EAST TIMORLOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT
FLORA AND FAUNA
ENERGY AND POWER
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
BALANCE OF PAYMENTS
BANKING AND SECURITIES
CUSTOMS AND DUTIES
LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS
TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION
FAMOUS EAST TIMORESE
FLAG: The national flag is rectangular. Two isosceles triangles, the bases of which form the left edge and overlap each other. One triangle is black and its height is equal to one-third of the length overlapped to the yellow triangle, whose height is equal to half the length of the flag. A white five-pointed star, signifying "the light that guides," is centered on the black triangle. The remaining part of the flag is red.
MONETARY UNIT: East Timor has adopted the US dollar ($) of 100 cents. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 cents and 1 dollar, and notes of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 dollars.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is the legal standard.
HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Labor Day, 1 May; Assumption Day, 15 August; Constitution Day, 30 August; All Saints Day, 1 November; Santa Cruz Day, 12 November; Independence Day, 28 November; Feast of the Immaculate Conception, 8 December; Christmas, 25 December. Movable holiday is Good Friday.
TIME: 9 pm = noon GMT.
The main land area of East Timor lies on the eastern half of Timor, an island roughly the size of the Netherlands (32,000 sq km/12,355 sq mi) that forms an arc between Asia and Australia and is situated within the Nusatengarra Archipelago. Opposite the well-traveled island of Bali, East Timor is surrounded by the Indian Ocean at the south at the Pacific Ocean at the north. Its size rivals New Jersey or Israel, and its 15,007-km (9,325-mi) territory extends beyond its mainland to include the enclave of OcussiAmbeno in West Timor, and the islands of Atauro in the n and Jaco in the e. Dili, a small port city on the northern coast, is the capital.
The landscape offers a patchwork of rugged mountains, waterfalls, coastal lagoons, and diverse features that support variable vegetation, dry grasslands, savannah forests, gullies, and patches of dense rain forest. Gunung Tata Mai Lau, a mountain that forms the highest point on East Timor, reaches 2,963 m (9,721 ft) just south of the capital city of Dili, and the Laclo river in the north stretches some 80 km (50 mi), forming the longest river.
Temperatures in the dry season, from May to November, average 20–33°c (68–91°f). The weather during this season is pleasant and dry. Around October or November, oppressive humidity arrives and monsoon cloud activity builds up. The wet season, from December to April, sees average temperatures of 29–35°c (84–95°f), with heavy rains and flooding. In the mountains, daytime temperatures are warm to hot, but are cool to cold at night. Earthquakes, tsunamis, and tropical cyclones occur.
The primary forest area of East Timor has been reduced to around 88,000 hectares (220,000 acres), or 1% of the territory. Dense forests are found only on the south coast or in mountainous areas. The vegetation consists mostly of secondary forests, savannah, and grasslands. Flora includes ironwood, eucalyptus, black eucalyptus, redwood, sandalwood, cendana, and lontarwood. Fauna include deer, monkeys, cockatoos, horses, cows, and beo kakoaks.
The main environmental threats come from the widespread use of slash-and-burn agriculture, which has led to deforestation and soil erosion. According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), threatened species included seven species of birds, one type of reptile, and three species of fish. Threatened species include the albacore tuna, Everett's tree frog, black kite, Timor sparrow, shirttoed eagle, Japanese sparrow eagle, and redcheeked parrot.
The population of East Timor in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 947,000, which placed it at number 153 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 3% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 41% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 108 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 2005–10 was expected to be 2.7%, a rate the government viewed as satisfactory. The projected population for the year 2025 was 1,938,000. The population density was 64 per sq km (165 per sq mi).
The UN estimated that 8% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 4.22%. The capital city, Dili, had a population of 49,000 in that year.
"Timor" may be the Malay word for "Orient," but East Timor's people betray a long procession of migrations from the west, north, and east. The Portuguese arrived on the island in the early 16th century. At the end of 2002, there were approximately 30,000 East Timorese refugees living in settlements in the west Timorese countryside. By late 2004 there were 448 individuals who were of concern to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); there were also 221 refugees in East Timor. There were zero migrants per 1,000 population in 2005.
Historically the ethnic population was largely defined by the Atoni and the more dominant Belu, which was a blend of Malay, Melanesian, and Austronesian peoples who were fluent in the Tetum language. At independence in 2002, the approximate ethnic divisions in the population were as follows: 78% Timorese, 20% Indonesian, and 2% Chinese.
In addition to Tetum, there are about 15 other indigenous languages spoken within East Timor. Tetum, Galoli, Mambai, and Tokodede are classified as Austronesian languages, while Bunak, Kemak, Makassai, Dagada, Idate, Kairui, Nidiki, and Baikenu are the nonAustronesian tongues. Tetum and Portuguese are official languages. Indonesian and English are also prominent.
The last available figures on religion were collected in 1992 (before independence), at which time the population was 90% Roman Catholic, 4% Muslim, 3% Protestant, 0.5% Hindu, and an undetermined number, Buddhist. As of 2004, the dominant religion still appeared to be Catholicism; however, it is believed that a number of registered Catholics actually practice traditional animism, a religious category that had not been officially recognized by the Indonesian government. The largest Protestant group was the Assembly of God.
The new government has generally respected the regulations for freedom of religion that were established by the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET). Though public opinion had leaned toward making Catholicism the national religion, the presiding bishop, Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo (a Nobel Peace Prize laureate), encouraged members of the Constituent Assembly not to make such a designation. The 2002 constitution instead provides for the freedom of conscience, religion, and worship and this right is generally respected in practice. Religious organizations must register with the Ministry of Interior if most or all of their members are foreigners. Due to past associations with Indonesian occupation groups, some Muslim and Protestant minorities have reported social harassment.
Rebuilding the transportation infrastructure has been a key concern for the nation. As of 2002, there were no railways reported. Highways stretched across about 3,800 km (2,361 mi), but only about 428 km (266 mi) were paved, and these roads were poorly maintained. Driving accidents are frequent due to poor road conditions, lack of illumination, and the absence of required driving permits. Roads are widely shared by pedestrians and vendors, especially in city areas. Taxis, small buses, and minivans provide public transportation, but the system is generally overcrowded and not reliable.
There were eight airports operating in 2004, but only three had paved runways. There were also nine heliports (as of 2005).
Since the 1500s, the island of Timor and its lush offering of sandalwood lured both Portuguese and Dutch explorers, who contested for the territory until an official territorial division was determined through the Sentenca Arbitral in April 1913. Unlike the Dutch, Portugal's sphere of influence was concentrated in the local leadership of the East Timorese liurai rei—rulers, chieftains, and biracial families known as the "Black Portuguese" who were of mixed Timorese and Portuguese descent. While Portugal's colonial hold on East Timor failed to avail the local population of educational and general advancement opportunities, even leaving the island with barely 30 km (19 km) of paved asphalt road, its detachment enabled the East Timorese cultural identity to remain largely intact and unscathed by modernity.
Ironically, efforts to crush the East Timorese are not traced to the Portuguese, but to the Indonesian people and their brutal tactics for integration following Portugal's exodus from the island. When the "Carnation Revolution" of April 1974 in Portugal prompted the demise of nearly 50 years of dictatorship, the decolonization of East Timor, among Portugal's other colonies, seemed a favorable consequence. By the start of May 1974 three political parties surfaced within the island: the Apodeast Timori (Timorese Democratic People's Union), largely a device of the Indonesian government that advocated that East Timor be integrated into Indonesia; the UDT (Democratic Union of Timor), advocating a progressive process of autonomy under Portugal; and the ASDT (Timorese Social Democratic Association), which later became the leftwing independence movement Fretilin (Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor), advocating the island's total independence.
