East Timor

East Timor
country occupying the E half of the island of Timor, & nearby islands, including an enclave in West Timor: independent since 2002: 5,794 sq mi (15,007 sq km); pop. 953,000; cap. Dili

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East Timor

Introduction East Timor -
Background: The Portuguese colony of Timor declared itself independent from Portugal on 28 November 1975 and was invaded and occupied by Indonesian forces nine days later. It was subsequently incorporated into Indonesia in July 1976 as the province of Timor Timur. A so-called campaign of pacification followed, during which time an estimated 100,000 to 250,000 individuals lost their lives. On 30 August 1999, in a UN-supervised popular referendum, the people of Timor Timur voted for independence from Indonesia. On 20 May 2002, East Timor was internationally recognized as an independent state and the world's newest democracy. Geography East Timor
Location: Southeastern Asia, northwest of Australia in the Lesser Sunda Islands at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago; note - East Timor includes the eastern half of the island of Timor, the Oecussi (Ambeno) region on the northwest portion of the island of Timor, and the islands of Pulau Atauro and Pulau Jaco
Geographic coordinates: 8 50 S, 125 55 E
Map references: Southeast Asia
Area: total: 15,007 sq km land: NA sq km water: NA sq km
Area - comparative: slightly larger than Connecticut
Land boundaries: total: 228 km border countries: Indonesia 228 km
Coastline: 706 km
Maritime claims: contiguous zone: NA NM extended fishing zone: NA NM territorial sea: NA NM exclusive fishing zone: NA NM continental shelf: NA NM exclusive economic zone: NA NM
Climate: tropical; hot, humid; distinct rainy and dry seasons
Terrain: mountainous
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Timor Sea, Savu Sea, and Banda Sea 0 m highest point: Foho Tatamailau 2,963 m
Natural resources: gold, petroleum, natural gas, manganese, marble
Land use: arable land: NA% other: NA% permanent crops: NA%
Irrigated land: 1,065 sq km (est.)
Natural hazards: floods and landslides are common; earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical cyclones Environment - current issues: widespread use of slash and burn agriculture has led to deforestation and soil erosion Environment - international NA
Geography - note: Timor is the Malay word for "Orient"; the island of Timor is part of the Malay Archipelago and is the largest and easternmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands People East Timor -
Population: 952,618 (July 2002 est.) note: other estimates range as low as 800,000 (2002 est.)
Age structure: NA
Population growth rate: 7.26% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 28.07 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 6.52 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: 51.07 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: NA
Infant mortality rate: 51.99 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 64.85 years male: 62.64 years female: 67.17 years (2002 est.)
Total fertility rate: 3.88 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Timorese adjective: Timorese
Ethnic groups: Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian), Papuan, small Chinese minority
Religions: Roman Catholic 90%, Muslim 4%, Protestant 3%, Hindu 0.5%, Buddhist, Animist (1992 est.)
Languages: Tetum (official), Portuguese (official), Indonesian, English note: there are a total of about 16 indigenous languages, of which Tetum, Galole, Mambae, and Kemak are spoken by significant numbers of people
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 48% (2001) male: NA% female: NA% Government East Timor -
Country name: conventional long form: Democratic Republic of East Timor conventional short form: East Timor local short form: Timor Lorosa'e [Tetum]; Timor-Leste [Portuguese] former: Portuguese Timor local long form: Republika Demokratika Timor Lorosa'e [Tetum]; Republica Democratica de Timor-Leste [Portuguese]
Government type: republic
Capital: Dili Administrative divisions: 13 administrative districts; Aileu, Ainaro, Baucau, Bobonaro (Maliana), Cova-Lima (Suai), Dili, Ermera, Lautem (Los Palos), Liquica, Manatuto, Manufahi (Same), Oecussi (Ambeno), Viqueque
Independence: 28 November 1975 (date of proclamation of independence from Portugal); note - 20 May 2002 is the official date of international recognition of East Timor's independence from Indonesia
National holiday: Independence Day, 28 November (1975)
Constitution: 22 March 2002 (based on the Portuguese model)
Legal system: NA
Suffrage: 17 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Jose Alexander GUSMAO (since 20 May 2002); note - the president plays a largely symbolic role but is able to veto some legislation head of government: Prime Minister Mari Bin Amude ALKATIRI (since 20 May 2002) cabinet: Council of State elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 14 April 2002 (next to be held NA April 2007); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the president election results: Jose Alexander GUSMAO elected president; percent of vote - Jose Alexander GUSMAO 82.7%, Francisco Xavier do Amaral 17.3%
Legislative branch: unicameral National Parliament (number of seats can vary, minimum requirement of 52 and a maximum of 65 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms); note - for its first term of office, the National Parliament is comprised of 88 members on an exceptional basis elections: last held 30 August 2001 (next to be held NA August 2006) election results: percent of vote by party - FRETILIN 57.37%, PD 8.72%, PSD 8.18%, ASDT 7.84%, UDT 2.36%, PNT 2.21%, KOTA 2.13%, PPT 2.01%, PDC 1.98%, PST 1.78%, independents/ other 5.42%; seats by party - FRETILIN 55, PD 7, PSD 6, ASDT 6, PDC 2, UDT 2, KOTA 2, PNT 2, PPT 2, UDC/PDC 1, PST 1, PL 1, independent 1
Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Justice, one judge appointed by the National Parliament and the rest appointed by the Superior Council for the Judiciary Political parties and leaders: Associacao Social-Democrata Timorense or ASDT [Francisco Xavier do AMARAL]; Christian Democratic Party of Timor or PDC [Antonio XIMENES]; Christian Democratic Union of Timor or UDC [Vicente da Silva GUTERRES]; Democratic Pary or PD [Fernando de ARAUJO]; Maubere Democratic Party or PDM [leader NA]; People's Party of Timor or PPT [Jacob XAVIER]; Revolutionary Front of Independent East Timor or FRETILIN [Lu OLO]; Social Democrat Party of East Timor or PSD [Mario CARRASCALAO]; Socialist Party of Timor or PST [leader NA]; Sons of the Mountain Warriors (also known as Association of Timorese Heroes) or KOTA [Clementino dos Reis AMARAL]; Timor Democratic Union or UDT [Joao CARRASCALAO]; Timor Labor Party or TRABALHISTA [Paulo Freitas DA SILVA]; Timorese Nationalist Party or PNT [Abilio ARAUJO]; Timorese Popular Democratic Association or APODETI [Frederico Almeida Santos COSTA] Political pressure groups and NA
leaders: International organization IBRD, IMF
participation: note: UN membership is expected in September Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Constancio PINTO chancery: NA consulate(s) general: NA FAX: NA telephone: NA Diplomatic representation from the chief of mission: Ambassador
US: (vacant) embassy: Farol district, Dili mailing address: NA telephone: (670) 390 324 684 FAX: (670) 390 313 206
Flag description: red, with a black isosceles triangle (based on the hoist side) superimposed on a slightly longer yellow arrowhead that extends to the center of the flag; there is a white star in the center of the black triangle Economy East Timor
Economy - overview: In late 1999, about 70% of the economic infrastructure of East Timor was laid waste by Indonesian troops and anti-independence militias, and 260,000 people fled westward. Over the next three years, however, a massive international program, manned by 5,000 peacekeepers (8,000 at peak) and 1,300 police officers, led to substantial reconstruction in both urban and rural areas. By mid-2002, all but about 50,000 of the refugees had returned. The country faces great challenges in continuing the rebuilding of infrastructure and the strengthening of the infant civil administration. One promising long- term project would be development of oil resources in nearby waters.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $415 million (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 18% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $500 (2001 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 25.4% industry: 17.2% services: 57.4% (2001) Population below poverty line: 42% (2002 est.) Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: NA%
percentage share: highest 10%: NA% Distribution of family income - Gini 38
index: Inflation rate (consumer prices): NA%
Labor force: NA Labor force - by occupation: NA
Unemployment rate: 50% (including underemployment)
Budget: revenues: $NA expenditures: $NA
Industries: printing, soap manufacturing, handicrafts, woven cloth Industrial production growth rate: 8.5% Electricity - production: NA kWh Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 100% hydro: 0% other: 0% nuclear: 0% Electricity - consumption: NA kWh
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh
Agriculture - products: coffee, rice, maize, cassava, sweet potatoes, soybeans, cabbage, mangoes, bananas, vanilla
Exports: $8 million (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities: coffee, sandalwood, marble; note - the potential for oil and vanilla exports
Exports - partners: NA
Imports: $237 million (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities: NA
Imports - partners: NA
Debt - external: $NA Economic aid - recipient: $2.2 billion (1999-2002 est.)
Currency: US dollar (USD)
Currency code: USD
Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June Communications East Timor -
Telephones - main lines in use: NA
Telephones - mobile cellular: NA
Telephone system: NA
Radio broadcast stations: AM NA, FM NA, shortwave NA Radios: NA
Television broadcast stations: NA
Televisions: NA
Internet country code: .tp Internet Service Providers (ISPs): NA
Internet users: NA Transportation East Timor - Railways: 0 km Highways: total: 3,800 km paved: 428 km unpaved: 3,372 km (1995) Waterways: NA Pipelines: NA
Ports and harbors: NA
Merchant marine: total: NA ships by type: NA Airports: 8 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 3 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 1,524 to 2,427 m: 1 914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2001)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 5 914 to 1,523 m: 3 under 914 m: 2 (2001) Heliports: 1 (2001) Military East Timor -
Military branches: the East Timor Defense Force or FALINTIL-FDTL comprises a light- infantry Army and a small Naval component; note - plans are to develop a force of 1,500 active personnel and 1,500 reserve personnel over the next five years Military manpower - military age: 18-21 years of age Military manpower - availability: NA Military manpower - fit for military NA
service: Military manpower - reaching NA
military age annually: Military expenditures - dollar $4.4 million (FY03)
figure: Military expenditures - percent of NA%
GDP: Transnational Issues East Timor - Disputes - international: East Timor-Indonesia Boundary Committee meets to survey and delimit land boundary; Indonesia seeks resolution of East Timor refugees in Indonesia; Australia- East Timor-Indonesia are working to resolve maritime boundary and sharing of seabed resources in "Timor Gap"
Illicit drugs: NA

