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Special thanks to the United Nations Foundation, which provided content and photos for this report.

East Timor's Road to Independence

On May 20, 2002, East Timor became the world's newest nation. After 400 years of Portuguese rule and 25 years of Indonesian occupation, the people of East Timor voted overwhelmingly for independence. But the territory's long-term security will depend on the success of the country's new democracy, and so far, that path not been smooth.

After the historic vote for independence in August, 1999, pro-Indonesian militia groups led a campaign of violence, killing many East Timorese, displacing approximately 500,000 people from their homes, and destroying most of East Timor's infrastructure. Since then, East Timor has been rebuilding itself under supervision from the United Nations, and in April 2002, elected a president - Xanana Gusmao.

Independence is a major step in the rebirth of East Timor, but it is not the only one. Today, almost half of the country's population lives on less than 55 cents a day. More than 40% of the population is illiterate, and many East Timorese have received no formal education. When it gains independence, East Timor will rank as one of the world's poorest countries.

Until it can fully recover, East Timor will look to international donors and supporters to assist in the transition to democracy.

Watch Sting's music video made exclusively for the people of East Timor.


Make A Donation
Your donation will go far in helping the people of East Timor.

Support one of the following, or search for others that provide resources in East Timor.

United Nations Foundation
Support of U.N. and U.N. causes
Donate

Action Against Hunger
Worldwide leader in fight against hunger
Donate

Amnesty International
Promoting human rights around the world
Donate

CARE
Special report on East Timor
Donate

Counterpart International
International development and humanitarian assistance
Donate

Doctors without Borders
International medical care
Donate

Grassroots International
Human rights and development agency
Donate

Health Alliance International
Rebuilding health in East Timor
Donate

Human Rights Watch
Defending human rights worldwide
Donate

Oxfam America
Promoting self-sustaining programs for the poor and needy
Donate

US Association for UNHCR
Support to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees
Donate

Be A Volunteer
Your time can make a difference around the world.

Volunteer with one of these organizations or search for other opportunities.

Amnesty International USA
Find out what's happening in your region
Volunteer

Doctors without Borders
Providing medical relief worldwide
Volunteer

East Timor Action Network
Join ETAN's Lobby Days 2002
Volunteer

East Timor Action Network
Local Support groups
Volunteer

UN Volunteers
Volunteer arm of the United Nations
Volunteer

Speak Out
Lend your voice in support of East Timor's independence and reconstruction.

East Timor Action Network
Ways to help East Timor
Speak Out

East Timor Action Network: Support
Support real, people-centered development
Speak Out

East Timor Action Network: Protect Women Worldwide
Call for international tribunal to ensure crimes against women are meaningfully prosecuted
Speak Out

East Timor Action Network: Ease Debt
Call for a debt-free East Timor
Speak Out

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