Timor Oriental

The recent news that Timor-Leste’s parliament voted to terminate contracts of the international judges it has relied upon since the birth of its country should be seen as a major step forward in the small pacific-island nation’s path toward true self-governance.

By this act, Timor has shown the world it is committed to gaining its full independence and ending its reliance on the international community. After years of violence, sacrifice and grave human rights abuses committed against it, Timor continues to move forward. It took another step when it ended the United Nation’s operational control over its government and people, despite the fact that many in the UN community deemed the move unacceptable and premature.…  Seguir leyendo »

Le Timor-Oriental a depuis une année (le 20 mai dernier) retrouvé sa pleine souveraineté et son indépendance, perdues dès le début du XVIe siècle. Si cet Etat est certes le premier à voir le jour au XXIe siècle, son processus d’autodétermination reste cependant un des plus bouleversés de l’histoire.

Accosté par les Portugais en 1512, ce territoire se situe aux confins des îles de la Sonde, dans le Sud-Est asiatique. Il se retrouve très rapidement au centre de plusieurs appétits: celui des Portugais, qui découvrent une terre riche en ressources comme le bois de santal et imaginent un lieu possible de bannissement; et celui des voisins néerlandais, avec leurs célèbres Indes néerlandaises orientales.…  Seguir leyendo »

Four weeks ago, the citizens of Timor-Leste, known in many parts of the world as East Timor, went to the polls to elect a president. We were 12 men and women competing for the largely ceremonial but potentially influential office. On Monday, the voters returned to choose between the two top vote-getters.

After the first round, political commentators did a simplistic analysis of the elections and how I “lost.” They missed the point.

A little over a decade ago, our small island was still occupied by the Indonesian military. Hundreds of thousands of our citizens perished under the occupation, either by execution, lack of the most basic medical care or starvation by forced relocations.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Simon Tisdall (THE GUARDIAN, 14/08/07):

Sporadic gang violence, rape, and arson attacks following the appointment of a new government in East Timor have underscored the country's continuing fragility eight years after the international community, improvising on a theme developed by Tony Blair, intervened to end Indonesian control.

As with other noted "humanitarian interventions" in Kosovo and Sierra Leone during the same period, Timor is seriously unfinished business - but it no longer enjoys the political attention that briefly made it an international cause celebre. As a result, the nation-building agenda laid out following formal independence in 2002 remains as daunting as ever, and may yet fail.…  Seguir leyendo »

Rebecca Ellen Engel is an Associate Research Scholar with Columbia University’s Center for International Conflict Resolution (CICR). Based in Timor-Leste since 2002, Engel opened the Center’s first full-time field office. She is currently working on a broader research effort with support from the Ford Foundation in review of contributions to Timor-Leste from the international community (FRIDE, 19/10/06):

The Context in Brief:

Timor-Leste is in the throes of a national crisis. Over the past several months, tens of thousands of people have fled the capital, seeking refuge in family homes across the country or in the makeshift Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps that sprang up virtually over night throughout Dili and the surrounding districts.…  Seguir leyendo »


The United Nations selects its next secretary general this fall through a series of straw polls. The third of these — the most decisive to date — will be held today. In the vote, the 15 members of the Security Council “encourage,” “discourage” or venture “no opinion” on each of the candidates. To win, a candidate must have at least nine encouraging votes and no discouragement from any of the five permanent members of the Security Council. The winner is then presented to the General Assembly for ratification.

The Op-Ed page asked all seven candidates to respond to two questions.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Linda Polman, the author of We Did Nothing: Why the Truth Doesn't Always Come Out When the UN Goes In (THE GUARDIAN, 31/05/06):

The world's newest state is balanced on a knife edge. Only months after UN troops wrapped up their nation-building mission in East Timor, President Xanana Gusmao has imposed emergency rule, and an Australian-led peacekeeping force of more than 2,000 has been flown in. Peace talks in Dili are welcome, but they are taking place against a backdrop of continued violence, with fighting raging on between government forces and their mutinous colleagues. A coup remains a real threat.…  Seguir leyendo »