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 Transnational Issues

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007

Map of East Timor

Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    East Timor Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
The Portuguese began to trade with the island of Timor in the early 16th century and colonized it in mid-century. Skirmishing with the Dutch in the region eventually resulted in an 1859 treaty in which Portugal ceded the western portion of the island. Imperial Japan occupied East Timor from 1942 to 1945, but Portugal resumed colonial authority after the Japanese defeat in World War II. East Timor declared itself independent from Portugal on 28 November 1975 and was invaded and occupied by Indonesian forces nine days later. It was incorporated into Indonesia in July 1976 as the province of East Timor. An unsuccessful campaign of pacification followed over the next two decades, during which an estimated 100,000 to 250,000 individuals lost their lives. On 30 August 1999, in a UN-supervised popular referendum, an overwhelming majority of the people of East Timor voted for independence from Indonesia. Between the referendum and the arrival of a multinational peacekeeping force in late September 1999, anti-independence Timorese militias - organized and supported by the Indonesian military - commenced a large-scale, scorched-earth campaign of retribution. The militias killed approximately 1,400 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 20 September 1999 the Australian-led peacekeeping troops of the International Force for East Timor (INTERFET) deployed to the country and brought the violence to an end. On 20 May 2002, East Timor was internationally recognized as an independent state. In March of 2006, a military strike led to violence and a near breakdown of law and order. Over 2,000 Australian, New Zealand, and Portuguese police and peacekeepers deployed to East Timor in late May. Although many of the peacekeepers were replaced by UN police officers, 850 Australian soldiers remained as of 1 January 2007.
   Geography    East Timor Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
8 50 S, 125 55 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Southeast Asia
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 15,007 sq km
land: NA sq km
water: NA sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly larger than Connecticut
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 228 km
border countries: Indonesia 228 km
Definition Field Listing
706 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: NA
exclusive economic zone: NA
continental shelf: NA
exclusive fishing zone: NA
Definition Field Listing
tropical; hot, humid; distinct rainy and dry seasons
Definition Field Listing
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Timor Sea, Savu Sea, and Banda Sea 0 m
highest point: Foho Tatamailau 2,963 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
gold, petroleum, natural gas, manganese, marble
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 8.2%
permanent crops: 4.57%
other: 87.23% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
1,065 sq km (est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
floods and landslides are common; earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical cyclones
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
widespread use of slash and burn agriculture has led to deforestation and soil erosion
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
Timor comes from the Malay word for "East"; the island of Timor is part of the Malay Archipelago and is the largest and easternmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands
   People    East Timor Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
note: other estimates range as low as 800,000 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 36.3% (male 196,293/female 189,956)
15-64 years: 60.6% (male 328,111/female 315,401)
65 years and over: 3.1% (male 16,072/female 16,944) (2006 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 20.8 years
male: 20.8 years
female: 20.7 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.08% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
26.99 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.24 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.95 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 45.89 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 52.03 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 39.44 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 66.26 years
male: 63.96 years
female: 68.67 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.53 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Definition Field Listing
noun: Timorese
adjective: Timorese
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian), Papuan, small Chinese minority
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Roman Catholic 90%, Muslim 4%, Protestant 3%, Hindu 0.5%, Buddhist, Animist (1992 est.)
Definition Field Listing
Tetum (official), Portuguese (official), Indonesian, English
note: there are about 16 indigenous languages; Tetum, Galole, Mambae, and Kemak are spoken by significant numbers of people
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 58.6%
male: NA%
female: NA% (2002)
   Government    East Timor Top of Page
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste
conventional short form: East Timor
local long form: Republika Demokratika Timor Lorosa'e [Tetum]; Republica Democratica de Timor-Leste [Portuguese]
local short form: Timor Lorosa'e [Tetum]; Timor-Leste [Portuguese]
former: Portuguese Timor
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing
name: Dili
geographic coordinates: 8 35 S, 125 36 E
time difference: UTC+9 (14 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
13 administrative districts; Aileu, Ainaro, Baucau, Bobonaro (Maliana), Cova-Lima (Suai), Dili, Ermera, Lautem (Los Palos), Liquica, Manatuto, Manufahi (Same), Oecussi (Ambeno), Viqueque
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
Independence Day, 28 November (1975)
Definition Field Listing
22 March 2002 (based on the Portuguese model)
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
UN-drafted legal system based on Indonesian law remains in place but are to be replaced by civil and penal codes based on Portuguese law; these have passed but have not been promulgated
Definition Field Listing
17 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: President Kay Rala Xanana GUSMAO (since 20 May 2002); note - the president plays a largely symbolic role but is able to veto legislation, dissolve parliament, and call national elections; he formerly used the name Jose Alexandre GUSMAO
head of government: Prime Minister Jose RAMOS-HORTA (since 10 July 2006); First Deputy Prime Minister Estanlislau Maria Alexio da SILVA (since 10 July 2006); Second Deputy Prime Minister Rui Maria do ARAUJO (since 10 July 2006)
cabinet: Council of Ministers
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 14 April 2002 (next to be held in May 2007)
election results: Kay Rala Xanana GUSMAO elected president; percent of vote - Kay Rala Xanana GUSMAO 82.7%, Francisco Xavier do AMARAL 17.3%
