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Crisis at East Timor: Background and Consequences of Conflict

In 1999 Militia of East Timor started attacking civilians during their anti-independence protests which have led to the general crisis in the area. This crisis is also known as East Timor Crisis. The violence spread by protests expanded all over the country and ended with about 1,500 deaths of civilians. The greatest percentage of violence occurred in the capital of East Timor Dili. The wave of protests was provoked by results of an election where the status of independence from Indonesia was determined. UN was forced to send INTERFET made up from Defence Force of Australia to maintain the peaceful regime in the capital.

The background of the situation was the referendum where the government of Indonesia decided to ask people of East Timor to vote whether their decision is to remain within Indonesia or to get independence. As an alternative, there was a compromise to become an autonomous province with peculiar freedoms which could have been called Special Autonomous Region of East Timor or SARET. On 30th August 1999 a clear majority which was about 78,5% have voted for independence.

Soon after the referendum riots broke out in the area. The violence was instigated by soldiers of Indonesian army and the Special Forces of the pro-integration militia of East Timor who weren't satisfied with referendum results. Militia activists were supported by Indonesia and the troops could freely terrorize the population. About 14,000 civilians were killed and more than 300,000 were forced to leave the country as refugees. The majority of national and civilian infrastructure was destroyed including watering systems, buildings, and electricity.

Many activists around the world, including the United States, Australia, and European countries insisted that their governments do some action. In particular, Bill Clinton, then US President, claimed a threaten to Indonesia, that International Monetary Fund would stop giving loans although Indonesia had already experienced the deep economic crisis. The agreement was reached that Indonesian government withdrew its army and allowed the international forces to stabilize the conflict in the area. As UN did not have the resources to control the situation, they organized a military force currently known as INTERFET, International Force for East Timor, which gathered troops from 23 countries (about 11,000 soldiers). On 20 September 1999 the peacekeeping troops of the International East Timor Force led by Australia, entered the country, which provided a peace for civilians and eased the tension in the capital.

In 1999 Militia of East Timor started attacking civilians during their anti-independence protests which have led to the general crisis in the area. This crisis is also known as East Timor Crisis. The violence spread by protests expanded all over the country and ended with about 1,500 deaths of civilians. The greatest percentage of violence occurred in the capital of East Timor Dili.

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Assignment ID
100000841
Type
CREATED ON
July 24, 2016
COMPLETED ON
July 25, 2016
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$22
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