The subsequent union and mounting popularity of UDT and Fretilin by January 1975 proved threatening enough to the Indonesian government that President Suharto, whose integrationist stance was already endorsed by the United States, Australia, Japan, and other nations, justified his military intervention in East Timor through the "Operasi Komodo." Authored by the president's intelligence advisor Ali Moertopo (1924–84), Operasi Komodo essentially slandered Fretilin, asserting that the party was secretly Communist and serving to splinter its alliance with the UDT by May. Consequently, on 6 June 1975, Indonesia already occupied the OecussiAmbeno enclave under the guise of restoring order in East Timor, which had not endured any form of foreign occupation, with the exception of a brief but brutal occupation by the Japanese during World War II (1939–34).
Despite Indonesian presence and pressure within East Timor, Fretilin still gained 55% of the popular vote in local elections on 29 July 1975. Thus again threatened, Indonesia manipulated the UDT to counter Portuguese authority and Fretilin's influence through a coup staged 11 August–24 September 1975. However, the coup against Fretilin failed; in fact, Fretilin instead gained control of the entire East Timorese territory and launched humanitarian advancements (in education, medical treatment, and local decisionmaking) that had been historically denied to the islanders. Still, reports generated by the US Central Intelligence Agency discerned Indonesian infiltration and fighting within East Timor and around its borders midSeptember–October 1975. After capturing the violence on videotape, four foreign journalists were executed by Indonesian militia on 17 October 1975, and tension between pro- and anti-independence forces was heightened. On 28 November 1975, Fretilin's formal assertion of an independent state of East Timor was answered the very next day by Moertopo's "petition" for the integration of East Timor into Indonesia through the "Balibo" Declaration, which UDT leaders were forced to sign.
On 7 December 1975, only one day after a visit to Jakarta by President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger of the United States, Indonesia deployed 10,000 troops—by sea, air, and land—into Dili, after an already devastating naval and aerial bombardment led by General Benny Murdani. Within days of an invasion marked by public torture, rape, and the random killing of mass civilians, Portuguese governor Mario Lemos Pire and his remaining administration made a covert and final exodus during the night to the island of Atauro, marking the end of over 460 years of colonization, without decolonization achieved. On 17 July 1976, Indonesia claimed East Timor its 27th province, despite condemnation from the United Nations (UN). Indonesia kept up fullscale attacks through March 1979 through weaponry largely supplied by the United States under the administration of President Jimmy Carter. Within a year of the attack, an estimated 60,000 East Timorese had been killed, while tens of thousands sought refuge from the Armed Forces of the Republic of Indonesia (ABRI) in the rugged mountainous interior of East Timor, where Fretilin guerrilla forces remained; others were forced into Indonesian resettlement camps, where disease, malnutrition, and death were rampant. The island was relegated to a "closed colony" status by the military from December 1975 through 1 January 1989.
It has been estimated that some 250,000 were killed since 1975 when warfare seized the island. Mass terror and killings were widespread, including 1,000 in Aitana in July 1981, 400 in Lacluta in September 1981, and, finally securing international attention, some 270 during the Santa Cruz massacre of 12 November 1991, in which peaceful mourners and demonstrators were killed by Indonesian troops' open fire in a cemetery in Dili. While Indonesia experienced a shift in leadership with the forced resignation of President Suharto in 1997 and rise to power of his vice president, B. J. Habibie, East Timor endorsed Fretilin leader José Alexandre "Xanana" Gusmão, then the president of the National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT). Their continued resistance against military occupation and terror, coupled with heightened international scrutiny of the atrocities within the island, may have prompted Habibie in January 1999 to extend the choice to East Timorese citizens: autonomy under Indonesian rule or outright independence. An overwhelming 99% of eligible voters were present during the 30 August 1999 referendum, which secured the vote for independence.
However, post-election violence and killings led by proIndonesian militias and the army killed more than 1,000 people and drove some 250,000 from East Timor. This was a dark reminder of East Timor's subjugation to the Indonesian military, which has long remained the source of ultimate government authority. Following a unanimous decision on 25 October 1999 by the UN Security Council, East Timor was governed by the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) and the National Consultative Council (originally formed by 15 East Timorese whose representation was later increased to 33), with the mission to rebuild the island and establish a new government by the close of 2001. In September 2001, a Constituent Assembly was elected and given with the task of writing a constitution for East Timor. In April 2002, José Alexandre "Xanana" Gusmão defeated Xavier do Amaral for the presidency, and on 20 May 2002 East Timor became an independent nation. A successor mission to UNTAET, the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET) was established to provide assistance to East Timor over a period 12 months, especially in matters of law enforcement and security. East Timor became the 191st UN member state on 27 September 2002.
Indonesia's attempts to bring to justice those responsible for the 1999 violence in East Timor were heavily criticized. Under intense international pressure, Indonesia set up a special human rights court to try those responsible for the violence. The court's record—in both investigating the involvement of Indonesia's most senior security officials and its apparent willingness to acquit others with what was considered to be overwhelming evidence—was condemned. The court indicted 18 suspects for atrocities in East Timor, but only one conviction stood. A "Truth and Friendship Commission" was also formed by East Timor and Indonesia as a way to promote factfinding about the 1999 human rights violations, and to achieve reconciliation. But the commission had no power of prosecution and was considered a diversion from the need for actual accountability.
Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with José Ramos Horta in 1996, announced his resignation in November 2002. He won the prize for his stand in defense of Timorese rights. In 1999, militia gangs attacked and burned his residence where hundreds of refugees were being sheltered. In December 2002, the Indonesian human rights court sentenced the first Indonesian military official convicted in the 1999 violence for failing to prevent proIndonesian militiamen from attacking Belo's home. The official, Lt. Col. Soedjarwo, was sentenced to five years in prison.
Disputes between Australia and Indonesia over parts of the oil- and gas-rich seabed of the Timor Sea led to the signing of the 1989 Timor Gap Treaty, which specified a 50–50 split of the royalties from the shared zone of undersea exploration between Australia and Indonesia. In May 2002, the treaty was renegotiated, and newly independent East Timor was granted 90% of the royalties, with Australia receiving 10%. However, the terms of the agreement were conditional on East Timor foregoing its territorial claim to almost the entire oil and gas field. Foreign officials estimated a potential revenue flow of several tens of millions of dollars a year to East Timor. In 2005 the Timor Gap fields were considered to be a source of tension, with East Timor's government accusing Australia of cutting humanitarian aid as a way to pressure East Timor into acceding to its contract terms.
In spring and early summer 2006, violence spread across Dili, driving an estimated 100,000 residents to flee to villages in the countryside. The unrest, triggered when striking military were dismissed by the government in March 2006, was undermining peace in the young nation, whose economy and government were struggling to maintain order.
A parliamentary system of government with a largely ceremonial president was established in 2001. In the elections for the Constituent Assembly held 30 August 2001, Fretilin took 55 of the 88 seats. Twenty-three of the candidates, or 27% of the total, were women. The assembly was charged with drafting a constitution for East Timor. On 22 March 2002, the Constituent Assembly approved East Timor's constitution, which was modeled largely on that of Portugal, although the German and US constitutions were consulted as well. Key components of the constitution include a ban on the death penalty, and the provision for fundamental political rights and civil liberties, including due process rights.
The Constituent Assembly was transformed into the National Legislative Assembly, or National Parliament, in May 2002. The unicameral National Legislative Assembly is composed of a minimum of 52 and a maximum of 65 members, serving five-year terms. Thirteen of the members are district representatives, corresponding to East Timor's 13 districts. For its first term of office, the parliament was comprised of 88 members on an exceptional basis.
