Just weeks after Human Rights Watch released a report on torture and mistreatment by police in East Timor, the country's foreign minister wrote to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, inviting experts—including the U.N. special rapporteur on torture—to visit East Timor to investigate the charges of widespread human rights violations made in our report.
Human Rights Watch has documented torture, arbitrary detention, and excessive force by the East Timorese police and urged the government to hold perpetrators accountable. We are one of the only organizations to call attention to this pressing issue. Although the National Police Service of East Timor (Policia Nacional de Timor-Leste, PNTL) has had full responsibility for the country's thirteen districts since January 2004, it has not had adequate training or resources to maintain law and order in a manner consistent with international human rights standards. In advance of any U.N. investigation that may result from the minister's recent letter, we will meet with U.N. representatives and East Timorese government officials to advocate for improved monitoring of police activity.