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East Timor

EAST TIMOR

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT
TOPOGRAPHY
CLIMATE
FLORA AND FAUNA
ENVIRONMENT
POPULATION
MIGRATION
ETHNIC GROUPS
LANGUAGES
RELIGIONS
TRANSPORTATION
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT
POLITICAL PARTIES
LOCAL GOVERNMENT
JUDICIAL SYSTEM
ARMED FORCES
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
ECONOMY
INCOME
LABOR
AGRICULTURE
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
FISHING
FORESTRY
MINING
ENERGY AND POWER
INDUSTRY
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
DOMESTIC TRADE
FOREIGN TRADE
BALANCE OF PAYMENTS
BANKING AND SECURITIES
INSURANCE
PUBLIC FINANCE
TAXATION
CUSTOMS AND DUTIES
FOREIGN INVESTMENT
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
HEALTH
HOUSING
EDUCATION
LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS
MEDIA
ORGANIZATIONS
TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION
FAMOUS EAST TIMORESE
DEPENDENCIES
BIBLIOGRAPHY

CAPITAL: Dili

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.

ANTHEM: n/a

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.

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT

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.

TOPOGRAPHY

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.

CLIMATE

Temperatures in the dry season, from May to November, average 2033°c (6891°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 2935°c (8495°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.

FLORA AND FAUNA

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.

ENVIRONMENT

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.

POPULATION

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 200510 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.

MIGRATION

"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.

ETHNIC GROUPS

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.

LANGUAGES

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.

RELIGIONS

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.

TRANSPORTATION

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).

HISTORY

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 reirulers, 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 (192484), 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 (193934).

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 August24 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 midSeptemberOctober 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 troopsby sea, air, and landinto 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 recordin 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 evidencewas 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 5050 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.

GOVERNMENT

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.

POLITICAL PARTIES

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.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

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.

JUDICIAL SYSTEM

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.

ARMED FORCES

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 MayJune 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 1821 years old. Both male and female recruits have been accepted. Military expenditures for 2003 were estimated to be at about $4.4 million.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

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.

ECONOMY

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 200001, 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 200001 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.

INCOME

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.

LABOR

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.

AGRICULTURE

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.

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY

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.

FISHING

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.

FORESTRY

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 200017 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.

MINING

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.

ENERGY AND POWER

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.

INDUSTRY

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.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

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 facultiesagriculture, 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 LorosaeUNTL) opened for classes on 27 November 2000. There are five faculties: agriculture, political science, economics, education and teacher training, and engineering.

DOMESTIC TRADE

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.

FOREIGN TRADE

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.

BALANCE OF PAYMENTS

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.

BANKING AND SECURITIES

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.

INSURANCE

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.

PUBLIC FINANCE

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.

TAXATION

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.

CUSTOMS AND DUTIES

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).

FOREIGN INVESTMENT

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.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

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 2002/0306/07 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.

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

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.

HEALTH

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 34% 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

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.

EDUCATION

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 LorosaeUNTL) 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.

LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS

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.

MEDIA

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.

ORGANIZATIONS

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, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION

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.

FAMOUS EAST TIMORESE

Martinho da Costa Lopes (19181991) 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 197689. 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.

DEPENDENCIES

East Timor has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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.

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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.

Government

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.

History

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.

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East Timor

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.

3 CLIMATE

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.

Coastal Features

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.

8 DESERTS

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

Books

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.

Web Sites

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).

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East Timor

East Timor

Basic Data
Official Country Name: East Timor
Region: East & South Asia
Population: 827,727
Language(s): Indonesian, Portuguese, Tetum
Literacy Rate: 55%


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.


Bibliography

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

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East Timor

East Timor

Basic Data

Official Country Name: East Timor
Region (Map name): East & South Asia
Population: 827,727
Language(s): English, Indonesian, Portuguese, Tetum
Literacy rate: 55%

East Timoror Timor Loro Sa'ebecame 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.

Bibliography

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

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East Timor

East Timor Independent state established after the overthrow of Indonesian rule in 1999. For history, see Timor

http://www.gov.east-timor.org

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East Timor

East Timor

Situated to the southeast of Indonesia, East Timor has an area of 14,610 square kilometers (9,000 miles) and a population of approximately 840,000.

Before Europeans encountered the island of Timor it had been populated by successive waves of Malay and Melanesian migrants, who settled with the original inhabitants, the Atoni people of the central highlands. This ethnic mix was compounded by the arrival of Chinese, Arab, and Gujerati traders, who visited Timor in search of its valuable sandalwood.

The Portuguese established a colonial administration in Timor in 1702, where they fought with the Dutch for control over the island for the next three centuries. The two halves of the island finally were separated in an agreement signed by the two colonial powers in 1913: The Dutch took control of the west and the Portuguese took control of the east. The Japanese military occupied East Timor during World War II (1941–1945), and in these years 60,000 (13% of the population) died.

In 1949 West Timor became part of the Indonesian Republic. Portugal retained East Timor. On April 25, 1974, the Portuguese Armed Forces Movement overthrew the Caetano regime and began a process of decolonization in Portugal's African and Asian colonies. Faced with the possibility of an independent East Timor, the Indonesian Armed Forces invaded. The Indonesian occupation lasted from 1975 to 1999, during which approximately 200,000 of a preinvasion population of 650,000 died at the hands of Indonesian troops or as a result of starvation after forced displacement.

In August 1999, following a referendum overseen by the United Nations (UN), the East Timorese voted overwhelmingly for independence. The Indonesian army then sponsored paramilitary groups to terrorize the population. Following international intervention to halt the carnage, Indonesian forces withdrew. After a transitional period overseen by the UN, East Timor became independent on March 20, 2002.

As of the early twenty-first century, the territory remained poor with 41 percent of its population living in poverty, although access to offshore oil and gas, combined with a development strategy based on agriculture, coffee exports, small-scale industry and tourism, gave potential for development.

see also Empire, Dutch; Empire, Portuguese.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Dunn, James. East Timor: A People Betrayed. Sydney: ABC Books, 1996.

Taylor, John G. East Timor: The Price of Freedom. Australia: Pluto Press, 1999.

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East Timor

EAST TIMOR

Compiled from the September 2005 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste


PROFILE

Geography

Area:

15,007 sq. km.

Cities:

Capital—Dili, Baucau.

Terrain:

Mountainous.

Climate:

Tropical; hot, semi-arid; rainy and dry seasons.

People

Nationality:

Noun—Timorese; adjective—Timorese.

Population (2004):

924,642.

Religion:

Catholic 98%.

Language:

Portuguese, Tetum (official languages); English, Bahasa Indonesia (working languages).

Education:

Literacy—41%.

Health:

Life expectancy—49.5 years. Mortality rate (under 5)—126 per 1,000 live births.

Government

Type:

Parliamentary democracy.

Independence (from Portugal):

November 28, 1975.

Restoration of independence:

May 20, 2002. (See History section.)

Constitution:

March 2002.

Branches:

Executive—president (head of state), prime minister (head of government), cabinet. Legislative—unicameral parliament. Judicial—Supreme Court and supporting hierarchy. As the Supreme Court has not yet been formed, the Court of Appeal functions, on an interim basis, as the Supreme Court.

Major political parties:

Revolutionary Front of Independent East Timor (FRETILIN), Democratic Party (PD), Social Democratic Party (PSD), Timorese Social Democratic Association (ASDT).

Economy

GDP (2004 est.):

$322 million.

GDP per capita (nominal):

$430.

GDP composition by sector:

Services 57%, agriculture 25%, industry 17%.

Industry:

Types—coffee, oil and natural gas.

Trade:

Exports—coffee, oil and natural gas. Major markets—Australia, Europe, Japan, United States. Imports—basic manufactures, commodities. Major sources—Australia, Europe, Indonesia, Japan, United States.


GEOGRAPHY AND PEOPLE

East Timor is located in southeastern Asia, on the southernmost edge of the Indonesian archipelago, northwest of Australia. The country includes the eastern half of Timor island as well as the Oecussi enclave in the northwest portion of Indonesian West Timor, and the islands of Atauro and Jaco. The mixed Malay and Pacific Islander culture of the Timorese people reflects the geography of the country on the border of those two cultural areas. Portuguese influence during the centuries of colonial rule resulted in a substantial majority of the population identifying itself as Roman Catholic. Some of those who consider themselves Catholic practice a mixed form of religion that includes local animist customs. As a result of the colonial education system and the 23 year Indonesian occupation, approximately 17% of Timorese speak Portuguese and 63% speak Bahasa Indonesia. Tetum, the most common of the local languages, is spoken by approximately 91% of the population. Mambae, Kemak, and Fataluku are also widely spoken. This linguistic diversity is enshrined in the country's constitution, which designates Portuguese and Tetum as official languages and English and Bahasa Indonesia as working languages.


HISTORY

Portuguese and Dutch traders made the first western contact with East Timor in the early 16th century. Sandalwood and spice traders, as well as missionaries, maintained sporadic contact with the island until 1642, when the Portuguese moved into Timor in strength. The Portuguese and the Dutch, based at the western end of the island in Kupang, battled for influence until the present-day borders were agreed to by the colonial powers in 1906. Imperial Japan occupied East Timor from 1942–45. Portugal resumed colonial authority over East Timor in 1945 after the Japanese defeat in World War II.

Following a military coup in Lisbon in April 1974, Portugal began a rapid and disorganized decolonization process in most of its overseas territories, including East Timor. Political tensions—exacerbated by Indonesian involvement—heated up, and on August 11, 1975, the Timorese Democratic Union Party (UDT) launched a coup d'état in Dili. The putsch was followed by a brief but bloody civil war in which the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN) pushed UDT forces into Indonesian West Timor. Shortly after the FRETILIN victory in late September, Indonesian forces began incursions into East Timor. On October 16, five journalists from Australia, Britain, and New Zealand were murdered in the East Timorese town of Balibo shortly after they had filmed regular Indonesian army troops invading East Timorese territory. On November 28, FRETILIN declared East Timor an independent state, and Indonesia responded by launching a full-scale military invasion on December 7. On December 22, 1975 the UN Security Council called on Indonesia to withdraw its troops from East Timor.

Declaring a provisional government made up of Timorese allies on January 13, 1976, the Indonesian Government said it was acting to forestall civil strife in East Timor and to prevent the consolidation of power by the FRETILIN party. The Indonesians claimed that FRETILIN was communist in nature, while the party's leadership described itself as social democratic. Coming on the heels of the communist victories in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, the Indonesian claims were accepted by many in the West. Major powers also had little incentive to confront Indonesia over a territory seen as peripheral to their security interests. Nonetheless, the widespread popular support shown for the guerilla resistance launched by the Timorese made clear that the Indonesian occupation was not welcome. The Timorese were not permitted to determine their own political fate via a free vote, and the Indonesian occupation was never recognized by the United Nations.

The Indonesian occupation of Timor was initially characterized by a program of brutal military repression. Beginning in the late 1980s, however, the occupation was increasingly characterized by programs to win the "hearts-and-minds" of the Timorese through the use of economic development assistance and job creation while maintaining a strict policy of political repression, although serious human rights violations – such as the 1991 Santa Cruz massacre—continued. Estimates of the number of Timorese who lost their lives to violence and hunger during the Indonesian occupation range from 100,000 to 250,000. On January 27, 1999, Indonesian President B.J. Habibie announced his government's desire to hold a referendum in which the people of East Timor would chose between autonomy within Indonesia and independence. Under an agreement among the United Nations, Portugal, and Indonesia, the referendum was held on August 30, 1999. When the results were announced on September 4—78% voted for independence with a 98.6% turnout—Timorese militias organized and supported by the Indonesian military commenced a large-scale, scorched earth campaign of retribution. While pro-independence FALINTIL guerillas remained cantoned in UN-supervised camps, the militia killed approximately 1,300 Timorese and forcibly pushed 300,000 people into West Timor as refugees. The majority of the country's infrastructure, including homes, irrigation systems, water supply systems, and schools, and nearly 100% of the country's electrical grid were destroyed. On September 20, 1999 the Australian-led peacekeeping troops of the International Force for East Timor (INTERFET) deployed to the country, bringing the violence to an end.


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

East Timor became a fully independent republic on May 20, 2002, following approximately 2-1/2 years under the authority of the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET). The country has a parliamentary form of government with its first parliament formed from the 88-member Constituent Assembly chosen in free and fair, UN-supervised elections in August 2001. The 29-member Cabinet is dominated by the FRETILIN Party, which won the majority of Assembly seats. Mari Alkatiri, FRETILIN's Secretary General, is Prime Minister and Head of Government, and Xanana Gusmao—elected in free and fair elections on April 14, 2002—is President and Head of State. UNTAET's mandate ended with independence, but a successor organization, the UN Mission for the Support of East Timor (UNMISET), was established to provide additional support to the Government. In April 2005, the UN Security Council unanimously passed a resolution establishing a small follow-on special political mission in East Timor, the UN Office in East Timor (UNOTIL), to succeed UNMISET when its mandate expired on May 20, 2005. UNOTIL will remain there until May 20, 2006.

Under the constitution ratified in March 2002, "laws and regulations in force continue to be applicable to all matters except to the extent that they are inconsistent with the Constitution;" and Indonesian and UNTAET laws and regulations continue to be in effect. During the period from December 2004 to September 2005, the government held local elections in all 13 districts. In July 2005, the Prime Minister announced a restructuring of the Cabinet and the first reshuffle since independence. East Timor witnessed its largest and longest political demonstration in April and May 2005 when several thousand protestors took part in a demonstration led by the Catholic Church that lasted 20 days. The demonstration

ended peacefully with the signing of an agreement between the Catholic Church and the Prime Minister that resolved several key issues of disagreement.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 12/14/2005

President: Kay Rala Xanana GUSMAO
Prime Minister: Mari Bin Amude ALKATIRI
Dep. Prime Minister: Ana Maria Pessoa Pereira da SILVA Pinto
Min. for Agriculture, Fisheries, & Forestry: Estganislau Maria Alexio da SILVA
Min. for Development & the Environment: Mari Bin Amude ALKATIRI
Min. for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, & Sports: Armindo MAIA
Min. for Planning & Finance: Maria Madalena BRITES Boavida
Min. for Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation: Jose RAMOS-HORTA
Min. for Health: Rui Maria do ARAUJO
Min. for Internal Affairs: Rogerio Tiago LOBATO
Min. for Justice: Domingos SARMENTO
Min. for Transportation, Communications, & General Employment: Ovidio AMARAL
Secy. of State for Commerce & Industry: Arlino Rangel da CRUZ
Secy. of State for Council of Ministers: Gregorio de SOUSA
Secy. of State for Defense: Felix de Jesus (Roque) RODRIGUES
Secy. of State for Electricity & Water: Egidio de JESUS
Secy. of State for Labor & Solidarity: Arsenio Paixao BANO
Secy. of State for Parliamentary Affairs: Antoninho BIANCO
Secy. of State for Telecommunications: Virgilio GUTERRES
Secy. of State for Tourism, the Environment, & Investment: Jose TEIXEIRA
Ambassador to the US: Jose Luis GUTERRES
Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Jose Luis GUTERRES

East Timor maintains an embassy at 4201 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008 (telephone: 202-966-3202).


ECONOMY

As the poorest nation in Asia, East Timor must overcome formidable challenges. Basic income, health, and literacy indicators are among the lowest in Asia. Severe shortages of trained and competent personnel to staff newly established executive, legislative, and judicial institutions hinder progress. Rural areas, lacking in infrastructure and resources, remain brutally poor, and the relatively few urban areas cannot provide adequate jobs for the country's growing labor force. Many cities, including the country's second largest, Baucau, do not have routine electrical service. Rural families' access to electricity and clean water is very limited. While anticipated revenues from offshore oil and gas reserves offer great hope for the country, effective use of those resources will require a major transformation of the country's current human and institutional infrastructure. Meanwhile, as those substantial revenues come on line, foreign assistance levels—now standing at among the highest worldwide on a per capita basis—will likely taper off.

East Timor has made significant progress in a number of areas since independence. It has become a full fledged member of the international community, joining the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). It is surviving the massive exodus of UN personnel, equipment and resources, and has effected a relatively smooth transition to Timorese control of the government and its administration. It produced a National Development Plan, and its Constituent Assembly has transitioned into a National Parliament that has commenced reviewing and passing legislation. In July 2005, Parliament universally passed a law creating a petroleum fund to effectively manage and invest oil revenues to ensure these funds are invested in the country's development after exploitation of these resources ends. A nascent legal system has been put into place and efforts are underway to put in place the institutions required to protect human rights, rebuild the economy, create employment opportunities, and reestablish essential public services.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

East Timor joined the United Nations on September 27, 2002. It is pursuing observer status in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and became a member of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in July 2005. East Timor's foreign policy has placed a high priority on its relationships with Indonesia; regional friends such as Malaysia and Singapore; and donors such as Australia, the European Union, Japan, Portugal, and the United States.


U.S.-EAST TIMOR RELATIONS

East Timor maintains an embassy in Washington DC, as well as a Permanent Mission in New York at the United Nations. The United States has a large bilateral development assistance program, $22.5 million in 2004, and also contributes funds as a major member of a number of multilateral agencies such as the Asian Development Bank and World Bank. The U.S. Peace Corps has an active program in East Timor.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

DILI (E) Address: Av.de Portugal, Pantai Kelapa, Dili, East Timor; APO/FPO: American Embassy Jakarta, Unit 8129, Box D, APO AP 96520; Official pouch: 8250 Dili Place, Washington, D.C. 20521-8250; Phone: (670) 332-4684; Fax: (670) 331-3206; Workweek: 8:00 am-5:00 pm

AMB:Grover Joseph Rees, III
AMB OMS:Myrna F. Farmer
DCM:Seiji Shiratori
DCM OMS:Midori Oliver
POL/ECO:Liz Wharton
AID:Flynn Fuller
FMO:Ralph Hamilton
GSO:Daniel Reagan
IMO:Daniel Reagan
POL/ADV:Liz Wharton
Last Updated: 11/1/2005

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

May 26, 2005

Country Description:

Occupying 5,743 square miles on the eastern half of an island in the Timor Sea between Indonesia and Australia, East Timor has a population of approximately 850,000 people. East Timor became independent on May 20, 2002, and is now a democratically governed, independent nation with an elected President and Parliament.

In the violence that followed East Timor's 1999 independence referendum, its infrastructure, never robust, was totally destroyed and is only slowly being rebuilt. Electricity, telephone and telecommunications, roads and lodging remain unreliable, particularly outside of the capital. East Timor's economy relies largely on international assistance.

