Timor Leste: Greater effort needed to support the poor

31Dec 2011
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UN Special Rapporteur to Timor Leste, Magdelena Sepulveda

DILI: Although there are signs of progress in the reduction of poverty in Timor-Leste, it will take greater effort to strengthen national development, which should vie to benefit the poorest sections of the population, particularly those living in rural areas told UN Special Rapporteur Magdalena Sepulveda.

“Timor-Leste’s economy’s double digit growth is impressive despite the global economic and financial crisis, however Social, Cultural and Political exclusion will still pervade at every level”, said Magdalena Sepúlveda, an expert from the Extreme Poverty Human Rights Special Unit, from the UN Headquarters in Caicoli, Dili, (18/11).

Sepúlveda commented that although there were signs of poverty reduction, a majority of the 75% of the population living in rural areas, has not broken free of the inter-generational poverty cycle.

“The richest of Timorese society enjoys almost 180 times the wealth of the poorest of the poor,” highlighted Ms. Sepúlveda.

Poverty will become rampant, lack of food security, and unemployment will affect the communities living outside Dili, due to their limited access to information and means of communication.

According to the UN report on population studies in the Bobonaro, Dili and Manufahe Districts, 41% of the population live on less than one US dollar a day. Approximately 58% of the population suffers from chronic malnutrition, while 19% are critically undernourished. Unemployment is around 70%.

The report also point to a very young population, with more than half the population under the age of 19 and 90% of the people in the age groups between 15 and 34 years cannot find employment.

The same report says 18% of the population is still vulnerable.

MP Mario Carrascalão stated that the Poverty reduction law has not as yet been implemented because it has not been debated in Parliament.

“We the Social Democrats hope it will provide assistance to the widows, not just those who are victims but also those lacking access to social security,” said Carrascalão.

He also highlighted the State needs to prioritize the needs of children living in orphanages around the country.

Source: Dili Weekly

Photo Credit: Dili Weekly

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