I am proud to be here today to donate essential items to support the work of the Border Patrol Unit of the PNTL. The success of this unit is vital to securing Timor-Leste’s borders and stopping the flow of drugs across the border while promoting legitimate travel.
You might be surprised to learn that before I became a diplomat, I worked for the U.S. Immigration Service at the port-of-entry in Los Angeles. So I know from personal experience that the Border Patrol has a very difficult job to prevent human trafficking and the importation and transshipment of illegal drugs.
The United States is pleased to have provided $830,000 over two years to for UNODC to conduct training and build capacity in the Border Patrol Unit. We have provided 3 Ford Rangers for patrol activities along the border and within Oecusse and we have supplied thirteen computers, night vision devices, and other equipment used at border posts.
In addition, UNDOC has used U.S. funding to organize two human trafficking and counterfeit document identification training sessions, and one computer based training. Last year UNODC hosted a Border Liaison Office conference with Indonesian and Timor-Leste police, and also sent Border Patrol Officers to the border between Thailand and Cambodia to learn best practices. To increase drug detection capacity, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officers came to train the PNTL in Dili in August of 2014 and they look forward to returning this year.
But training and equipment aren’t enough. Law enforcement also needs a stronger counter-narcotics law to help fight illegal drug trafficking. A draft Counter-Narcotics law has been pending before the National Parliament since 2013. We would encourage Timor-Leste to pass this legislation as soon as possible, to help the PNTL do its job of enforcement, and to make Timor-Leste an unfriendly place for drug traffickers to do business.
The United States is proud to stand with Timor-Leste in the important fight against drug traffickers and ultimate to protect the country’s national security. With the right training, equipment, and legislation, we can ensure Timor-Leste is prepared to combat the threat of drug trafficking. Thank you