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Timor-Leste Country Information

 
Timor-Leste
Flag of Timor-Leste
Map of Timor-Leste
Introduction Timor-Leste
Background:
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 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 individuals lost their lives. On 30 August 1999, in a UN-supervised popular referendum, an overwhelming majority of the people of Timor-Leste 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 western 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, Timor-Leste was internationally recognized as an independent state. In late April 2006, internal tensions threatened the new nation's security when a military strike led to violence and a near breakdown of law and order in Dili. At the request of the Government of Timor-Leste, an Australian-led International Stabilization Force (ISF) deployed to Timor-Leste in late May. In August, the UN Security Council established the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), which included an authorized police presence of over 1,600 personnel. In subsequent months, many of the ISF soldiers were replaced by UN police officers; approximately 80 ISF officers remained as of January 2008. From April to June 2007, the Government of Timor-Leste held presidential and parliamentary elections in a largely peaceful atmosphere with the support and assistance of UNMIT and international donors.
Geography Timor-Leste
Location:
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
Geographic coordinates:
8 50 S, 125 55 E
Map references:
Southeast Asia
Area:
total: 15,007 sq km
land: NA sq km
water: NA sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly larger than Connecticut
Land boundaries:
total: 228 km
border countries: Indonesia 228 km
Coastline:
706 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climate:
tropical; hot, humid; distinct rainy and dry seasons
Terrain:
mountainous
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Timor Sea, Savu Sea, and Banda Sea 0 m
highest point: Foho Tatamailau 2,963 m
Natural resources:
gold, petroleum, natural gas, manganese, marble
Land use:
arable land: 8.2%
permanent crops: 4.57%
other: 87.23% (2005)
Irrigated land:
1,065 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
floods and landslides are common; earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical cyclones
Environment - current issues:
widespread use of slash and burn agriculture has led to deforestation and soil erosion
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Climate Change, Desertification
Geography - note:
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 Timor-Leste
Population:
1,108,777
note: other estimates range as low as 800,000 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 35.1% (male 197,975/female 191,716)
15-64 years: 61.6% (male 347,573/female 334,908)
65 years and over: 3.3% (male 17,578/female 19,027) (2008 est.)
Median age:
total: 21.5 years
male: 21.5 years
female: 21.5 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.05% (2008 est.)
Birth rate:
26.52 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate:
6.02 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate:
NA (2008 est.)
Sex ratio:
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: 0.92 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 41.98 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 48.16 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 35.49 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 66.94 years
male: 64.6 years
female: 69.39 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate:
3.36 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA
Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: chikungunya, dengue fever and malaria (2008)
Nationality:
noun: Timorese
adjective: Timorese
Ethnic groups:
Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian), Papuan, small Chinese minority
Religions:
Roman Catholic 98%, Muslim 1%, Protestant 1% (2005)
Languages:
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
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 58.6%
male: NA
female: NA (2002)
Education expenditures:
NA
Government Timor-Leste
Country name:
conventional long form: Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste
conventional short form: Timor-Leste
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
Government type:
republic
Capital:
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:
13 administrative districts; Aileu, Ainaro, Baucau, Bobonaro (Maliana), Cova-Lima (Suai), Dili, Ermera, Lautem (Los Palos), Liquica, Manatuto, Manufahi (Same), Oecussi (Ambeno), Viqueque
Independence:
28 November 1975 (independence proclaimed from Portugal); note - 20 May 2002 is the official date of international recognition of Timor-Leste's independence from Indonesia
National holiday:
Independence Day, 28 November (1975)
Constitution:
22 March 2002 (based on the Portuguese model)
Legal system:
UN-drafted legal system based on Indonesian law remains in place but is to be replaced by civil and penal codes based on Portuguese law; these have passed but have not been promulgated; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:
17 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Jose RAMOS-HORTA (since 20 May 2007); note - the president plays a largely symbolic role but 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; Deputy Prime Minister Jose Luis GUTERRES (since 8 August 2007)
cabinet: Council of Ministers
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 9 April 2007 with run-off on 8 May 2007 (next to be held in May 2012); following elections, president appoints leader of majority party or majority coalition as prime minister
election results: Jose RAMOS-HORTA elected president; percent of vote - Jose RAMOS-HORTA 69.2%, Francisco GUTTERES 30.8%
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Parliament (number of seats can vary from 52 to 65; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held on 30 June 2007 (next elections due by June 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party - FRETILIN 29%, CNRT 24.1%, ASDT-PSD 15.8%, PD 11.3%, PUN 4.5%, KOTA-PPT (Democratic Alliance) 3.2%, UNTERDIM 3.2%, others 8.9%; seats by party - FRETILIN 21, CNRT 18, ASDT-PSD 11, PD 8, PUN 3, KOTA-PPT 2, UNDERTIM 2
Judicial branch:
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:
Democratic Party or PD [Fernando de ARAUJO]; National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction or CNRT [Xanana GUSMAO]; National Democratic Union of Timorese Resistance or UNDERTIM [Cornelio DA Conceicao GAMA]; National Unity Party or PUN [Fernanda BORGES]; People's Party of Timor or PPT [Jacob XAVIER]; Revolutionary Front of Independent Timor-Leste or FRETILIN [Mari ALKATIRI]; Social Democratic Association of Timor or ASDT [Francisco Xavier do AMARAL]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Mario CARRASCALAO]; Sons of the Mountain Warriors or KOTA [Manuel TILMAN] (also known as Association of Timorese Heroes)