Entry/Exit Requirements:

A passport valid for six months beyond the intended date of departure from East Timor is required. Tourist visas are not required prior to arrival, but travelers arriving in East Timor without a visa will need to pay a $30 fee for the 30-day visa. There is an additional fee for each 30-day renewal of this tourist visa.

Visitors traveling via air must transit either Darwin, Australia or Bali, Indonesia en route to East Timor. Visit the Embassy of East Timor web site at www.un.int/timor-leste for the most current visa information.

Safety and Security:

After the August 1999 United Nations (UN)sponsored independence referendum, violence swept East Timor, as did widespread looting and burning and, in some cases, murder. UN peace keeping forces quickly restored stability to the country, yet violent incidents remain possible in border areas due to incursions by smugglers and pro-integration militias. American citizens traveling to East Timor should use common sense and exercise caution, avoid large gatherings, and remain alert with regard to their personal security, particularly after dark. Additionally, in light of recent terrorist attacks in Southeast Asia, Americans should exercise caution especially in public places including, but not limited to, clubs, restaurants, bars, schools, places of worship, out door recreational events, hotels, resorts and beaches and other locations frequented by foreigners.

Americans are advised that security officials occasionally establish security checkpoints along roads. These legitimate checkpoints are intended to enhance security and should be respected. Americans traveling in East Timor should remember that despite its small size, much of the territory is isolated and can be difficult to reach by available transportation or communication links.

Travelers and residents should always ensure that passports and important personal papers are in order in the event it becomes necessary to leave the country quickly for any reason. Likewise, travelers should be aware that the U.S. Embassy in Dili is not able to issue emergency passports and has only limited capacity to process passport renewals.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime:

Crimes such as pick pocketing, residential break-ins and thefts occur throughout the country, but are more frequent in Dili, the capital. Victims who resist may be subject to physical violence. Gang related violence occurs, but has not targeted foreign nationals. Visitors should be particularly careful at night and avoid wearing clothing that may be regarded as insensitive or provocative, particularly in crowded public areas such as markets.

Information for Victims of Crime:

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information:

Although limited emergency medical care is available in Dili, options for routine medical care throughout the country are extremely limited. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to Australia, the nearest point with acceptable medical care, or to the United States, can cost thousands of dollars.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance:

The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions:

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning East Timor is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

All traffic operates on the left side of the road, and most vehicles use right-hand drive. Roads are often poorly maintained and four-wheel drive may be required in some areas. Non-existent lighting and poor road conditions make driving at night hazardous. Taxis are available in Dili, and small buses and mini-vans provide public transportation throughout the area. However, public transportation is generally overcrowded, uncomfortable and below international safety standards.

Driving in Dili is especially hazardous, with large trucks and military vehicles sharing the streets with vendors, pedestrians and livestock. Many cars and especially motorcycles operate at night without lights.

During the rainy season, travel on all cross-island roadways should be considered to be risky. U.S. citizens should use caution when traveling on the cross-island roadways in the mountain areas of Aileu, Ermera, Manatuto, Ainaro and Manufahi provinces. In December 2003, rain showers severely damaged several cross-island roadways, and several UN vehicles had to be airlifted out of the area south of Aileu due to landslides and roadway damage.

Accidents are frequent. When there is an accident, the police should be contacted. It is not uncommon for bystanders to attack the driver perceived to be responsible for a traffic accident. This is more common in rural areas and in accidents involving East Timorese drivers, but crowds have occasionally attacked expatriate drivers at the scene of an accident. If a U.S. citizen involved in an accident reasonably believes that there is a threat of bodily harm from people at the scene of the accident, it may be advisable to drive to the police station before stopping.

While it is possible to obtain insurance for vehicles in East Timor, only a handful of foreigners have done so, and virtually no one else has automobile insurance. Most traffic accidents are settled informally between those involved. Visit the website of the country's national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety at http://www.gov.easttimor.org/.

Aviation Safety Oversight:

As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and East Timor, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed East Timor's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's internet web site at www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm.

Special Circumstances:

East Timor is in a state of transition, and many civil and governmental institutions are currently being developed. The information provided above may change quickly as new institutions and processes become operational. U.S. citizens traveling or doing business in East Timor may find it difficult to identify legal or administrative mechanisms should problems arise.

The U.S. dollar is the official currency of East Timor. Money can be exchanged at the three banks in Dili, but only to or from a limited number of currencies. Only a few establishments accept credit cards, usually requiring a substantial additional fee, and visitors should be prepared to settle all bills in cash. Dili has two ATM machines that accept U.S.issued bankcards. Travelers should not plan to rely exclusively on these machines, as they are frequently inoperative.

Criminal Penalties:

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offences. Persons violating laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in East Timor are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in illicit sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues:

For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.

Registration/Embassy Location:

Americans living or traveling in East Timor are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy through the State Department's travel registration website, http://travelregistration.state.gov, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within East Timor. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located Avenida de Portugal, Praia dos Coqueiros, Dili, East Timor, Tel: (670) 332-4684, Fax: (670)331-3206.

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East Timor

East Timor

1 Location and Size

2 Topography

3 Climate

4 Plants and Animals

5 Environment

6 Population

7 Migration

8 Ethnic Groups

9 Languages

10 Religions

11 Transportation

12 History

13 Government

14 Political Parties

15 Judicial System

16 Armed Forces

17 Economy

18 Income

19 Industry

20 Labor

21 Agriculture

22 Domesticated Animals

23 Fishing

24 Forestry

25 Mining

26 Foreign Trade

27 Energy and Power

28 Social Development

29 Health

30 Housing

31 Education

32 Media

33 Tourism and Recreation

34 Famous East Timorese

35 Bibliography

CAPITAL: Dili

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.

ANTHEM: n/a

MONETARY UNIT: East Timor has adopted the U.S. 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.

1 Location and Size

East Timor lies on the eastern half of Timor, an island roughly the size of the Netherlands that forms an arc between Asia and Australia. It is situated within the Nusatengarra Archipelago. Opposite the well-traveled island of Bali, East Timor is surrounded by the Indian Ocean at the south and the Pacific Ocean at the north. It is about the size of New Jersey or Israel, and its 15,007-square-kilometer (5,794-square-mile) territory extends beyond its mainland to include the enclave of Ocussi-Ambeno in West Timor, and the islands of Atauro in the north and Jaco in the east.

Dili, a small port city on the northern coast, is the capital.

2 Topography

There are rugged mountains, waterfalls, and coastal lagoons in East Timor. There are also dry grasslands, savanna forests, gullies, and patches of dense rain forests.

GEOGRAPHICAL PROFILE

Geographic Features

Area: 15,007 sq km (5,794 sq mi)

Size ranking: 154 of 194

Highest elevation: 2,963 meters (9,721 feet) at Foho Tatamailau

Lowest elevation: Sea level at the Timor, Banda, and Savu seas

Land Use*

Arable land: 8%

Permanent crops: 5%

Other: 87%

Weather**

Average annual precipitation: 120–150 centimeters (47–59 inches)

Average temperature in January: 27°c (80°f)

Average temperature in July: 24°c (75°f)

* Arable Land: Land used for temporary crops, like meadows for mowing or pasture, gardens, and greenhouses.

Permanent crops: Land cultivated with crops that occupy its use for long periods, such as cocoa, coffee, rubber, fruit and nut orchards, and vineyards.

Other: Any land not specified, including built-on areas, roads, and barren land.

** The measurements for precipitation and average temperatures were taken at weather stations closest to the country’s largest city.

Precipitation and average temperature can vary significantly within a country, due to factors such as latitude, altitude, coastal proximity, and wind patterns.

Foho Tatamailau, a mountain that forms the highest point on East Timor, reaches 2,963 meters (9,721 feet). The Laclo River in the north stretches some 80 kilometers (50 miles), forming the longest river.

3 Climate

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, the air becomes very humid, and monsoon cloud activity builds up. The wet season, from December to April, sees average temperatures of 27–35°c (80–95°f), with heavy rains and flooding. Earthquakes, tsunamis, or tidal waves, and tropical cyclones occur periodically.

4 Plants and Animals

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. Secondary forests, savanna, and grasslands are other types of vegetation. Trees include ironwood, eucalyptus, black eucalyptus, redwood, sandalwood, cendana, and lontarwood. Deer, monkeys, cockatoos, horses, and cows are the main animal species.

5 Environment

The main threat to the environment comes from slash and burn agriculture, which has led to the destruction of forests and soil erosion. As of 2006, there were seven threatened species of birds in East Timor, including the black kite, shirt-toed eagle, Japanese sparrow eagle, and red-cheeked parrot. In that year, one type of reptile and three species of fish were also threatened.

6 Population

The population of East Timor was estimated at 947,000 in 2005. The population growth rate was 2% in 2006. The projected population for the year 2025 was 1.9 million. The population of the capital city, Dili, was estimated at 49,000 in 2005.

7 Migration

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. There were zero migrants per 1,000 population in 2005.

8 Ethnic Groups

Historically, the ethnic population was largely defined by the Atoni and the more dominant Belu, a blend of Malay, Melanesian, and Austronesian peoples who spoke the Tetum language. At independence in 2002, the population was divided ethnically in the following way: 78% Timorese, 20% Indonesian, and 2% Chinese.

9 Languages

In addition to Tetum, there are about 15 other local 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 non-Austronesian tongues. Tetum and Portuguese are the official languages. Indonesian and English are also spoken widely.

10 Religions

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 of Buddhists. 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 (finding spirituality in nature and inanimate objects).

11 Transportation

As of 2002, there were no railways. Highways stretched across about 3,800 kilometers (2,361 miles), but only about 428 kilometers (266 miles) were paved, and even these roads were poorly maintained. There are many driving accidents due to poor road conditions, the lack of lighting, 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.

There were eight airports operating in 2004, but only three had paved runways. There were nine heliports in 2005.

12 History

Since the mid-to-late 1500s, the island of Timor and its lush offering of sandalwood lured both Portuguese and Dutch explorers, who competed for the territory, until an official territorial division was determined in April 1913. Unlike the Dutch, Portugal’s influence relied upon the local leadership of the East Timorese liurai rei: rulers, chieftains, and biracial families known as the “Black Portuguese” who were of Timorese and Portuguese parentage. While Portugal’s colonial hold on East Timor did not give the local population educational opportunities or general opportunities to advance, its detachment enabled the East Timorese cultural identity to remain largely intact and untouched 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. The “Carnation Revolution” of April 1974 led to the end of nearly 50 years of dictatorship by Portugal. The decolonization of East Timor looked like a promising outcome of that event. 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, which wanted East Timor to be integrated into Indonesia; the Democratic Union of Timor (UDT), which wanted a progressive process of autonomy under Portugal; and the Timorese Social Democratic Association (ASDT), which later became the left wing independence movement Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (Fretilin), calling for the island’s total independence.

The subsequent union and growing popularity of UDT and Fretilin by January 1975 proved threatening enough to the Indonesian government that President Suharto justified his military intervention in East Timor through the “Operasi Komodo.” Operasi Komodo essentially slandered Fretilin as being secretly Communist and served to splinter its alliance with the UDT by May.

In August and September 1975, Indonesia persuaded the UDT to stage a coup against Fretilin. The attempted coup failed. In fact, Fretilin gained control of the entire East Timorese territory. Still, there was Indonesian fighting within East Timor and around its borders during mid-September and through October 1975. On 28 November 1975, Fretilin formally asserted an independent state of East Timor. The very next day Indonesia’s intelligence chief called for the integration of East Timor into Indonesia.

On 7 December 1975, Indonesia sent 10,000 troops into Dili. Within days of an invasion marked by public torture, rape, and the random killing of mass civilians, the Portuguese governor, Mario Lemos Pire, fled to the island of Atauro, marking the end of over 460 years of colonization. On 17 July 1976, Indonesia claimed East Timor as its 27th province. Full-scale attacks continued through March 1979. Within a year of the initial 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 common.

It has been estimated that some 250,000 have been killed since 1975, when warfare seized the island. While Indonesia experienced a shift in leadership with the forced resignation of President Suharto in 1997, East Timor endorsed Fretilin leader José Alexandre “Xanana” Gusmão, then the president of the National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT). Fretilin’s continued resistance against military occupation and terror, along with heightened international attention to the atrocities within the island, may have caused Indonesian President Habibie to offer East Timorese citizens two choices in 1999: 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.

Post-election violence and killings led by pro-Indonesian militias and the army, have killed more than 1,000 people and have forced some 250,000 to flee from East Timor following the election. The continued violence serves as a dark reminder of East Timor’s subjugation to the Indonesian military. East Timor after 1999 was governed by UNTAET (the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor) and the National Consultative Council (originally formed by 15 East Timorese), with the mission to rebuild the island and establish a new government by the end of 2001. In September 2001 an assembly was elected and charged with the task of writing a constitution for East Timor. In April 2002, José Alexandre “Xanana” Gusmão was elected president, and on 20 May 2002, East Timor became an independent nation. East Timor became the 191st United Nations member state on 27 September 2002.

The UN Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET) ended in May 2005. But the country was not yet stable. Severe poverty contributed to many societal problems. When violence erupted a year later, the UN Security Council took action. They passed a resolution in August 2006 to create a new peacekeeping force, UN Integrated Mission in East Timor (UNMIT).

Prime minister Mari Alkatiri was criticized for his handling of the violence in 2006. He resigned his position as a result. Alkatiri was succeeded by Jose Ramos-Horta in July 2006. Ramos-Horta shared the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize with Bishop Carlos Belo. The two were recognized for their work in East Timor.

13 Government

A parliamentary system of government with a largely ceremonial president has been established. The constitution is modeled on that of Portugal, although the German and U.S. constitutions were consulted as well. The constitution bans the death penalty and provides for fundamental political rights and civil liberties, including due process rights.

In the elections for the constituent assembly (which drafted the constitution), held 30 August 2001, Fretilin took 55 of the 88 seats. Twenty-three of the candidates, or 27% of the total, were women. The constituent assembly was transformed

BIOGRAPHICAL PROFILE

Name: Jose Ramos-Horta

Position: Prime minister of a republic

Took Office: 10 July 2006

Birthplace: Dili, East Timor

Birthdate: 26 December 1949

Religion: Roman Catholic

Education: Hague Academy of International Law, 1983; Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio; master’s in peace studies, 1984

Children: One son

Of interest: Along with fellow East Timorian Bishop Carlos Belo, he won the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize. Ramos-Horta has 11 brothers and sisters.

into the national legislative assembly, or national parliament, on 20 May 2002. The single-chamber 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. The next elections were scheduled for May 2007.

The first presidential elections were held on 14 April 2002. José Alexandre “Xanana” Gusmão defeated Xavier do Amaral for the presidency, winning 82.7% of the votes cast. Mari Alkatiri was chosen as East Timor’s first prime minister. After Alkatiri’s resignation, Jose Ramos-Horta became the new prime minister in July 2006. A council of state advises the president. A council of ministers is composed of the prime minister, any deputy prime ministers, and the ministers of state.

14 Political Parties

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 (KOTA), 3 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.

15 Judicial System

A ministry of justice was established in East Timor to guarantee an independent and impartial judiciary. The supreme court of justice is the highest court in the nation, with the power of judicial review. There is a high administrative, tax, and audit court, as well as military courts. The constitution provides for maritime and arbitration courts.

There are 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.” Special panels within the Dili district court have exclusive jurisdiction over “serious criminal offenses.”

16 Armed Forces

As of 2005, East Timor had an army of 1,250 personnel, including 30 women. There was also a 36-member navel element. Basic training for the first group of recruits was aided by Portugal, with special training programs aided by Australia. In April 2002, United Nations (UN) Peacekeeping Forces stationed in East Timor totaled about 6,200 members from 20 countries. The number of UN forces is expected to decline, as the government and the United Nations continued to make arrangements for national security. The general military age is 18–21 years. Both male and female recruits have been accepted. Military expenditures for 2003 were estimated to be at about $4.4 million.

17 Economy

Agriculture remains 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 of the economy 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.

After mid-2002, however, growth moderated, as a result of the winding down of the international presence. During the Indonesian occupation, tourism was not a large industry, but there is great potential for 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. In June 2005, the parliament established the Petroleum Fund, where revenues from petroleum-related activities would be collected to guarantee that future generations would benefit from the country’s petroleum resources.

18 Income

In 2005, East Timor’s gross domestic product (GDP) was $370 million. The per capita GDP

Yearly Growth Rate

This economic indicator tells by what percent the economy has increased or decreased when compared with the previous year.

was estimated at $400. The annual growth rate of GDP was forecast at 1.8% in 2005. The inflation rate was estimated at 1.8% in 2002. As of 2004, it was estimated that agriculture accounted for 9% of GDP, industry 23%, and services 68%.

19 Industry

Before the Indonesian invasion in 1975, East Timor was self-sufficient in food and gained income from the coffee industry. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) was one organization supporting East Timor’s coffee industry in the early 2000s. 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.

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.

20 Labor

The labor force was around 397,100 in 1998, the latest year for which data was available. Three-fourths of all workers are engaged in subsistence agriculture. The unemployment rate, including underemployment, stood at approximately 50% in 2002.

As of 2005, workers were permitted to form and join labor organizations without getting prior approval, however, inexperience and a lack of organizational and negotiating skills have stalled attempts to organize workers. Children under the age of 18 are generally prohibited from working, but there are exceptions. There is no legal minimum wage rate, but a monthly wage rate of $85 was used by employers and employees as a minimum standard.

21 Agriculture

As of 2003, there were only about 190,000 hectares (469,000 acres) of land that could be cultivated. With generally poor and shallow soil, steep terrain, and an unreliable climate, most farming is at a subsistence level. 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. Other agricultural products include soybeans, cabbage, mangoes, bananas, vanilla, mung beans, taro, onions, peanuts, sago, coconuts, and tobacco.

Coffee is a crop that brings income to the country, with over 60% of the country’s organic coffee being produced in the Ermera district.

Components of the Economy

This pie chart shows how much of the country’s economy is devoted to agriculture (including forestry, hunting, and fishing), industry, or services.

Bobanaro, Oecussi, Viqueque, and Baucau are the most important food producing districts. In 2004, agriculture accounted for about 9% of the GDP.

22 Domesticated Animals

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 livestock populations were reported to be: 80,000 goats, 25,000 sheep, 360,000 pigs, 202 million chickens, 171,000 cattle, 100,000 buffalo, and 48,000 horses.

23 Fishing

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 snappers. The violence following independence caused serious damage and destruction to nearly 90% of the boats and gear of these communities. The fishing industry is slowly moving toward recovery.

Besides working to recover maritime fishing activities, the Department of Fisheries and the Marine Environment (DFME) is exploring options for inland hatcheries and freshwater fish production. One such project includes 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.

