Women on the front line - World Humanitarian Day 2019


 Women on the front line: nutrition support  Timor-Leste woman heads to peace keeping duties Ameerah Haq (front, right), Head of the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), inspects the mangled remains of UNMIT’s compound in Suai the day after a fire erupted there. (2011)

Message from UN in Timor-Leste

On World Humanitarian Day, August 19.

Roy Trivedy

Resident Coordinator


Women in Timor-Leste on World Humanitarian Day


As part of humanitarian operations, across the world, women are playing very important roles. They are protecting and improving lives in many communities, families and individuals.

They are supporting people in times of natural disasters, conflicts and civil strife. They are working in peace building operations as well as other key roles as experts, providers and carers.

Here in Timor-Leste, we were once again reminded of the vital role that women aid workers play, when we commemorated the deaths of Timorese staff serving the UN during the Popular Consultation in 1999, at the grave of Ana Xavier da Conceicao Lemos ‘’Bui-Mesak’’.

Ana Lemos was killed in 1999 by the militia. She was a pro-independence activist who told her son, Rivelino, in her last words to him, that “..sometimes you have to be prepared to sacrifice for the people you love.”

When she was kidnapped, she was a polling station official, who worked for the UNAMET.

Many women have made sacrifices to help build stronger community’s – often being away from their families; putting themselves at risk of injury or disease; giving up education and career opportunities.

They are our nurses, teachers, doctors, disaster responders,  community workers, local leaders etc.. Women in Timor-Leste responding to events like the 2015 drought, earthquakes, tsunamis and disease outbreaks, as well as dealing with personal violence and conflicts. Women make up a large number of those who risk their own lives to save others. They are often the first to respond and the last to leave.

The United Nations in Timor-Leste has many real-life stories to tell about women on the front line, and we honor them all today.

 We also call on all development partners to ensure women on the front line are supported and protected, kept safe from harm, and to continue to work to strengthen the role of women in aid and humanitarian operations worldwide.


Helicopters from the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) land in Uatucarbao, severely affected by heavy rains (2010) and floods, delivering relief supplies in conjunction with the Timor-Leste National Disaster Centre.  WHO Immunisation teams in Timor-Leste  Who Immunisation team Timor-Leste


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