The first presidential elections were held on 14 April 2002. José Alexandre "Xanana" Gusmão defeated Xavier do Amaral for the presidency, winning with 82.7% of the votes cast. Mari Alkatiri was chosen as East Timor's first prime minister. The next presidential election was scheduled to be held in April 2007. A Council of State advises the president. It is composed of former presidents who were not removed from office, the prime minister, the speaker of parliament, five members elected from parliament, and five members appointed by the president. A Council of Ministers is comprised of the prime minister, any deputy prime ministers, and the ministers of state. East Timor's Catholic Church led prolonged demonstrations in Dili during 2005, resulting in the signing of an agreement on social issues by the government.
There were 16 registered parties for the Constituent Assembly elections held in August 2001. Fretilin won 57.37% of the national votes and elected 12 of the 13 district representatives. The 12 parties represented in East Timor's first 88-member Parliament were: Fretilin (Revolutionary Front of Independent East Timor), 55 seats; the Democratic Party (PD), 7 seats; the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the Social Democratic Association of Timor (ASDT), 6 seats each; the Democratic Union of Timor (UDT), the Christian Democratic Party (PDC), the People's Party of Timor (PPT), the Nationalist Party of Timor (PNT), and the Timorese Monarchist Association also called Sons of the Mountain Warriors (KOTA), 2 seats each; the Liberal Party (PL), the Christian Democratic Party of Timor (UDC/PDC), the Socialist Party of Timor (PST), and an independent candidate, 1 seat each. Other parties include the Maubere Democratic Party (PDM) and the Timor Labor Party (PTT). The Popular Council for the Defense of the Democratic Republic of East Timor (CPDRDTL) and Kolimau 2000 are opposition organizations.
East Timor is divided into 13 districts: Aileu, Ainaro, Baucau, Bobonaro, Covalima, Dili, Ermera, Lautem, Liquiçá, Manatuto, Manufahi, Oecussi, and Viqueque. The districts are further divided into 68 postos (subdistricts). A posto is further divided into sucos, or clusters of villages. There are approximately 500 sucos in the country. Sucos are divided into aldeias (villages); there are approximately 2,100 aldeias in East Timor. Local elections were held throughout East Timor in 2004 and 2005.
A Ministry of Justice was established in East Timor to guarantee an independent and impartial judiciary. A department of judicial affairs is responsible for the recruitment, appointment, and training of judges, prosecutors and public defenders. The Supreme Court of Justice is the highest court in the nation, with the power of judicial review. Other courts include a High Administrative, Tax, and Audit Court; military courts; and maritime and arbitration courts.
In March 2000, the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) created a civil law court system with 13 district courts and one national Court of Appeal. The law later was amended to include a court system of only four district courts and one national Court of Appeal. The four district courts are located in Dili, Baucau, Suai, and the Oecussi enclave. The district courts have jurisdiction over criminal and noncriminal offenses referred to as "ordinary crimes," whereas special panels within the Dili district court have exclusive jurisdiction over "serious criminal offenses."
The judicial system was considered the weakest government function in East Timor after independence. A backlog of cases raised human rights concerns, as cases pending trial and appeal were unable to be heard within a reasonable amount of time. From 2004, civil laws based on Portuguese codes began to supplant the UNTAET legal framework. Portuguese and Tetum became the official languages of the court system.
In January 2001, East Timor's armed forces began training, with the goal of deploying 1,500 active military personnel and an additional 1,500 reservists into two infantry battalions. As of 2005, East Timor had an army of 1,250 personnel, including 30 women. There was also a 36-member naval element. Basic training for the first group of recruits was aided by Portugal, with special training programs aided by Australia. In April 2002, UN peacekeeping forces totaled about 6,200 members from 20 countries. The number of UN forces was expected to decline as the government and the UN continued to make arrangements for national security, although it appeared that UN troops would be needed again in May–June 2006 to quell factional violence. As of 2005, the number of UN troops had fallen to 181 personnel from 9 countries. The general military age is 18–21 years old. Both male and female recruits have been accepted. Military expenditures for 2003 were estimated to be at about $4.4 million.
East Timor joined the United Nations in September 2002; it has participated in the FAO, the World Bank, IFAD, the IFC, ILO, IMF, UNESCO, UNIDO, and WHO. The nation is also a member of the ACP Group, the Asian Development Bank, and G-77. It became a member of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in July 2005 and is applying for observer status in ASEAN. The United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET) was established in May 2002 to provide assistance in public security and law enforcement while the country establishes political stability following independence from Indonesia; 16 countries have offered support for the mission.
As a result of the post-independence referendum violence in 1999 led by Indonesian troops and anti-independence militias, approximately 70% of the economic infrastructure was devastated and some 250,000 people moved into West Timor. Reconstruction efforts undertaken by the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) improved both urban and rural areas. Agriculture remained the main source of income in most of the country's villages, with only a small percentage of people selling a significant proportion of their rice or maize harvest. During 2000–01, the agriculture sector expanded, due to a rebuilding of seed stocks and irrigation systems, improved access to fertilizer and transportation, a reduced threat of violence, and high demand resulting from the large international presence in the country. The services sector also registered strong growth in 2000–01 in order to meet the needs of the international staff and reconstruction efforts. After mid-2002, however, growth was held back as a result of the winding-down of the international presence and of a drought in 2003. As of 2004, however, GDP growth had recovered somewhat (1%). During the Indonesian occupation, tourism was not a large industry, but there is a great potential growth in this area. The East Timorese economy stands to benefit in the long term from the development of the oil- and gas-rich seabed of the Timor Sea.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reported that in 2005 East Timor's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $370.0 million. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $400. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 1%. The average inflation rate in 2004 was 1.8%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 25.4% of GDP, industry 17.2%, and services 57.4%.
It was estimated that in 2003 about 42% of the population had incomes below the poverty line.
The labor force in 1998 was 397,131. Subsistence agriculture accounted for three-fourths of employment. The unemployment rate, including underemployment, stood at approximately 50% in 2002.
In 2004, official registration procedures for employer organizations and trade unions were established. As of 2005, workers were permitted to form and join labor organizations without getting prior approval; they were also allowed to engage in collective bargaining. However, inexperience and a lack of organizational and negotiating skills have hampered attempts at organizing workers and at making them aware of their rights.
Children under the age of 18 are generally prohibited from working, but there are exceptions for minors between the ages of 15 and 18, and even for those under 15.
Although there is no legal minimum wage rate, a monthly wage rate of $85 was used by employers and employees as a minimum standard. The standard legal workweek was put at 40 hours per week, and included standard benefits such as days off, overtime, and health and safety standards.
As of 2003, there are only about 190,000 hectares (469,000 acres) of arable land and permanent crops in East Timor, or about 12.8% of the land area. With generally poor and shallow soil, steep terrain, and an unreliable climate, most farming was at a subsistence level. The farming system was based on slash-and-burn. In the north and a few fertile areas of the south, maize, cassava, cowpeas, and sweet potatoes are primary crops. Rice is cultivated in lowlands with the help of irrigation systems. The main harvest for maize occurs from February through April. The main harvest for rice occurs from May through September in the north and from August through November in the south. Other agricultural products include soybeans, cabbage, mangoes, bananas, vanilla, mung beans, taro (swamp and upland), onions, peanuts, sago, coconuts, and tobacco.
Coffee serves as an important cash crop, with over 60% of the country's organic coffee being produced in the Ermera district. Bobanaro, Oecussi, Viqueque, and Baucau are the most important food producing districts. In 2003, agriculture accounted for about 25% of the GDP.