24 Forestry

The once forest-rich lands of East Timor are being deforested. 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 these forests remained. Most of the deforestation was conducted under logging operations for teak, redwood, sandal-wood, and mahogany for the export market. 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 prohibited 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. A nationwide seed propagation program was begun to establish community nurseries and encourage replanting of forest-lands, particularly on hillsides and in areas where erosion is a problem. There are also programs in the works to provide low-cost kerosene and cookers to rural residents in an effort to reduce dependency on wood as fuel.

Yearly Balance of Trade

The balance of trade is the difference between what a country sells to other countries (its exports) and what it buys (its imports). If a country imports more than it exports, it has a negative balance of trade (a trade deficit). If exports exceed imports there is a positive balance of trade (a trade surplus).

25 Mining

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 is uncertain as to whether or not the mining of such deposits will aid the economy in the near future.

26 Foreign Trade

Trade in East Timor was dominated by foodstuffs, construction materials, electronics, and clothing. Some 97% of manufactured goods are imported, with coffee being the only significant export. Australia and Portugal are East Timor’s main trade partners. East Timor in the early 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.

27 Energy and Power

East Timor’s ability to develop its oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea will greatly affect the economy. A gas-recycling project in the Bayu Undan offshore gas field was expected to begin in 2004. Fossil fuels account for 100% of electricity production.

28 Social Development

As of 2003, humanitarian concerns remained at the forefront of social development in East Timor. Roads were being improved to provide access to rural areas that otherwise would remain isolated. Electricity was being brought to rural areas. Water-supply 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.

The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) initiated a program to increase the participation of women in decision making for peace and gender justice. The program was designed to assist local communities to make use of the constitution, parliament, courts, and certain legislation, from a rights-based and gender perspective. Another UNIFEM program was dedicated to upgrade the production of textiles in East Timor.

Selected Social Indicators

The statistics below are the most recent estimates available as of 2006. For comparison purposes, data for the United States and averages for low-income countries and high-income countries are also given. About 15% of the world’s 6.5 billion people live in high-income countries, while 37% live in low-income countries.

Indicator East Timor Low-income countries High-income countries United States
sources: World Bank. World Development Indicators. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank, 2006; Central Intelligence Agency. The World Factbook. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2006; World Resources Institute, Washington, D.C.
Per capita gross national income (GNI)*$400 $2,258$31,009$39,820
Population growth rate2.0% 2%0.8%1.2%
People per square kilometer of land60 803032
Life expectancy in years: male64 587675
female69 608280
Number of physicians per 1,000 people0.1 0.43.72.3
Number of pupils per teacher (primary school)n.a. 431615
Literacy rate (15 years and older)48% 65%>95%99%
Television sets per 1,000 peoplen.a. 84735938
Internet users per 1,000 peoplen.a. 28538630
Energy consumed per capita (kg of oil equivalent)n.a. 5015,4107,843
CO2 emissions per capita (metric tons)n.a. 0.8512.9719.92
* The GNI is the total of all goods and services produced by the residents of a country in a year. The per capita GNI is calculated by dividing a country’s GNI by its population and adjusting for relative purchasing power.
n.a.: data not available >: greater than <: less than

East Timorese women under Indonesian occupation were raped, tortured, and imprisoned as sex slaves, and the process of recovery from that period is 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, the status of minorities, including noncitizens, remains unclear in the constitution, as do social and economic rights and the right to be free from discrimination based on sexual orientation.

29 Health

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. Post-independence, most health care has been provided by international nongovernmental organizations.

In 2000, 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 is less than one physician for every 1,000 people.

The life expectancy rate in 2005 was estimated at 65.9 years. That same year, the fertility rate was estimated at 3.9 children born per woman. Infant mortality was estimated at 47.4 deaths per 1,000 live births. 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 2000, the World Health Organization reported that about 20% of all children ages six months to five years were chronically malnourished. Intestinal parasitic infections affect about 80% of all children. Other common childhood illnesses included severe respiratory diseases, diarrheal conditions, malaria, and dengue fever (an infectious disease characterized by headache, severe joint pain, and rash). Tuberculosis is a major problem as well. Immunization programs against measles and polio have been carried out. Sexually transmitted diseases are common.

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. 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.

As of 2006, it was 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 end of 2002) about 28,000 East Timorese refugees waiting to return from the West Timor territory and about 1,300 in Australia.

In urban areas such as Dili, Baucau, 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.

31 Education

Over 90% of all school buildings were severely damaged or destroyed by the Indonesian military. In the exodus of Indonesians out of East Timor, the nation lost 20% of its primary school teachers and 80% of secondary teachers. United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund and other international aid organizations responded fairly quickly, however, reestablishing classes for many schools.

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 National University of East Timor (Universidade Nacional Timor Lorosae) opened for classes on 27 November 2000 and had about 5,000 students in attendance in 2003.

The education system includes six years of primary education and six years of secondary education. In 2000 classes were taught in 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 literacy rate is estimated at 48% of the population ages 15 and over.

32 Media

The constitution provides for the freedom of speech and press, and the government generally respects these rights in practice.

As of 2004, there were two daily newspapers, three weeklies, and several bulletin-type newspapers. The government operates a radio station with nationwide reception and a television station that broadcasts only in Dili and Baucau. There were 16 community radio stations. In May 2002, legislation was passed to create a public broadcasting service.

Australian companies had established a cellular telephone network and were installing a land telephone line network as of 2003.

33 Tourism and Recreation

There are at least 25 hotels in Dili. One of Dili’s two luxury hotels is an anchored cruise ship. Scuba diving and whale and dolphin watching are activities that attract tourists, who come for the country’s beaches as well. The northern coast features white sand beaches, while the southern coast is rocky with occasional black sand beaches. There are elaborate intact coral reefs, which are home to over 1,000 aquatic species. East Timor’s colonial towns and rugged mountains are also popular with visitors.

34 Famous East Timorese

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 pro-independence leader José Ramos-Horta (1949–) and Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo (1948–) shared the Nobel Peace Prize. In 2006, Ramos-Horta became the country’s prime minister. José Alexandre “Xanana” Gusmão (1946–) is a former 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.

35 Bibliography

BOOKS

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, CA: Rand, 2001.

Chomsky, Noam. A New Generation Draws the Line: Kosovo, East Timor, and the Standards of the West. New York: VERSO, 2000.

Cristalis, Irena. Bitter Dawn: East Timor, a People’s Story. New York: Zed Books, 2002.

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.

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, NC: McFarland, 2003.

McGuinn, Taro. East Timor: Island in Turmoil. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner, 1998.

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.

WEB SITES

Country Pages. www.state.gov/p/eap/ci/tt/. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

Government Home Page. www.timor-leste.gov.tl/. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

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East Timor

East Timor

Compiled from the December 2006 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste

PROFILE

GEOGRAPHY AND PEOPLE

HISTORY

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

ECONOMY

FOREIGN RELATIONS

U.S.-EAST TIMOR RELATIONS

TRAVEL

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 15,007 sq. km.

Cities: Capital—Dili, Baucau.

Terrain: Mountainous.

Climate: Tropical; hot, semi-arid; rainy and dry seasons.

People

Nationality: Noun—Timorese; adjective—Timorese.

Population: (2005) 947,000.

Religion: Catholic 96.5%.

Languages: Portuguese, Tetum (official languages); English, Bahasa Indonesia (working languages).

Education: Literacy—43%.

Health: Life expectancy—47.9/51.8 years (m/f). Child mortality rate (under 5)—91/69 (m/f) per 1,000 population.

Government

Type: Parliamentary republic.

Independence: (from Portugal) November 28, 1975. Restoration of independence: May 20, 2002. (See History section.)

Constitution: March 2002.

Government branches: Executive—president (head of state), prime minister (head of government), cabinet. Legislative—unicameral parliament. Judicial—Supreme Court and supporting hierarchy. As the Supreme Court has not yet been formed, the Court of Appeal functions, on an interim basis, as the Supreme Court.

Political parties: Revolutionary Front of Independent East Timor (FRETILIN), Democratic Party (PD), Social Democratic Party (PSD), Timorese Social Democratic Association (ASDT), Timorese Democratic Union (UDT), and Klibur Oan Timor Asuwain (KOTA).

Economy

GDP: (2005 est.) $335 million.

GDP per capita: (nominal) $354.

GDP composition by sector: Services 54%, agriculture 32%, industry 15%.

Industry: Types—coffee, oil and natural gas.

Trade: Exports—coffee, oil and natural gas. Major markets—Australia, Europe, Japan, United States. Imports—basic manufactures, commodities. Major sources—Australia, Europe, Indonesia, Japan, United States.

GEOGRAPHY AND PEOPLE

East Timor is located in Southeast Asia, on the southernmost edge of the Indonesian archipelago, northwest of Australia. The country includes the eastern half of Timor island as well as the Oecussi enclave in the northwest portion of Indonesian West Timor, and the islands of Atauro and Jaco. The mixed Malay and Pacific Islander culture of the Timorese people reflects the geography of the country on the border of those two cultural areas. Portuguese influence during the centuries of colonial rule resulted in a substantial majority of the population identifying itself as Roman Catholic. Some of those who consider themselves Catholic practice a mixed form of religion that includes local animist customs. As a result of the colonial education system and the 23-year Indonesian occupation, approximately 13.5% of Timorese speak Portuguese, 43.3% speak Bahasa Indonesia, and 5.8% speak English, according to the 2004 census. Tetum, the most common of the local languages, is spoken by approximately 91% of the population, although only 46.2% speak Tetum Prasa, the form of Tetum dominant in the Dili district. Mambae, Kemak, and Fataluku are also widely spoken. This linguistic diversity is enshrined in the country’s constitution, which designates Portuguese and Tetum as official languages and English and Bahasa Indonesia as working languages.

HISTORY

Portuguese and Dutch traders made the first western contact with East Timor in the early 16th century. Sandalwood and spice traders, as well as missionaries, maintained sporadic contact with the island until 1642, when the Portuguese moved into Timor in strength. The Portuguese and the Dutch, based at the western end of the island in Kupang, battled for influence until the present-day borders were agreed to by the colonial powers in 1906. Imperial Japan occupied East Timor from 1942-45. Portugal resumed colonial authority over East Timor in 1945 after the Japanese defeat in World War II.

Following a military coup in Lisbon in April 1974, Portugal began a rapid and disorganized decolonization process in most of its overseas territories, including East Timor. Political tensions—exacerbated by Indonesian involvement—heated up, and on August 11, 1975, the Timorese Democratic Union Party (UDT) launched a coup d’état in Dili. The putsch was followed by a brief but bloody civil war in which the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN) pushed UDT forces into Indonesian West Timor. Shortly after the FRETILIN victory in late September, Indonesian forces began incursions into East Timor. On October 16, five journalists from Australia, Britain, and New Zealand were murdered in the East Timorese town of Balibo shortly after they had filmed regular Indonesian army troops invading East Timorese territory. On November 28, FRETILIN declared East Timor an independent state, and Indonesia responded by launching a full-scale military invasion on December 7. On December 22, 1975 the UN Security Council called on Indonesia to withdraw its troops from East Timor.

Declaring a provisional government made up of Timorese allies on January 13, 1976, the Indonesian Government said it was acting to forestall civil strife in East Timor and to prevent the consolidation of power by the FRETILIN party. The Indonesians claimed that FRETILIN was communist in nature, while the party’s leadership described itself as social democratic. Coming on the heels of the communist victories in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, the Indonesian claims were accepted by many in the West. Major powers also had little incentive to confront Indonesia over a territory seen as peripheral to their security interests. Nonetheless, the widespread popular support shown for the guerilla resistance launched by the Timorese made clear that the Indonesian occupation was not welcome. The Timorese were not permitted to determine their own political fate via a free vote, and the Indonesian occupation was never recognized by the United Nations.

The Indonesian occupation of Timor was initially characterized by a program of brutal military repression. Beginning in the late 1980s, however, the occupation was increasingly characterized by programs to win the “hearts-and-minds” of the Timorese through the use of economic development assistance and job creation while maintaining a strict policy of political repression, although serious human rights violations—such as the 1991 Santa Cruz massacre—continued. Estimates of the number of Timorese who lost their lives to violence and hunger during the Indonesian occupation range from 100,000 to 250,000. On January 27, 1999, Indonesian President B.J. Habibie announced his government’s desire to hold a referendum in which the people of East Timor would chose between autonomy within Indonesia and independence. Under an agreement among the United Nations, Portugal, and Indonesia, the referendum was held on August 30, 1999. When the results were announced on September 4—78% voted for independence with a 98.6% turnout—Timorese militias organized and supported by the Indonesian military (TNI) commenced a large-scale, scorched-earth campaign of retribution. While pro-independence FALINTIL guerillas remained cantoned in UN-supervised camps, the militia and the TNI killed approximately 1,300 Timorese and forcibly relocated as many as 300,000 people into West Timor as refugees. The majority of the country’s infrastructure, including homes, irrigation systems, water supply systems, and schools, and nearly 100% of the country’s electrical grid were destroyed. On September 20, 1999 the Australian-led peacekeeping troops of the International Force for East Timor (INTER-FET) deployed to the country, bringing the violence to an end.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

East Timor became a fully independent republic on May 20, 2002, following approximately two and a half years under the authority of the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET). The country has a parliamentary form of government with its first parliament formed from the 88-member Constituent Assembly chosen in free and fair, UN-supervised elections in August 2001. The 29-member Cabinet is dominated by the FRETILIN Party, which won the majority of Assembly seats. Mari Alkatiri, FRETILIN’s Secretary General, was the first Prime Minister and Head of Government, and Xanana Gusmao—elected in free and fair elections on April 14, 2002—is President and Head of State. UNTAET’s mandate ended with East Timor’s independence, but a successor organization, the UN Mission for the Support of East Timor (UNMISET), was established to provide additional support to the government. UNMISET’s mandate expired on May 20, 2005 after the UN Security Council unanimously approved the creation of a small special political mission in East Timor, the UN Office in East Timor (UNOTIL), to take its place.

Under the constitution ratified in March 2002, “laws and regulations in force continue to be applicable to all matters except to the extent that they are inconsistent with the Constitution.” Many Indonesian and UNTAET laws and regulations remain in effect, but are being gradually replaced by RDTL laws. During

the period from December 2004 to September 2005, the government held local elections in all 13 districts. East Timor witnessed its largest and longest political demonstration in April and May 2005 when several thousand protestors took part in a protest about a broad array of religious and political issues led by the Catholic Church that lasted 20 days. The demonstration ended peacefully with the signing of an agreement between the Catholic Church and Prime Minister Alkatiri that resolved several key issues of disagreement.

Despite the winding down of the UN presence in country, the institutions comprising East Timor’s armed forces (F-FDTL) and police (PNTL) remained fragile and the authority of the state much more tenuous than most observers assumed at the time. In February 2006, approximately 400 military personnel (from a total military strength of 1,400) petitioned President Gusmao to address their complaints of discrimination against “westerners” or Loro Monu people by “easterners” or Loro Sae people in the military. Shortly after presenting their petition, they left their posts and approximately one month later were dismissed by the F-FDTL commander. In late April the petitioners group staged protests in Dili. On April 28, the protests turned violent. Citing ineffective police response, the government called in the armed forces (F-FDTL) to respond. The rioting and the police and military response resulted in six confirmed deaths. In response to the events of April 28, large numbers of people began to flee their homes for internally displaced persons (IDP) camps or the outlying districts and several members of the F-FDTL, including the commander of the Military Police, left their posts in protest of the military intervention.

During a FRETILIN Party Congress in mid-May, Prime Minister Alkatiri was re-elected as Secretary General after his supporters successfully amended the party constitution to substitute secret ballots with an open vote. Against this political backdrop, a series of deadly clashes between the F-FDTL and forces comprising dissident military, civilians and some police took place on May 23-24, followed by deadly conflict between the F-FDTL and the PNTL on May 25. In the aftermath of these clashes, which effectively caused the dissolution of law and order, mob and gang violence took over the capital, resulting in additional deaths, widespread destruction of property, and the continued displacement of thousands of Dili residents. At the peak of the crisis, approximately 80,000 IDPs were in the districts and approximately 70,000 were residing in camps within Dili.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and international relief organizations have provided vital services to the camps that include water and sanitation facilities, camp management support, hygiene kits, and mosquito nets. USAID has also supported East Timor’s independent public radio and television broadcast services in order to ensure that reliable and timely information about current political events reaches East Timor’s citizens.

On May 28, the Government of East Timor requested the Governments of Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Portugal to send security forces to stabilize the country. By July 2006 there were approximately 2,200 international military and police officers in East Timor. During the month of June, there was increasing pressure on then Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri to resign as criticisms of his handling of the crisis mounted. Moreover, serious allegations emerged that he had been involved in illegal arms distribution.

In June, former Minister of Interior Rogerio Lobato was arrested on the charge of distributing the abovementioned weapons and placed under house arrest. Following President Xanana Gusmao’s public request that the prime minister step down, accompanied by a threat to resign himself if Alkatiri remained in office, Alkatiri resigned on June 27. Anti-Alkatiri demonstrations, which kicked off on June 28, with most participants coming from the western districts, turned into partial celebrations following the prime minister’s resignation and lasted for several days. Similar numbers of demonstrators entered Dili from the eastern districts the following week to voice support for Alkatiri and the ruling Fretilin party.

After President Gusmao held consultations with the leadership of the FRETILIN Party, Jose Ramos-Horta—East Timor’s Foreign and Defense Minister in the Alkatiri government—became Prime Minister on July 10. Prime Minister Ramos-Horta’s new cabinet was sworn in on July 14, 2006. Ramos-Horta said the “immediate task of his Government is to consolidate security in Dili and in all of Timor-Leste and to put in place the necessary conditions to enable displaced Timorese to return home and rebuild their lives.” As requested by the Government of East Timor, the UN Security Council passed resolutions to roll over the small UN political mission, UNOTIL until August 25, 2006 while its members considered the mandate of a larger follow-on UN mission to help East Timor overcome its crisis. The United States coordinated closely with members of the Core Group on East Timor (Australia, Brazil, Japan, New Zealand, Portugal, and the United Kingdom) and the EU to obtain approval of the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), which provides for a UN-led policing component of up to 1,608 personnel. UNMIT’s mandate, set forth in UN Security Council Resolution 1704 approved on August 25, 2006, calls for the UN mission to assist in restoring stability, rebuilding the institutions comprising the security sector, supporting the Government of East Timor in conducting presidential and parliamentary elections (expected in the spring of 2007), achieving accountability for the crimes against humanity and other atrocities committed in 1999, among other aims. (UNMIT’s own website provides additional information: http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/unmit/)

Although security in Dili has been significantly improved in comparison to the violence and anarchy that reigned in May and June, neither the establishment of a new government nor the expansion of the UN mission has reduced the levels of violence and criminality to their pre-April 2006 levels. Indeed, in October, shortly after the UN Special Commission of Inquiry issued its report on responsibility for the security crisis of April-June, Dili experienced a surge of violence that led to several deaths and the closure of the international airport for a day. While the overwhelming majority of the current violence is Timorese-on-Timorese perpetrated by gangs or martial arts groups, foreign nationals have also been targeted. Differences between Loro Sae and Loro Monu have recently subsided and been overtaken by longstanding conflicts between members of competing groups, including martial arts groups and semi-religious sects. While much of the current fighting reflects a continuing lack of law and order underscored by the absence of judicial accountability, many observers note that communal and gang violence has been employed in many cases toward political ends.