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
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: (next to be held in May 2007); direct elections for national parliament were never held; elected delegates to the national convention adopted a constitution and named themselves legislators instead of having elections; hence the exceptional numbers for this term of the national parliament
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:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Court of Justice - constitution calls for one judge to be appointed by National Parliament and rest appointed by Superior Council for Judiciary; note - until Supreme Court is established, Court of Appeals is highest court
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
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 Party or PD [Fernando de ARAUJO]; People's Party of Timor or PPT [Jacob XAVIER]; Revolutionary Front of Independent East Timor or FRETILIN [Francisco Guterres Lu OLO]; Social Democrat Party of East Timor or PSD [Mario CARRASCALAO]; Socialist Party of Timor or PST [Pedro da COSTA]; 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 PTT [Paulo Freitas DA SILVA]; Timorese Nationalist Party or PNT [Abilio ARAUJO]
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Constancio PINTO
chancery: 4201 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: 202 966-3202
FAX: 202 966-3205
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affairs William Gary GREY
embassy: Avenida de Portugal, Praia dos Conqueiros, Dili
mailing address: US Department of State, 8250 Dili Place, Washington, DC 20521-8250
telephone: (670) 332-4684
FAX: (670) 331-3206
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
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 Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
In late 1999, about 70% of the economic infrastructure of East Timor was laid waste by Indonesian troops and anti-independence militias, and 300,000 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 the end of 2005, all refugees either returned or resettled in Indonesia. The country faces great challenges in continuing the rebuilding of infrastructure, strengthening the infant civil administration, and generating jobs for young people entering the work force. The development of oil and gas resources in nearby waters has begun to supplement government revenues ahead of schedule and above expectations - the result of high petroleum prices - but the technology-intensive industry does little to create jobs for the unemployed, because there are no production facilities in Timor and the gas is piped to Australia. The parliament in June 2005 unanimously approved the creation of a Petroleum Fund to serve as a repository for all petroleum revenues and preserve the value of East Timor's petroleum wealth for future generations.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$370 million (2004 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing
$349 million (2005)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.8% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$800 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 8.5%
industry: 23.1%
services: 68.4% (2004)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
50% estimated; note - unemployment in urban areas reached 20%; data do not include underemployed (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
42% (2003 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
38 (2002 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.4% (2005)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $107.7 million
expenditures: $73 million; including capital expenditures of $NA (2004 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
coffee, rice, corn, cassava, sweet potatoes, soybeans, cabbage, mangoes, bananas, vanilla
Definition Field Listing
printing, soap manufacturing, handicrafts, woven cloth
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA kWh (2004)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2004)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$10 million; note - excludes oil (2005 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
coffee, sandalwood, marble; note - potential for oil and vanilla exports
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Indonesia 100% (2005)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$202 million (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
food, gasoline, kerosene, machinery
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$153 million (2004 est.)
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
US dollar (USD)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
the US dollar is used
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
1 July - 30 June
   Communications    East Timor Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM NA, FM NA, shortwave NA
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
East Timor has a state-run media oversight authority, which oversees at least one television and one radio station.
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
.tl; note - ICANN approved the change from .tp in January 2005
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
68 (2006)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1,000 (2004)
   Transportation    East Timor Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 2 (2006)
Definition Field Listing
9 (2006)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 5,000 km
paved: 2,500 km
unpaved: 2,500 km (2005)
Ports and terminals:
Definition Field Listing
   Military    East Timor Top of Page
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
East Timor Defense Force (Forcas de Defesa de Timor-L'este, FDTL): Army, Navy (Armada) (2005)
Military service age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 235,198
females age 18-49: 223,069 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 179,422
females age 18-49: 184,533 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 12,740
females age 18-49: 12,438 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
   Transnational Issues    East Timor Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
UN Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET) has maintained about 1,000 peacekeepers in East Timor since 2002; East Timor-Indonesia Boundary Committee continues to meet, survey, and delimit the land boundary, but several sections of the boundary especially around the Oekussi enclave remain unresolved; Indonesia and East Timor contest the sovereignty of the uninhabited coral island of Pulau Batek/Fatu Sinai, which prevents delimitation of the northern maritime boundaries; many refugees who left East Timor in 2003 still reside in Indonesia and refuse repatriation; Australia and East Timor agreed in 2005 to defer the disputed portion of the boundary for 50 years and to split hydrocarbon revenues evenly outside the Joint Petroleum Development Area covered by the 2002 Timor Sea Treaty; dispute with Australia has hampered creation of a southern maritime boundary with Indonesia
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007

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