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officially Democratic Republic of East Timor

Country occupying the eastern half of the island of Timor, Southeast Asia.

Bounded by the Timor Sea and by the western half of Timor, it also includes the enclave of Ambeno (surrounding the town of Pante Makasar on the northwestern coast of Timor) and the islands of Atauro (Kambing) and Jaco. Area: 5,743 square miles (14,874 square km). Population (2002 est.): 797,000. Capital: Dili. Languages: Tetum and Portuguese (both official). Religion: Christianity (predominantly). Currency: U.S. dollar. The Portuguese first settled on Timor in 1520 and were granted rule over Timor's eastern half in 1860. The Timor political party Fretilin declared East Timor independent in 1975 after Portugal withdrew its troops. It was invaded by Indonesian forces and annexed to Indonesia in 1976. The takeover, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of East Timorese during the next two decades, was disputed by the United Nations. In 1999 an independence referendum won overwhelmingly; though Indonesia officially recognized the referendum, anti-independence militias killed hundreds of people and sent thousands fleeing to the western part of the island before and after the vote. A UN-administered interim authority imposed order and oversaw elections, the promulgation of a constitution, and the return of refugees; East Timor became a sovereign nation in 2002.

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▪ 2007

14,604 sq km (5,639 sq mi)
(2006 est.) 1,032,000
Chief of state:
President Xanana Gusmão
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Mari Alkatiri and, from July 10 (acting from June 26), José Ramos-Horta

 On July 10, 2006, acting prime minister José Ramos-Horta took over as head of the East Timor government when the administration was paralyzed by a dispute between Pres. Xanana Gusmão and former prime minister Mari Alkatiri. The crisis was so serious that Australian troops were deployed in East Timor to secure UN headquarters and to bring calm to the streets of Dili after factional fighting between the East Timorese army and rebel soldiers and police.

      On August 30 former rebel leader Maj. Alfredo Reinado and at least 50 other prisoners escaped from jail. Just days earlier the UN had authorized the creation of a new UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) to help restore order; Secretary-General Kofi Annan recommended that 2,000 “blue helmet” troops be sent. The Australian-led multinational task force, which included soldiers from New Zealand and Malaysia, handed over its policing role to UNMIT in September but retained overall peacekeeping authority. Ramos-Horta told Lisbon-based Rádio Renascença that his country might ask Portugal (the former colonial ruler of East Timor) for police if Dili's request for a UN peacekeeping force was turned down by the Security Council. When Portuguese Internal Affairs Minister António Costa visited Dili in September, groups of demonstrating youths had to be swept from street disturbances by troops firing rubber bullets.