Most livestock production is based on household farms, with larger animals kept primarily for household use and consumption, while pigs and smaller animals are sold for cash. Although there are some large herds of cattle, buffalo, sheep, and goats, most farms keep smaller numbers of a variety of animals. In 2005, the estimated livestock populations were: 80,000 goats, 25,000 sheep, 360,000 pigs, 2.2 million chickens, 171,000 cattle, 100,000 buffalo, and 48,000 horses.
Coastal communities have historically relied on fishing as a main source of food and income, with catches that include large tuna, flying fish, coral reef fish, and deepwater snapper. The violence following independence caused serious damage and destruction to nearly 90% of the boats and gear of these communities, as well as to the onshore processing infrastructure. The industry was slowly moving toward recovery through the work of the Department of Fisheries and the Marine Environment (DFME) in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and with the help of various international volunteers and agencies. In 2003 officials from the DFME met with Australia's minister for primary industry and fisheries in Australia's Northern Territory to discuss training opportunities in tropical fisheries management.
Besides working to recover maritime fishing activities, the DFEM was exploring options for inland hatcheries and freshwater fish production. One such project includeds breeding fish in rice fields.
In 2002, the DFME estimated that of the 20,000 fishermen in East Timor, over 50% were involved in fishing as their primary source of food and income. In 2003, the total catch was estimated at 350 tons.
Data from the government of Indonesia has shown the alarming trends of deforestation on the once forestrich lands of East Timor. In 1975, about 50% of East Timor's land was primary and secondary forest. By 1989, the figure dropped to about 41% and by 1999, only 1% of the land was forested. Most of the deforestation was conducted under logging operations for teak, redwood, sandalwood, and mahogany for export. The use of wood as a primary fuel source has added to the problem of diminishing forests.
In 2000, the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) issued Regulation 2000–17 to prohibit any logging operations that would include the export of logs, lumber, and/or furniture from East Timor. Burning and destruction of remaining forests for any reason was also prohibited. The UN Development Program (UNDP) launched several programs to counter deforestation as well as begin reforestation. These included a nationwide seed propagation program to establish community nurseries and encourage replanting of forestlands, particularly on hillsides and in areas where erosion is a problem. There were also subsidy programs proposed to provide lowcost kerosene and cookers to rural residents in an effort to reduce dependency on wood as fuel.
There are small deposits of gold, manganese, and copper throughout the nation, but not enough to be considered for major commercial industries. Marble is present in significant quantities, but it seems uncertain as to whether or not the exploitation of such deposits would have a significant impact on the country's economy in the near future.
East Timor's ability to develop its oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea will greatly affect the economy. By 2003, the government planned to introduce a petroleum fund, designed to enhance transparency and accountability in the management of oil and gas revenues. A $1.8 billion gas recycling project in the Bayu Undan offshore gas field began in April 2004; a $1.2 billion liquid natural gas production operation began at Bauy Undan in February 2006. Revenues from that and other projects began to flow in 2006. Fossil fuels account for 100% of electricity production.
Before the Indonesian invasion in 1975, East Timor was self-sufficient in food and enjoyed revenue from the coffee industry. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) was one organization supporting East Timor's coffee industry in the early 2000s, especially through Cooperative Coffee Timor (CCT). East Timor at that time was heavily dependent upon food aid, however, and the agriculture industry was in need of development. Other industries include printing, soap manufacturing, handicrafts, and woven cloth. In 2004, industry accounted for 17.2% of GDP. The industrial production growth rate in 2005 was an estimated 8.5%.
As of 2006, the development of oil and gas resources had begun to raise government revenues ahead of schedule and above expectations, largely due to high petroleum prices, although factional violence threatened to undermine the progress that had been made.
There was no university in East Timor under the Portuguese. The Universitas Timor Timur (UNTIM) was established in 1986 under Indonesian rule. By 1998/99, it had nearly 4,000 students in three main faculties—agriculture, social and political sciences, and education and teacher training. The Indonesian government closed the UNTIM following the April 1999 demonstrations demanding an independence referendum. The Polytechnic in East Timor had technical courses based in Becora and at a campus in Hera; it provided courses in electrical and mechanical engineering, civil construction, and accounting. The education system was a target for destruction by the Indonesian military and their militias. The UNTIM and Polytechnic buildings in Dili and Hera were looted and burned. A new university was established by former UNTIM and Polytechnic staff and students, without funding from UNTAET. In September 2000, the government allotted $1.3 million to the university from East Timor's education budget. The National University of East Timor (Universidade Nacional Timor Lorosae—UNTL) opened for classes on 27 November 2000. There are five faculties: agriculture, political science, economics, education and teacher training, and engineering.
Local businesses realized weak performance in the early 2000s, as they attempted to recover from violence that followed the referendum on independence. Traditional markets are filled by the local community, while foreignowned businesses are largely patronized by the wealthy. In 2001, the World Bank launched a $4.85 million small enterprises project, offering loans of $500 to $50,000 to East Timorese with viable business plans. The project also financed the delivery of business skills training to small and mediumsized enterprises.
Trade in East Timor is dominated by foodstuffs, construction materials, electronics, and clothing. Some 97% of manufactured goods are imported, with coffee being the sole significant export. Indonesia, Australia and Portugal are East Timor's principal trade partners. East Timor in the mid-2000s was seeking trade partners to develop its oil and gas reserves, among them China and Malaysia. Coffee is exported to the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, and the Netherlands, among other countries.
The external current account was in large deficit by 2003 (-$230 million), resulting in large measure from imports associated with donor-assisted reconstruction activities. The deficit was more than financed by official transfers, however, and, inclusive of these transfers, the external current account was in surplus ($37 million). In 2005, the CIA estimated exports at $10 million, excluding oil, and imports at $202 million in 2004. Development assistance during the 1990s totaled $81 million, increasing from $1 million in 1989 to more than $12 million in 1999. As of 2002, East Timor was receiving $2.2 billion in economic aid.
The finance sector is small, with a limited central bank role played by the Banking and Payments Authority (formerly the Central Payments Office). There are two operating branch offices of overseas banks (the ANZ Banking Group and the Banco Nacional Ultramarino) and informal lenders comprise the remainder of the finance sector.
It is possible to obtain insurance for vehicles in East Timor, although virtually no one does so. Most individuals involved in traffic accidents settle them informally. Thirdparty motor vehicle insurance is unavailable. Information on life or other forms of insurance was unavailable as of mid-2006.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2004 central government took in revenues of approximately $107.7 million and had expenditures of $73 million. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately $34.7 million.
In 2000, the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) issued a Revenue System for East Timor, providing the basis for a tax regime. It largely adopted the Indonesian income tax law with some modifications. East Timor's tax system is designed to tax business profits and designated passive income. Business profits include capital gains. Passive income includes interest, royalties, and rental and dividend income. The standard income tax rates for resident companies and individuals are 10% on the first $3,368; 15% on the next $3,368; and 30% on income over $6,737.
Employment-related income initially was not subject to income tax; however, a wage income tax (WIT) was levied for wages received on or after 1 January 2001. WIT applies to employment-related remuneration only, as opposed to general personal income. WIT is due as follows: the rate is 0% on monthly salaries of $0 to $100; 10% on monthly salaries of $101 to $650; and 30% on monthly salaries of $651 or more.
Excise taxes are imposed on the import or domestic production (but not both) of certain goods. Goods are exempt from excise taxes if they are exported from East Timor within 28 days of production and are exempt from import duty, or if they relate to the Timor Gap Agreement. Goods subject to excise taxes included (but are not restricted to) the following: confectionery, fruit juices, ice cream, soft drinks, tobacco, gasoline, diesel fuel, beer, wine, other alcohol, makeup, shampoos, toiletries, electrical goods, mobile phones, televisions, automobiles, motorcycles, and arms and ammunition.