As of December 2006, over 28,000 displaced persons remain in 29 camps in and around Dili, representing over 4,000 families, 45 percent of whom have houses that have been destroyed. Over 2,000 houses were destroyed over the last months, and many more damaged. Another 70,000 or so IDPs remain in the outlying districts. November and December 2006 featured public efforts by the Timorese leadership to foster a spirit of reconciliation–particularly among members of the armed forces and the police–but key issues remain outstanding, including the lack of resolution of the petitioners’ case and the continued presence of armed military dissidents. Police functions in Dili are currently under UN control, while members of the PNTL are being gradually reintegrated into city policing following vetting for criminal or ethical violations. UN officials and other observers expect the reform of the country’s security sector to be a long-term challenge.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 7/24/2006

President: Kay Rala Xanana GUSMAO

Prime Minister: Jose RAMOS-HORTA

First Dep. Prime Min.: Estanislau Maria Alexio DA SILVA

Second Dep. Prime Min.: Rui Maria de ARAUJO

Min. for Agriculture, Fisheries, & Forestry: Estanislau Maria Alexio DA SILVA

Min. for Defense: Jose RAMOS-HORTA

Min. for Development: Arcanjo DA SILVA

Min. for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, & Sports: Rosalia CORTE-REAL

Min. for Foreign Affairs & Cooperation: Jose Luis GUTERRES

Min. for Health: Rui Maria de ARAUJO

Min. for the Interior: Alcino BARIS

Min. for Justice: Domingos SARMENTO

Min. for Labor & Community Reinsertion: Arsenio Paixao BANO

Min. for Natural Resources, Minerals, & Energy Policy: Jose TEIXEIRA

Min. for Planning & Finances: Maria Madalena Brites BOAVIDA

Min. for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers: Antoninho BIANCO

Min. for Public Works: Odete VICTOR

Min. for State Admin.: Ana Maria Pessoa Pereira da SILVA Pinto

Min. for Transportation & Communications: Inacio MOREIRA

Ambassador to the US:

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York:

East Timor maintains an embassy at 4201 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008 (telephone: 202-966-3202). For more information, consult the government’s website: http://www.timor-leste.gov.tl/

ECONOMY

As the poorest nation in Asia, East Timor must overcome formidable challenges. Basic income, health, and literacy indicators are among the lowest in Asia. Severe shortages of trained and competent personnel to staff newly established executive, legislative, and judicial institutions hinder progress. Rural areas, lacking in infrastructure and resources, remain brutally poor, and the relatively few urban areas cannot provide adequate jobs for the country’s growing labor force. Many cities, including the country’s second largest, Baucau, do not have routine electrical service. Rural families’ access to electricity and clean water is very limited. Unemployment and under-employment combined are estimated to be as high as 70%. While revenues from offshore oil and gas reserves offer great hope for the country, effective use of those resources will require a major transformation of the country’s current human and institutional infrastructure. Meanwhile, as those substantial revenues come on line, foreign assistance levels—now standing at among the highest worldwide on a per capita basis—will likely taper off.

East Timor has made significant progress in a number of areas since independence. It has become a full-fledged member of the international community, joining the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The Government of East Timor has drafted a National Development Plan, and its Constituent Assembly has transitioned into a National Parliament that has commenced reviewing and passing legislation.

In July 2005, Parliament unanimously passed a law creating a petroleum fund to effectively manage and invest oil revenues to ensure these funds are invested in the country’s development after exploitation of these resources ends. While a nascent legal system has been put into place, the justice system remains among the weakest performing sector of government, still unable to perform its most basic functions without substantial assistance by outside professionals. Efforts are underway to put in place the institutions required to protect human rights, rebuild the economy, create employment opportunities, and reestablish essential public services.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

East Timor joined the United Nations on September 27, 2002. It is pursuing membership in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and became a member of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in July 2005. East Timor’s foreign policy has placed a high priority on its relationships with Indonesia; regional friends such as Malaysia and Singapore; and donors such as Australia, the United States, the European Union, Japan, and Portugal.

Indonesia-East Timor Relations

East Timor and Indonesia have full diplomatic relations. In 2005 Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono made a successful trip to East Timor, including a visit to the Santa Cruz cemetery in Dili where Indonesian troops had massacred hundreds of Timorese in 1991. Yudhoyono prayed and laid a heart-shaped wreath at the cemetery, symbolizing the improving ties between the two nations.

After the Indian Ocean tsunami devastated parts of Indonesia, the East Timor Government contributed humanitarian assistance to the victims. Likewise, the Indonesian Government has sent humanitarian assistance to help those displaced by the unrest in Dili this year.

In 2005, both nations created a bilateral Truth and Friendship Commission (TFC) in order “to establish the conclusive truth in regard to the events prior to and immediately after the popular consultation in 1999, with a view to promoting reconciliation and friendship, and ensuring the non-recurrence of similar events.” The United States has encouraged both Indonesia and East Timor to ensure that the TFC achieves a credible outcome and that the TFC process is transparent, holds public hearings, has international participation, and names the names of those individuals who perpetrated the serious crimes. Respected international human rights groups, however, have criticized the TFC because its limited terms of reference for achieving these ends do not provide for prosecutions or similar measures to achieve accountability, and because the TFC has made no clear progress to date.

U.S.-EAST TIMOR RELATIONS

East Timor maintains an embassy in Washington, DC, as well as a Permanent Mission in New York at the United Nations. The United States has a large bilateral development assistance program—$23.3 million in fiscal year 2005—and also contributes funds as a major member of a number of multilateral agencies such as the Asian Development Bank and World Bank. The U.S. Peace Corps has operated in East Timor since 2002, but it ceased operations in May 2006 due to the unrest and instability.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

DILI (E) Address: Av.de Portugal, Pantai Kelapa, Dili, East Timor; APO/FPO: American Embassy-Jakarta, Unit 8129, Box D, APO AP 96520; Official pouch: 8250 Dili Place, Washington, D.C. 20521-8250; Phone: (670) 332-4684; Fax: (670) 331-3206; Workweek: 8:00 am–5:00 pm.

AMB:Gary Gray
DCM:Seiji Shiratori
POL/ECO:Elizabeth S. Wharton
MGT:Steve Hunt
AID:Flynn Fuller
FMO:Charlie Slater
ICASS Chair:Seiji Shiratori
IMO:James May
MLO:Ronald D. Sargent
POL/ADV:Elizabeth S. Wharton

Last Updated: 1/15/2007

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet : January 18, 2007

Country Description: Occupying 5,743 square miles on the eastern half of an island in the Timor Sea between Indonesia and Australia, East Timor has a population of approximately 925,000 people. East Timor became independent on May 20, 2002, and is now a democratically governed, independent nation with an elected President and Parliament.

In the violence that followed East Timor’s 1999 independence referendum, its infrastructure, never robust, was totally destroyed and has been only partially rebuilt. In April 2006 violence erupted again in and around the capital, Dili, resulting in further damage to infrastructure. Electricity, telephone and telecommunications, roads and lodging remain unreliable, particularly outside of the capital. East Timor’s economy relies largely on international assistance and revenues from oil and gas production.

Entry/Exit Requirements: A passport valid for six months beyond the intended date of departure from East Timor is required. Tourist visas are not required prior to arrival, but travelers arriving in East Timor without a visa will need to pay a $30 fee for the 30-day visa. There is an additional fee for each 30-day renewal of this tourist visa. Visit the Embassy of East Timor web site at www/un.int/timor-leste for the most current visa information. Visitors traveling via air must transit either Darwin, Australia or Bali, Indonesia en route to East Timor.

Safety and Security: The Department of State has issued a Travel Warning urging Americans to defer non-essential travel to East Timor. On May 30, 2006 the Department of State ordered the departure of all family members and non-emergency American employees at U.S. Embassy Dili. This order was lifted on July 14, 2006 and the Embassy returned to normal operations. On May 8, 2006 the Peace Corps announced the suspension of its operations in East Timor.

After the August 1999 United Nations (UN)—sponsored independence referendum, violence swept East Timor, including widespread looting and burning and, in some cases, murder. UN peacekeeping forces quickly restored stability to the country. Despite a continuing UN presence following independence, state institutions comprising the security sector remained fragile. When demonstrations in April 2006 protesting the Government’s dismissal of 595 members of the armed forces escalated into rioting, civil order in and around the capital Dili broke down. Opposing factions within the security forces and the national police clashed, and widespread gang violence swept the capital. Differences among Easterners (Loro’sae) and Westerners (Loromonu) emerged as a major line of division within the country and were often an element in violent clashes, although this appeared to have subsided by late 2006; however, conflict between competing gangs and groups continued to be a problem. Tens of thousands of Timorese fled the violence and settled in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs). The Government asked Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Portugal to send in security forces to assist in restoring order. At the Government’s request, the UN Security Council extended its mission in East Timor. On August 25, 2006, the UN Security Council approved a new expanded mission (the UN Integrated Mission for Timor-Leste, or UNMIT) providing for a policing component of up to 1,608 personnel. A separate military peacekeeping force also remains under Australian leadership. For more information on UNMIT, consult: http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/unmit/. The Timorese national police (PNTL) in Dili were disbanded and are being reconstituted under UNMIT guidance. As of December 2006, with about 900 Australian-led security forces in place and a UN Police contingent of just over 1,000, authorities have made some progress toward restoring public security.

Gang violence in Dili is less widespread than it was during the period from May to October 2006. Nevertheless, criminal violence remains more pervasive than it was prior to April 2006. While the overwhelming majority of gang-related criminal violence has been Timorese on Timorese, foreigners have been caught up in such violence and there were credible reports of anti-Western attacks, most recently during a surge of violence in Dili in October 2006. One foreigner has since been killed (a Brazilian missionary in November), and a Timorese interpreter working for the UN Police was killed as a result of riots following a concert for peace in December 2006. About 28,000 internally displaced persons remain in camps in and around Dili, several of which have been sites of recurring incidents of violence.

Americans are advised that international security officials and UN police occasionally establish security checkpoints along roads. These legitimate checkpoints are intended to enhance security and should be respected. There are also occasional illegal checkpoints which Americans should avoid, but which to date have been primarily targeted at Timorese. Americans traveling in East Timor should remember that despite its small size, much of the territory is isolated and can be difficult to reach by available transportation or communication links.

American citizens who choose to travel to or remain in East Timor should use common sense and exercise caution, avoid large gatherings, and remain alert with regard to their personal security, avoiding travel after dark to the extent possible. Americans should exercise caution with respect to all threats, especially in public places including, but not limited to, clubs, restaurants, bars, schools, places of worship, outdoor recreational events, hotels, resorts and beaches and other locations frequented by foreigners. Travelers and residents should always ensure that passports and important personal papers are in order in the event it becomes necessary to leave the country quickly for any reason. Likewise, travelers should be aware that the U.S. Embassy in Dili is not able to issue emergency passports and has only limited capacity to process passport renewals.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet web site where the current Travel Warnings and Public Announcements, including the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada, or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime: Crimes such as pick pocketing, residential and automobile break-ins and theft occurs throughout the country, but are more frequent in Dili, the capital. Victims who resist may be subject to physical violence. Gang related violence occurs, and has targeted foreign nationals. Stone-throwing attacks on vehicles are common, and have resulted in serious injury and death. Visitors should avoid travel at night or in unfamiliar areas alone. Women should avoid traveling alone, especially at night because sexual assault or banditry is possible. East Timor is a socially conservative country, and travelers should avoid wearing revealing clothing, particularly in crowded public areas such as markets.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Although limited emergency medical care is available in Dili, options for routine medical care throughout the country are extremely limited. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to Australia, the nearest point with acceptable medical care, or to the United States, can cost thousands of dollars.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC’s internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith/en/.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning East Timor is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

All traffic operates on the left side of the road, and most vehicles use right-hand drive. Roads are often poorly maintained and four-wheel drive may be required in some areas. Non-existent lighting and poor road conditions make driving at night hazardous. Taxis are available in Dili, but their number has declined significantly since the security crisis that began in April 2006. Small buses and mini-vans provide public transportation in Dili and elsewhere. However, public transportation is generally overcrowded, uncomfortable, and below international safety standards. Public transportation has also been known to unexpectedly drop passengers at locations other than their destination due to transit operators’ fears about certain areas or hours. Disagreement about fares has occasionally led to hostilities.

Driving in Dili is especially hazardous, with large trucks and military vehicles sharing the streets with vendors, pedestrians and livestock. Many cars and especially motorcycles operate at night without lights.

During the rainy season, travel on all cross-island roadways should be considered to be risky. U.S. citizens should use caution when traveling on the cross-island roadways in the mountain areas of Aileu, Ermera, Manatuto, Ainaro and Manufahi provinces. In December 2003, rain showers severely damaged several cross-island roadways, and several UN vehicles had to be airlifted out of the area south of Aileu due to landslides and roadway damage.

Accidents are frequent. When there is an accident, the police should be contacted. It is not uncommon for bystanders to attack the driver perceived to be responsible for a traffic accident. This is more common in rural areas and in accidents involving East Timorese drivers, but crowds have occasionally attacked expatriate drivers at the scene of an accident. If a U.S. citizen involved in an accident reasonably believes that there is a threat of bodily harm from people at the scene of the accident, it is advisable to drive to the police station or U.S. Embassy before stopping.

While it is possible to obtain insurance for vehicles in East Timor, only a handful of foreigners have done so, and virtually no one else has automobile insurance. Most traffic accidents are settled informally between those involved. Visit the website of the country’s national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety at http://www.timorleste.gov.tl.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and East Timor, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed East Timor’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA’s internet website at http://www.faa.gov.

Special Circumstances: East Timor remains in a state of transition. The country faces severe capacity constraints and many civil and governmental institutions are still being developed. U.S. citizens traveling or doing business in East Timor may find it difficult to identify legal or administrative mechanisms should problems arise. The U.S. dollar is the official currency of East Timor. Money can be exchanged at the three banks in Dili, but only to or from a limited number of currencies. Only a few establishments accept credit cards, usually requiring a substantial additional fee, and visitors should be prepared to settle all bills in cash. Dili has two ATM machines that accept U.S.-issued bankcards. Travelers should not plan to rely exclusively on these machines, as they are frequently inoperative.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country’s laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating East Timor’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in East Timor are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children’s Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children’s Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.

Registration/Embassy Location: Americans living or traveling in East Timor are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department’s travel registration website so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security within East Timor. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located at Avenida de Portugal, Praia dos Coqueiros, Dili, East Timor, Tel: (670) 332-4684, Fax: (670)331-3206.

Travel Warning : March 2, 2007

This Travel Warning is being updated to inform Americans of heightened security concerns in East Timor and to warn American citizens to defer travel to East Timor at this time. Americans currently in East Timor should evaluate carefully their safety and security in light of this Travel Warning. This supersedes the Travel Warning issued on November 1, 2006.

The Department of State advises Americans of heightened security concerns in East Timor in light of the current International Stabilization Force (ISF) operations in and around the town of Same, where forces have surrounded dissident military leader Alfredo Reinado. Americans are advised against travel to Same or adjacent areas, and to exercise caution in the western districts. ISF and UN Police (UNPOL) forces have recommended the evacuation of foreign nationals from Same. In a separate incident, the recent deaths of two Timorese citizens during an ISF intervention in Dili have contributed to the volatile security situation. On February 27, the Government of Indonesia temporarily closed its border with East Timor. The Government of Australia similarly has advised its citizens against travel to East Timor at this time and warns that Australians and Australian interests may be specifically targeted. Attackers could indiscriminately target foreigners, including Americans. The Australian travel advice can be viewed at http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/Advice/East_Timor

After the collapse of civil order in April and May 2006, international troops and police arrived. The security situation improved, but serious security concerns remain:

Indiscriminate communal violence continues throughout the country. Gang-related violence occurs daily in Dili, and Americans risk intentional or inadvertent injury. Stone-throwing attacks on vehicles are frequent, and have affected American citizens on several occasions.

Several areas of Dili have become sites of chronic security incidents, particularly the areas around the camps for internally displaced people (IDPs). Americans are advised to avoid these areas and check with the U.S. Embassy regarding other areas of concern.

A rice shortage has caused tensions and increased civil unrest. Americans are advised to avoid crowds and areas near food warehouses.

More public demonstrations are possible in the coming weeks as campaigning for April 9 national elections gets underway.

Sexual assaults against foreign nationals have occurred and may increase in the current environment. Female travelers are advised to exercise particular caution and to avoid travel alone on foot or in taxis, especially at night and in unfamiliar or isolated areas.

Criminals continue to operate illegal checkpoints in some areas of Dili, frequently stopping taxis and minibuses in order to extort money from drivers and passengers; in some cases East Timorese are identified for more violent targeting. American citizens are advised against using taxis or minibuses for transportation. The international airport in Dili continues to operate normally, but Americans who travel to East Timor despite this Travel Warning should check the status of flights and security in the area prior to commencing travel.

U.S. citizens in East Timor should exercise extreme caution and maintain a high level of security awareness while moving about in Dili; be alert to the potential for violence; and avoid demonstrations, large gatherings, and areas where disturbances have occurred. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.

Americans in East Timor should immediately register at the Embassy and obtain all recent messages sent to the American community in East Timor. The U.S. Embassy in Dili can be reached at 670 332-4684 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. local time or the duty officer outside business hours at 670-723-0949. The U.S. Embassy is located on Avenida de Portugal in the Pantai Kelapa area. U.S. citizens living in or traveling to East Timor can also register through the State Department’s travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov

For the latest security information, Americans living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov/, where the current Worldwide Cautions, Public Announcements, and Travel Warnings can be found. Travelers should also consult the Department of State’s latest Consular information Sheet for East Timor. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada. Callers outside of the U.S. and Canada may call a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except on U.S. federal holidays).

