Borders passes once used exclusively in Balibo, District of Bobonaro, to allow easier access between communities living on the Timor-Leste / Indonesian border are now also available in two other Districts sharing borders with Indonesia.“The project began in Balibo and on December 15, Oecussi and Suai also joined in, making the border passes available to all Districts sharing a border with Indonesia,” said Maria de Fátima de Araújo, National Director for Notary and Registry (10/07), at the Nicolao Lobato Airport, Comoro, Dili.Border Passes were introduced in August 2010 at Mota-Ain, with the Foreign Affairs Ministers from Indonesia and Timor-Leste, Mr Martin Netalagawa and Mr Zacarias Albano da Costa respectively, attending the launching ceremony.
The function of the Border Passes is to facilitate ease of movement for those living right near the border between these two countries, especially during emergencies. The Director expressed passes were valid for three days only with travel, limited to a designated area, meaning people cannot go further to Dili or Kupang. “It doesn’t allow you to travel right through to Kupang, it’s restricted to Atambua only, where people may have to purchase items from there,” said the Director. MP Mateus de Jesus said this was definitely a sign of progress, because it facilitated ease of movement for people living right on the border. “It’s a great improvement, whereas before only one District had access to border passes, and now we have three,” said the MP. He added by saying the Border passes allowed those living on the border to visit their relatives living for example in Atambua.
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