As of 2001, all imported goods were subject to an import duty of 5% of the customs value (CIF value).
Most foreign investment was from Singapore and Australia, and was centered in the hotel and restaurant business, the importation of used cars, and construction. The government encouraged foreign investment in light industries such as textile, garment, and shoe factories. Fishing and ecotourism also have potential for foreign investment (East Timor has some of the best scuba diving in Asia). Rudimentary infrastructure and a lack of skilled labor hamper investment. Investors have few guarantees regarding property rights, insurance, or bankruptcy. The labor law also serves to inhibit foreign investment because it is difficult for employers to fire East Timorese workers, and businesses are prohibited from hiring replacement employees during a strike.
Although East Timor was expected to rely upon significant amounts of foreign aid in the mid-2000s, it was on the path to greater self-reliance. In the context of a reduced international presence, the government was improving its administrative capacity and taking steps toward nation building in accordance with its National Development Plan (NDP). The country stood to benefit from the development of oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea, which were expected to sharply increase government revenues. The NDP covering the fiscal years 2002/03–06/07 set out certain objectives, including the attainment of 5% growth in GDP over the medium term and the alleviation of poverty. The government indicated the need to develop the private sector and build up local institutions in addition to maintaining a stable macroeconomic environment. Other NDP goals included promoting good governance and creating jobs. The hightechnology oil and gas industry, while providing muchneeded income, does little to create jobs for the unemployed. In 2005, the parliament approved the creation of a Petroleum Fund to serve as a repository for all petroleum revenues and preserve the value of the country's petroleum wealth for future generations. The eruption of violence in mid-2006, which observers hope would be temporary, halted economic progress.
As of 2003, humanitarian concerns remained at the forefront of social development in East Timor. The rehabilitation of roads was providing access to rural areas that otherwise would have remained isolated. Electricity was being brought to rural areas, which would increase the potential for social benefits. Watersupply projects improved access to safe water, and freed women and children from the task of collecting water. Increased emphasis was being placed upon nutrition and health programs. Market vendor loans were being granted equally to men and women, but certain group loans were disproportionately awarded to women. These loans were geared to support employment on farms and in households and small trading businesses.
Some customary practices continue to discriminate against women, especially in remote villages. Domestic abuse and violence is a problem exacerbated by the failure of officials to investigate or prosecute. East Timorese women under Indonesian occupation were systematically raped, tortured, and imprisoned as sex slaves, and the process of recovery from that period was ongoing.
East Timor's constitution includes important human rights protections, including the right to a fair trial, criminal due process, freedom of expression, freedom of association, and freedom of religion. The constitution forbids the death penalty and life imprisonment, and includes the right to be free from torture, servitude, and cruel or degrading treatment. However, problems relating to the criminal justice system, including lengthy pretrial detentions and abuse of authority, remained unresolved as of 2006. In addition, the status of refugees wishing to return but fearful of reprisal remained unclear.
A large number of health centers and hospitals were severely damaged or destroyed due to independence related violence. The new nation also found itself lacking medical professionals, since the vast majority of health workers were Indonesian nationals who left the area. Post-independence, most health care has been provided by international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) under the general direction of the Division of Health Services, which works in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop healthcare policies and coordinate services throughout the country.
Health care was provided by 15 international NGOs, 6 local NGOs, 23 religious organizations, 4 military groups, and 2 private/business agencies. There were two hospitals operating in Dili and one in Baucau. In 2001, a program of District Health Plans included 64 community health centers, 88 health posts, and 117 mobile clinics. There is a laboratory in Dili. There were an estimated 2,000 health workers in the country, including 28 East Timorese doctors.
Estimates suggest that the 2005 life expectancy rate was 65.90. The same year, infant mortality was estimated at 47.41 deaths per 1,000 live births. The fertility rate was estimated at 3.88 children born per woman. The birth rate was estimated at 28.07 births per 1,000 people. The most common causes of infant deaths have been infections, prematurity, and birth trauma. It was further estimated that 125 out of 1,000 children died before the age of five. In 2001, maternal mortality was estimated at 890 per 100,000 live births, with the most common cause of death being severe postpartum bleeding.
In 2000, the World Health Organization reported that 3–4% of all children ages six months to five years were acutely malnourished and 20% were chronically malnourished. Intestinal parasitic infections affect about 80% of all children. Other common childhood illnesses include acute respiratory diseases, diarrheal conditions, malaria, and dengue fever. An immunization program was reinstated in March 2000, which included a special campaign to immunize 45,000 children against measles. In November and December 2000, a nationwide polio immunization campaign reached about 84% of the population.
Endemic diseases include malaria, leprosy, and lymphatic filiariasis. Tuberculosis is a major problem as well, affecting over 8,000 people as of 2000. Sexually transmitted diseases are prevalent. The major causes of death are communicable diseases (60%), noncommunicable diseases, chronic diseases, traffic accidents, and others.
Housing has been a serious problem since independence. Nearly 85,000 houses (about 70% of the nation's entire housing stock) were destroyed by the Indonesian military in September 1999. Though the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) and a number of international aid organizations responded quickly with temporary shelter kits, rebuilding of permanent housing has been slow and property ownership disputes have not been fully addressed.
Tens of thousands of residents fled the country during the violence and those who remained sought shelter in abandoned homes. As property owners returned to their homes, many found occupants claiming ownership and unwilling to leave. Some occupants have demanded large payments from the owners for "housesitting" or "improvements" made to the homes in the owner's absence. Through a proposed Land and Property Commission, it has been generally recognized that the original owners or tenants of a property have the right to eventual restitution and reoccupancy, but administration and enforcement of such rights has been a low priority as the government struggled to rebuild an entire nation and care for the emergency needs of its people.
As of 2006, it was still difficult to estimate housing demand. Besides the vast number of those within the country who have been left homeless and/or with inadequate shelter and facilities, there were (as of the close of 2002) thousands of East Timorese refugees waiting to return from the West Timor territory and Australia.
In urban areas such as Dili, Bacau, and Alieu, homes have been typically built from concrete. A majority of the population lives in rural areas with homes made from bamboo, wood, and thatch.
Over 90% of all school buildings were severely damaged or destroyed by the Indonesian military and in the exodus of Indonesians out of East Timor, the nation lost 20% of its primary school teachers and 80% of secondary teachers, most of whom are not expected to return. UNICEF and other international aid organizations responded fairly quickly, however, reestablishing classes for 420 of the country's 800 primary schools by December 1999 plus an additional 273 schools by April 2000.
In 2001, East Timor appointed its first minister of education. At the beginning of the 2001 academic year, there were about 240,000 primary and secondary school students enrolled in classes with over 700 primary schools, 100 junior secondary schools, 40 preschools, and 10 technical colleges. About 6,000 teachers were employed.
The education system includes six years of primary education and six years of secondary education. In 2000, the language of instruction was Indonesian, but this has been a subject of debate. Many are encouraging a switch to the national language of Tetum as a primary language with Portuguese and English as secondary languages.
The National University of East Timor (Universidade Nacional Timor Lorosae—UNTL) opened for classes on 27 November 2000 and had about 5,000 students in attendance in 2003. There are five faculties at the university: agriculture, political science, economics, education and teacher training, and engineering. All new students follow a course including human rights, ethics, philosophy of science, and Timorese history.
The literacy rate as of 2002 was 58.6% of the population ages 15 and over.
