About Timor-Leste

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Page of the 1996 Nobel Laureate, cited for his "work towards a just and peaceful solution to the conflict in East Timor"
BPA's primary objective is the regulation of the monetary and financial system of the country
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The lead investing company developing the Bayu-Undan oil and gas field which lies wholly within the Timor Sea Treaty Area
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Comprehensive tourism guide to Timor-Leste
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Education International is monitoring the situation in Timor-Leste as the fledgling country plunged into chaos since the beginning of the unrest on 24 April. EI is concerned about the extent the unrest has affected teachers and children
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NGO, founded in November 1991 to support genuine self-determination and human rights for the people of East Timor, site with news and information on current events in Timor-Leste
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Timor-Leste -- Geography --

Official Name: Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste
Capital City: Dili
Languages: Tetum, Indonesian, English and Portuguese
Official Currency: U.S. Dollar (USD)
Religions: katholic, others
Population: 1 155 880
Land Area: 14 874 sq km
Landforms: The relief is mostly mountainous, with the highest point peak Tata Maylau - 2 860 m.
Land Divisions: 13 administrative units

Timor-Leste -- History --

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to colonize the Malay archipelago when they arrived in the sixteenth century. They established outposts in the (now Indonesian) Maluku Islands and Timor and surrounding islands. During the House of Habsburg's rule over Portugal (1580-1640), all surrounding outposts were lost and eventually came under Dutch control by the mid-seventeenth century. Effective European occupation of a small part of the territory only began after 1769, when the city of Dili, the capital of so-called Portuguese Timor, was founded. In the nineteenth century, the Netherlands gained a foothold on the western half of the island West Timor, and formally received it in 1859 through the Treaty of Lisbon. The definitive border was established by the Hague Treaty of 1916, and it remains the international boundary between the successor states East Timor and Indonesia. For the Portuguese, East Timor remained little more than a neglected trading post until the late nineteenth century. Investment in infrastructure, health, and education was minimal. Sandalwood remained the main export crop with coffee exports becoming significant in the mid-nineteenth century. In places where Portuguese rule was asserted, it tended to be brutal and exploitative. At the beginning of the twentieth century, a faltering home economy prompted the Portuguese to extract greater wealth from its colonies which met Timorese resistance. In late 1941, Portuguese Timor was briefly occupied by Dutch and Australian troops in an attempt to preempt a Japanese invasion of the island. The Portuguese Governor protested the occupation, and Dutch forces returned to the Dutch side of the island. The Japanese landed and drove the small Australian force out of Dili, and the mountainous interior became the scene of a guerrilla campaign, known as the Battle of Timor. Waged by Allied forces and Timorese volunteers against the Japanese, the struggle resulted in the deaths of between 40,000 and 70,000 Timorese. Following the end of the war, Portuguese control was reinstated. The process of decolonization in Portuguese Timor began in 1974, following the change of government in Portugal in the wake of the Carnation Revolution. Owing to political instability and more pressing concerns over the decolonisation of Angola and Mozambique, Portugal effectively abandoned East Timor and it unilaterally declared itself independent on November 28, 1975. Nine days later, it was invaded and occupied by Indonesian forces before the declaration could be internationally recognized. As political parties began to form and emerge inside the country, the Indonesian military headed an operation that backed Apodeti, a pro-Indonesian party that encouraged divisions between the pro-independence parties of East Timor. A brief civil war occurred in 1975. Indonesia alleged that the East Timorese FRETILIN party, which received some vocal support from the People's Republic of China, was communist. Fearing a Communist domino effect in Southeast Asia—and in the wake of its South Vietnam campaign—the United States, along with its ally Australia, supported the pro-Western Indonesian government's actions. The UN Security Council had a unanimous vote for Indonesia