International organization participation:
ACP, ADB, ARF, CPLP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, MIGA, NAM, OPCW, PIF (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Jorge CAMEO
chancery: 4201 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 966-3202
FAX: [1] (202) 966-3205
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Hans G. KLEMM
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:
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 is in the center of the black triangle
Economy Timor-Leste
Economy - overview:
In late 1999, about 70% of the economic infrastructure of Timor-Leste was laid waste by Indonesian troops and anti-independence militias. Three hundred thousand people fled westward. Over the next three years 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, refugees had returned or had settled in Indonesia. The country continues to face 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 begun to supplement government revenues ahead of schedule and above expectations - the result of high petroleum prices. The technology-intensive industry, however, has done little to create jobs for the unemployed because there are no production facilities in Timor. Gas is piped to Australia. In June 2005 the National Parliament unanimously approved the creation of a Petroleum Fund to serve as a repository for all petroleum revenues and preserve the value of Timor-Leste's petroleum wealth for future generations. The Fund held assets of US$1.8 billion as of September 2007. The mid-2006 outbreak of violence and civil unrest disrupted both private and public sector economic activity and created 100,000 internally displaced persons - about 10 percent of the population. While real non-oil GDP growth in 2006 was negative, the economy probably rebounded in 2007. 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 reduce poverty. In late 2007, the new government announced plans aimed at increasing spending, reducing poverty, and improving the country's infrastructure, but it continues to face capacity constraints. In the short term, the government must also address continuing problems related to the crisis of 2006, especially the displaced Timorese.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$2.608 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$459 million (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
19.8% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$2,500 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 32.2%
industry: 12.8%
services: 55% (2005)
Labor force:
NA
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Unemployment rate:
50% estimated; note - unemployment in urban areas reached 20%; data do not include underemployed (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line:
42% (2003 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
38 (2002 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
7.8% (2007 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $733 million
expenditures: $309 million
note: the government passed a transitional budget to cover the latter half of 2007 and has moved the fiscal cycle to a calendar year, starting with the budget they passed for 2008 (FY06/07 est.)
Agriculture - products:
coffee, rice, corn, cassava, sweet potatoes, soybeans, cabbage, mangoes, bananas, vanilla
Industries:
printing, soap manufacturing, handicrafts, woven cloth
Industrial production growth rate:
8.5% (2004 est.)
Electricity - production:
NA kWh
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
NA kWh
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh
Oil - production:
94,420 bbl/day (2005)
Oil - proved reserves:
NA
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
200 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:
$1.161 billion (2007 est.)
Exports:
$10 million; note - excludes oil (2005 est.)
Exports - commodities:
coffee, sandalwood, marble; note - potential for oil and vanilla exports
Exports - partners:
US, Germany, Portugal, Australia, Indonesia (2006)
Imports:
$202 million (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:
food, gasoline, kerosene, machinery
Economic aid - recipient:
$184.7 million (2005 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$NA
Currency (code):
US dollar (USD)
Currency code:
USD
Exchange rates:
the US dollar is used
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Timor-Leste
Telephones - main lines in use:
2,400 (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
69,000 (2007)
Telephone system:
general assessment: rudimentary service limited to urban areas
domestic: system suffered significant damage during the violence associated with independence; extremely limited fixed-line services; mobile-cellular services and coverage limited primarily to urban areas
international: country code - 670; international service is available in major urban centers
Radio broadcast stations:
at least 21 (Timor-Leste has one national public broadcaster and 20 community and church radio stations - frequency type NA)
Radios:
NA
Television broadcast stations:
1 (Timor-Leste has one national public broadcaster)
Televisions:
NA
Internet country code:
.tl
Internet hosts:
94 (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
NA
Internet users:
1,200 (2006)
Transportation Timor-Leste
Airports:
8 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 2 (2007)
Heliports:
9 (2007)
Roadways:
total: 6,040 km
paved: 2,600 km
unpaved: 3,440 km (2005)
Merchant marine:
total: 1 ship (1000 GRT or over) 1,134 GRT/262 DWT
by type: passenger/cargo 1 (2008)
Ports and terminals:
Dili
Military Timor-Leste
Military branches:
Timor-Leste Defense Force (Forcas de Defesa de Timor-L'este, Falintil (FDTL)): Army, Navy (Armada) (2008)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 284,903
females age 16-49: 272,212 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 224,096
females age 16-49: 231,901 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 13,045
female: 12,670 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures:
NA
Transnational Issues Timor-Leste
Disputes - international:
Timor-Leste-Indonesia Boundary Committee has resolved all but a small portion of the land boundary, but discussions on maritime boundaries are stalemated over sovereignty of the uninhabited coral island of Pulau Batek/Fatu Sinai in the north and alignment with Australian claims in the south; many refugees who left Timor-Leste in 2003 still reside in Indonesia and refuse repatriation; Australia and Timor-Leste 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
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
IDPs: 100,000 (2007)
Illicit drugs:
NA

This page was last updated on 2 October, 2008


 

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