As of 2002, it was proposed that a new National Library of East Timor would be established in the old VilaVerde building, along with a National Archive. As of 20065, a progress report toward this initiative was unavailable. The new university, the Universidade Nacional Timor Lorosae (UNTL), was established in 2000 as an amalgamation of the UNTIM and the Polytechnic. The new UNTL library, housed in a former gymnasium, opened for student access on 21 January 2002. A variety of Australian organizations have been raising funds to support the reconstruction of an East Timor public library system.
With assistance from UNESCO and the World Bank, work on a National Museum and Culture Center of East Timor began in late 1999, but at the time there were no artifacts to display and no one to administer the museum. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) providing training for the establishment of the museum. Following the renovation of the first wing of the museum, an exhibition of Timorese textiles and artifacts from the former national museum were to be held.
Telecommunication services, which were cut off by the Indonesian government, are being restored through the help of Australian companies, one of which had established a cellular telephone network service. International communication authorities have approved an individual country code (670) for East Timor.
As of 2004, there were two daily newspapers, three weeklies, and several bulletintype newspapers with sporadic publication and circulation. These include the Suara Timor Lorosae (daily), Timor Post (daily), and Jornal Nacional Semanario (weekly).
The government-operated Public Broadcast Service (PBS) has a radio station with nationwide reception and a television station that broadcasts only in Dili and Baucau. There were 16 community radio stations, with at least one in each district. The new constitution provides for the freedom of speech and press and the government generally respects these rights in practice. In 2005, there were an estimated 1,000 Internet users, with approximately 200 Internet service providers. In January 2005, the country's domain name extension was officially changed from. tp to. tl.
Student organizations in East Timor were influential in the nation's independence campaign and have continued to speak out for civil rights. The National Student Resistance of East Timor (Resistencia Nacional Dos Estudantes De Timor Leste) began in 1988 as an underground organization of Indonesian university students. The East Timor Students Solidarity Council originated in 1998 at the National University of East Timor. It has since set up regional groups throughout the country to represent the views of university and high school students and faculty. Catholic youth organizations have formed. There are also youth scouting groups active in the new nation.
There are a number of women's groups, covering political, health, and social issues, including Rede Feto Timor Lorosae, which serves as a network of about 15 individual groups.
The Cooperative Coffee Timor (CCT) is a federation of Timoreseowned organic coffee cooperatives that has received aid and developmental support from USAID. The Chamber of Commerce of East Timor and the National Association of East Timor Entrepreneurs are two major business associations in good standing.
There is a national chapter of the Red Cross Society.
Tourism is limited due to a lack of infrastructure and tourist facilities. There are at least 25 hotels in Dili; one of Dili's 2 luxury hotels is an anchored cruise ship. Scuba diving and whale- and dolphinwatching are tourist attractions, in addition to the country's beaches. The northern coast features white sand beaches, while the southern coast is rocky with occasional black sand beaches. There are elaborate intact coral reefs, populated by over 1,000 aquatic species. East Timor's colonial towns and rugged mountains are also popular with visitors.
Passports are required. Visas may be obtained upon arrival for a fee, and are valid for 30 days. A certificate of vaccination against yellow fever is required if traveling from an infected area.
In 2005, the US Department of State estimated the daily cost of staying in East Timor at us$165.
Martinho da Costa Lopes (1918–1991) was a Timorese priest with close ties to the Portuguese colonial government and an early advocate for the Timorese people. In 1996, exiled proindependence leader José RamosHorta (b.1949) and Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo (b.1948) shared the Nobel Peace Prize. Bishop Belo was the highest representative of the Roman Catholic Church in predominantly Catholic East Timor, and was a strong advocate of nonviolent resistance. RamosHorta served as the UN representative for the East Timorese cause from 1976–89. José Alexandre "Xanana" Gusmão (b.1946) was a former Falintil (Armed Forces of National Liberation of East Timor) and Fretilin (Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor) guerrilla leader and East Timor's first president. He was imprisoned by the Indonesian army in 1992 and released in 1999. He was elected president in April 2002.
East Timor has no territories or colonies.
Cardoso, Luís. The Crossing: A Story of East Timor. London, Eng.: Granta Books, 2000.
Chalk, Peter. Australian Foreign and Defense Policy in the Wake of the 1999/2000 East Timor Intervention. Santa Monica, Calif.: Rand, 2001.
Chomsky, Noam. A New Generation Draws the Line: Kosovo, East Timor, and the Standards of the West. New York: VERSO, 2000.
Cotton, James. East Timor, Australia and Regional Order: Intervention and Its Aftermath in Southeast Asia. New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2004.
Cristalis, Irena. Bitter Dawn: East Timor, a People's Story. New York: Zed Books, 2002.
East Timor (Timor-Leste). Washington, D.C.: Central Intelligence Agency, 2003
Hainsworth, Paul and Stephen McCloskey (eds). The East Timor Question: The Struggle for Independence from Indonesia. New York: I.B. Tauris, 2000.
Kohen, Arnold. From the Place of the Dead: A Biography of Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo, Winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace, 1996. New York: St. Martin's, 1997.
Leibo, Steven A. East and Southeast Asia, 2005. 38th ed. Harpers Ferry, W.Va.: StrykerPost Publications, 2005.
Lennox, Rowena. Fighting Spirit of East Timor: The Life of Martinho da Costa Lopes. New York: Zed Books, 2000.
Marker, Jamsheed. East Timor: A Memoir of the Negotiations for Independence. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2003.
Nevins, Joseph. A NotSoDistant Horror: Mass Violence in East Timor. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2005.
Tanter, Richard, Mark Selden, and Stephen R. Shalom (eds). Bitter Flowers, Sweet Flowers: East Timor, Indonesia, and the World Community. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 2001.
Tiffen, Rodney. Diplomatic Deceits: Government, Media, and East Timor. Sydney, Aus.: UNSW Press, 2001.
"East Timor." Worldmark Encyclopedia of Nations. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/east-timor
"East Timor." Worldmark Encyclopedia of Nations. . Retrieved March 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/east-timor
East Timor (tē´môr) or Timor-Leste (–lĕsh´tā), Tetum Timor Lorosae, republic, officially Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (2002 est. pop. 800,000), 5,950 sq mi (15,410 sq km), in the Lesser Sundas, Malay Archipelago, off the SE Asia mainland. The country occupies the somewhat narrower, eastern half of Timor island, the exclave of Ambeno (or Oecussi) on the northwest coast of Timor, and offshore islands. Dili, on the north coast, is the capital and largest city, as well as the country's main port. Other large cities include Dare, outside Dili, and Baucau, the site of the main airport, on the northeast coast. The terrain is largely hilly and mountainous, reaching its highest point on Mt. Tatamailau (6,562 ft/2,963 m). A large remnant of tropical forest at the E tip of Timor island is a national park.
People and Economy
The inhabitants are predominantly of Malay, Polynesian, and Papuan descent; there is a Chinese minority. The vast majority of the people are Roman Catholic, and there are small numbers of Muslims and Protestants. Portuguese and Tetum, the main local language, are official languages. Although Portuguese is no longer widely spoken, since independence it has been reintroduced into the government, courts, and schools. English and Bahasa Indonesia are "working languages," and there are about 16 indigenous languages.
Although East Timor, whose economy is largely agricultural, was one of the world's poorest nations at independence, it has offshore oil and gas fields in the Timor Gap off East Timor's southern coast that are under development and have begun to produce revenue. Nonetheless, unemployment, estimated at 50%, remains a significant problem. Coffee (the main export), rice, corn, cassava, sweet potatoes, soybeans, cabbage, mangoes, bananas, and vanilla orchids are grown, and stretches of grassland support cattle. Industry is limited to printing, light manufacturing, and the production of handicrafts and woven cloth. Coffee, sandalwood, and marble are among East Timor's exports, and food, gasoline, kerosene, and machinery are imported. Most trade is with Indonesia, although natural gas is piped to Australia.