to stop its invasion and to withdraw immediately from East Timor’s borders, and was blocked by the United States from imposing any economic sanctions or other means of enforcing this mandate. The territory was declared the twenty-seventh province of Indonesia in July 1976. Its nominal status in the UN remained that of a "non-self-governing territory under Portuguese administration." Indonesian rule in East Timor was often marked by extreme violence and brutality; estimates of the number of East Timorese who died during the occupation vary from 60,000 to 200,000, A detailed statistical report prepared for the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor cited a minimum bound of 102,800 conflict-related deaths in the period 1974-1999, namely, approximately 18,600 killings and 84,200 'excess' deaths from hunger and illness. The East Timorese guerrilla force, Falintil, fought a campaign against the Indonesian forces from 1975 to 1999, some members being trained in Portugal by Portuguese special forces. The Dili Massacre proved a turning point for the East Timorese cause internationally, and a burgeoning East Timor solidarity movement grew in Portugal, Australia, and the United States. Following a UN-sponsored agreement between Indonesia, Portugal and the United States and a surprise decision by the Indonesian President B. J. Habibie, a UN-supervised popular referendum was held on August 30, 1999 to choose between Special Autonomy within Indonesia and independence. 78.5% of voters chose independence, but violent clashes, instigated primarily by elements within the Indonesian military and aided by Timorese pro-Indonesia militias led by Eurico Guterres, broke out soon afterwards. A peacekeeping force (INTERFET, led by Australia) intervened to restore order. The militias fled across the border into Indonesian West Timor, from which sporadic armed raids were attempted.

Timor-Leste -- Economy --

By the end of 1999 were approximately 70% of the economic infrastructure by pro-Indonesian militias and soldiers and devastated over 260,000 people were forced to flee to the West. The gross domestic product in 1999 fell 30%. During the following three years, the area was a massive international aid program under the leadership of the UN rebuilt. The program consisted of civilian observers, a 5,000-strong peacekeeping force and 1,300 policemen. The gross domestic product rose, therefore, driven by the demand for services and construction, strongly (15.4 or 18.3%) and the Vorkrisenniveau was reached again. Between 2002 and 2005, stagnated the gross domestic product. In the year 2005 was a growth of 2.9% recorded. The long-term growth targets of the government's non-oil and gas are from 5 to 6%. The state budget for 2008 was originally a height of 348.1 million U.S. dollars. Because of the rapidly rising price of the staple food rice on the world market and the weakness of the U.S. dollar, the government decided to end in July 2008 on the budget 788 U.S. dollars to increase. That will be the first national reserves from the oil transactions touched. The World Bank criticized this approach. After the 2004 census, 78% work in agriculture, forestry and fisheries. 6% work in public administration, education, health and social services, municipalities and defense. 4% respectively for the UN or the diplomatic service, or for trade, hotels and restaurants. 3% work in the home. 2% work in the area of finance, transport, storage and communications, only 1% in the field of mining, oil, electricity and construction. East Timor is, according to the United Nations, now the poorest country in Asia. With the withdrawal of UN personnel to the 2006 riots contracted the country's economy further, it says in the report "The way out of poverty" of the UN Development Program 2006. The economic indicators were far behind those of other Asian countries. Unemployment is around 20%. 41% of the population live below the poverty line, which the United Nations to 0.55 U.S. dollar per day have set. In the Human Development Index (HDI) is East Timor in 2008 place 150 (2006: 142). Problems are still the destroyed infrastructure (roads and energy), a blatant lack of skilled workers and high wage levels because of the international presence and the introduction of the U.S. dollar as its currency. These factors reduce the competitiveness of East Timor towards its neighboring countries. The country is still in front of the great challenge of building the infrastructure and improving the living conditions of the population. The GSM network was supported by the Timor Telecom up to 50.1% of Portugal Telecom belongs. Other shareholders are the state and Vodatel. Their monopoly was destoyed 2008 from the Government lifted, in order to enable competition. With Macao and Australia, there is agreement on the posting of guest workers in these countries. Indonesia is the main country of origin for imported goods to East Timor, Singapore has just overtaken Australia 2005, while Portugal as the main country of origin from the EU from fifth place to seventh fallen, with almost constant trade volume. The German-speaking countries play no bigger role than East Timorese origin imports. Total import volume fell by ten percent from 113,489 thousand U.S. $ in 2004 to 101,619 thousand in 2005. The value of exports rose from 2004 to 2005 by almost 14% from 6,972 thousand to U.S. $ 8,093 thousand U.S. $. 