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East Timor

East Timor

Type of Government

The government of East Timor is a parliamentary republic with the president serving as head of state and the prime minister serving as head of government; together with an appointed cabinet they make up the executive branch. The legislative branch comprises the Parlamento Nacional (National Parliament), a unicameral assembly with sixty-five members. The president and members of parliament are elected by popular vote, while the judges of the Supreme Court of Justice are appointed.

Background

East Timor is located in Southeast Asia, northwest of Australia at the edge of the Indonesian archipelago. The country includes the eastern half of the island of Timor, as well as the islands of Pulau Atauro and Pulau Jaco and the Oé-Cusse region of Indonesian West Timor. Its climate is tropical, with dry and rainy seasons, and its coastal areas are separated by a mountainous interior that rises nearly ten thousand feet above sea level at its highest point.

Portuguese and Dutch traders in search of sandalwood and spices first arrived in East Timor in the early sixteenth century. Colonization by Portugal followed, although the Portuguese tussled with the Dutch for influence until a treaty signed in 1859 ceded the western part of the island to the Netherlands. Except for a three-year occupation by Japan during World War II, the Portuguese remained in control of East Timor until the mid 1970s. After a coup ended fascist rule in Portugal in 1974, the new, democratic administration began transitioning the country’s colonial territories to independence. Political parties were sanctioned in East Timor at that time and with them came an increase in political tension. A short but brutal civil war caused by hostilities between the two major parties—the Timorese Democratic Union Party (UDT) and the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN)—resulted in 1975. FRETILIN prevailed, and declared East Timor an independent state on November 28, 1975. Independence was short-lived, however, as Indonesia invaded East Timor ten days later.

Despite UN condemnation of the takeover and subsequent annexation of East Timor, Indonesia was largely unchallenged in its control of the region for two decades. The early years of the occupation were especially harsh, resulting in approximately sixty thousand Timorese deaths—a number that grew to an estimated two hundred thousand before the occupation ended. In addition, although Indonesian tactics became slightly more conciliatory during the 1980s and few disputed that its introduction of a universal education system to East Timor was a positive development, political repression remained in full force and human rights violations continued. The Timorese, anxious to preserve their culture and national identity, struggled for independence through the armed resistance movement FALINTIL (National Liberation Forces of East Timor). Finally, in 1999 Indonesia agreed to hold a referendum in which the citizens of East Timor could choose between Indonesian autonomy and independence. The UN-supervised vote was held on August 30, 1999, and 98.6 percent of the electorate took part to vote overwhelmingly (78 percent) for independence.

The 1999 vote for freedom led to yet another round of bloodshed in East Timor. Anti-independence Timorese militias and the Indonesian military launched a retribution campaign that killed an estimated fourteen hundred people and forced as many as three hundred thousand into refugee camps. Additionally, the country’s infrastructure, including homes, irrigation systems, water supply systems, schools, and nearly all of its electrical grid, was left in ruins. The violence prompted the intervention of an international peacekeeping force to take control of the country, and the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) was established on October 25, 1999. Elections for representatives to draft a constitution were held on August 30, 2001, and the constitution was approved on March 24, 2002. East Timor was internationally recognized as an independent state on May 20, 2002.

Government Structure

East Timor was established as a parliamentary republic with powers divided among executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The executive branch is made up of the president (head of state), the prime minister (head of government), and the cabinet, or council of ministers. The president serves a primarily ceremonial role but retains the power to veto legislation, dissolve parliament, and call national elections. The president is elected by popular vote to a five-year term and is eligible for a second term of office. The prime minister is the leader of the prevailing political party and is formally appointed by the president after the elections. There are fourteen ministerial positions in the cabinet, in addition to an evolving number under the purview of the prime minister.

The legislative branch of government is the unicameral National Parliament. The minimum number of seats is fifty-two and the maximum is sixty-five, with members chosen by direct election to five-year terms. The parliament’s initial term, however, was exceptional in that the eighty-eight delegates elected in 2001 to adopt a constitution named themselves legislators in 2002. Elections for the first regular term under the new constitution were held in June 2007, with universal suffrage for all people at least seventeen years old.

As outlined in the constitution, the judicial branch is headed by the Supreme Court of Justice. The chief judge of the court is appointed to a four-year term by the nation’s president; in addition, one court member is elected by parliament, and the rest are selected by the Superior Council for Judiciary. However, as of mid 2007 the constitutional directives pertaining to the judiciary had not been fully implemented, and the Supreme Court had not yet been formed. The Court of Appeals, composed of one East Timorese and two international judges, was serving on an interim basis in its stead, while East Timor continued the difficult task of constructing a judiciary from the ground up. Judicial mentoring and training programs were instituted in 2001 in an effort to give the country’s inexperienced legal pool the necessary tools to serve. The ongoing process was being overseen by the Ministry of Justice.

Political Parties and Factions

Sixteen political parties participated in East Timor’s first elections in 2001, and their numbers continued to change during the country’s early years. Major parties include FRETILIN, the Democratic Party, the Social Democratic Party, the Timorese Social Democratic Association, and the UDT.

FRETILIN was founded on September 11, 1974, in the wake of the coup in Portugal. One of its founding members was José Ramos-Horta (1949–), who became a leader in East Timor’s struggle for independence and won the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. Another early member was Xanana Gusmao (1946–), who later became a national hero as leader of FALINTIL and was elected East Timor’s first president in 2002. The party was formed with an aim toward immediate and complete independence (FALINTIL was its military arm), and espoused a radical, left-wing agenda that especially resonated with the rural population.

By the twenty-first century, after East Timorese liberation had been achieved, FRETILIN still enjoyed popularity as evidenced by its strong performance in parliamentary elections. However, its two most legendary members, Ramos-Horta and Gusmao, had left the fold. Ramos-Horta, who was named foreign minister in 2002 and prime minister in 2006, was elected president of East Timor in May 2007 as an independent candidate. Gusmao, who headed a new party—the Congress for the National Reconstruction of East Timor—was named prime minister in August 2007 when a coalition government was formed following a narrow victory for FRETILIN in parliamentary elections.

Major Events

Although colonization by Portugal unquestionably had a major impact on East Timor—the Portuguese language and the Roman Catholic religion being but two important legacies from that time—other events were perhaps even more notable for their brutal devastation. One of these was the Japanese occupation from February 1942 until September 1945. An estimated fifty-thousand East Timorese died during that time.

The Indonesian annexation also brought about its share of misery, including the 1999 retribution campaign and overall deaths of approximately two hundred thousand people. Also important was the Santa Cruz Massacre of 1991, in which more than two hundred East Timorese civilians were killed by the Indonesian military. That episode, as well as the 1992 imprisonment of Gusmao by the Indonesian government (he was released on September 7, 1999), helped place the predicament of East Timor in a world spotlight. International attention grew when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Ramos-Horta and compatriot Bishop Ximenes Belo (1948–) in 1996.

Twenty-First Century

East Timor’s young democracy faces several challenges. The rebuilding of the infrastructure destroyed in 1999 is an ongoing project. Unemployment and poverty are rampant, leading to such problems as gang violence that necessitated another UN peacekeeping force being deployed to the country in 2006. The government itself appears stable, but it faces challenges in developing basic administrative and criminal justice components, such as the judiciary. Efforts, for instance, to bring the persons responsible for the 1999 violence to justice in cooperation with Indonesia largely failed, and the majority of the suspects were acquitted.

Prospects for an improved economy primarily rest on the huge oil and gas fields in the Timor Sea. In June 2005 parliament unanimously approved the formation of a Petroleum Fund for all potential and future revenues from such sources, but the country remained hampered by a lack of internal production facilities or a technology-proficient workforce. However, East Timor and Australia, where the oil and gas is piped, have reached an agreement to work together and share revenues. Using that prospective wealth to bring growth and prosperity to the general populace is yet another challenge of the twenty-first century.

Government of Timor-Leste. (accessed September 12, 2007).

Kingsbury, Daniel, ed. Guns and Ballot Boxes: East Timor’s Vote for Independence . Clayton, Australia: Monash Asia Institute, 2000.

Human Rights Watch/Asia. “The Limits of Openness: Human Rights in Indonesia and East Timor.” New York: Human Rights Watch, 1994.

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East Timor

East Timor

  • Area: 5,641 sq mi (14,609 sq km) / World Rank: 157
  • Location: The eastern half of Timor Island in the Indonesian Archipelago, Southern and Eastern Hemispheres, east of Indonesia.
  • Coordinates: 8°00′S, 123°00′E
  • Borders: 107 mi (172 km), all with Indonesia
  • Coastline: 385 mi (620 km)
  • Territorial Seas: Not established
  • Highest Point: Tatamailau, 9,724 ft (2,964 m)
  • Lowest Point: Sea level
  • Longest Distances: 57 mi (92 km) N-S; 165 mi (265 km) E-W
  • Longest River: Lois River, 50 mi (80 km)
  • Largest Lake: Iralalaro, 4 mi by 2 mi (6.5 km by 3 km)
  • Natural Hazards: Flooding; droughts; earthquakes; forest fires; tsunamis
  • Population: 779,567 (2000 est.) / World Rank: 154
  • Capital City: Dili, on the north coast
  • Largest City: Dili, 67,000 (1999 estimate)

OVERVIEW

East Timor (Timor Lorosa'e) had its beginnings as a Portuguese colony. After the Portuguese relinquished control, East Timor was taken over by Indonesia in 1975. In 1999, Indonesia allowed the inhabitants of East Timor to have a referendum on independence, which was passed by an 80 percent vote. Many Indonesians opposed this decision and there was fighting in East Timor, with significant loss of life and property, until an international peacekeeping force was put in place. The new nation of East Timor became officially independent on May 20, 2002. Many aspects of the new country, such as it territorial waters, remained to be determined as of mid-2002.

East Timor consists of the eastern half of Timor Island, one of the Lesser Sunda Islands, plus the enclave of Oecussi (30 sq mi / 78 sq km) on the north coast of Indonesian half of the island (West Timor). The Banda Sea is to the north, the Timor Sea to the south. The country is primarily mountainous, with many short streams, and narrow coastal plains and wetlands.

MOUNTAINS AND HILLS

The Ramalau, the central mountain range of East Timor, is characterized by deep valleys and looming cliffs. Tatamailau (9,724 ft /2,964 m) is the highest peak in the country. Six other peaks are above 6,566 ft (2,000 m): Sabiria, Usululi, Harupai, Cablake, Laklo, and Matebian. Coffee, the most important cash crop in East Timor, is grown in the foothills that surround this range. River gorges and deep streambeds cut through the center of the country.

Fuiloro, a 1,640 to 2,297 ft (500 to 700 m) plateau in the east, 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.

INLAND WATERWAYS

Lakes

The largest lake in East Timor is Lake Iralalaro, 4 by 2 mi (6.5 by 3 km) in the far east of the island, surrounded by much of the country's remaining rainforest, a Protected Wild Area. Smaller lakes include Be Malae, Maubara, and Tibar.

Rivers

East Timor has 25 rivers or streams, originating in the central mountains. They are strong torrents during rainy periods, but their water levels drop severely in the dry months. Soil erosion on deforested slopes in the watershed has led to siltation and flooding. Significant rivers are the country's longest, the Lois (50 mi /80 km), 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 throughout the country.

Wetlands

The wetlands of East Timor are mostly marshes in estuaries along the south coast, and small mangrove swamps. The transitional government outlawed mangrove cutting and damage to wetlands.

THE COAST, ISLANDS AND THE OCEAN

Oceans and Seas

The rough waters of the Timor Sea of the Indian Ocean on the south, and the calmer Banda Sea of the Pacific Ocean on the north, enclose East Timor. The deep Wetar Strait separates East Timor from Indonesia's Wetar Island to the north. Australia is about 311 mi (500 km) to the south across the Timor Gap. The enclave of Oecussi is on the Savu Sea. Timor Lorosa'e has extensive coral reefs but they are damaged by dynamite fishing

Major Islands

Atauro Island (54 sq mi / 141 sq km), to the north of Dili. Jaco Island (4 sq mi / 11 sq km) off the easternmost point, is a Protected Wild Area.

The Coast and Beaches

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. Dili, the capital, is located on a bay on the north coast.

CLIMATE AND VEGETATION

Temperature

East Timor has an equatorial climate with two basic seasons: the hot northwest monsoon of November-May, and the cooler southeast monsoon of April-December. The average annual temperature is 70° F (21° C), with a range of 64° to 90° F (18° to 32° C) and humidity averaging 73 percent.

Rainfall

A yearly average of 47 to 59 in (120 to 150 cm) of rain falls on East Timor. Precipitation varies greatly according to coast and terrain. Due to its proximity to Australia, the south receives more rain than the north.

Grasslands

East Timor has extensive grasslands on the coastal plains and hillsides. Invasive imperata grass is rampant where the forests have been cut and burned.

Districts – East Timor
1999 POPULATION ESTIMATES
Name Population Area (sq mi) Area (sq km) Capital
Aileu 32,500 281 729 Aileu
Ainaro 44,100 308 797 Ainaro
Ambeno 54,500 315 815 Pante Makasar
Baucau 97,600 577 1,494 Baucau
Bobonaro 90,700 528 1,368 Maliana
Cova-Lima 63,900 473 1,226 Suai
Dili 179,600 144 372 Dili
Ermera 89,500 288 746 Ermera
Lautem 52,100 657 1,702 Los Palos
Liquica 54,800 320 543 Liquica
Manatuto 34,900 659 1,706 Manatuto
Manufahi 37,200 512 1,325 Same
Viqueque 59,600 688 1,781 Viqueque
SOURCE : Indonesian National Electoral Board, as cited by Johan van der Heyden, Geohive, http://www.geohive.com (accessed June 2002).

Deserts

An area between Venilale and Los Palos in the far east of the island has been desertified to the point that it's known as "dead earth" where very little will grow.

Forests and Jungles

The forests of East Timor exist only in patches, including a few last groves of natural sandalwood (which the island was once famous for) and Eucalyptus urophylla. The country's deciduous and evergreen forests have decreased from 50 percent cover in 1975 to less than 10 percent in 2002, and primary forest cover is less than 1 percent. The forests were deliberately destroyed in Indonesian military operations, cut for firewood and timber, or burned for agricultural clearing. Some primary forest is still found at the eastern end of the island and in the Oecussi enclave.

HUMAN POPULATION

East Timor's population has undergone tremendous upheaval. During the Indonesian occupation, an estimated 200,000 East Timorese died, nearly a third of the population. After the 1999 independence referendum thousands more were killed and much of the rest of the population was displaced. Many of the country's citizens were still refugees or only recently resettled in 2002. In 2000, the population density of East Timor was estimated at 132 people per sq mi (51 people per sq km), with just eight percent living in urban areas.

NATURAL RESOURCES

East Timor has petroleum reserves offshore in the Timor Sea between the island and Australia. Other mineral resources include some marble, gold, and manganese. None of these resources, including the offshore petroleum, have been developed. Subsistence agriculture and fishing are the primary economic activities.

FURTHER READINGS

Cardoso, Luis. Crossing: A Story of East Timor. London: Granta, 2002.

Nunes, Mario N. The Natural Resources of East Timor.http://www.pcug.org.au/~wildwood/01jannaturalresources.html (Accessed June 13, 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.

University of Coimbra. Timor Net. http://www.uc.pt/timor (Accessed June 13, 2002).

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East Timor

EAST TIMOR

Compiled from the November 2003 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Democratic Republic of East Timor

PROFILE
GEOGRAPHY AND PEOPLE
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
ECONOMY
FOREIGN RELATIONS
U.S.-EAST TIMOR RELATIONS
TRAVEL


PROFILE


Geography

Area: 15,007 sq. km.

Cities: Capital—Dili, Baucau.
Terrain: Mountainous.

Climate: Tropical; hot, humid; rainy and dry seasons.


People

Nationality: Noun—Timorese; adjective—Timorese.

Population: (2002 est.) 800,000.

Ethnic groups: Maubere.

Religion: Christian 93% (predominantly Roman Catholic), Muslim 4%.

Languages: Portuguese, Tetum (both official), Malay.

Education: Literacy—41%.

Health: Life expectancy—male 57.4 years; female 55.6. Mortality rate (under 5)—132.1/1,000.


Government

Type: Parliamentary Democracy.

Independence: (from Portugal) November 28, 1975.

Restoration of Independence: May 20, 2002. (See History section.)

Constitution: March 2002.

Branches: Executive—president (head of state), prime minister (head of government), cabinet. Legislative —unicameral parliament. Judicial—Supreme Court and supporting hierarchy.

Major political parties: Revolutionary Front of Independent East Timor (FRETILIN), Democratic Party (PD), Social Democratic Party (PSD), Timorese Social Democratic Association (ASDT).


Economy

GDP: (2002 est.) $380 million.

GDP per capita: (nominal) $460. GDP composition by sector: Services 57%, Agriculture 25%, Industry, 17%.

Industry: Types—coffee, oil and natural gas, tourism.

Trade: Exports—coffee, oil and natural gas, tourism. Major markets—Australia, Europe, Japan, United States. Imports—basic manufactures. Major sources—Australia, Europe, Indonesia, Japan, United States.


GEOGRAPHY AND PEOPLE

East Timor is located in southeastern Asia, northwest of Australia and southeast of Indonesia. The country includes the eastern half of the island of Timor, the Oecussi enclave on the northwest portion of the island of Timor, and the islands of Atauro and Jako. The mixed Malay and Pacific Islander culture of the Timorese people reflects the geography of the country on the border of those two cultural areas. The Portuguese influenced the Timorese during colonial rule in a number of areas, including religion and, as a result, 90% of the population is Roman Catholic. Some of those who consider themselves Catholic practice a mixed form of religion that includes local animist customs. As a result of the colonial education system and the 23-year Indonesian occupation, only about 10% of Timorese speak Portuguese, one of the two official languages. The vast majority of Timorese use Tetum, the second official language, for their daily affairs; Malay also is widely spoken. Of about 16 indigenous languages, Galole, Mambae, Kemak, and Tetum are spoken by significant numbers of people.


HISTORY

Portuguese and Dutch traders made the first western contact with East Timor in the early 16th century. Sandalwood and spice traders, as well as missionaries, maintained sporadic contact with the island until 1642, when the Portuguese moved into Timor in strength. The Portuguese and the Dutch, based at the western end of the island in Kupang, battled for influence until the present-day borders were agreed to by the colonial powers in 1915. Imperial Japan occupied East Timor from 1942-45. The territory of the Dutch East Indies, including West Timor, gained independence as the Republic of Indonesia in 1949.