East Timor is governed under the constitution of 2002. The president, who is head of state, is popularly elected and may serve two five-year terms. The government is headed by the prime minister, who is appointed by the president. Members of the unicameral National Parliament are elected by popular vote for five-year terms. The number of seats can vary from 52 to 65. Administratively, the country is divided into 13 districts.
The Portuguese visited Timor in the early 16th cent. and were the first Europeans to establish themselves in Timor, at Lifau in what is now Ambeno in 1556. Their claim to the island was disputed by the Dutch, who arrived in 1613. By a treaty of 1859, modified in 1893 and finally made effective in 1914, the border between the Dutch and Portuguese territories was settled. The colonial powers exploited the island's sandalwood, which was largely exhausted by the early 1900s. In World War II, Timor was occupied (early 1942) by the Japanese. In 1950, Dutch Timor and the rest of the surrounding Dutch East Indies became the Republic of Indonesia.
In 1975, when Portugal's former colonies were being granted independence, fighting broke out between rival independence parties in Portuguese Timor. The leftist Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN) triumphed, and on November 28th FRETILIN established the Democratic Republic of East Timor, with Francisco Xavier do Amaral as its president. Nine days later, Indonesia invaded and claimed sovereignty, administering the area as Timor Timur province, but the annexation was not accepted internationally. The population was decimated by food shortages, disease, and military violence, with perhaps as many as 120,000 people dying by 1979. Sporadic warfare with FRETILIN guerrillas continued, and in Aug., 1998, Indonesia and Portugal reached an agreement that would give East Timor the right to local self-government. Indonesia was reluctant to withdraw its forces, however, and talks broke down.
In Mar., 1999, Portugal and Indonesia agreed to let the East Timorese choose between autonomy within Indonesia or independence. Indonesia expected to win ratification of its rule, but in August, in a UN-supervised referendum, voters chose independence. The territory descended into chaos as pro-Indonesian militias and the army engaged in a campaign of terror and brutality, killing supporters of independence, looting and burning buildings, and causing thousands to flee their homes. In September, after intense international pressure, Indonesia asked the United Nations to send a peacekeeping force to East Timor. In October, the United Nations agreed to assume the administration and defense of East Timor, which became a non-self-governing territory. Although Indonesia tried some officials and security personnel in connection with the violence, all ultimately were acquitted or had their convictions overturned.
A constituent assembly, charged with writing a constitution for East Timor, was elected in Sept., 2001. In Apr., 2002, José Alexandre "Xanana" Gusmão (later known as Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão), a former guerrilla leader, defeated Xavier do Amaral for the presidency, and the following month East Timor became an independent nation. FRETILIN won a majority of seats in the parliament, and Mari Alkatiri became prime minister. An agreement resolving most border issues was signed with Indonesia in 2005; peacekeeping forces were withdrawn the same year.
Oil and gas fields in the waters between East Timor and Australia made the settlement of their ocean boundary contentious, but in an agreement signed in 2006 East Timor postponed settlement of the issue for 50 years in exchange for an increased percentage of oil and gas revenues. A report by an independent truth and reconciliation commission concerning the effects of Indonesia's occupation of East Timor, including an estimate of up to 183,000 deaths as a result of Indonesia's policies, was submitted to the United Nations in Jan., 2006, drawing protests from Indonesia and chilling relations with Jakarta.
In Feb., 2006, soldiers from W East Timor struck in protest over pay and perceived bias against them as westerners (generally regarded as more pro-Indonesian); in March some 600 soldiers were dismissed as a result. Protests by the former soldiers spiraled into rioting in April and gang violence in May, as former soldiers fought supporters of Prime Minister Alkatiri, whose resignation the soldiers demanded. Foreign peacekeepers returned to East Timor in late May, but stability was slow to be restored to the country, and some 150,000 were displaced as a result of the violence. East Timorese police did not fully resume responsibility for the country's security until Mar., 2011; the last international forces withdrew at the end of 2012. In June, 2006, Alkatiri, under pressure, finally agreed to resign, but the situation remained somewhat unsettled, and there was concern over possible long-term tensions between W and E Timorese.
José Ramos-Horta, the former foreign minister and co-winner of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize, was appointed prime minister in July. In 2007 presidential election, Ramos-Horta defeated Francisco Guterres, the FRETILIN candidate, after a runoff in May. June legislative elections left no party in control; In August, Gusmão became prime minister of a coalition government, and FRETILIN, which had won the largest number of votes, went into opposition. Unrest in FRETILIN-dominated areas followed the government's establishment.
In Feb., 2008, in either a botched double assassination or kidnapping attempt, rebels seriously wounded the president; the prime minister escaped unharmed. The rebel leader surrendered to government forces in April. In July, 2008, a joint Indonesian–East Timorese truth commission blamed Indonesian forces and, to a minor degree, East Timorese independence forces for the violence in 1999. The Apr., 2012, presidential runoff election was won by Taur Matan Ruak, the former military chief running as an independent; he defeated Guterres. In July, Gusmão's National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) won a plurality of the seats in parliament and formed a coalition government. Gusmão remained prime minister, serving in the office until he resigned in Feb., 2015. The CNRT proposed FRETILIN's Rui Maria de Araújo as Gusmão's successor; he headed a government of national unity.
"East Timor." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/east-timor
"East Timor." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved March 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/east-timor
Official name: East Timor
Area: 14,609 square kilometers (5,641 square miles)
Highest point on mainland : Tatamailau (2,964 meters/9,724 feet)
Lowest point on land: Sea level
Hemispheres : Southern and Eastern
Time zone: 9 p.m. = noon GMT
Longest distances: 265 kilometers (165 miles) from east to west; 92 kilometers (57 miles) from north to south
Land boundaries : 172 kilometers (107 miles), all with Indonesia
Coastline: 620 kilometers (385 miles)
Territorial sea limits: Not established
1 LOCATION AND SIZE
The new nation of East Timor, a former Portuguese colony that had been controlled by Indonesia, became officially independent on May 20, 2002. East Timor consists of the eastern half of Timor Island, one of the Lesser Sunda Islands, plus the enclave of Oecussi (30 square miles/78 square kilometers) on the north coast of the Indonesian half of the island (West Timor).
The Banda Sea is to the north, the Timor Sea to the south. Many aspects of the new country, such as its territorial waters, had yet to be determined as of mid-2002.
2 TERRITORIES AND DEPENDENCIES
East Timor has no territories or dependencies.
East Timor has an equatorial climate with two basic seasons: the hot northwest monsoon of November through May, and the cooler southeast monsoon of April through December. The average annual temperature is 21°C (70°F), with a range of 18°C to 32°C (64°F to 90°F) and humidity averaging 73 percent. On average, from 120 to 150 centimeters (47 to 59 inches) of rain falls on East Timor each year. Precipitation varies greatly according to coast location and terrain. Due to its proximity to Australia, the south receives more rain than the north.
4 TOPOGRAPHIC REGIONS
The country is primarily mountainous, with many short streams, an elevated interior, and narrow coastal plains and wetlands. Dili, the capital, is located on a bay situated on the north coast.
5 OCEANS AND SEAS
East Timor is enclosed on the south by the rough waters of the Timor Sea (part of the Indian Ocean) and on the north by the calmer Banda Sea of the Pacific Ocean. The enclave of Oecussi is on the Savu Sea of the Pacific Ocean.
Seacoast and Undersea Features
Although East Timor has extensive coral reefs, they have sustained damage from dynamite fishing.
