Dili, 4 April 2002


UN Volunteers are developing an “International People’s Park” on Dili’s waterfront that will pay tribute to the thousands of internationals who have assisted in East Timor’s reconstruction, organisers said today.

The park – including a beach area, football field and a memorial stone commemorating the role the international community has played in East Timor from 1999 until 2002 – is part of a city-wide beautification campaign in the run-up to the former colony’s independence celebrations.

On 19 May, the eve of East Timor’s independence, UN Volunteer Executive Coordinator Sharon Capeling Alakija and East Timor’s Senior Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, José Ramos-Horta, will open the park as part of the nationwide Independence Day Celebrations.

In a different part of the capital several hours later, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan will declare East Timor’s independence at the stroke of midnight, a moment that will be symbolised by the lowering of the UN flag and the raising of East Timor’s new national flag.

UN Volunteers from areas of architecture, engineering, agriculture, and heavy transport are renovating the park site with the help of the Dili District authorities as part of the local government’s Parks Rehabilitation Programme.