Following a military coup in Lisbon in April 1974, Portugal began a rapid and disorganized decolonization process in most of its overseas territories, including East Timor. Political tensions—exacerbated by Indonesian involvement—heated up, and on August 11, 1975, the Timorese Democratic Union Party (UDT) launched a coup d'état in Dili. The putsch was followed by a brief but bloody civil war in which the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN) pushed UDT forces into Indonesian West Timor. Shortly after the FRETILIN victory in late-September, Indonesian forces began incursions into East Timor. On October 16, five journalists from Australia, Britain, and New Zealand were murdered in the East Timorese town of Balibo shortly after they had filmed regular Indonesian army troops invading East Timorese territory. On November 28, FRETILIN declared East Timor an independent state, and Indonesia responded by launching a fullscale military invasion on December 7. On December 22, the UN Security Council called on Indonesia to withdraw its troops from East Timor.

Declaring a provisional government made up of Timorese allies on January 13, 1976, the Indonesian Government said it was acting to forestall civil strife in East Timor and to prevent the consolidation of power by the FRETILIN party. The Indonesians claimed that FRETILIN was communist in nature, while the party's leadership described itself as social democratic. Coming on the heels of the communist victories in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, the Indonesian claims were accepted by many in the West. Major powers also had little incentive to confront Indonesia over a territory seen as peripheral to their security interests. Nonetheless, the widespread popular support shown for the guerilla resistance launched by the Timorese made clear that the Indonesian occupation was not welcome. The Timorese were not permitted to determine their own political fate via a free vote, and the Indonesian occupation was never recognized by the United Nations.


The Indonesian occupation was characterized by an attempted "hearts-and-minds" campaign of economic development assistance, coupled with a contrasting program of brutal military repression. Estimates of the number of Timorese who lost their lives to violence and hunger during the Indonesian occupation range from 100,000 to 250,000. On January 27, 1999, Indonesian President B.J. Habibie pronounced his government's desire to hold a referendum in which the people of East Timor would chose between autonomy within Indonesia and independence. Under an agreement among the United Nations, Portugal, and Indonesia, the referendum was held on August 30, 1999. When the results were announced on September 4—78% voted for independence with a 98.6% turnout — Timorese militias organized and supported by the Indonesian military commenced a largescale campaign of retribution. While pro-independence FALINTIL guerillas remained cantoned in UN-supervised camps, the militia killed approximately 1,200 Timorese, burned 75% of the country's homes, and forcibly pushed 300,000 people into West Timor as refugees. On September 20, Australian-led peacekeeping troops of the International Force for East Timor deployed to the country, bringing the violence to an end.


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

East Timor became a fully independent republic on May 20, 2002, following approximately 2-1/2 years under the authority of the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET). The country has a parliamentary form of government with its first parliament formed from the 88-member Constituent Assembly chosen in free and fair, UN-supervised elections in August 2001. The 29-member Cabinet is dominated by the FRETILIN Party, which won the majority of Assembly seats. Mari Alkatiri, FRETILIN's Secretary General, is Prime Minister and Head of Government and Xanana Gusmao, elected in free and fair elections on April 14, 2002 is President and Head of State. UNTAET's mandate ended with independence, but a successor organization, the UN Mission for the Support of East Timor (UNMISET), was established. Under the Constitution ratified in March 2002, "laws and regulations in force continue to be applicable to all matters except to the extent that they are inconsistent with the Constitution;" and Indonesian and UNTAET laws and regulations continue to be in effect. At the time of writing, the government was expected to announce shortly the holding of local elections in early 2004.


UNMISET maintains responsibility and command of the UN Peace Keeping Force (UN-PKF) and the UN Police Forces (UNPOL), which are handing over executive authority on a province-by-province basis to the FALINTIL-East Timor Defense Force (F-FTDL) and East Timor Police Service, respectively. UNMISET's mandate is scheduled to be phased out completely by June 2004; however, the Timorese and international community are currently discussing the possibility of maintaining a small UN force in the country for one additional year.


Principal Government Officials
Last Updated: 3/6/03


President: Gusmao, Jose Alexander

Prime Minister: Alkatiri, Mari Bin Amude

Dep. Prime Minister: Silva Pinto, Ana Maria Pessoa Pereira da

Min. for Agriculture, Fisheries, & Forestry: Silva, Estganislau Maria Alexio da

Min. for Development & the Environment: Alkatiri, Mari Bin Amude

Min. for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, & Sports: Maia, Armindo

Min. for Planning & Finance: Brites Boavida, Maria Madalena

Min. for Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation: Horta, Jose Ramos

Min. for Health: Araujo, Rui Maria do

Min. for Internal Affairs: Lobato, Rogerio Tiago

Min. for Justice: Sarmento, Domingos

Min. for Transportation, Communications, & General Employment: Amaral, Ovidio

Secy. of State for Commerce & Industry: da Cruz, Arlino Rangel

Secy. of State for Council of Ministers: de Sousa, Gregorio

Secy. of State for Defense: Rodrigues, Felix de Jesus (Roque)

Secy. of State for Electricity & Water: de Jesus, Egidio

Secy. of State for Labor & Solidarity: Bano, Arsenio Paixao

Secy. of State for Parliamentary Affairs: Bianco, Antoninho

Secy. of State for Telecommunications: Guterres, Virgilio

Secy. of State for Tourism, the Environment, & Investment: Teixeira, Jose

Ambassador to the US: Guterres, Jose Luis

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Guterres, Jose Luis



East Timor maintains an embassy at 3415 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007 (tel: 202-965-1515).


ECONOMY

As the poorest nation in Asia, East Timor must overcome formidable challenges. Basic income, health, and literacy indicators are among the lowest in Asia. Severe shortages of trained and competent personnel to staff newly established executive, legislative, and judicial institutions hinder progress. Rural areas, lacking in infrastructure and resources, remain brutally poor, and the relatively few urban areas cannot provide adequate jobs for the growing number of migrants seeking work. Rural families' access to electricity and clean water is very limited. While anticipated revenues from offshore oil and gas reserves, expected to begin in late 2004, offer great hope for the country, effective use of those resources will require a major transformation of the country's current human and institutional infrastructure. Meanwhile, as those substantial revenues come on line, foreign assistance levels—now standing at among the highest worldwide on a per capita basis—will likely taper off.


East Timor achieved significant progress in a number of areas since independence. It established a central bank and became a member of the international community, joining the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Asia Development Bank (ADB). It is surviving the massive exodus of UN personnel, equipment and resources, and effecting a relatively smooth transition to Timorese control of the government and its administration. It produced a National Development Plan, and its Constituent Assembly has transitioned into a National Parliament that is already passing legislation. Efforts are underway to put in place the institutions required to protect human rights, rebuild the economy, create employment opportunities, and reestablish essential public services.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

East Timor joined the United Nations on September 27, 2002, and is pursuing membership in the ASEAN Regional Forum. East Timor's nascent foreign policy has placed a high priority on its relationships with Indonesia; regional friends such as Malaysia and Singapore; and, donors such as Australia, the European Union, Japan, Portugal, and the United States.


U.S.-EAST TIMOR RELATIONS

East Timor maintains an embassy in Washington DC, as well as a Permanent Mission in New York at the United Nations. The United States has a large bilateral development assistance program, $25 million in 2003, and also contributes funds as a major member of a number of multilateral agencies such as the Asian Development Bank. The U.S. Peace Corps has an active program in East Timor.


Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Dili (E), Vila 10, Farol, Dili, EAST TIMOR; American Embassy - Dili, Department of State, 8250 Dili Place, Washington, DC 20521-8250, IVG: 684; Tel (670) 332-4684, 331-3205, 331-3160, 331-3472; Fax 331-3206; AID 332-4107; Fax 332-1705; Peace Corps 332-1948, Fax 332-1316.

AMB: Grover Joseph Rees
AMB OMS: Myrna F. Farmer
DCM: Sean B. Stein
POL/ECO: Tyler T. Allen
MGT: [Vacant]
IPO/GSO: Daniel L. Reagan
AID: Jim Lehman (res. Jakarta)
ODC: COL Lawrence B. Robson
PCD: [Vacant]
ICITAP: Jim Roberts
RSO: Richard P. Soler

Last Modified: Monday, December 15, 2003


TRAVEL


Consular Information Sheet
September 5, 2003


Country Description: Occupying 5,743 square miles on the eastern half of an island in the Timor Sea between Indonesia and Australia, East Timor has a population of approximately 800,000 people. East Timor became independent from Indonesiaon May 20, 2002 and is now a democratically governed independent nation with an elected President, Prime Minister, and Parliament.


In the violence that followed East Timor's 1999 independence referendum, its infrastructure, never robust, was totally destroyed and is only slowly being rebuilt. Electricity, telephone and telecommunications, roads and lodging remain unreliable. East Timor's economy relies largely on international aid. The United Nations Mission of Support to East Timor (UNMISET) retains command authority over the police and is responsible for protecting East Timor's borders.


Entry Requirements: A passport valid for six months beyond the intended date of departure from East Timor is required. Tourist visas are not required prior to arrival, but travelers arriving in East Timor without a visa will need to pay the requisite $25 fee for a 30-day visa. There is an additional $25 fee for each 30-day renewal of this tourist visa.

In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.


Safety and Security: After the August 1999 United Nations (UN) - sponsored independence referendum, violence swept East Timor, as did widespread looting and burning and, in some cases, murder. UN peacekeeping forces quickly restored some stability to the country, yet violent incidents remain possible in border areas due to incursions by smugglers and pro-integration militias. American citizens traveling to East Timor should use common sense and exercise caution, avoid large gatherings, and remain alert with regard to their personal security, particularly after dark. Additionally, in light of recent attacks in Southeast Asia, Americans should exercise extreme caution especially in public places, including clubs, restaurants, bars, schools, places of worship, outdoor recreational events, hotels, resorts and beaches and other locations frequented by foreigners.


We recommend travelers going to East Timor transit through Darwin, Australia. Transiting through Bali, Indonesia, is another option; however, travelers should consult our Travel Warning and Consular Information Sheet for Indonesia at http://travel.state.gov.


Americans are advised that UNMISET and Government of East Timor security officials will randomly establish security checkpoints along traveled roads. These legitimate checkpoints are intended to enhance security along roadways and should be respected.


Travelers and residents should always ensure that passports and important personal papers are in order in the event it becomes necessary to leave the country quickly for any reason. Americans traveling in East Timor should remember that despite its small size, much of the territory is isolated and can be difficult to reach by available transportation or communication links.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling to or in East Timor should regularly monitor the Department of State's website, http://travel.state.gov, for changes in the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements.


The Overseas Citizens Services call center at 1-888-407-4747 can answer general inquiries on safety and security overseas. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8: 00 p. m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-317-472-2328.


Crime: East Timor's crime rate is medium. Minor crimes, such as pick pocketing and thefts occur throughout the territory and there have been more violent attacks on foreigners on occasion. Expatriate residents of the capital, Dili, are frequently the targets of burglaries, and criminal surveillance of potential targets such as residences and ATMs has been reported. Robberies and gang violence also occur on occasion. Visitors should be particularly careful at night and avoid wearing clothing that may be regarded as insensitive or provocative, particularly in crowded public areas such as markets.


The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.


U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at www.gpoaccess.gov, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs website at http://travel.state.gov.


Medical Facilities: Although acceptable emergency medical care is available in Dili, routine medical care in East Timor is extremely limited. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to Australia, the nearest point with acceptable medical care, or to the United States, can cost thousands of dollars.


Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including emergency services such as medical evacuations.


When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.

Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page.


Other Health Information: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.


Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning East Timor is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance:


Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: None


All traffic operates on the left side of the road, and most vehicles use right-hand drive. Roads are often poorly maintained and four-wheel drive may be required in some areas. Non-existent lighting and poor road conditions make driving at night hazardous. Taxis are available in Dili and small buses and mini-vans provide public transportation throughout the territory. However, public transportation is generally overcrowded, uncomfortable and below international safety standards.

Driving in Dili is especially hazardous, with many large trucks and military vehicles sharing the streets with vendors, pedestrians and livestock. Many cars and especially motorcycles operate at night without lights.


During the rainy season, travel on all cross-island roadways should be considered as risky. U.S. citizens should use caution when traveling on the cross-island roadways in the mountain areas of Aileu, Ermera, Manatuto, Ainaro and Manufahi provinces. Travelers may encounter mud slides, downed trees and washed out roadways. In December 2003, rain showers severely damaged several cross-island roadways and several UN vehicles had to be airlifted out of the area south of Aileu due to landslides and roadway damage.


The UN civilian police enforce East Timor's seat belt law; no helmet law exists, and wearing helmets is virtually unknown.


Accidents are frequent. When there is an accident, the UN civilian police should be contacted. It is not uncommon for by standers to attack the driver perceived to be responsible for a traffic accident. This is more common in rural areas and in accidents involving Timorese drivers, but expatriate drivers have occasionally been attacked by crowds at the scene of an accident. When an accident occurs, it may be advisable to drive to the nearest CIVPOL (civilian police) district office before stopping.


While it is possible to obtain insurance for vehicles in East Timor, only a handful of foreigners have done so, and virtually no one else has automobile insurance. Most traffic accidents are settled informally between those involved.


For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For additional information on road safety, see the U.S. Embassy home page at www.usembassyjakarta.org/.


Aviation Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service by local carriers at present, or economic authority to operate such service, between the U.S. and East Timor, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed East Timor's civil aviation system for compliance with international aviation safety standards. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's website at ww.faa.gov/avr/iasa/


The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact DOD at (618) 229-4801.


Customs Regulations: Questions about East Timor's customs regulations should be directed to the border control unit via telephone in Dili at 670-331-2210.


Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and do not afford the same protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating the laws of East Timor, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession of, use of, or trafficking in illegal drugs in East Timor are strict and convicted offenders can expect severe jail sentences and fines. UNMISET is responsible for security and law enforcement in East Timor.

Consular Access: U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times, so that if questioned by local officials, they have proof of identity and U.S. citizenship readily available. When U.S. citizens are arrested or detained, notification to the U.S. Embassy in Dili will be made, but the process may take several weeks. If detained, U.S. citizens are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy in Dili at (670) 390-324-684.


Special Circumstances: East Timor is in a state of transition and many civil and governmental institutions are currently being developed. The information provided above may change quickly as new institutions and processes become operational. U.S. citizens traveling or doing business in East Timor may find it difficult to identify legal or administrative mechanisms should problems arise.


The U.S. dollar is the official currency of East Timor. Money can be exchanged at the three banks in Dili or a licensed moneychanger. Only a few establishments accept credit cards, usually requiring a substantial additional fee, and visitors should be prepared to settle all bills in cash. Dili has two ATM machines that accept U.S.-issued bankcards. Travelers should not plan to rely exclusively on these machines, as they are frequently inoperative.


Disaster Preparedness: East Timor is located in an area of high seismic activity. Though the probability of a major earthquake occurring during an individual trip is remote, earthquakes can and will continue to happen. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone the Overseas Citizens Services call center at 1-888-407-4747. The OCS call center can answer general inquiries regarding international adoptions and will forward calls to the appropriate country officer in the Bureau of Consular Affairs. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-317-472-2328.


Registration and Embassy Locations: Americans living in or visiting East Timor are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy in Dili where they may obtain updated information on travel and security within the country.


The U.S. Embassy is located on the Avenida do Portugal near the lighthouse in the Farol neighborhood; telephone: (670) 332-4684; fax (670) 331-3206. Our Embassy in Dili does not yet have a website. However, additional information is located on the Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia website at www.usembassyjakarta.org. The Embassy Jakarta consular section can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]

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East Timor

East Timor

In 1975 Indonesian military forces (the TNI) invaded the Portuguese colony of East Timor, then under the administration of the pro-independence Fretilin Party (the Revolutionary Front for the Independent East Timor), which had just unilaterally declared independence. From the outset, the invasion was strongly resisted by the heavily out-gunned and outnumbered Fretilin armed forces. The invaders treated the local population harshly, indiscriminately killing hundreds of mostly civilian Dili residents in the first two weeks of the occupation.

The Indonesian occupation lasted twenty-four years, until the intervention of the UN authorized Interfet force in September 1999. The UN intervention followed a plebicite in which 78.5 percent of the population rejected integration with Indonesia. In the first decade of the occupation, the treatment of the population at large by the occupying forces displayed genocidal characteristics. The worst period was between December 1975 and 1980, when intense military operations were carried out across the island. Then East Timor was closed to the outside world, and even the International Red Cross was denied access until some four years after the invasion. According to East Timorese sources, including the Catholic Church which traditionally maintained population statistics and monitored the humanitarian situation, as many as 200,000 East Timorese died. Tens of thousands were killed by troops, while many others died from disease and starvation, conditions resulting directly or indirectly from occupation policies. A study of the population decline supports these charges. East Timor's population was estimated at 688,000 in the months before the invasion, and was growing at about 2 percent per year. According to Indonesia's census assessment in 1980, the population had fallen to 550,000.

Following visits to the territory by the International Red Cross and foreign diplomats in 1979, the human rights situation began to improve, but major atrocities continued. One of the worst of these was the massacre at Creras in 1983, where more than a thousand East Timorese, including women and children, were massacred in reprisal for the killing of several Indonesian soldiers in an engagement with resistance forces of the Falintil (the Armed Forces of National Liberation of East Timor). Summary executions and disappearances continued to feature in the annual reports of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. In 1991 the massacre of more than 200 East Timorese by TNI troops at a peaceful demonstration in Santa Cruz cemetary attracted world condemnation. This atrocity had a systematic character, reflecting a determination on the part of the Indonesian authorities to eliminate opponents of integration. However, in the case of the Santa Cruz massacre the Suharto government bowed to international pressure, and a number of soldiers were tried by a military court. The few who were found guilty were given only short sentences, ranging from six to eighteen months. This punishment was in stark contrast to the long terms of imprisonment handed out to surviving demonstrators in a separate trial, where they were sentenced to periods of imprisonment ranging from six to more than twenty years.

Since Indonesia's withdrawal in 1999, UN agencies and other humanitarian organizations have had free access to East Timor, and revelations of past events reveals beyond doubt that the humanitarian costs of this act of forced integration reached genocidal proportions. The East Timor case is manifestly one of the most serious of its kind in modern history. Indonesia's education policy banned the teaching of Tetum, East Timor's lingua franca, and Portuguese. This was a clear effort to eradicate a portion of East Timorian culture. Indonesia's policy of sending thousands of Indonesian settlers into the province also seemed designed to achieve the destruction of the distinctive culture of East Timor.

