Timor-Leste: Between Dreadful Past and Hopeful Future

Timor-Leste: Between Dreadful Past and Hopeful Future

Twenty-years ago, Timor-Leste was tipped into the abyss. A UN-backed referendum on August 30th, 1999 – the 20th anniversary of which was commemorated last week – paved the way to nationhood with voters overwhelmingly favoring independence, but a bloody rampage by pro-Jakarta militias resulted in over 1,000 dead along with massive displacement. Australian-led UN peacekeepers landed weeks later and helped restore order. And independence finally followed on May 20, 2002,…