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East & Southeast Asia :: Timor-Leste
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Timor-Leste
  • Introduction :: TIMOR-LESTE

  • TThe 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 Portuguese 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 Timor Timur (East Timor). An unsuccessful campaign of pacification followed over the next two decades, during which an estimated 100,000 to 250,000 people died. In an August 1999 UN-supervised popular referendum, an overwhelming majority of the people of Timor-Leste voted for independence from Indonesia. However, in the next three weeks, 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 forced 300,000 people into western Timor as refugees. Most of the country's infrastructure, including homes, irrigation systems, water supply systems, and schools, and nearly all of the country's electrical grid were destroyed. On 20 September 1999, Australian-led peacekeeping troops deployed to the country and brought the violence to an end. On 20 May 2002, Timor-Leste was internationally recognized as an independent state.
    In 2006, internal tensions threatened the new nation's security when a military strike led to violence and a breakdown of law and order. At Dili's request, an Australian-led International Stabilization Force (ISF) deployed to Timor-Leste, and the UN Security Council established the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), which included an authorized police presence of over 1,600 personnel. The ISF and UNMIT restored stability, allowing for presidential and parliamentary elections in 2007 in a largely peaceful atmosphere. In February 2008, a rebel group staged an unsuccessful attack against the president and prime minister. The ringleader was killed in the attack, and most of the rebels surrendered in April 2008. Since the attack, the government has enjoyed one of its longest periods of post-independence stability, including successful 2012 elections for both the parliament and president. In late 2012, the UN Security Council ended its peacekeeping mission in Timor-Leste and both the ISF and UNMIT departed the country.
  • Geography :: TIMOR-LESTE

  • Southeastern Asia, northwest of Australia in the Lesser Sunda Islands at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago; note - Timor-Leste 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
    8 50 S, 125 55 E
    Southeast Asia
    total: 14,874 sq km
    land: 14,874 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 160
    slightly larger than Connecticut
    total: 253 km
    border countries (1): Indonesia 253 km
    706 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
    tropical; hot, humid; distinct rainy and dry seasons
    mountainous
    lowest point: Timor Sea, Savu Sea, and Banda Sea 0 m
    highest point: Foho Tatamailau 2,963 m
    gold, petroleum, natural gas, manganese, marble
    agricultural land: 25.1%
    arable land 10.1%; permanent crops 4.9%; permanent pasture 10.1%
    forest: 49.1%
    other: 25.8% (2011 est.)
    346.5 sq km (2003)
    floods and landslides are common; earthquakes; tsunamis; tropical cyclones
    widespread use of slash and burn agriculture has led to deforestation and soil erosion
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    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 and Society :: TIMOR-LESTE

  • noun: Timorese
    adjective: Timorese
    Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian), Papuan, small Chinese minority
    Tetum (official), Portuguese (official), Indonesian, English
    note: there are about 16 indigenous languages; Tetum, Galole, Mambae, and Kemak are spoken by a significant portion of the population
    Roman Catholic 96.9%, Protestant / Evangelical 2.2%, Muslim 0.3%, other 0.6% (2005)
    1,231,116
    note: other estimates range as low as 800,000 (July 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 160
    0-14 years: 41.82% (male 264,636/female 250,184)
    15-24 years: 20.02% (male 124,937/female 121,508)
    25-54 years: 29.59% (male 175,569/female 188,726)
    55-64 years: 4.84% (male 30,584/female 29,010)
    65 years and over: 3.73% (male 21,948/female 24,014) (2015 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 92.3%
    youth dependency ratio: 81.5%
    elderly dependency ratio: 10.7%
    potential support ratio: 9.3% (2015 est.)
    total: 18.5 years
    male: 17.9 years
    female: 19.1 years (2014 est.)
    2.42% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 35
    34.16 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 30
    6.1 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 158
    -3.86 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 189
    urban population: 32.8% of total population (2015)
    rate of urbanization: 3.75% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    DILI (capital) 228,000 (2014)
    at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.91 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
    total: 37.54 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 40.5 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 34.39 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 56
    total population: 67.72 years
    male: 66.17 years
    female: 69.37 years (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 165
    5.01 children born/woman (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 15
    22.3% (2009/10)
    1.3% of GDP (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 156
    0.07 physicians/1,000 population (2011)
    5.9 beds/1,000 population (2010)
    improved:
    urban: 95.2% of population
    rural: 60.5% of population
    total: 70.5% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 4.8% of population
    rural: 39.5% of population
    total: 29.5% of population (2012 est.)
    improved:
    urban: 69% of population
    rural: 26.8% of population
    total: 38.9% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 31% of population
    rural: 73.2% of population
    total: 61.1% of population (2012 est.)
    NA
    NA
    NA
    degree of risk: very high
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
    vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria (2013)
    1.8% (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 178
    45.3% (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 1
    9.4% of GDP (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 7
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 67.5%
    male: 71.5%
    female: 63.4% (2015 est.)
    total: 12 years
    male: 12 years
    female: 11 years (2010)
    total number: 10,510
    percentage: 4% (2002 est.)
    total: 14.8%
    male: 10.4%
    female: 22.7% (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 79
  • Government :: TIMOR-LESTE