A.R.G. Griffiths

▪ 2006

14,604 sq km (5,639 sq mi)
(2005 est.) 975,000
Chief of state:
President Xanana Gusmão
Head of government:
Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri

      East Timor was accepted as the 25th member of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Regional Forum in July 2005. Equally important, the increasing integration of the new state into the international community was strongly supported by the U.S., which donated almost $25 million to help the strengthening of democracy in East Timor. Because the oil industry made the biggest contribution to the East Timorese economy, Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri sought broader investment for oil and gas exploration from companies in Singapore, the U.K., Canada, and the U.S. He stressed, however, that he wanted East Timor to avoid being dependent on petroleum and wished to develop the country's fisheries, agriculture, and tourism. In September, Foreign Minister José Ramos-Horta broke new ground by asking Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to send an economics expert to offer advice on East Timor's economy. In response, Sharon offered to send former Israeli finance minister (and former prime minister) Benjamin Netanyahu.

A.R.G. Griffiths

▪ 2005

14,604 sq km (5,639 sq mi)
(2004 est.) 925,000
Chief of state:
President Xanana Gusmão
Head of government:
Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri

      On Dec. 10, 2003, East Timor Foreign Minister José Ramos-Horta opened an embassy in Canberra, Australia, to strengthen the new nation's close ties with its most important neighbour, but ongoing disputes over offshore gas and oil revenue kept bilateral relations strained in 2004. Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer welcomed the new ambassador, Jorge Teme, and pledged help to build a peaceful and prosperous future for the East Timorese people. Dili, however, refused to ratify the International Unitisation Agreement (IUA) specifying the border positioning between the two countries and consequent sovereignty over undersea resources. Were it to sign the IUA, the East Timor government believed, the deal would give East Timor only 18% of revenues from the Greater Sunrise gas field in the Timor Sea while handing Australia 82%. East Timor Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri described the argument as “literally a matter of life and death.” Australia, he said, had avoided international jurisdiction and ignored the rule of law. East Timor wanted the border defined at the midpoint between the two nations and not to remain where it was in 1975. The Australian energy corporation Woodside Petroleum warned that it would scrap multibillion-dollar oil and gas developments unless the dispute was settled.

A.R.G. Griffiths

▪ 2004

14,604 sq km (5,639 sq mi)
(2003 est.) 778,000
Chief of state:
President Xanana Gusmão
Head of government:
Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri

      In 2003 Pres. Xanana Gusmão's government's efforts to set up the public institutions that had been established by East Timor's 2002 constitution proceeded without encountering any particular difficulties on the political level, despite existing rivalries between political parties.

      The terrorist attack on the UN mission in Baghdad, Iraq, on August 19 provoked a widespread emotional response throughout East Timor. Among the victims of this attack was Sérgio Vieira de Mello (see Obituaries (Vieira de Mello, Sergio )), the Brazilian diplomat who had headed the task force responsible for the reconstruction of East Timor after Indonesian occupation.

      UN and East Timorese prosecutors indicted numerous former Indonesian administrators and military personnel, but Jakarta refused to extradite those charged. Meanwhile, though, Indonesia convicted Brig. Gen. Noer Moeis, the former head of Indonesia's troops in East Timor, of “crimes against humanity.”

      Economic development remained a priority, but considerable constraints still existed, notably the lack of reliable information. Most of the important socioeconomic indicators, such as the Human Development Index, were still unknown for East Timor, while the country's estimated GDP of $528 per capita lagged far behind that of Indonesia and the Philippines.

      In August, at the International Association of Athletics Federations Congress in Paris, East Timor was voted in by near-unanimous approval as the 211th IAAF member state.

Charles Cadoux

▪ 2003

14,604 sq km (5,639 sq mi)
Chief of state:
President (from May 20) Xanana Gusmão
Head of government:
Prime Minister (from May 20) Mari Alkatiri

      On May 20, 2002, in the presence of international officials who included the president of Indonesia, East Timor officially celebrated its independence, and on September 27 Timor-Leste (the Portuguese spelling of its name) became the 191st member of the United Nations. These events marked the end of almost five centuries of foreign domination: Portuguese colonization, occupation by the Indonesian military, and, for the preceding three years, United Nations administration. In April 2002 the UN Security Council proposed a two-year mission of support (UNMISET) to assist with the orderly transfer of authority to the new government.

      East Timor adopted a liberal form of government. Parliament was the sovereign body, with 88 deputies elected for five-year terms. The president was head of state, elected by direct universal suffrage to a five-year term (with a two-term limit). The government was led by the prime minister, who was designated by the majority party and nominated by the president.