49% of exports went to East Timor in the U.S. (3,978 thousand U.S. $), bringing its share despite increasing trade volume declined slightly. Germany rose from fifth place to second place (1,672 thousand U.S. $) and quadrupled its imports from East Timor, while the volume of exports to Indonesia fell to third. Hauptexportgut East Timor is coffee. He made in 2005 with 7,630 thousand US-$ (2004: 6,899 thousand US-$) 94% of the value of exports, the exports to Germany even 100%. The value of coffee exports rose from 2004 to 2005 by nearly ten percent, although the quantity exported around 479 tonnes. Local currency since January 2000 is the U.S. dollar. In addition, since 2003, own centabos coins in use. A centabo is equal to one U.S. cent. The coins are available in values of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 Centavos. The introduction of the U.S. dollar was a political decision. As alternatives were to introduce its own currency or later the euro for selection. An own currency was not accepted because by this country seemed size as meaningless. The euro was only a few months before the independence of East Timor in 2002 as a cash introduced. The exchange rate for U.S. dollar at that time was very low, the future still seemed uncertain. The U.S. dollar was previously by private citizens as a safe currency. In addition, he has also to the economies of neighboring countries attach great importance, as well as for the oil trade, to the great hopes East Timor continues. Therefore, despite the close relations with Portugal to the U.S. dollar as its official currency was introduced. Through the dollarization abandoned East Timor to an independent monetary policy. The seigniorage revenue are limited to the issue of penny coins. The large part of the timoresischen population lives on the scenery and forestry and the fishing. The different cultures of Timor depend economically on food like corn (the most important grain), rice and sweet potatoes. From the east of Manufahi and Manatuto till the west of Lautém, in the centre of Bobonaros and in the east Cova of Lima the growing of rice dominates. Corn is grown rather in the central highland. There is a regional division also with domesticated animals: Buffaloes and pig are bred everywhere on Timor, but the buffalo owns, for example, for the Makasae a bigger meaning than the pig. In other regions is the pig of economically bigger meaning than the buffalo. Everywhere in Timor-Leste chickens play an important role in the care of the population. Other domestic animals are nanny goats, sheep and horses. Subdistrikte with lack of food in November by dryness, vermin and plant illnesses sank in 2007 the crops with maize by 30% on 70,000 tonnes, with grain, manioc and nodule fruits about from 25 to 30% and with rice about 20%. One fifth of the population suffers from underfood and must be supplied with auxiliary deliveries. One estimates that East Timor must introduce 86,000 tonnes in food around the losses to equalise, 15,000 tonnes of it must be raised by international food facilities. In the beginning of 2008 the situation was aggravated once more by floods and storm damages in eleven of thirteen districts and renewed grasshopper's plagues. In 2008 the government of Timor-Leste with the Indonesian company GTLeste Biotech closed an arrangement about a Bioethanol project. On 100,000 hectares sugarcane plantations should originate what would correspond to one sixth of the fertile country of Timor-Leste. Moreover, an Ethanolfabrik is planned. For 50 years of use of the „„unproductive country““ GTLeste of the government wants to pay 100 million US dollars. 