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Local Police to receive UN Medal for East Timor.



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Media Release

SENATOR THE HON. CHRISTOPHER ELLISON

Minister for Justice and Customs Senator for Western Australia

16 February 2001

Local Police to receive UN Medal for East Timor Seven UN Service Medals for East Timor will be presented to Australian Federal Police and Western Australia Police Service officers who served in the first and third detachments to East Timor today in Perth the Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison, announced today.

The AFP officers served in the first & third detachment from 25 June - 13 September 1999 and 12 February - 13 May 2000. The five State police were temporarily sworn in as members of the AFP so that they too could serve in East Timor.

"AFP officers were among the first deployed to East Timor ahead of the 1999 ballot for self-determination. They displayed remarkable courage and conviction under often difficult and highly volatile circumstances," Senator Ellison said.

Sixteen UN Service Medals for East Timor have already been presented to AFP officer currently serving in the Solomon Island on 3 February and 129 will be presented to other officers who served in these detachments in various ceremonies around Australia during February and March.

"It’s great to see these dedicated AFP officers being recognised for their hard work, especially when the UN’s original advice was that they would not qualify for the medal," Senator Ellison said.

To qualify for the medal, civilian police must have served 90 days as part of a UN Mission. This meant that those who served with UNAMET and InterFET (where each mission length was less than 90 days) would not have normally qualified.

Following representations from the Australian Government, the UN agreed that those civilian police who had served in the first two missions would also qualify for the medal.

In total, about 350 Australian officers (including State police) have served in East Timor since June 1999 in hazardous conditions, often testing their skills and resolve on a daily basis. Currently there are 100 Australian civilian police serving in East Timor.

"Everyday dedicated men and women from the AFP serving overseas as part of international peacekeeping efforts are risking their lives to maintain peace and stability in countries less fortunate than Australia. They are marvellous ambassadors for Australia of which everyone in the community should be very proud," Senator Ellison said.

The AFP currently has 135 people serving in overseas missions in Cyprus, East Timor and the Solomon Islands.

Media Inquiries: Nicole Johnston (Minister's Office) 0419 217 918 Patrick Law (AFP) 08 9320 3499 or 0409 760 149

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