Sea Inlets and Straits
The deep Wetar Strait separates East Timor from Indonesia's Wetar Island to the north. Australia is about 500 kilometers (311 miles) to the south across the Timor Gap.
Islands and Archipelagos
Atauro Island lies 141 square kilometers (54 square miles) north of Dili. Jaco Island (11 square kilometers/4 square miles), off the easternmost point of East Timor, is a Protected Wild Area.
East Timor's coastline has little indentation, with steep slopes along the north coast, and river outlets meeting the sea. The easternmost point is Tutuala Beach, which is a Protected Wild Area, as is Christo Rei Beach. The wet-lands of East Timor are mostly marshes in estuaries along the south coast and small man-grove swamps.
6 INLAND LAKES
The largest lake in East Timor is Lake Iralalaro, in the far east of the island. With an area of 19 square kilometers (8 square miles), the lake is surrounded by much of the country's remaining rainforest, which constitutes a Protected Wild Area. Smaller lakes include Be Malae, Maubara, and Tibar.
7 RIVERS AND WATERFALLS
East Timor has twenty-five rivers or streams, all of which originate in the central mountains. They experience strong torrential flow during rainy periods, but their water levels drop severely in the dry months. Significant rivers include the Lois (80 kilometers/50 miles), which is the country's longest, as well as the Laklo, Karau Ulun, and Tafara, all in the south. The Tono River runs through Oecussi. There are hot springs along the Marobo River, in the north border region, and waterfalls occur throughout the country.
An area between Venilale and Los Palos in the far east of the island has been desertified severely; it is now known as "dead earth," where very little will grow.
9 FLAT AND ROLLING TERRAIN
East Timor has extensive grasslands on its coastal plains and hillsides.
10 MOUNTAINS AND VOLCANOES
The Ramalau, the central mountain range of East Timor, is characterized by deep valleys and looming cliffs. Tatamailau (2,964 meters/ 9,724 feet) is the highest peak in the country. Six other summits rise above 2,000 meters (6,566 feet): Sabiria, Usululi, Harupai, Cablake, Laklo, and Matebian.
11 CANYONS AND CAVES
River gorges and deep streambeds cut through the center of the country.
12 PLATEAUS AND MONOLITHS
In the east, Fuiloro, a plateau with elevations of 500 to 700 meters (1,640 to 2,297 feet), is the remnant of a fossil atoll. Nari, Lospalos, and Rere are other eastern plateaus. Baucau and Laga are coral-rock plateaus along the north coast, and the Maliana Plateau rises along the West Timor border.
13 MAN-MADE FEATURES
East Timor is a poor country with an undeveloped infrastructure and no outstanding man-made features. Even before the damage caused by the violent fighting that preceded statehood, only about one-fifth of all households had electricity, and paved roads reached only half of all villages.
14 FURTHER READING
Cardoso, Luis. Crossing: A Story of East Timor. London: Granta, 2002.
Periplus Adventure Guides. East of Bali: From Lombok to Timor. Boston: Tuttle Publishing, 2001.
Tanter, Richard, Mark Selden, and Stephen R. Shalom, eds. Bitter Flowers: East Timor, Indonesia and the World Community. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2001.
Nunes, Mario N. The Natural Resources of East Timor. http://www.pcug.org.au/~wildwood/01jannaturalresources.html (accessed June 13, 2003).
University of Coimbra. Timor Net. http://www.uc.pt/timor (accessed June 13, 2003).
"East Timor." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of Physical Geography. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/east-timor-0
"East Timor." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of Physical Geography. . Retrieved March 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/east-timor-0
|Official Country Name:||East Timor|
|Region:||East & South Asia|
|Language(s):||Indonesian, Portuguese, Tetum|
Timor, an island north of Australia, gained its independence from Portugal in 1975 but was annexed by Indonesia in July 1976. At that time, 93 percent of the population was illiterate. A small percentage of the Timorese had access to education, and only 39 students attended universities.
Indonesia required schooling between the ages of 7 and 13 and implemented an assimilation policy through its educational system. This involved the imposition of the Indonesian language and the Pancasila ideology, which is the respect for Indonesian patriotic symbols and the dissemination of a new version of history. Most teachers in the Timorese schools were Indonesian.
The Timorese resisted this policy. In 1994 the Departments of Education and Culture published all the textbooks in their Tetum language and allowed 20 percent of the curriculum to be of local content. However, the resistance movement intensified upon the resignation of Indonesian President Suharto in 1998. In the following year, the Timorese voted for independence under a United Nations-supervised referendum.
In the struggle for independence, most of the school infrastructure was destroyed, and most teachers and headmasters left permanently. However, grants from the World Bank made possible school repairs and training and hiring of teachers. Japan also donated scholarship money for students to attend Indonesian universities.
Meanwhile, the control of the education system was placed under a coalition of the National Council of Timorese Resistance, the United Nations Transition Administration, and UNICEF until local elections in 2002. In late 2000 the Timorese government approved the opening of the University of East Timor.
Arenas, Alberto. "Education and Nationalism in East Timor." Social Justice 25, summer 1988.
Cohen, David. "East Timor May Have Its Own University Soon." The Chronicle of Higher Education 46, 21 July 2000.
——. "Invasion of Timor," 2001. Available from http://www.educationunlimited.co.uk/.
UNICEF. "Appeal 2000 East Timor," 2001. Available from http://www.unicef.org/emerg/CAPetimor.htm.
—Bill T. Manikas
"East Timor." World Education Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/east-timor
"East Timor." World Education Encyclopedia. . Retrieved March 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/east-timor
|Official Country Name:||East Timor|
|Region (Map name):||East & South Asia|
|Language(s):||English, Indonesian, Portuguese, Tetum|
East Timor—or Timor Loro Sa'e—became a nation on May 20, 2002, as the world watched. The celebration of independence ended four centuries of Portuguese colonial rule, 24 years of Indonesian occupation, and more than two years of interim rule by the United Nations. East Timor shares with Indonesia about half of a 300-mile long island in the group known as the Lesser Sundas.
After the East Timorese people voted for independence from Indonesia in 1999, rampaging militias destroyed much of the island's infrastructure, including the printing presses and computers that served the former province's few newspapers and magazines. The Voice of East Timor, its leading newspaper, was silenced.
As a first step in rebuilding the media, Queensland Newspapers of Australia sent equipment and expertise. After a marathon equipment set-up, the Timor Post (in Indonesian) published its first, four-page tabloid edition on March 2, 2000. Besides the Timor Post, other newspapersare Suara Timor Lorosae (in Indonesian), Lalenok (in Tetum) and Timor Today. Archived copies of Timor Post and Lalenok can be seen at http://www.easttimorpress.qut.edu.au.
The lone television station is TV-TL, and two radio stations are Radio UNTAET and Radio Falintil. The Internet domain is.tl.
The official languages of Timor Loro Sa'e are Portuguese and Tetum. In practicality, Indonesian and English are the two languages in broad use.
Much of East Timor's independence struggle took place on the Internet, with the help of satellite phones, and in view of the world community. It can be said to have achieved its independence in cyberspace in 1997, when its domain name was registered and administered from Ireland.
Hill, David T. "East Timor and the Internet: Global Political Leverage in/on Indonesia." In Indonesia, 73 (April 2002) 25-52.
Tanter, Richard, Mark Selden, and Stephen R. Shalom. "East Timor Faces the Future." In Bitter Flowers, Sweet Flowers: East Timor, Indonesia, and the World Community, Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2001, 243-72.
Dr. Linda Yoder
"East Timor." World Press Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/media/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/east-timor
"East Timor." World Press Encyclopedia. . Retrieved March 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/media/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/east-timor
"East Timor." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 28, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/east-timor
"East Timor." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved March 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/east-timor