The international response to Indonesia's serious violation of international law was at first characterized by indifference and irresolution. As a result, the Suharto government, despite its heavy dependence on Western economic aid, did not feel the need to respond to international concerns in a positive way. The expressions of international concern at the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the years following the invasion were so weak that Indonesian authorities became openly defiant of world opinion. In the 1980s, however, East Timor's Bishop Carlos Belo, began to expose the situation to the international media and visiting foreign dignitaries. The Santa Cruz massacre in November 1991 forced the Indonesian authorities onto the defensive. The Suharto government's concessions were nevertheless of little real significance, falling well short of popular demands by East Timor's leaders for the removal of the Indonesian military, and for the right of self-determination.

Indonesia agreed to hold a plebiscite under UN auspices, in August 1999. This concession was attributable less to international pressures than to the fall of Suharto following the Asian economic collapse. The flexible stance adopted by President Habibie and the determined efforts of Kofi Annan, the newly appointed UN Secretary-General, were the key elements in the fortuitous sequence of events that led to East Timor's liberation in September 1999, after twenty-four years of occupation. As it happened, the Indonesian military maintained its oppression until the very end. TNI generals formed a militia force with the aim of preventing the loss of the province. When the results of the plebiscite were announced, a large-scale TNI operation swung into action. Pro-independence supporters, now representing the majority opinion, were the subject of violence and intimidation. In the space of a few weeks, more than 1,500 were killed. An estimated 250,000 were deported to West Timor, and 73 percent of all building and houses were destroyed. This spate of killing and destruction was interrupted by the Interfet intervention, and by President Habibie's decision to withdraw from East Timor in the face of strong international protests.

The pattern of the atrocities carried out by Indonesian troops reveals a systemic character. Until Santa Cruz, no TNI troops or commanders were ever placed on trial for these crimes against humanity. In the case of the events of 1999, the tribunal set up by the Indonesian government was apparently designed to prevent disclosure of TNI command responsibility. The few TNI commanders placed on trial were charged not with their role in organizing the violence, but with having failed to stop it. Even so, most were acquitted, while the few who were found guilty won their appeals to a higher court.

SEE ALSO Indonesia; Peacekeeping; West Papua, Indonesia (Irian Jaya)

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Aditjondro, George J. (1999). Is Oil Thicker Than Blood? A Study of Oil Companies' Interests and Western Complicity in Indonesia's Annexation of East Timor. Commack, N.Y.: Nova Science.

Archer, Robert (1995). "The Catholic Church in East Timor." In East Timor at the Crossroads: The Forging of a Nation, ed. Peter Carey and G. Carter Bentley. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

Ball, Desmond (2001). "Silent Witness: Australian Intelligence and East Timor." Pacific Review 14:35–62.

Boxer, C. R. (1960). "Portuguese Timor: A Rough Island Story: 1515–1960." History Today 10:349–355.

Breen, Bob (2000). Mission Accomplished, East Timor: The Australian Defence Force Participation in the International Forces East Timor (INTERFET). St. Leonards, New South Wales, Australia: Allen and Unwin.

Budiardjo, Carmel, and Liem Soei Liong (1984). The War Against East Timor. London: Zed.

Carey, Peter, and Steve Cox (1995). Generations of Resistance: East Timor. London: Cassell.

Dunn, James (1996). Timor: A People Betrayed, new edition. Milton, Queensland: Jacaranda.

Martin, Ian (2001). Self-Determination in East Timor: The United Nations, the Ballot, and International Intervention. Boulder, Colo: Lynne Rienner.

Tanter, Richard, Mark Selden, and Stephen R. Shalom, eds. (2001). Bitter Flowers, Sweet Flowers: East Timor, Indonesia, and the World Community. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield.

Taylor, John G. (1995). "East Timor: Contemporary History: A Chronology of the Main Events since 1974." In East Timor at the Crossroads: The Forging of a Nation, ed. Peter Carey and G. Carter Bentley. Honolulu: University of Hawaii.

James Dunn

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East Timor

East Timor

POPULATION 792,000
ROMAN CATHOLIC 94.6 percent
OTHER 5.4 percent

Country Overview

INTRODUCTION

The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (the Portuguese term for "East Timor"), located in Southeast Asia, is bounded by Indonesia on the west, the Timor Sea on the south, and the Banda Sea on the north. Its territory (5,736 square miles) includes the eastern half of Timor Island, the islands of Jaco and Atauro, and Oecussi, an enclave within Indonesian Timor. Most of the country is ruggedly mountainous. The climate is tropical with a dry and a wet season. East Timor is underdeveloped, and potential economic resources include oil and gas reserves, coffee, sandalwood, marble, and tourism. On 20 May 2002, after more than 350 years of Portuguese colonialism, 24 years of Indonesian occupation, and two years of administration by the United Nations, East Timor became an independent nation.

The majority of the population is Roman Catholic. Other religions represented in East Timor include Protestantism, Islam, and Hinduism and Buddhism (the latter two typically discussed as one group in East Timor). Catholicism, introduced by the Portuguese during the sixteenth century, initially spread to the coastal regions because the mountainous interior provided a geographical barrier. At the time of the 1975 Indonesian invasion nearly three quarters of the East Timorese population were animists. During the Indonesian occupation the Catholic Church protected the East Timorese people from Indonesian abuses; this support precipitated the large conversion to Catholicism.

RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE

The East Timorese constitution (ratified in 2002) provides for the separation of church and state and recognizes religious freedom and tolerance. Since independence was declared, majority and minority religions have coexisted peacefully, although cases of property destruction at mosques have been reported.

Major Religion

ROMAN CATHOLICISM

DATE OF ORIGIN 1515 c.e.
NUMBER OF FOLLOWERS 749,000

HISTORY

Portuguese colonists took Roman Catholicism to East Timor in 1515, and the arrival in 1556 of a Dominican friar, António Taveira, started a more widespread missionizing effort. Because the conversion of local chiefs often inspired many conversions among the general population, the church's earliest efforts were focused on the coastal kingdoms. By 1640 there were 10 missions and 22 churches.

The next wave of Catholic expansion began in 1697 with the arrival of the Portuguese friar Manuel de Santo António, and by 1702 Carmelite missions had followed. Seminaries had been established in Oecussi and Manatuto by 1747. Tense relations with the colonial government, however, hampered Dominican missionary activity. In 1834 the government expelled the Dominicans and replaced them with Jesuits. Missionizing was also curtailed by continual local rebellions and by the rugged mountain ranges.

Substantial conversion did not occur until after the Indonesian invasion in 1975. The East Timorese became subject to the state law requiring all Indonesian citizens to be members of a world religion. The Catholic Church served during this time as the primary protector of the East Timorese from the brutalities of the Indonesian army. These factors propelled a substantial conversion to Catholicism. By 1981 the Tetun language (the lingua franca of East Timor) had replaced Portuguese as the vernacular of Catholic rites. East Timor separated from Indonesia in 1999 and officially became independent in 2002.

EARLY AND MODERN LEADERS

The initial efforts to spread Catholicism in East Timor can be attributed to Friar António Taveira, Bishop Manuel de Santo António (who served there from 1697 to 1722), Bishop António de Castro (who served in the 1740s), and Father José António Medeiros (who arrived in 1875).

Martinho da Costa Lopes (the native apostolic administrator for East Timor) and his successor, Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo (the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate), have had tremendous impact in the years following World War II. As a consequence of their efforts to defend the East Timorese during the Indonesian occupation, Catholicism became established as the majority religion. Bishop Basílio do Nascimento was appointed apostolic administrator in 2002.

MAJOR THEOLOGIANS AND AUTHORS

There have not been any theologians of particular significance in East Timor.

HOUSES OF WORSHIP AND HOLY PLACES

European-style cathedrals are found in the larger cities of East Timor. The churches in district administrative centers vary in size and elaborateness, and villages have small chapels. Churches display the mark of local craftsmanship; significant cultural symbols are incorporated into decorative carvings and paintings.

WHAT IS SACRED?

East Timorese Catholics view church buildings, cemeteries, and the personages and objects associated with these places as sacred. Their conception of "sacred" is influenced by the indigenous notion of lulik, potent spiritual power associated with certain places, objects, or persons.

HOLIDAYS AND FESTIVALS

Catholic holidays in East Timor include Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, Assumption Day, All Saint's Day, and the Day of the Immaculate Conception. The Virgin Mary is a special focus of local Catholic veneration, and during May both the Marian Festival and the Feast of the Rosary venerate Mary. A family grouping (such as a village hamlet or a clan) sponsors rosary prayer sessions that center on a statue of Mary and that move from house to house. This culminates in a ritual procession that ends at the local church or at a mountainside grotto outside the village, where the statue is deposited and a Mass is held.

MODE OF DRESS

For church services East Timorese Catholics wear Western-style clothing in the city and tais (a traditional handwoven and dyed textile) in rural areas. The mode of dress for village women consists of a Timorese tais or Indonesian batik skirt, an Indonesian-style top (kebaya), and a lace shawl head covering (usually black) of the old Portuguese style. Priestly vestments have also incorporated tais textiles.

DIETARY PRACTICES

East Timorese Catholics tend to abstain from eating meat on Fridays (especially on Good Friday) and on Ash Wednesday. Some elders also keep meat abstinence during Lent. The strictness about avoiding meat, however, varies greatly and indeed is often superseded by the traditional feasts that accompany marriages and death rituals.

RITUALS

Most people in East Timor attend Sunday Mass, which is also the main social venue in rural areas. Baptism, first Communion, confirmation, marriage, and funeral are the main Catholic rites in East Timor. Offerings made during Mass include currency and local produce such as rice, eggs, and bananas. During Mass the priest also blesses bowls of flower petals, which are then taken to the grave of a loved one.

RITES OF PASSAGE

Catholic baptism in East Timor takes place when a child is between three months and seven years old. It usually follows various traditional East Timorese life-cycle rituals that secure the child's soul and introduce him or her to the community and the ancestors. When children are about 7 to 12 years old, they receive catechism training, after which the first Communion is administered with much pageantry. Confirmation ceremonies take place during an East Timorese Catholic's teenage years.

Marriage for the East Timorese is an alliance between social groups (houses and clans). Thus, traditional marriage processes (which vary widely among cultures within East Timor) precede Catholic rites. After Catholic funeral services the deceased are buried in Christian graves. These rites, however, are just the first phase of protracted traditional funerary ritual processes.

MEMBERSHIP

Catholics in East Timor do not proselytize.

SOCIAL JUSTICE

Throughout the Indonesian occupation the church defied the state through nonviolent resistance and was the main critic of Indonesian military brutality. The church has been vocal in its human rights advocacy.

SOCIAL ASPECTS

East Timorese Catholic marriage requires both partners to be of the same faith, to lead a Christian life, and to raise the resulting children as Catholics. Many of the local customary life-cycle rites have been syncretized with Catholic rites of passage. Thus, the traditional social obligations of specific categories of kin (for example, a mother's brother) to sponsor life-cycle rituals continue through Catholic rites.

POLITICAL IMPACT

Throughout Portuguese colonialism and the Indonesian occupation, the Catholic Church in East Timor was a staunch supporter of the people, providing the vehicle for resistance to oppression. In 1999, during the UN-administered "popular consultation" process that led to East Timor's independence from Indonesia, the church participated in voter education. Militia and Indonesian military rampages after the election drove many East Timorese to the sanctuary of churches, where priests and nuns risked their own lives to protect them.

CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES

The East Timorese Catholic Church's stances on birth control, divorce, and abortion follow those of the Vatican and are not considered controversial. Local church leaders do not openly confront these issues. Many East Timorese Catholics have remarried after divorce. While these marriages are not recognized by the church, they are legitimized through a civil court or through customary law.

CULTURAL IMPACT

Catholicism is an important aspect of East Timorese national and cultural identity, which was forged historically vis-à-vis relations of political power and resistance to oppression. Catholic practice has had no clearly evident effect on East Timor's music, art, or literature, all of which are heavily influenced by various traditional belief systems.

Other Religions

Information is lacking about the uniquely East Timorese features of Protestant, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist practices. Hinduism and Buddhism, often discussed in a combined manner, are practiced in East Timor by people of Balinese origin. Protestants mainly come from West Timor, because during colonial times the Dutch converted the West Timorese to Protestantism. A small number of Protestant missionaries operate in East Timor. It has been estimated, however, that after independence the size of the congregation was halved. With the exception of minor tensions between Protestant missionaries and Catholics in the Baucau region, the two Christian branches appear to coexist peacefully. Isolated incidents of vandalism to Muslim mosques in Dili and in Baucau have been reported. There have also been tensions between Muslims of Arabic descent and Muslims of Malay migrant descent.

Animistic beliefs focusing on ancestors have a strong presence in East Timor. Catholicism is highly syncretized with local traditional beliefs. The concept of lulik (the sacred power of places, objects, and persons) is important. Sacred places are mountains, forests, and rivers associated with the founding ancestors and the Creator God. Ancestral heirlooms are also considered sacred. The most significant ancestor-focused rituals are the funerals that include large-scale animal sacrifice. Other notable rituals center on the sacred founding houses (uma lulik), which play an important role in maintaining traditional social structures and kinship relations.

Andrea Molnar

See Also Vol. 1: Christianity, Roman Catholicism

Bibliography

Cardoso, Luis. The Crossing: A Story of East Timor. Translated by Margaret Jull Costa. New York and London: Granta Books, 2002.

Carrey, Peter. "The Catholic Church, Religious Revival, and the Nationalist Movement in East Timor, 1975–98." Indonesia and the Malay World 27, no. 78 (1999): 77–95.

Kohen, Arnold S. From the Place of the Dead: The Epic Struggles of Bishop Belo of East Timor. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998.

Lennox, Rowena. Fighting Spirit of East Timor: The Life of Martinho da Costa Lopes. New York: Zen Books, 2000.

Marker, Jamsheed. East Timor: A Memoir of the Negotiations for Independence. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland and Company, 2003.

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East Timor

EAST TIMOR

Compiled from the September 2004 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Democratic Republic of East Timor


PROFILE

Geography

Area: 15,007 sq. km.

Cities: Capital—Dili, Baucau.

Terrain: Mountainous.

Climate: Tropical; hot, semi-arid; rainy and dry seasons.

People

Nationality: Noun—Timorese; adjective—Timorese.

Population: (2004 est.) 850,000.

Ethnic groups: Maubere,.

Religions: Catholic 98%

Languages: Portuguese, Tetum (official languages); English, Bahasa Indonesia (working languages).

Education: Literacy—41%.

Health: Life expectancy—49.5 years. Mortality rate (under 5)—126. per 1,000 live births.

Government

Type: Parliamentary democracy.

Independence: (from Portugal) November 28, 1975.

Restoration of independence: May 20, 2002. (See History section.)

Constitution: March 2002.

Branches: Executive—president (head of state), prime minister (head of government), cabinet. Legislative—unicameral parliament. Judicial—Supreme Court and supporting hierarchy.

Political parties: Revolutionary Front of Independent East Timor (FRETILIN), Democratic Party (PD), Social Democratic Party (PSD), Timorese Social Democratic Association (ASDT).

Economy

GDP: (2002 est.) $400 million.

GDP per capita: (nominal) $497.

GDP composition by sector: Services 57%, agriculture 25%, industry 17%.

Industry: Types—coffee, oil and natural gas.

Trade: Exports—coffee, oil and natural gas. Major markets—Australia, Europe, Japan, United States. Imports—basic manufactures, commodities. Major sources—Australia, Europe, Indonesia, Japan, United States.


GEOGRAPHY AND PEOPLE

East Timor is located in southeastern Asia, on the southernmost edge of the Indonesian archipelago, northwest of Australia. The country includes the eastern half of Timor island as well as the Oecussi enclave in the northwest portion of Indonesian West Timor, and the islands of Atauro and Jako. The mixed Malay and Pacific Islander culture of the Timorese people reflects the geography of the country on the border of those two cultural areas. Portuguese influence during the centuries of colonial rule resulted in a substantial majority of the population identifying itself as Roman Catholic. Some of those who consider themselves Catholic practice a mixed form of religion that includes local animist customs. As a result of the colonial education system and the 23-year Indonesian occupation, approximately 17% of Timorese speak Portuguese and 63% speak Bahasa Indonesia. Tetum, the most common of the local languages, is spoken by approximately 91% of the population. Mambae, Kemak, and Fataluku are also widely spoken. This linguistic diversity is enshrined in the country's constitution which designates Portuguese and Tetum as official languages and English and Bahasa Indonesia as working languages.


HISTORY

Portuguese and Dutch traders made the first western contact with East Timor in the early 16th century. Sandalwood and spice traders, as well as missionaries, maintained sporadic contact with the island until 1642, when the Portuguese moved into Timor in strength. The Portuguese and the Dutch, based at the western end of the island in Kupang, battled for influence until the present-day borders were agreed to by the colonial powers in 1906. Imperial Japan occupied East Timor from 1942-45. Portugal resumed colonial authority over East Timor in 1945 after the Japanese defeat in World War II.

Following a military coup in Lisbon in April 1974, Portugal began a rapid and disorganized decolonization process in most of its overseas territories, including East Timor. Political tensions—exacerbated by Indonesian involvement—heated up, and on August 11, 1975, the Timorese Democratic Union Party (UDT) launched a coup d'état in Dili. The putsch was followed by a brief but bloody civil war in which the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN) pushed UDT forces into Indonesian West Timor. Shortly after the FRETILIN victory in late September, Indonesian forces began incursions into East Timor. On October 16, five journalists from Australia, Britain, and New Zealand were murdered in the East Timorese town of Balibo shortly after they had filmed regular Indonesian army troops invading East Timorese territory. On November 28, FRETILIN declared East Timor an independent state, and Indonesia responded by launching a full-scale military invasion on December 7. On December 22, 1975 the UN Security Council called on Indonesia to withdraw its troops from East Timor.

Declaring a provisional government made up of Timorese allies on January 13, 1976, the Indonesian Government said it was acting to forestall civil strife in East Timor and to prevent the consolidation of power by the FRETILIN party. The Indonesians claimed that FRETILIN was communist in nature, while the party's leadership described itself as social democratic. Coming on the heels of the communist victories in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, the Indonesian claims were accepted by many in the West. Major powers also had little incentive to confront Indonesia over a territory seen as peripheral to their security interests. Nonetheless, the widespread popular support shown for the guerilla resistance launched by the Timorese made clear that the Indonesian occupation was not welcome. The Timorese were not permitted to determine their own political fate via a free vote, and the Indonesian occupation was never recognized by the United Nations.

