Official Visit of the Embassy to Timor Leste

Earlier this month, from 6-10 August 2018, the Political Department from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Jakarta traveled to Dili to enhance political relations between the Netherlands and Timor Leste. The visit was also aimed to monitor a project implemented in collaboration with the UNESCO and the Timor Leste Press Council. The Royal Netherlands Embassy in Jakarta is also accredited to Timor Leste.

The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Jakarta, represented by Prof Roel van der Veen, Head of Political Department and Dio Herdiawan Tobing, Senior Policy Advisor, visited Dili and Baucau in Timor Leste from 6-10 August 2018. The visit was intended to get the Embassy familiar with the political development of the country in the aftermath of the recent election, maintain political relations with Timor Leste, and follow-up the implementation progress of a Dutch-funded project with the UNESCO and the Timorese Press Council.

At the beginning of the visit, the delegation called a meeting with the Bishop of Dili Diocese, Virgílio do Carmo da Silva, where he shared his view on the Catholic’s church prominent role in the Timorese politics. Notably, in the post-independence era, the Church became very active in providing social assistance through healthcare and education programmes to the citizens. The government provides a subsidy for the Diocese amounting to US$ 1,5 million per annum for the Church to be able to run 96 schools in Dili and Clinical healthcare.

The Delegation also met with Virgilio Do Carmo Da Silva, President of the Press Council, and UNESCO representatives to discuss the implementation of a Dutch-funded project on Strengthening Media Self-Regulatory Mechanisms in Timor-Leste inaugurated last March. The project involves collaboration with Universidade Nacional Timor-Lorosa’e and Universidade Oriental Timor-Lorosa’e, in various journalism and communication programmes. The team also recently hosted the Dili Dialogue Forum which aimed to share best practices of media self-regulation in neighboring countries and beyond. The conference was attended by various respective media experts from Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Australia, and the United States.

On the second day, the Prof Roel van der Veen delivered a guest lecture at the Universidade de Dili on the topic of the History, Relationship, and Cooperation between the Netherlands and Timor Leste. He mentioned that, “the historical relations and cooperation between the Netherlands and Timor Leste is not simply characterized by state-to-state or government-to-government relations but also from business sector, such as through the investment the Heineken, the Dutch beer brewing company and people-to-people: the presence of the Dutch community in Dili which actively involved in local development projects”. The guest lecture was attended by more than 120 students not only from the Universidade Dili but also from other neighboring universities such as Universidade Oriental Timor-Lorosa’e, Universidade Nacional Timor Lorosa'e, and Universidade da Paz.

The Delegation also called a meeting with Ms Josefina Tilman, the Foreign and Cooperation Ministry’s Director for Western Europe to discuss wide-array of issues, namely the direction of Timor Leste’s Foreign Policy in the newly-formed government, further opportunities of business engagement and investment in Timor Leste, and progress of the country’s accession to ASEAN.

As human rights are at the heart of the Dutch foreign policy, the Delegation spoke with the UN National Human Rights Officer, Maria Teresa dos Santos, about the current state of human rights in Timor Leste. It has come to our attention that domestic violence has become one of their primary concerns due to the lack of human rights awareness and the existing patriarchal culture at the grassroots level.

During the last days, the Delegation went out from the Capital to visit Baucau, Timor Leste’s second largest city, to get an overview of how the government performs its infrastructure development outside of the capital. The Delegation had the chance to meet the Vice-President of Baucau Municipality and discussed the local development strategy and its priority areas. One of the main priorities includes performing enhanced training programs provided to the locals in preparation to work abroad, mainly in Australia and South Korea.

The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Jakarta, represented by Prof Roel van der Veen, Head of Political Department and Dio Herdiawan Tobing, Senior Policy Advisor, visited Dili and Baucau in Timor Leste from 6-10 August 2018. The visit was intended to get the Embassy familiar with the political development of the country in the aftermath of the recent election, maintain political relations with Timor Leste, and follow-up the implementation progress of a Dutch-funded project with the UNESCO and the Timorese Press Council.

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