  • conventional long form: Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste
    conventional short form: Timor-Leste
    note: pronounced TEE-mor LESS-tay
    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: East Timor, Portuguese Timor
    republic
    name: Dili
    geographic coordinates: 8 35 S, 125 36 E
    time difference: UTC+9 (14 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    13 administrative districts; Aileu, Ainaro, Baucau, Bobonaro (Maliana), Cova-Lima (Suai), Dili, Ermera (Gleno), Lautem (Los Palos), Liquica, Manatuto, Manufahi (Same), Oecussi (Ambeno), Viqueque
    note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses)
    28 November 1975 (independence proclaimed from Portugal); note - 20 May 2002 is the official date of international recognition of Timor-Leste's independence
    Proclamation of Independence Day, 28 November (1975)
    drafted 2001, approved 22 March 2002, entered into force 20 May 2002 (2013)
    civil law system based on the Portuguese model; note - penal and civil law codes to replace the Indonesian codes were passed by Parliament and promulgated in 2009 and 2011, respectively
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    17 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Taur Matan RUAK (Jose Maria de VASCONCELOS) (since 20 May 2012); note - the president plays a largely symbolic role but is the commander in chief of the military and is able to veto legislation, dissolve parliament, and call national elections
    head of government: Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana GUSMAO (since 8 August 2007); note - he formerly used the name Jose Alexandre GUSMAO; Vice Prime Minister Fernando "Lasama" de ARAUJO (since 8 August 2012)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers
    elections: president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); last election was held on 17 March 2012 with a run off on 16 April 2012; following parliamentary elections, the president appoints the leader of the majority party or majority coalition as the prime minister
    election results: Taur Matan RUAK elected president; percent of second round vote - Taur Matan RUAK 61.2%, Francisco GUTTERES 38.8%
    description: unicameral National Parliament (65 seats; members directly elected in a single nationwide constituency by proportional representation vote to serve 5-year terms)
    elections: elections were held on 7 July 2012 (next to be held in July 2017)
    election results: percent of vote by party - CNRT 36%, FRETILIN 30%, PD 10%, Frenti-Mudanca 3%, others 21%; seats by party - CNRT 30, FRETILIN 25, PD 8, Frenti-Mudanca 2
    highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice (consists of the court president and NA judges)
    judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court president appointed by the president of the republic from among the other court judges to serve a 4-year term; other Supreme Court judges appointed - 1 by the Parliament, and the others by the Supreme Council for the Judiciary, a body presided by the Supreme Court president and includes mostly presidential and parliamentary appointees; other Supreme Court judge tenure NA
    subordinate courts: Court of Appeal; district courts; magistrates' courts
    note: the UN Justice System Programme, launched in 2003 and in 2008, is helping strengthen the country's justice system
    Democratic Party or PD [Fernando "Lasama" de ARAUJO]
    Frenti-Mudanca [Jose Luis GUTERRES]
    National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction or CNRT [Kay Rala Xanana GUSMAO]
    Revolutionary Front of Independent Timor-Leste or FRETILIN [Mari ALKATIRI]
    (only parties in Parliament are listed)
    NA
    ACP, ADB, AOSIS, ARF, ASEAN (observer), CPLP, EITI (compliant country), FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ITU, MIGA, NAM, OPCW, PIF (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WMO
    chief of mission: Ambassador Domingos Sarmento ALVES (since 21 May 2014)
    chancery: 4201 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 504, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 966-3202
    FAX: [1] (202) 966-3205
    chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Scott TICKNOR (since end of 2013)
    embassy: Avenida de Portugal, Praia dos Coqueiros, Dili
    mailing address: US Department of State, 8250 Dili Place, Washington, DC 20521-8250
    telephone: (670) 332-4684
    FAX: (670) 331-3206
    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; a white star - pointing to the upper hoist-side corner of the flag - is in the center of the black triangle; yellow denotes the colonialism in Timor-Leste's past; black represents the obscurantism that needs to be overcome; red stands for the national liberation struggle; the white star symbolizes peace and serves as a guiding light
    Mount Ramelau; national colors: red, yellow, black, white
    name: "Patria" (Fatherland)
    lyrics/music: Fransisco Borja DA COSTA/Afonso DE ARAUJO
    note: adopted 2002; the song was first used as an anthem when Timor-Leste declared its independence from Portugal in 1975; the lyricist, Fransisco Borja DA COSTA, was killed in the Indonesian invasion just days after independence was declared
  • Economy :: TIMOR-LESTE

