Although swelling oil and gas revenues have bought Timor-Leste peace, political empowerment, security reforms and fiscal caution are needed to ensure stability can outlast the boom.
01 May 2013
Govt continued to face difficulty in evicting hundreds of supporters of dissident group CPD-RDTL from encampments on south coast where it plans to develop oil and gas industry installations.
Timor-Leste’s upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections will be an important step in consolidating the relative stability the country has enjoyed since recovering from the 2006 crisis, but a number of security risks deserve continued attention.
Ten years after the demobilisation of its guerrilla liberation army, Timor-Leste must strike a balance between recognising veterans’ role and promoting strong and independent institutions in order to ensure stability.
The return of thousands of former refugees who fled across the border from Timor-Leste to Indonesia after the 1999 referendum should be encouraged by both governments as another step towards deeper reconciliation.
The size of the policing contingent of the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) should be sharply reduced to prepare for the peace operation’s eventual end and encourage the country to assume full responsibility for ensuring its own security and future stability.
Measures to resolve land disputes in Timor-Leste must go beyond a draft law on land titling if they are to comprehensively reduce the risks posed, otherwise the law could bring more problems than solutions.
The security threat at Indonesia and Timor-Leste’s shared border has decreased sharply since the latter’s 2002 independence, but failure to finalise agreement on the border and normalise cross-border traffic could allow limited but long-standing local disputes to escalate.
The United Nations should hand over formal control of the Timor-Leste police as soon as possible.
A year after the near-fatal shooting of President José Ramos-Horta, security in Timor-Leste is strikingly improved.
The shooting of President José Ramos-Horta in February 2008 underscored the urgency of addressing sources of conflict and violence in Timor-Leste.
Handing Back Responsibility to Timor-Leste’s Police
3 December 2009: Jim Della-Giacoma, Crisis Group’s South East Asia Project Director, discusses the role of the UN police in Timor-Leste. Listen
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