2000 new jobs should originate from the engagement. The FRETILIN opposition is sceptical that on so-called „„unproductive country““ sugarcane can be grown and expected, instead, the loss by cultivation surfaces for food and this with acute lack and rising prices at the world market. Besides, an Auslaugung of the grounds is feared. The government announced that the talks are still in an initial stage and still no concrete surfaces are included in the plan. GTLeste no country has been still promised. Since 1815 coffee is grown in East Timor and is exported. Just in the highland there grows an especially aromatic and mild coffee. His potential is exhausted on account of missing transport and refining possibilities up to now only partially. The Cooperativa café of Timor (CCT) is Timor-Leste's biggest co-operative with about 22,000 planters as members. In the harvest time she is the biggest employer East Timor's with 3,000 workers. The life basis for 44,000 families forms the CCT thus. One quarter of the population Timor-Leste's is depending on the coffee production. Main centres are the districts of Ermera, Ainaro and Liquiçá. The CCT is the world-biggest producer and shop assistant of certificated bio-coffee. With her call for steady quality which was built up since 1994 the ecological fairly traded Arabica coffee achieves top prices in the international market. In 2005 Starbucks has bought up one third of the coffee harvest. In 2004 7.689 t of coffee were exported, in 2005 there were 7,210 t. In 2006 it came on account of the riots, however, to crop failures from up to 20%. Also on account of the unsafe situation after the attempt in Dili on the 11th of February, 2008 it came for impediments with the coffee harvest which led to losses. A record result achieved the CCT this year with coffee exports to the value of 12 million US dollars [43], Nevertheless. Increased returns are to be expected here in future by the cultivation of vanilla, cocoa and peanuts beside the coffee already established as an export property. Before and during the colonial age Timor was known for his sandalwood whose occurence was nearly exhausted already in the 19th century. Moreover, East Timor is in the region famous for his colorful weaved materials, so-called Tais. These differ according to region of the country. Also traditional silver jewellery is produced. Transport: Dilis airport of Presidente Nicolau Lobato Internationally airport (code IATA: DIL, code ICAO: WPDL) lies to the west of the city centre in the Suco Comoro (Komoro) and is approached internationally by passenger planes. The Airnorth (code IATA: TL) the distance Darwin (Australia)-Dili and flies back since the 18th of January, 2000, in the meantime, daily in two hours with an Embraer. On three days of the week the distance is served even twice. Daily flies the Merpati Nusantara Airlines (code IATA: MZ) from Denpasar on Bali (Indonesia) to Dili with a Boeing 737-200. Since the 1st of August, 2008 Austasia Airlines offers the route of Singapore to Dili and back twice the week. This service has to go in November on three connections weekly developed. For the distance an airbus 319 of the Silk air is used. For bigger machines the airport of Dili is not laid out. Together with Phuket air and Jerry Desousa the timorese government had in 2002 own society called East Timor air (code ICAO: ETA) founded. She should fly in future with small machines or Boeing 737 of Dili after Darwin. However, the plans were not moved up to now. A Mikrolét a Mikrolét of The Cakung airport (IATA code: BCH) is the only airport of Timor-Leste on which bigger machines than the Boeing 737 can land. He is used, primarily, for military and care flights. At the moment regular, civil air connections after Cakung are not noted in the international reservation system of the airlines. A border crossing Batugade gives away it to the Indonesian Westtimor, but no regular coach traffic. From Oecussi-Ambeno lead to border crossing with Bobometo (Subdistrikt Oesilo), Sakato and Passabe to Westtimor. Indeed, are only Bobometo and Sakato legal crossings. With German financial support there is a connection to Pante Macassar in the enclave of Oecussi-Ambeno. The MV Uma Kalada goes back on Tuesdays and on Thursdays from Dili in from 12 to 13 hours to Pante Macassar and on the same day. On Saturdays the island Atauro is called by the MV Uma Kalada in 2,5 hours. In addition, small boats connect Atauro with Dili. In February, 2007 the German government of Timor-Leste gave the ferry Nakroma which serves now, in addition, the distances. Horses on the market day in poor bites horses on the market day in poor bites Who, like most Timoresen, of an all-wheel-pursued carriage does not dispose, depends with travelling about country on the public means of transportation which there is in two forms. The Biskota is a bigger coach. Such coaches connect the bigger places, like Lospalos or Baucau, with Dili and go on the mainly asphalted main routes. To reach to too smaller places, one must change on minibuses, so-called Mikroléts. Both coach types are completely overcrowded with people and commodity. Also the street relations do not make easier the travelling. In the rainy season many of the ways are only mud runways and not at all practicably. In some regions the local Timor ponies are still an everyday means of transportation.