  • Since gaining its independence in 1999, Timor-Leste has faced great challenges in rebuilding its infrastructure, strengthening the civil administration, and generating jobs for young people entering the work force. The development of oil and gas resources in offshore waters has greatly supplemented government revenues. This technology-intensive industry, however, has done little to create jobs in part because there are no production facilities in Timor-Leste. Gas is currently piped to Australia for processing, but Timor-Leste has expressed interest in developing a domestic processing capacity. In June 2005, the National Parliament unanimously approved the creation of a Petroleum Fund to serve as a repository for all petroleum revenues and to preserve the value of Timor-Leste's petroleum wealth for future generations. The Fund held assets of $16.5 billion, as of December 2014. Oil accounts for 90% of government revenues, and the drop in the price of oil in 2014 has led to concerns about the long-term sustainability of government spending. The Ministry of Finance maintains that the Petroleum Fund is sufficient to sustain government operations for the foreseeable future. Annual government budget expenditures increased markedly between 2009 and 2012 but dropped significantly in 2013 and again in 2014. Historically, the government has failed to spend as much as its budget allowed. The government has focused significant resources on basic infrastructure, including electricity and roads. Limited experience in procurement and infrastructure building has hampered these projects. The underlying economic policy challenge the country faces remains how best to use oil-and-gas wealth to lift the non-oil economy onto a higher growth path and to reduce poverty.
    $6.066 billion (2014 est.)
    $5.693 billion (2013 est.)
    $5.401 billion (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 163
    $4.478 billion
    note: non-oil GDP (2014 est.)
    6.6% (2014 est.)
    5.4% (2013 est.)
    7.8% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 23
    $4,900 (2014 est.)
    $4,600 (2013 est.)
    $4,400 (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 155
    household consumption: 21.9%
    government consumption: 21.3%
    investment in fixed capital: 21.8%
    investment in inventories: 0%
    exports of goods and services: 81.9%
    imports of goods and services: -46.8%
    (2014 est.)
    agriculture: 5.2%
    industry: 72.8%
    services: 22.1% (2014 est.)
    coffee, rice, corn, cassava (manioc, tapioca), sweet potatoes, soybeans, cabbage, mangoes, bananas, vanilla
    printing, soap manufacturing, handicrafts, woven cloth
    -15% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 198
    247,500 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 167
    agriculture: 64%
    industry: 10%
    services: 26% (2010)
    11% (2013 est.)
    18.4% (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 158
    37% (2011 est.)
    lowest 10%: 4%
    highest 10%: 27% (2007)
    31.9 (2007 est.)
    38 (2002 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 111
    revenues: $400 million
    expenditures: $1.8 billion (2014 est.)
    8.9% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 210
    -31% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 214
    calendar year
    2.5% (2014 est.)
    3.3% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 113
    12.8% (31 December 2014 est.)
    12.41% (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 61
    $241.4 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    $279.5 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 175
    $546.2 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    $500.2 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 176
    $-500 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    $-469 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 185
    $NA
    $1.167 billion (2014 est.)
    $2.74 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 38
    $154 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 202
    oil, coffee, sandalwood, marble
    note: potential for vanilla exports
    $696.2 million (2013 est.)
    $689 million (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 188
    food, gasoline, kerosene, machinery
    the US dollar is used
  • Energy :: TIMOR-LESTE

