Timor Police Service (ETPS) officer will travel to West Timor, Indonesia, tomorrow, for a three-day visit aimed at further developing ties between the ETPS and the Indonesian Police, POLRI.

In the West Timor capital Kupang, Miller will meet with West Timor Police Commander Jackie Uli and other members of the local government to discuss issues that include tackling cross-border crime.

Miller will be accompanied to Kupang by the Sub-Inspector of the ETPS, Hornai da Costa, and two police advisers.

The delegation is also expected to visit East Timorese refugee camps in West Timor prior to returning to Dili on 5 April.

EAST TIMOR POLICE OFFICERS RECEIVE HUMAN RIGHTS TRAINING

Twenty-six East Timor Police Service (ETPS) officers have begun a six-day ďtraining of trainersĒ course in Dili conducted by UNTAETís Human Rights Unit and UNICEF.

The training is being carried out prior to the phased handover from UN Police to the ETPS that begins on East Timorís 20 May independence and which will end in early 2004.

Topics in the human rights course include police as human rights defenders; non-discrimination and the protection of vulnerable groups; law enforcement and the rights of women; juvenile justice; and human rights during the process of investigation, arrest, and detention.

Two police officers from each of East Timorís 13 districts are attending the course, after which they will return to their respective districts to train their counterparts in the subject matter.

More than 1,500 Police Officers have now graduated from East Timorís Police College and are in the field undergoing Field Training Programmes in investigations, close protection, crowd control, administration, traffic control and in the Marine Unit. The ETPS has a projected target 2,800 officers by the year 2003.

MINISTERS APPROVE NEW MEASURE ON ELECTRICITY CHARGES

East Timorís Council of Ministers today approved a measure that aims to help the East Timor Power Service collect unpaid electricity fees.

The East Timor Power Service is currently experiencing financial difficulties due to an insufficient rate of customer payment.

The new measure will create a more rigorous system for collecting electricity fees while giving the Power Service additional means to do so.

The Council today noted that the Power Service is currently owed US$ 2.5 million by customers who have failed to pay their bills.

The new measure will reflect changes approved by the Council that include increased sanctions to be applied against those who fail to pay their electricity bills.

The Council will convene again on 4 April when it holds an Open Meeting in Suai district.