Timor-Leste -- Culture --

The culture East Timor's points, beside European and Asian signs, also numerous Pacific influence on. The inhabitant of the Indonesian west of the island has with that the life-style of the inhabitants Timor-Leste's a little commonly. The influence of the Catholic church on the life-style of the inhabitants is limited and the society is very liberal. The traditional, precipitous roofs of the timoresischen houses which have nearly disappeared from the everyday picture of the places are remarkable also. Indeed, there are on account of the new national self-confidence the new buildings which use such roofs again thus, for example, the airport and harbour of Dili or the school of Lospalos. Cats are valid in Timor-Leste as holy. If one kills a cat, one himself should be cursed and his descendants till the seventh generation. With burials cats are kept away from the corpse because according to a national superstition the dead person, controlled by bad minds, awakes again to the life if a cat jumps about him. Literature: The best known author of the modern age might probably be the former freedom-fighter and current prime ministers Xanana Gusm ã o. During his fight for the independence he wrote two books. Also as a writer and painter he is active. His works describe culture, values and abilities of the timorese population. Other important authors are Luís Cardoso, Fernando Sylvan, Ponte Pedrinha, Jorge Barro Duarte, Crisodio Araujo, Jorge Lauten, Francisco Borja there Costa, Afonso Busa Metan and Fitun Fuik. Music: The music of East Timor reflects the influence of the foreign rule under which the country stood nearly 500 years. Portuguese and Indonesians brought her both musics as for example Fado and Gamelan. The farthest widespread folk music direction is the Likurai dance which is brought forward for the men returning home from the war by the women. The dance was accompanied by a snare drum. In former times one carried in addition the heads of killed enemies in a procession by the village. Nowadays this dance is used by the women to the advertisement. The guitar is for a long time an important component of the osttimoresischen music. It was introduced by the Portuguese, however, there are also the local stringed instruments which you resemble. The modern timoresische music has narrow connections to the former independence movement. Thus possibly the volume Dili has published all stars a song which became a hymn during the preparation to the independence referendum in 1999. The United Nations gave the order to the song Hakotu to Ba of Lahane which should encourage the population to register itself for the referendum. To the timoresen pop musicians belongs Teo cambric Ximenes which grew up in Australia and uses folk rhythms Timor-Leste's in his music. Many timorese emigrants brought her folk music also in the world, thus to Portugal and Australia. In Portugal this was mixed with music directions from other Portuguese colonies like Angola and Mosambique. Other influence comes from rock'n'roll, Hip Hop and reggae., Among the rest, the singer Sandra Pires born in East Timor is successful in her current native country Austria. Their parents fled before the civil war of 1975. In 2007 Pires appeared for the first time in her country of birth. A song on the music album Oral Fixation 2 of the Colombian singer Shakira is called Timor. It acts from the violence in East Timor in 1999 and the lacking reporting about that in the western world. Also the song Four Hundred Miles from Darwin of the Whitlams is dedicated to the violence in Eas before the independence. Art and theatre: The legends of Timor, like the creation myth around the crocodile, were often shown figuratively and motives were also used ornamentally. Since February, 2003 there is in Dili the first free art school Arte Moris. Their principal purpose is art as a stone in the psychological and social reconstruction of a country which has been laid waste by act of violence, with special stress on the help to his young citizens. Take Moris offers painting and sculpture and is active with the drama play troop Bibi Bulak also with stage plays in the national language Tetum.