      The new nation faced enormous difficulties. East Timor was one of the poorest countries in Asia, with 41% of the population living below the poverty line. In addition, some 250,000 Timorese had been removed to West Timor (Indonesia) during the war of independence and were attempting to return.

      Indonesia remained the focus of East Timor's external relations. In February a commission was put in place with a two-year mission of establishing the truth about crimes committed against the population between 1974 and 1999. The following month a special Indonesian court heard accusations against 18 Indonesian military, militia, and civilian leaders, and the former Indonesian governor-general of East Timor was being sought for crimes against humanity.

Charles Cadoux

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East Timor, flag of  country occupying the eastern half of the island of Timor, the small nearby islands of Atauro (Kambing) and Jaco, and the enclave of Ambeno surrounding the town of Pante Makasar on the northwestern coast of Timor. It is bounded by the Timor Sea to the southeast, the Wetar Strait to the north, the Ombai Strait to the northwest, and western Timor (part of the Indonesian province of Nusa Tenggara Timur) to the southwest. Dili is the capital and largest city.

 The eastern part of Timor is rugged, with the mountains rising to 9,721 feet (2,963 metres) at Mount Tatamailau (Tata Mailau) in the centre of a high plateau. The area has a dry tropical climate and moderate rainfall. Hilly areas are covered with sandalwood; scrub and grass grow in the lowlands, together with coconut palms and eucalyptus trees. There are hot springs and numerous mountain streams. Wildlife includes the cuscus (a species of marsupial), monkeys, deer, civet cats, snakes, and crocodiles. Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy; chief products include copra, hides, coffee, cotton, rice, wheat, tobacco, wool, potatoes, and corn (maize), as well as pearls and sandalwood. Soap, perfumes, processed food, chemicals, and machine goods are produced, and coffee is processed. Crafts include pottery, wood and ivory carving, plaiting, coir production, and basket making. Roads run parallel to the northeastern coast and link Maubara, Manatuto, Tutuala, and Dili. Most of the people are of Papuan, Malayan, and Polynesian origin and are predominantly Christian. About 40 different Papuan and Malayan languages or dialects are spoken, dominated by Tetum; Portuguese is spoken by a small fraction of the population.

      The Ambeno area has valuable sandalwood forests, coconut groves, and rice plantations. Its chief town, Pante Makasar, is a port and has an airport. The hilly offshore island of Atauro, which also has an airport, has a population occupied mainly in fishing. The currency is the U.S. dollar.

      The Portuguese first settled on Timor in 1520, and the Spanish arrived in 1522. The Dutch took possession of the western portion of the island in 1613. The British governed the island in 1812–15. The Dutch and the Portuguese fought for supremacy over Timor; Portuguese sovereignty over the island's eastern half was settled by treaties in 1860 and 1893, although the latter became effective only in 1914. Japanese forces occupied Timor during World War II. East Timor province, including the Ambeno enclave, thereafter remained in Portuguese possession until 1975, when one of the major political parties there, Fretilin (Frente Revolucionária de Timor Leste Independente [Revolutionary Front of Independent East Timor]), gained control of much of the territory and declared its independence (November) as the Democratic Republic of East Timor. The area was subsequently invaded and occupied by Indonesian forces (in early December) and in 1976 was declared by Indonesia to be an integral part of Indonesia as the province of Timor Timur (East Timor).

      Over the next two decades tens of thousands of East Timorese died (some observers claim as many as 200,000 perished) resisting the Indonesian occupation and annexation or as a result of famine and disease. In response to mounting international pressure, the Indonesian government authorized a referendum there (Aug. 30, 1999) to determine the future of East Timor. Almost four-fifths of the voters supported independence, and the Indonesian parliament rescinded Indonesia's annexation of the territory. East Timor was returned to its preannexation status of independence, but as a non-self-governing territory under UN supervision. However, the transfer of power was accompanied by violence perpetrated by anti-independence militants. Hundreds were killed, and thousands fled to the western half of the island; refugees subsequently began returning home.

      In April 2002 Xanana Gusmão, leader of one of the former opposition groups, was elected East Timor's first president. The territory achieved full status as a sovereign state shortly thereafter. Prime Minister José Ramos-Horta (Ramos-Horta, José) was elected president in May 2007, succeeding Gusmão, but tensions within the country remained high. In February 2008 President Ramos-Horta was seriously injured when he was shot by militant forces in an attempted assassination.

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Universalium. 2010.

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