Indonesian occupation of Timor was initially characterized by a program of brutal military repression. Beginning in the late 1980s, however, the occupation was increasingly characterized by programs to win the "hearts-and-minds" of the Timorese through the use of economic development assistance and job creation while maintaining a strict policy of political repression, although serious human rights violations – such as the 1991 Santa Cruz massacre—continued. Estimates of the number of Timorese who lost their lives to violence and hunger during the Indonesian occupation range from 100,000 to 250,000. On January 27, 1999, Indonesian President B.J. Habibie announced his government's desire to hold a referendum in which the people of East Timor would chose between autonomy within Indonesia and independence. Under an agreement among the United Nations, Portugal, and Indonesia, the referendum was held on August 30, 1999. When the results were announced on September 4—78% voted for independence with a 98.6% turnout—Timorese militias organized and supported by the Indonesian military commenced a large-scale, scorchedearth campaign of retribution. While pro-independence FALINTIL guerillas remained cantoned in UN-supervised camps, the militia killed approximately 1,300 Timorese and forcibly pushed 300,000 people into West Timor as refugees. The majority of the country's infrastructure, including homes, irrigation systems, water supply systems, and schools, and nearly 100% of the country's electrical grid were destroyed. On September 20, 1999 the Australian-led peacekeeping troops of the International Force for East Timor (INTERFET) deployed to the country, bringing the violence to an end.


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

East Timor became a fully independent republic on May 20, 2002, following approximately 2-1/2 years under the authority of the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET). The country has a parliamentary form of government with its first parliament formed from the 88-member Constituent Assembly chosen in free and fair, UNsupervised elections in August 2001. The 29-member Cabinet is dominated by the FRETILIN Party, which won the majority of Assembly seats. Mari Alkatiri, FRETILIN's Secretary General, is Prime Minister and Head of Government, and Xanana Gusmao—elected in free and fair elections on April 14, 2002—is President and Head of State. UNTAET's mandate ended with independence, but a successor organization, the UN Mission for the Support of East Timor (UNMISET), was established to provide additional support to the Government. In May 2004, UNMISET's mandate was renewed for a period of six months, with a view to subsequently extending the mandate for a further and final period of six months, until May 2005. Under the constitution ratified in March 2002, "laws and regulations in force continue to be applicable to all matters except to the extent that they are inconsistent with the Constitution;" and Indonesian and UNTAET laws and regulations continue to be in effect. At the time of writing, the government was expected to shortly announce the holding of local elections in winter 2004.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 12/7/04

President: Gusmao , Kay Rala Xanana
Prime Minister: Alkatiri , Mari Bin Amude
Dep. Prime Minister: Silva Pinto , Ana Maria Pessoa Pereira da
Min. for Agriculture, Fisheries, & Forestry: Silva , Estganislau Maria Alexio da
Min. for Development & the Environment: Alkatiri , Mari Bin Amude
Min. for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, & Sports: Maia , Armindo
Min. for Planning & Finance: Brites Boavida , Maria Madalena
Min. for Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation: Horta , Jose Ramos
Min. for Health: Araujo , Rui Maria do
Min. for Internal Affairs: Lobato , Rogerio Tiago
Min. for Justice: Sarmento , Domingos
Min. for Transportation, Communications, & General Employment: Amaral , Ovidio
Secy. of State for Commerce & Industry: da Cruz , Arlino Rangel
Secy. of State for Council of Ministers: de Sousa , Gregorio
Secy. of State for Defense: Rodrigues , Felix de Jesus (Roque)
Secy. of State for Electricity & Water: de Jesus , Egidio
Secy. of State for Labor & Solidarity: Bano , Arsenio Paixao
Secy. of State for Parliamentary Affairs: Bianco, Antoninho
Secy. of State for Telecommunications: Guterres , Virgilio
Secy. of State for Tourism, the Environment, & Investment: Teixeira , Jose
Ambassador to the US: Guterres , Jose Luis
Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Guterres , Jose Luis

East Timor maintains an embassy at 3415 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007 (tel: 202-965-1515).


ECONOMY

As the poorest nation in Asia, East Timor must overcome formidable challenges. Basic income, health, and literacy indicators are among the lowest in Asia. Severe shortages of trained and competent personnel to staff newly established executive, legislative, and judicial institutions hinder progress. Rural areas, lacking in infrastructure and resources, remain brutally poor, and the relatively few urban areas cannot provide adequate jobs for the country's growing labor force. Many cities, including the country's second largest, Baucau, do not have routine electrical service. Rural families' access to electricity

and clean water is very limited. While anticipated revenues from offshore oil and gas reserves, expected to begin in late 2004, offer great hope for the country, effective use of those resources will require a major transformation of the country's current human and institutional infrastructure. Meanwhile, as those substantial revenues come on line, foreign assistance levels—now standing at among the highest worldwide on a per capita basis—will likely taper off.

East Timor has made significant progress in a number of areas since independence. It has become a full-fledged member of the international community, joining the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). It is surviving the massive exodus of UN personnel, equipment and resources, and has effected a relatively smooth transition to Timorese control of the government and its administration. It produced a National Development Plan, and its Constituent Assembly has transitioned into a National Parliament that has commenced reviewing and passing legislation. A nascent legal system has been put into place and efforts are underway to put in place the institutions required to protect human rights, rebuild the economy, create employment opportunities, and reestablish essential public services.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

East Timor joined the United Nations on September 27, 2002, and is pursuing observer status in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and membership in the ASEAN Regional Forum. East Timor's foreign policy has placed a high priority on its relationships with Indonesia; regional friends such as Malaysia and Singapore; and donors such as Australia, the European Union, Japan, Portugal, and the United States.


U.S.-EAST TIMOR RELATIONS

East Timor maintains an embassy in Washington DC, as well as a Permanent Mission in New York at the United Nations. The United States has a large bilateral development assistance program, $22.5 million in 2004, and also contributes funds as a major member of a number of multilateral agencies such as the Asian Development Bank and World Bank. The U.S. Peace Corps has an active program in East Timor.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

DILI (E) Address: Pantai Kelapa, Dili, Timor Leste; APO/FPO: American Embassy-Jakarta, Unit 8129, Box D, APO AP 96520; Official pouch: 8250 Dili Place, Washington, D.C. 20521-8250; Phone: (670) 332-4684; Fax: (670) 331-3206; Workweek: 8:00 am-5:00 pm

AMB:Grover Joseph Rees, III
AMB OMS:Myrna F. Farmer
DCM:Sean B. Stein
DCM OMS:Myrna F. Farmer
ECO/COM:Curtis Ried
GSO:Daniel Reagan
ICASS Chair:Sean Stein
IMO:Daniel Reagan
POL/ADV:Curtis Ried
RSO:Kevin T. Whitson
Last Updated: 10/4/2004

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

March 16, 2004

Country Description: Occupying 5,743 square miles on the eastern half of an island in the Timor Sea between Indonesia and Australia, East Timor has a population of approximately 850,000 people. East Timor became independent on May 20, 2002, and is now a democratically governed, independent nation with an elected President and Parliament.

In the violence that followed East Timor's 1999 independence referendum, its infrastructure, never robust, was totally destroyed and is only slowly being rebuilt. Electricity, telephone and telecommunications, roads and lodging remain unreliable, particularly outside of the capital. East Timor's economy relies largely on international assistance.

Entry/Exit Requirements: A passport valid for six months beyond the intended date of departure from East Timor is required. Tourist visas are not required prior to arrival, but travelers arriving in East Timor without a visa will need to pay a $30 fee for the 30-day visa. There is an additional fee for each 30-day renewal of this tourist visa.

Visitors traveling via air must transit Darwin, Australia or Bali, Indonesia en route to East Timor. Please refer to our Consular Information Sheets for these countries for their entry or transit requirements.

In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.

Safety and Security: After the August 1999 United Nations (UN)—sponsored independence referendum, violence swept East Timor, as did widespread looting and burning and, in some cases, murder. UN peacekeeping forces quickly restored stability to the country, yet violent incidents remain possible in border areas due to incursions by smugglers and pro-integration militias. American citizens traveling to East Timor should use common sense and exercise caution, avoid large gatherings, and remain alert with regard to their personal security, particularly after dark. Additionally, in light of recent terrorist attacks in Southeast Asia, Americans should exercise caution especially in public places including, but not limited to, clubs, restaurants, bars, schools, places of worship, outdoor recreational events, hotels, resorts and beaches and other locations frequented by foreigners.

Americans are advised that security officials occasionally establish security checkpoints along roads. These legitimate checkpoints are intended to enhance security and should be respected. Americans traveling in East Timor should remember that despite its small size, much of the territory is isolated and can be difficult to reach by available transportation or communication links.

Travelers and residents should always ensure that passports and important personal papers are in order in the event it becomes necessary to leave the country quickly for any reason. Likewise, travelers should be aware that the U.S. Embassy in Dili is not able to issue emergency passports and has only limited capacity to process passport renewals.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling to or in East Timor should regularly monitor the Department of State's web site, http://travel.state.gov, for changes in the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements. Up to date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States, or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-317-472-2328. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime: Crimes such as pick pocketing, residential break-ins and thefts occur throughout the country, but are more frequent in Dili, the capital. Victims who resist may be subject to physical violence. Gang related violence occurs, but has not targeted foreign nationals. Visitors should be particularly careful at night and avoid wearing clothing that may be regarded as insensitive or provocative, particularly in crowded public areas such as markets.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad for ways to promote a troublefree journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via http://www.gpoaccess.gov/index.htm, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs' web site, http://travel.state.gov.

Medical Facilities: Although limited emergency medical care is available in Dili, options for routine medical care throughout the country are extremely limited. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to Australia, the nearest point with acceptable medical care, or to the United States, can cost thousands of dollars.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including emergency services such as medical evacuations.

When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.

Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad available at http://travel.state.gov.

Other Health Information: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning East Timor is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance:

Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: None

All traffic operates on the left side of the road, and most vehicles use righthand drive. Roads are often poorly maintained and four-wheel drive may be required in some areas. Non-existent lighting and poor road conditions make driving at night hazardous. Taxis are available in Dili, and small buses and mini-vans provide public transportation throughout the area. However, public transportation is generally overcrowded, uncomfortable and below international safety standards.

Driving in Dili is especially hazardous, with large trucks and military vehicles sharing the streets with vendors, pedestrians and livestock. Many cars and especially motorcycles operate at night without lights.

During the rainy season, travel on all cross-island roadways should be considered to be risky. U.S. citizens should use caution when traveling on the cross-island roadways in the mountain areas of Aileu, Ermera, Manatuto, Ainaro and Manufahi provinces. In December 2003, rain showers severely damaged several cross-island roadways, and several UN vehicles had to be airlifted out of the area south of Aileu due to landslides and roadway damage.

Accidents are frequent. When there is an accident, the police should be contacted. It is not uncommon for bystanders to attack the driver perceived to be responsible for a traffic accident. This is more common in rural areas and in accidents involving East Timorese drivers, but crowds have occasionally attacked expatriate drivers at the scene of an accident. If a U.S. citizen involved in an accident reasonably believes that there is a threat of bodily harm from people at the scene of the accident, it may be advisable to drive to the police station before stopping.

While it is possible to obtain insurance for vehicles in East Timor, only a handful of foreigners have done so, and virtually no one else has automobile insurance. Most traffic accidents are settled informally between those involved.

For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, see the Bureau of Consular Affairs' web site, http://travel.state.gov/travel/abroad_roadsafety.html. For additional information on road safety, see the U.S. Embassy's web site http://www.usembassyjakarta.org/consular/dili.html.

Aviation Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service by local carriers at present, or economic authority to operate such service, between the United States and East Timor, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed East Timor's civil aviation system for compliance with international aviation safety standards. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm.

Customs Regulations: Questions about East Timor's customs regulations should be directed to the border control unit via telephone in Dili at 670-331-2210. In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available. Transactions involving such products are illegal and bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and do not afford the same protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating the laws of East Timor, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession of, use of, or trafficking in illegal drugs in East Timor are strict and convicted offenders can expect severe jail sentences and fines.

Under the PROTECT Act of April 2003, it is a crime, prosecutable in the United States, for a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien, to engage in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign country with a person under the age of 18, whether or not the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident alien intended to engage in such illicit sexual conduct prior to going abroad. For purposes of the PROTECT Act, illicit sexual conduct includes any commercial sex act in a foreign country with a person under the age of 18. The law defines a commercial sex act as any sex act, on account of which anything of value is given to or received by a person under the age of 18.

Under the Protection of Children from Sexual Predators Act of 1998, it is a crime to use the mail or any facility of interstate or foreign commerce, including the Internet, to transmit information about a minor under the age of 16 for criminal sexual purposes that include, among other things, the production of child pornography. This same law makes it a crime to use any facility of interstate or foreign commerce, including the Internet, to transport obscene materials to minors under the age of 16.

Consular Access: U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times, so that if questioned by local officials, they have proof of identity and U.S. citizenship readily available. When U.S. citizens are arrested or detained, East Timorese officials will notify the U.S. Embassy in Dili, but the process may take several weeks. If detained, U.S. citizens are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy in Dili at (670) 332-4684.

Special Circumstances: East Timor is in a state of transition, and many civil and governmental institutions are currently being developed. The information provided above may change quickly as new institutions and processes become operational. U.S. citizens traveling or doing business in East Timor may find it difficult to identify legal or administrative mechanisms should problems arise.

The U.S. dollar is the official currency of East Timor. Money can be exchanged at the three banks in Dili, but only to or from a limited number of currencies. Only a few establishments accept credit cards, usually requiring a substantial additional fee, and visitors should be prepared to settle all bills in cash. Dili has two ATM machines that accept U.S.issued bankcards. Travelers should not plan to rely exclusively on these machines, as they are frequently inoperative.

Disaster Preparedness: East Timor is located in an area of high seismic activity. Though the probability of a major earthquake occurring during an individual trip is remote, earthquakes can and will continue to happen. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/family/index.html or telephone Overseas Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-317-472-2328.

Registration/Embassy Location: Americans living in or visiting East Timor are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy in Dili where they may obtain updated information on travel and security within the country.

The U.S. Embassy is located at Pantai Kelapa on Avenida de Portugal; telephone: (670) 332-4684; fax (670) 331-3206. The U.S. Embassy in Dili does not yet have a web site; in the interim, visit http://www.usembassyjakarta.org/consular/delighting. The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta consular section can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]

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East Timor

East Timor

East Timor is Southeast Asia's newest independent country of approximately 925,000 inhabitants. Situated on the eastern half of the Timor Island, and also including a small enclave on the western side, it consists of flat coastal areas separated by a rugged mountain range and features distinct tropical dry and rainy seasons. The population of East Timor is made up of a dozen separate indigenous groups that share a common experience of colonialism under Portugal and Indonesia. As a result, Tetum (the language spoken in the capital, Díli), Portuguese, and Indonesian vie for prominence as the language of school and government—the first two are official languages.

East Timor's most valuable and only exportable crop lies in the extensive plantations of Arabica coffee in the mountainous interior. Oil and gas reserves, in abundance in the Timor Sea, are still untapped pending negotiations with neighboring Australia and individual oil companies. East Timor remains extremely poor. Per capita income is around $520, according to the World Bank's 2002 estimate, and the majority of the population is engaged in subsistence farming .

Portugal refused to give independence to its colonies after World War II (1939–1945) but abruptly changed course in 1974. In East Timor two parties emerged to promote independence: Fretilin and the Timorese Democratic Union. After a brief civil war between the two in 1975, the more left-wing Fretilin emerged as the winner and established the government through a unilateral declaration of independence. Few countries had recognized this government when Indonesian troops invaded the territory on December 7, 1975, and annexed the territory.

Indonesian atrocities in East Timor, costing more than one hundred thousand lives over more than two decades, brought the country's plight to the attention of the international community. East Timor's circumstances changed in 1999, however, when Indonesia allowed the East Timorese to hold a referendum , in which 78.5 percent of the population opted for independence. Pro-Indonesia militia destroyed East Timor when this result became known, prompting an international peacekeeping force to assume control of the territory.

East Timor held elections for an assembly to draft a constitution on August 30, 2001. The constitutional assembly then stayed on to serve as a parliament. Fretilin reemerged as a political power in a multiparty environment, winning fifty-five of the eighty-eight seats. The party made subsequent political deals to give it a super-majority in parliament. Fretilin also appointed the prime minister, Marí Alkatiri (b. 1949), and the house speaker, Francisco "Lú-Olo" Guterres (b. 1954). On April 14, 2002, Xanana Gusmão (b. 1946), the former head of Falintil, the armed resistance movement during Indonesian occupation, was overwhelmingly elected president with 82.7 percent of the vote. Gusmão is regarded by East Timorese as the father of their independence, and his influence on government far outweighs the formal powers granted to him in the constitution. On May 20, 2002, the United Nations officially handed over sovereignty to East Timor.

East Timor's constitution, largely based on the examples of Mozambique and Portugal, provides for a semi-presidential system. The president is head of state with the resulting ceremonial duties but also has the power of veto over parliamentary legislation and supply. Parliament is unicameral and sits for a five-year term. Seventy-five of the eighty-eight seats are determined by proportionality, and the remaining thirteen are reserved for each district. There is adherence to civil rights for citizens, parties, and the media.

The Supreme Court of Justice is the highest judicial authority, and its independence is guaranteed under East Timorese law. The constitution is secular but makes reference to the historic role of the Catholic Church.

Under international tutelage and aid, East Timor's democracy has remained stable, although its political and developmental challenges are formidable.

See also: Indonesia; International Court of Justice; Peacekeeping Forces.

bibliography

Dunn, James. East Timor: A Rough Passage to Independence, 3rd ed. Double Bay, New South Wales, Australia: Longueville Books, 2003.

East Timor Action Network, ed. Constitution of the Democratic Republic of East Timor. <http://www.etan.org/etanpdf/pdf2/constfnen.pdf>.

Fox, James J., and Dionisio Babo Soares, eds. Out of the Ashes: Destruction and Reconstruction of East Timor, 2d ed. Canberra: Australian University Press, 2003.

Hill, Hal, and João M. Saldanha, eds. East Timor: Development Challenges for the World's Newest Nation. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2001.

Smith, Anthony L. "East Timor: Elections in the World's Newest Nation." Journal of Democracy 15, no. 2 (2004):145–159.

Anthony L. Smith

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"East Timor." Governments of the World: A Global Guide to Citizens' Rights and Responsibilities. . Encyclopedia.com. 10 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"East Timor." Governments of the World: A Global Guide to Citizens' Rights and Responsibilities. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 10, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/international/legal-and-political-magazines/east-timor-2

"East Timor." Governments of the World: A Global Guide to Citizens' Rights and Responsibilities. . Retrieved September 10, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/international/legal-and-political-magazines/east-timor-2

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http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

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