Timor-Leste -- Political system, law and government --

The president of East Timor is chosen all five years and has rather symbolic competence; however, he owns a veto power with the legislation. To him the council of state stands in an advisory capacity aside. With the first presidential elections since the independence Timor-Leste's of Indonesia on the 20th of May, 2002 the present prime minister and Nobel peace prize bearer José Ramos-Horta asserted himself against the parliamentary president Francisco Guterres (Lu-Olo) of the dominating party FRETILIN in a ballot. José Ramos-Horta was sworn in on the 20th of May, 2007 and removed with it his charismatic predecessor in office Xanana Gusm ã o. The former boss of the FRETILIN and the Conselho Nacional de Resistência Timorense CNRT who is revered as a national hero had already announced before the presidential election, he will line up at the parliamentary elections on the 30th of June, 2007 as a candidate for the office of the prime minister. After the parliamentary elections the president determines a prime minister who has the majority of a party or coalition in the parliament behind himself. As a head of the government he chairs over the cabinet. The first prime minister after the Indonesian occupying was up to his resignation on the 26th of June, 2006 Marí Alkatiri of the FRETILIN. The independent present foreign minister José Ramos-Horta was appointed on the 8th of July his successor and was sworn in on the 10th of July. One day followed him before his swearing to the president one of both acting prime ministers, the Ministers of Agriculture Estanislau there Silva (FRETILIN) who led the government up to the beginning of the new after the parliamentary elections on the 30th of June, 2007. Xanana Gusm ã o was sworn in 8th of August, 2007 as the fourth prime minister since 2002. Executive: The parliament (Parlamento Nacional) exists of only one chamber. His members are determined all five years in free elections. According to constitution the number of the seats can vary between 52 and 65. During the first electoral period 88 seats of the constitutional-giving meeting were maintained exceptionally. However, though an overriding majority gained with a choice of 30th of August, 2001 with 55 seats the FRETILIN, was split inside in different groups. On the 30th of June, 2007 the first parliament new elections took place since the independence. The counting up proved high losses for the FRETILIN which holds now only 21 65 seats, furthermore, however, the strongest strength in the parliament remains. The FRETILIN announced first either to want to form a minority government or a government of the national unity together with the other parties, however, against it AMPERE (alliance of the parliamentary majority) from Congresso Nacional there Reconstruç ã o Timorense CNRT, Partido Democrático PD and the Coligaç ã o ASDT/PSD put to itself with 37 seats the Aliança closed after the choice there Maioria Parlamentar. President Ramos-Horta preferred the idea of a unity government, however, had to announce on the 24th of July the final failure of the coalition talks, because the parties could achieve no arrangement. Finally, the boss of the CNRT and former president Xanana Gusm ã o with the government education was instructed and chosen the new prime minister. New parliamentary president is Fernando de Araújo of the PD. The FRETILIN has to complain from her initial plan against the government education before the highest court of Osttimors, however, seen, calls the alliance government furthermore illegitimate and unconstitutional. Six parties who had failed because of the 3-percent hurdle organised after the choice in the league Democrática Progressiva LDP (Progressive democratic league). Their speaker is Ermenegildo Lopes of the Partido Milénio Democrático PMD. The league has recognised the government of the alliance as legal. Legislatre: The tribunal de Recursos (court of appeal) is the highest court of Osttimors. Against his judgments cannot become in appeal gone. The presiding judge who is appointed by the president of the republic for four years is in the chair. The office holds Cláudio de Jesus Ximenes in his term of office third now since the 12th of June, 2007. A member of the uppermost court chooses [30] The national parliament, the other members are determined by the upper Judikativen advice. Chief State Prosecutor is Longuinhos Monteiro. The capital punishment and imprisonment for life are abolished in Osttimor. The allowed maximum penalty lies with 25 years of prison.