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East Timor

This Week's In the News examines the escalation of violence and the proposal for autonomy in the Indonesian province of East Timor. Last weekend, anti-independence militiamen killed dozens of separatist activists in Dili, the East Timorese capital, intensifying the fierce bloodshed and political tumult in the province. The recent massacre is just one of several brutal episodes that have plagued East Timor in the past quarter-century. The people of the embattled island have suffered numerous human rights violations, have endured economic collapse, and have been decimated by guerrilla warfare, famine, and disease. Over 200,000 East Timorese -- or nearly one-fourth of the population -- have died in the troubles, which began in 1975 when Portugal abruptly abandoned East Timor after 400 years of colonial rule. Unstable and vulnerable, the newly independent East Timor was quickly invaded, occupied, and annexed in 1976 by Indonesia, a stronger nation that quashed all subsequent separatist movements. Last January, after years of political oppression, Indonesia's parliament finally succumbed to international pressure and announced that it would grant East Timor either full independence or autonomy within the Indonesian state. The United Nations, although it has never officially recognized Indonesia's sovereignty over East Timor, plans to supervise a vote, tentatively scheduled for July, wherein the East Timorese will determine whether they want full independence or provincial autonomy. Later this week, Foreign Ministers Ali Alatas of Indonesia and Jaime Gama of Portugal are meeting in New York with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to discuss the East Timorese autonomy option and plan for the pending UN-monitored poll. However, the recent resurgence of violence between anti- and pro-independence factions in and around Dili threatens the viability of the proposed poll and endangers the stability of East Timor's self-determination. The nine resources discussed offer background information, the latest news, political analysis, and social commentary.
Alternate Title
In the News: East Timor
Archived Scout Publication URL
Date Issued
Date of Scout Publication
April 20th, 1999
Date Of Record Creation
April 7th, 2003 at 1:21pm
Date Of Record Release
April 7th, 2003 at 1:21pm
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