  • 349.4 million kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 197
    125.3 million kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 203
    0 kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 206
    0 kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 210
    79,260 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 51
    77,280 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 39
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 131
    0 bbl (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 199
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 201
    1,980 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 190
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 137
    1,264 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 190
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 200
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 201
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 194
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 139
    200 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 46
    496,300 Mt (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 181
  • Communications :: TIMOR-LESTE

  • total subscriptions: 3,000
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 212
    total: 676,900
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 56 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 163
    general assessment: rudimentary service in urban and some rural areas, which is expanding with the entrance of new competitors
    domestic: system suffered significant damage during the violence associated with independence; limited fixed-line services; mobile-cellular services have been expanding and are now available in urban and most rural areas
    international: country code - 670; international service is available (2012)
    1 public TV broadcast station broadcasting nationally and 1 public radio broadcaster with stations in each of the 13 administrative districts; 1 commercial TV broadcast station, 3 commercial radio stations, and roughly 20 community radio stations (2012)
    at least 21 (Timor-Leste has one national public broadcaster and 20 community and church radio stations - station frequency types NA) (2007)
    1 (Timor-Leste has one national public broadcaster)
    .tl
    total: 12,000
    percent of population: 1.0% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 205
  • Transportation :: TIMOR-LESTE

  • 6 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 176
    total: 2
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
    total: 4
    914 to 1,523 m: 2
    under 914 m:
    2 (2013)
    8 (2013)
    total: 6,040 km
    paved: 2,600 km
    unpaved: 3,440 km (2005)
    country comparison to the world: 150
    total: 1
    by type: passenger/cargo 1 (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 151
    major seaport(s): Dili
  • Military :: TIMOR-LESTE

  • Timor-Leste Defense Force (Falintil-Forcas de Defesa de Timor-L'este, Falintil (F-FDTL)): Army, Navy (Armada) (2013)
    18 years of age for voluntary military service; 18-month service obligation; no conscription but, as of May 2013, introduction of conscription was under discussion (2013)
    males age 16-49: 305,643
    females age 16-49: 293,052 (2010 est.)
    males age 16-49: 243,120
    females age 16-49: 251,061 (2010 est.)
    male: 12,737
    female: 12,389 (2010 est.)
    2.92% of GDP (2012)
    2.6% of GDP (2011)
    2.92% of GDP (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 23
  • Transnational Issues :: TIMOR-LESTE

  • three stretches of land borders with Timor-Leste have yet to be delimited, two of which are in the Oecussi exclave area, and no maritime or Economic Exclusion Zone boundaries have been established between the countries; maritime boundaries with Indonesia remain unresolved; in 2007, Australia and Timor-Leste signed a 50-year development zone and revenue sharing agreement in lieu of a maritime boundary
    current situation: Timor Leste is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; Timorese women and girls may be sent to India, Singapore, and Middle Eastern and other Southeast Asian countries for domestic servitude; women and girls from rural areas are also lured to the capital with promises of legitimate jobs and are then forced into prostitution or domestic servitude; Timorese family members are subject to bonded domestic or agricultural labor to repay debts; foreign migrant women are subject to sex trafficking in Timor Leste, while men and boys from Burma, Cambodia, and Thailand are forced to work on fishing boats in Timorese waters under inhumane conditions
    tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Timor Leste does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; legislation that would prohibit all forms of human trafficking remains pending approval, despite being submitted to the Council of Ministers in 2012; in 2013, authorities did not investigate or prosecute any trafficking cases and did not convict any offenders; the government’s efforts to protect trafficking victims were negligible; no victims were identified or referred to NGO-provided services, although funding was allocated to an NGO shelter for this purpose; increased patrolling of territorial waters in 2013 did not lead to increased identification of trafficking victims (2014)
    NA
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